**Updated April 2018**
Everyone’s got an opinion about which are Orlando’s most romantic restaurants. Believe me, Orlando has no shortage of options. There are literally hundreds of restaurants in Orlando.
All of our local publications host reader-selected restaurant awards and ‘best of’ lists that give top marks to the best date night spots. And, after years of research, we’ve discovered quite the assortment of romantic locales worthy of inclusion in your date night rotation.
So, to help you sift through all those winners and to better aid you in your quest to have a perfect romantic evening, here’s a summary of top picks categorized by accolades and ambiance. Enjoy!
ORLANDO DATE NIGHT AWARD WINNERS
According to voters in 7th Annual Orlando Date Night Awards, the best Orlando restaurants for couples are:
In the 2018 Foodie Awards, readers voted in 63 different categories, and Orlando Sentinel food reporter Lauren Delgado weighed in with her picks. The winners in the romantic category were:
The Orlando Magazine Dining Awards, which use reader votes to tabulate winners in dozens of categories, found these three restaurants to be Orlando’s most romantic in 2017:
- Chef’s Table at the Edgewater
- The Venetian Chop House
- Victoria & Albert’s
ZAGAT’s Orlando City Guide, which was created by local editors Rona Gindin and Rebecca Kinnear, gave top scores to these amorous eateries:
- Victoria & Albert’s
- Chef’s Table at the Edgewater
- NORMAN’S Restaurant
- Chatham’s Place
- Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi
- Enzo’s Restaurant on the Lake
COZY COURTYARDS AND PATIOS
This neighborhood eatery in Winter Park has a fully enclosed patio dining area with skylights, plus a spacious dining room, bar, and pool table. Find it inside of the Hidden Garden, one of Winter Park’s charming courtyards off of Park Avenue. Feast on charcuterie, upgraded burgers, flatbreads and American fusion dishes while sipping signature cocktails and craft beer.
Nestled along the quaint streets of College Park, K Restaurant is an all around win for date night. During the cooler months, the garden patio out back and covered front patio set the stage for a memorable night. The New American menu changes frequently and features seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Whatever you choose to order, leave room for something sweet. Pastry Chef Michelle Hubert whips up delectable desserts that are almost too pretty to eat.
Located just steps away from Lake Eola, Soco specializes in Southern fare and boats one of the best patio spaces in Orlando. Chef Greg Richie is the force behind the creative and contemporary menu dotted with appetizing dishes like chicken-fried cauliflower “steak” and slow-roasted barbecue-glazed pork belly biscuits.
This romantic eatery boasts an eclectic atmosphere, a charming shaded patio, live music every night and a fun menu. The restaurant also serves as a neighborhood hot spot as a regular stop on the monthly Thornton Park Wine Walk (a date night must-do).
Check out our guide to Orlando’s best patios for more ideas.
TABLES WITH A VIEW
Certain restaurants are just as famous for their top-notch cuisine as they are for their sweeping tableside views.
California Grill is located on the 15th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, providing an aerial view of Disney World and, most notably, the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks. Arrive at sunset for a romantic meal, and then return later to watch the fireworks show from the outdoor deck. FYI: You’ll definitely need a reservation to dine here. At Eleven at Reunion Resort, the rooftop provides the perfect vantage point to see multiple firework displays from the nearby theme parks.
Another favorite, the rooftop deck of Paddlefish at Disney Springs is spectacular no matter the time of day. Clink wine glasses as the sun dips below the horizon, listen to live music, or arrive after dark to indulge in the special late night rooftop menu.
Wall to wall windows and an outdoor lounge area provide front row seats to gorgeous waterfront views (especially during sunset) at Canvas in Lake Nona. Feast on New American fare with Latin flare crafted by Executive Chef Bryan Thoman.
At Disney Springs, the interior of Maria & Enzo’s is reminiscent of an old airline terminal with travel posters and aviation-inspired details. Floor to ceiling windows frame the waterfront view, best enjoyed while you savor the restaurant’s hearty Italian dishes.
It doesn’t get more romantic than sharing a tasty meal while watching the sunset with someone you love. Here are a few of our go-to sunset watching spots:
Get more ideas in our guide to the 10 best places to dine with sunset views.
SMALL TOWN VIBE
Escape the high rise buildings and head to one of Orlando’s charming towns, each boasting quaint and unfussy downtown districts filled with romantic restaurants for date night. Here are a few of our favorites:
Market to Table
Modern American with a relentless dedication to local and seasonal.
Bright, modern decor with a talent for German-style wood-fired steak.
Casual space but the Southern fusion fare created by Nat Russell (Best Chef in Sanford 2018) is off the charts.
The Old Jailhouse (opened February 2019)
A bygone building has been completely restored but the exposed brick and original jail cells still remain.
Chef Hari has received multiple James Beard nominations for his global-inspired restaurants with an emphasis on local & sustainable ingredients.
1921 Mount Dora
Florida-inspired cuisine in a 1921 building filled with modern art.
Bistro with secluded courtyard and three intimate, book-lined dining rooms.
This swanky downtown steakhouse features incredible service, premium steaks (I get the filet mignon every time), fabulous cocktails and the ideal atmosphere for celebrating an anniversary, holiday, engagement, or an over-the-top first date. Cozy booths invite you to linger over your meal and draw out the dining experience for as long as possible.
Other high-end steakhouses include Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster (check out the periodic Magic Dinner Show with Kostya Kimlat for date night bonus points), and Del Frisco’s. The latter houses a mind-boggling collection of wine and has one of the best upscale happy hours in town. Alternatively, make reservations at Bull & Bear at Waldorf Astoria Orlando for a lavish meal in the trendy dining room complete with chandeliers.
With so many restaurants in Orlando to discover, I don’t often return to most for repeat visits. But Dovecote is a restaurant I return to time and again. The artful interior, impeccable service, inspired cocktail menu, and upscale French-inspired fare never cease to impress. Favorite entrees include the breaded pork cutlet and lemon thyme chicken. It’s also one of my go-to spots for a relaxed brunch.
Moody, romantic, and a little bit racy, Better Than Sex lives up to the hype. The menu is comprised exclusively of over-the-top desserts best paired with a chocolate-dipped glass of wine.
When it comes to hotel dining, the farm-to-table fare at Highball & Harvest at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando is in a league of its own. For something out of the ordinary, book a seat at the cocktail table, the restaurant’s unique chef’s table experience for cocktails.
Dine al fresco while enjoying a budget-friendly meal from the ever-changing menu at Dexter’s. By night, the dim lighting and quiet streetside location creates a warm atmosphere. The inside can get quite noisy, so pick a seat on the outdoor patio for the best experience. Follow up your meal with a walk around nearby Lake Eola Park.
Forget about your first date nerves as you order an assortment of shareable plates from this hip and romantic tapas style restaurant. If you’re not quite ready to end the evening, take a walk to Better Than Sex for your dessert course, or marvel at the city skyline over cocktails on the rooftop at M Lounge.
If you want to switch up the usual dinner and a movie first date idea, Eden Bar and Enzian Theater are guaranteed to impress your date. Dine underneath gigantic live oak trees strung with twinkling lights as you sip movie-inspired cocktails paired with fresh entrees. You can also dine inside the theater, but I’m partial to the unbeatable ambiance the outdoor restaurant and bar provides, and it will give you more time to get to know one another.
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a date night at Seasons 52. The Orlando location on Sand Lake Road is airy and light with a waterfront view from the enclosed patio dining room. The menu changes seasonally and has plenty of options to accommodate dietary restrictions and flavor preferences if you aren’t too familiar with your date’s favorite foods.
Located on Park Avenue, The Parkview is an underrated gem for date night. Rows of boutique wine bottles line the walls indoors, while several tables out front provide the opportune place to gaze at Central Park. Items on the menu are made from scratch utilizing local ingredients whenever possible, and there’s an extensive wine list. Impress your date by taking him or her here for a date at one of Park Avenue’s more off the radar wine bars.
- The Ravenous Pig
- The Rusty Spoon
- The Glass Knife (try to snag a seat at the date night booth!)
Looking for a more intimate setting or a spot for a rehearsal dinner or engagement celebration? A private table or dining room fits the bill. Here are a few of our favorites.