Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and for those looking to book tables for two, the Valley has an abundance of restaurants that fit the bill. Some are fancy, some are casual, but they will all set the mood. From intimate rooms of flickering candles, coved ceilings, and wooden floors to sunset-bathed patios with twinkle lights, here are 10 of our favorite romantic restaurants in greater Phoenix.
Cafe Monarch6939 East First Avenue, Scottsdale
Imagine not flying to France, but still dining European-villa-style with a customized menu and privacy. There is a reason why Cafe Monarch was voted the second-most-romantic restaurant in the country. Couples will receive special attention from the staff, and the farm-to-table ingredients ensure the highest quality in cuisine. This true gem is a place to linger with your love and let the romance take center stage.
Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva, located in the historic flatiron Bragg's Pie Factory building on Grand Avenue, is Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza's most intimate restaurant. Its small, 27-seat dining room is almost impossibly charming, with a crisp white interior artfully adorned with striking murals by well-known local artists like Lalo Cota, floor-to-ceiling windows with views of downtown, and tables draped in white tablecloths. It's a naturally cozy space, ready for a romantic meal for two. The marquee attraction remains the restaurant's multicourse menu de degustación (tasting menu), which is available in both vegan and omnivore versions.
Scott Conant's sprawling modern Italian restaurant is ideal for a romantic dinner. At Mora, the upholstery is plush and the leather is red. Tunes and good drinks flow. Service is friendly, and if you want to share plates the staff is happy to divide menu items onto separate plates for you. The bar area is roomy and comforting, as is the patio that overlooks the run of restaurants down Seventh Street. As this is one of Phoenix's best Italian restaurants, be sure to get pasta. And if you and your significant other are into chocolate, the budino dessert is an absolute must.
With its sun-dappled patio, tree-covered bar, and two historic bungalows, it's no wonder Robert and Robin Trick's cozy dining oasis in the heart of Tempe remains as popular as ever 30 years into its run. At House of Tricks, tuck into a candlelit table on the outdoor patio — one of the best in town — or around the vintage stone fireplace indoors. Enjoy the rustic, farm-forward, seasonally inspired menu, which mixes French and Southwestern flavors into elegant plates of grilled meats and fish, bright produce, and delicate sauces.
Cibo603 North Fifth Avenue
For couples who share a love of artisanal pizza, there may not be a more charming place to enjoy it than this early-20th-century bungalow in downtown-ish Phoenix. Owner, chef, and Tuscan pizzaiolo Guido Saccone serves up top-notch wood-fired pies, as well as luscious pasta and salads. Cibo's outdoor patio and interior (featuring hardwood floors, exposed brick, and colorful artwork) make this urban pizzeria as easy to snuggle up with as your partner. And don't forget the essential limoncello.
Lon's at the Hermosa5532 North Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley
One eyeful of the surroundings at this fine-dining establishment at the Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley, and it's easy to see what may once have inspired the restaurant's namesake, legendary artist Lon Megargee, to call it home in the 1930s. Lon's at the Hermosa has an enchanting patio and an indoor setting of old Arizona charm — think wood-beamed ceilings, beehive fireplaces, and wrought-iron chandeliers — that makes for a perfect spot to enjoy Chef Jeremy Pacheco's artful American cuisine and drinks made with Lon's private label whiskey from Del Bac.
The House Brasserie6936 East Main Street, Scottsdale
This restaurant from Chef Matt Carter (of the Mission and Zinc Bistro) is set in a charming yet sophisticated little 1920s bungalow in Old Town Scottsdale and serves American cuisine with touches from all over the globe (Berkshire pork country ribs, duck confit meat balls with foie gras). Romantics at The House Brasserie can enjoy their meals inside rooms decked out in gold-flocked wallpaper, red leather banquettes, and chandeliers. Or opt outside for a sprawling patio complete with white picket fence, brick fireplace, and a grand ol' tree.
Quiessence at The Farm6106 South 32nd Street
This farmhouse turned eatery, nestled in the historic Farm at South Mountain, is a love fest both in setting and cuisine. Its rural tranquility offers a lush backdrop for guests as well as chef Dustin Christofolo, whose daily menu of contemporary American farm cuisine includes ingredients harvested at next-door Soil & Seed Garden. Whether clinking glasses of vino at the exclusive Brick Oven Table on the patio or holding hands over a dish of dreamy homemade pasta in front of a crackling fire, Quiessence at The Farm has amore written all over it.
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Geordie's Restaurant2501 East Telawa Trail
Need a reliable date spot? Try Geordie's. The historic Wrigley Mansion's gourmet eatery, Geordie's Restaurant, offers kitchen space to the James Beard Award-winning Chef Christopher Gross. He and his experienced culinary team plate many European dishes, including French cooking in the form of caviar, duck confit, foie gras, and the chocolate tower loved 'round the city. The extensive wine list offers more than 800 bottles, many from France, and all selected by award-winning wine director Paola Embry. Wrigley Mansion also offers verandas, patios with twinkling city views, five private dining rooms, and the elegant Jamie's Wine Bar.
The Farish House Bistro & Wine Bar816 North Third Street
An upscale bistro now resides in the 1899 brick house on the corner of Garfield and Third streets in downtown Phoenix just south of Roosevelt Row. The Farish House offers a selection of wine and classic cocktails like the Farish Cup, plus an array of shareable dishes. Dinner plates like Angus rib-eye with port reduction cream sauces and Chianti short rib beef stew are listed on the menu. It also offers a petite patio with all the romantic fixings. Final thought: Do split the burrata cheese ball if it's available.
Editor's note: This story was originally published on February 11, 2013. It was updated on January 22, 2020.