Love is in the air in Durham, and the city boasts a wealth of restaurants that offer unforgettable dining experiences for those looking to celebrate a first date or lifelong romance. Ranging from romantic to eccentric, these restaurants offer outstanding cuisine, fine wines, romantic lighting, and intimate ambiances – perfect for creating lasting memories.
1.Fairview Dining Room
© Fairview Dining Room
Located in Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, the Fairview Dining Room is an award-winning restaurant that promises an unrivaled dining experience. Renowned for culinary mastery, meticulous attention to detail, and elegantly romantic ambiance, the four-star restaurant is one of the top spots to go for a special dinner or celebration. Diners can enjoy a creative menu regional neo-American cuisine and fine wines from around the world against a backdrop of spectacular views over the golf course from floor-to-ceiling windows and nightly piano music. The full-service bar offers an extensive menu of libations ranging from globally-inspired wines, craft, and classic cocktails, craft beers on tap and by the bottle, and imported spirits. The Fairview Dining Room is open for lunch, weekend brunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
3001 Cameron Blvd, Durham, NC 27705, Phone: 919-493-6699
© Piedmont Restaurant
Piedmont Restaurant offers adventurous, seasonal dining experience in the heart of downtown Durham. The elegant restaurant serves a seasonal, daily changing menu of locally sourced contemporary American farm-to-table fare with a focus on regional produce and fresh seafood in a casual, low-key setting. Ingredients are sourced from farms in North Carolina, and dishes reflect the rich heritage of the area with reimagined classic Southern dishes. The bar serves a craft cocktail program, local craft beers on tap and by the bottle, and an extensive and award-winning wine list with both well-known and rare labels to accompany the cuisine. Piedmont Restaurant is open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday.
401 Foster St B2, Durham, NC 27701, Phone: 919-683-1213
Gocciolina is a hidden gem tucked away on Guess Road that serves traditional Italian fare and casual wines in a warm and welcoming space. Hidden away in a strip-mall, the family-friendly restaurant serves a seasonal menu of innovative Mediterranean and Northern Italian cuisine such as handmade pasta and in-house sauces, platters of antipasti, fresh seafood, and prime meat dishes, and crisp salads. Don’t miss the decadent desserts that ring true of any Italian kitchen such as Tartufo, tiramisu, homemade ice cream, and pannacotta. The cuisine is accompanied by an extensive wine list, craft micro beers, signature cocktails, and imported spirits. Gocciolina is open for dinner only Tuesday through Saturday.
3314 Guess Rd, Durham, NC 27705, Phone: 919-973-4089
© Bar Virgile
Located on Mangum Street between Main and Ramseur near the Durham Performing Arts Center and the Carolina Theater in the heart of downtown Durham, Bar Virgile is a stylish, relaxed spot that specializes in globally inspired tapas-style fare and inventive cocktails. The bustling bar serves a variety of easy eats prepared by the dynamic in-house team using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and regional produce from the Triangle area. The bar boasts an extensive menu of libations ranging from craft and classic cocktails, seasonal offerings, craft beers on tap and by the bottle, and one of the largest spirits selections in the Triangle, consisting of agave, whiskey, gin, and rum. Bar Virgile is open for dinner and drinks Monday through Saturday.
105 S Mangum St, Durham, NC 27701, Phone: 919-973-3000
5.Bin 54 Steak & Cellar
© Bin 54 Steak & Cellar
Located in the Glen Lennox Shopping Center, Bin 54 Steak & Cellar is a classic steakhouse and bar that serves premium steaks and fresh seafood in an elegant dining room with a subdued ambiance. Using only the freshest locally sourced ingredients and regional produce such as grass-fed aged USDA Prime and Certified Black Angus beef, sustainably caught seafood, and organic vegetables and fruit, Bin 54 Steak & Cellar from-scratch dishes and bread, sauces, and desserts made in-house. A classic bar serves a variety of libations ranging from craft and classic cocktails, craft beers on tap and by the bottle, and globally inspired wines. Bin 54 Steak & Cellar is open for dinner only Monday through Saturday.
1201 Raleigh Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27517, Phone: 919-969-1155
© Bleu Olive
The Greek-owned Bleu Olive is a traditional Mediterranean bistro with outdoor seating that serves delicious Mediterranean and Greek fare in a bright and inviting setting. Boasting a charming white-tablecloth setting and a family-friendly ambiance, the family-owned and operated bistro has been taking diners on a culinary journey to the sun-kissed shores of the Med for over 25 years. Using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, dishes are prepared from scratch and presented with passion and love. Diners can tuck into plates of grilled octopus, saganaki (deep-fried cheese), meatballs, moussaka, paella, calamari, crab cakes, and roasted lamb in the oven. Casual wines, craft beers, and spirits are available from the bar, along with coffees and soft drinks. The Bleu Olive is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Sunday and dinner only on Saturdays.
1821 Hillandale Rd, Durham, NC 27705, Phone: 919-383-8502
© Counting House
Located in the chic 21c Hotel on Corcoran Street, Counting House is a perfect spot for a romantic dinner or special celebration. Once home to Suntrust and boasting an old bank valet on the lower floor, the elegant restaurant celebrates North Carolina’s rich heritage of fresh seafood and other regional fare using local, high-quality ingredients and organic produce. Executive Chef Thomas Card presents dishes such as plancha octopus, crab and squash ravioli, smoked oysters, pan-roasted catch-of-the-day, pork chops, and ribeye steak, and a variety of vegetarian options. The bar offers an extensive menu of drinks to pair with each dish, ranging from a global wine selection, craft, and classic cocktails, and craft beers on tap and by the bottle. Counting House is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
111 Corcoran St, Durham, NC 27701, Phone: 919-956-6760
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8.Elaine's On Franklin
© Elaine's On Franklin
Located in the heart of downtown Chapel Hill, Elaine’s on Franklin is a warm and welcoming neighborhood eatery that serves unique regional American cuisine in a cozy, romantic atmosphere. Boasting a charming storefront setting, the restaurant focuses on serving bold interpretations of classic dishes using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and regional produce. The bar offers an award-winning wine list with local and global selections, along with an inventive cocktail list and range of craft beers. Elaine’s on Franklin is open for dinner only, Tuesday through Saturday.
454 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516, Phone: 919-960-2770
Elements is a stylish and sophisticated restaurant that offers a unique dining experience in a contemporary, chic setting. Chef Michael Chuong and his team combine locally sourced ingredients and flavors with modern Asian and European cooking techniques to produce seasonal lunch and dinner menus with innovative flair. Menus change weekly to accommodate local producers, and a hand-picked selection of house-made signature cocktails, a curated wine list of wines from around the world and a range of craft beer are the perfect accompaniment for the mouth-watering menu. Elements is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday, and dinner only through Saturday.
2110 Environ Way, Chapel Hill, NC 27517, Phone: 919-537-8780
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The aptly named Littler is a tiny restaurant packed with intimate charm and an out-of-this-world menu that draws couples on date nights for an unforgettable dining experience. The 30-seater eatery makes up for the lack of space with its menu which features seasonal plates of contemporary New American cuisine like savory beef heart tartare, chicken-fried duck tongue, roasted Guinea hens, and hearty lamb burgers. Craft cocktails and casual wines complement the cuisine, and big-bulb string lights give the cozy space a romantic glow. Guests can enjoy half-priced bottle wine on Sunday evenings and oyster specials on Mondays. Littler is open for dinner only, Wednesday through Monday.
110 E Parrish St, Durham, NC 27701, Phone: 919-374-1118
Tucked away next to the Durham Hotel, M Sushi is a small hole-in-the-wall eatery that is renowned for its sublime Japanese cuisine. The dimly lit, industrial-chic space serves made-from-scratch Japanese cuisine based on Omakase, meaning Chef’s Choice of the various courses available, along with handmade sushi, sashimi and small plates using only the freshest seafood imported directly from Japan and Korea. The menu features traditional sushi and sashimi courses, as well as seasonal specialized rolls and ceviche and tiradito-inspired dishes, accompanied by real grated wasabi, fresh ginger, and other in-house sauces. M Sushi is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Friday, and dinner only on Saturdays.
311 Holland St, Durham, NC 27701, Phone: 919-908-9266
12.Maggiano's Little Italy
© Maggiano's Little Italy
Located in the Streets at Southpoint, Maggiano's Little Italy is a casual dining restaurant chain specializing in Italian-American cuisine. The family-style menu focuses on authentic southern Italian cuisine and features just ten items, including three entrées from handmade pasta and sauces to fresh seafood and prime steaks and veal. Made from scratch with only the freshest ingredients and accompanied by an array of soft drinks, fine wines, and craft beers, dishes exude the sun-drenched warmth of Southern Italy’s hills and landscapes. Maggiano's Little Italy is also available for private and semi-private events and is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
8030 Renaissance Pkwy Suite 890, Durham, NC 27713, Phone: 919-572-0070
13.Mateo Bar de Tapas
© Mateo Bar de Tapas
Housed in the old Book Exchange building in the heart of downtown Durham, Mateo Bar de Tapas is a stylish tapas bar that celebrates traditional Spanish cuisine in a warm and welcoming setting. The delicious and ever-changing menu takes diners on a journey to Spain where dishes boast fire-engine-red peppers, huge black olives and golden dollops of the smoothest virgin olive oil. In true Spanish style, eating and sharing good food is a celebration to be shared with friends and family, and this vibrant atmosphere shines through in every corner of the restaurant. Savor delicious delights such as smoky jamón Ibérico (cured ham) and crispy croquetas de Pollo (chicken croquettes) to melt-in-your-mouth patatas bravas (spicy, marinated potato cubes), accompanied by fine wines from across the country. Mateo Bar de Tapas is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Friday, and dinner only on Saturdays and Sundays.
109 W Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701, Phone: 919-530-8700
14.Metro 8 Steakhouse
Metro 8 Steakhouse is a family-owned and operated steakhouse that offers a traditional steakhouse experience with cozy décor, sizzling open fire grills, a menu of prime cut steaks, salads and other American fare, and a full-service bar. Located on Ninth Street in Durham, the classic steakhouse restaurant boasts hardwood floors and warm hues of beige and cream and has a casual and relaxed atmosphere in which diners can enjoy the delicious cuisine. Along with the traditional steakhouse fare, the menu features other dishes such as empanadas, churrasco steak and chimichurri, and the signature dulce de leche crêpes. An enclosed, heated patio is perfect for a romantic winter dinner for two, and the restaurant has private dining rooms for special occasions. Metro 8 Steakhouse is open for dinner only, seven nights a week.
746 9th St, Durham, NC 27705, Phone: 919-416-1700
15.Mothers & Sons Trattoria
© Mothers & Sons Trattoria
Mothers & Sons Trattoria is a classic family-owned and operated Italian eatery that serves traditional Italian fare and casual wines in a warm and welcoming setting. Named for the closeness of Italian families around the world, particularly between mothers and sons who share cooking traditions, the trattoria focuses on homemade Italian cuisine prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients where possible, organic produce and imported specialties such as extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and charcuteries meats and cheeses. The menu boasts dishes of handmade pasta and in-house sauces, fresh seafood, veal and chicken dishes, antipasto platters, and decadent desserts, along with an extensive list of global and Italian wines, craft cocktails and other spirits. Mothers & Sons Trattoria is open for dinner only, seven nights a week.
107 W Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701, Phone: 919-294-8247
Set across two levels in the building that houses the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) and the Aloft Hotel, Nanasteak is a classic steakhouse and a Triangle favorite for a great night out. Boasting hardwood floors, a full-service bar, an outdoor patio, and a bright and airy atmosphere, the Jack Moore-designed restaurant offers the perfect balance of fine dining and comfort - making it an ideal spot for romance. Diners can sit in one of three stylized dining rooms where the tables are inlaid with real tobacco leaves in homage to Durham's long tobacco history. The bar serves an award-winning wine list that features interesting selections to complement any dish on the menu, along with craft cocktails and other libations. Nanasteak is open for dinner seven nights a week and Sunday brunch.
345 Blackwell St, Durham, NC 27701, Phone: 919-282-1183
Hailed as being one of the best romantic restaurants in the city, Parizade lives up to its reputation with an elegant, softly lit dining room with chic décor, an open kitchen where experts chefs prepare locavore Mediterranean fare, and a full-service bar offering a variety of fine wines and signature cocktails. Surrounded by Henryk Fantazos art-adorned walls and a tranquil, intimate ambiance, diners can savor some of the menu’s most sublime dishes such as Cavatelli with duck and double-smoked bacon Bolognese and housemade ricotta and Squid Ink Paella, Parizade offers regular lunch and dinner menus, along with prix-fixe lunch and pre-theater dinner menus and featured wines are offered from Thursday to Sunday. Parizade is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday and dinner only on the weekends.
2200 W Main St, Durham, NC 27705, Phone: 919-286-9712
© Rue Cler
Rue Cler is a quaint and cozy Parisian bistro that serves rotating menus of classic French cuisine and a selection of fine French and American wines. Named after the market street in the 7th Arrondissement of Paris, the little bistro exudes intimate Parisian charm and serves a daily prix fixe menu of traditional French fare such as Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinée, l'Escalope de Saumon, Coq au Vin, Beef en Daube Provençal and Jambon de Bayonne. The cuisine is accompanied by an extensive wine list that includes both casual and rare vintages, along with craft beers, signature cocktails, and imported spirits. Rue Cler is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday and weekend brunch.
401 E Chapel Hill St, Durham, NC 27701, Phone: 919-682-8844
19.La Taberna Steaks and Tapas Bar
© La Taberna Steaks and Tapas Bar
Established in 2017, La Taberna Steaks and Tapas Bar is new to the Durham dining scene and has already left its mark with a seasonal menu of mouth-watering tapas, sizzling steaks, traditional paella, and easy-drinking Spanish wines. The cozy Spanish restaurant specializes in small sharing plates and delicious tapas such as albondigas (meatballs), Jamon Serrano, chorizo, tortilla, croquettes, as well as hearty entrées of beef, lamb, chicken, pork, and paella. The full-service bar offers an extensive menu of libations ranging from globally-inspired wines, craft, and classic cocktails, craft beers on tap and by the bottle, and imported spirits. La Taberna Steaks and Tapas Bar is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday and dinner only on the weekends.
325 W Main St, Durham, NC 27701, Phone: 919-797-1457
20.The Refectory Cafe
© The Refectory Cafe
The Refectory Café is an award-winning restaurant that serves local farm-to-table fare with a variety of vegetarians, vegan, plant-based and gluten-free options. The one-of-a-kind eatery prides itself on providing delicious, satisfying, and nutrient-dense cuisine for all taste and diets, while practicing environmental and social sustainability. The culinary team uses locally sourced and organic ingredients from regional farmers to create dishes like coconut curry tofu, miso-ginger marinated kale, garlic shrimp risotto, and chicken roulade. The restaurant has a full-service bar that offers a variety of libations and is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch, seven days a week.
2726 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham, NC 27707, Phone: 919-908-6798
© University Club
Established in 1987, the University Club is a premier private dining club located on the 17th-floor penthouse of the University Tower that offers gourmet dining experiences. Spanning 11,000 square feet, the elegant dining establishment features plush décor and furnishings, crystal chandeliers, and magnificent panoramic views through expansive floor-to-ceiling windows. The Club has six finely appointed private rooms which cater for romantic dinners for two or special celebrations with friends, and a full-service bar that serves a wide selection of globally-inspired wines, craft, and classic cocktails, craft beers on tap and by the bottle, and imported spirits. The University Club is open for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Friday and dinner only on Saturdays.
3100 Tower Blvd #1700, Durham, NC 27707, Phone: 919-493-8099
© Vin Rouge
Vin Rouge is an authentic French bistro on Hillsborough Road that brings a slice of Paris into the heart of Durham. Set off 9th Street, the quaint eatery is an excellent spot for a date night and serves a seasonal menu of French cuisine, including classics like bouillabaisse, French onion soup, moules and frites, steak frites, sautéed salmon, and a selection of French cheeses. The Sunday brunch is a must-try with delicious omelets, Croque-madam and croque-monsieur, and mimosas on offer, and casual wines, craft cocktails, craft beers on tap and by the bottle, and imported spirits round off every meal. Vin Rouge is open for dinner every night and Sunday brunch.
2010 Hillsborough Rd, Durham, NC 27705-4183, Phone: 919-416-0466
23.Yamazushi Japanese Restaurant
© Yamazushi Japanese Restaurant
Located in the Woodcroft Shopping Center, Yamazushi Japanese Restaurant is a high-end Japanese restaurant that serves traditional seasonally changing kaiseki set menus in a refined space. Featuring stylish décor and furnishings, artisanal pottery for sale, and soft lighting, the restaurant offers Kaiseki-inspired multi-course dining, styled after the ancient Japanese tradition using local fish and the freshest seasonal ingredients directly from the chef's organic garden. This style of dining is an intricate and ornate culinary event that includes vegetables, fish, and meat cooked to enhance the flavors of the fresh ingredients that are selected by season. Small portions are presented on beautiful handmade pottery made by the chef and served one at a time at carefully timed intervals. Yamazushi Japanese Restaurant is open for dinner only Tuesday through Saturday.
4711 Hope Valley Rd #6a, Durham, NC 27707, Phone: 919-493-7748
23 Best Romantic Restaurants in Durham, NC
- Fairview Dining Room, Photo: Fairview Dining Room
- Piedmont Restaurant, Photo: Piedmont Restaurant
- Gocciolina, Photo: Gocciolina
- Bar Virgile, Photo: Bar Virgile
- Bin 54 Steak & Cellar, Photo: Bin 54 Steak & Cellar
- Bleu Olive, Photo: Bleu Olive
- Counting House, Photo: Counting House
- Elaine's On Franklin, Photo: Elaine's On Franklin
- Elements, Photo: Elements
- Littler, Photo: Littler
- M Sushi, Photo: zgurski1980/stock.adobe.com
- Maggiano's Little Italy, Photo: Maggiano's Little Italy
- Mateo Bar de Tapas, Photo: Mateo Bar de Tapas
- Metro 8 Steakhouse, Photo: exclusive-design/stock.adobe.com
- Mothers & Sons Trattoria, Photo: Mothers & Sons Trattoria
- NanaSteak, Photo: NanaSteak
- Parizade, Photo: Olga/stock.adobe.com
- Rue Cler, Photo: Rue Cler
- La Taberna Steaks and Tapas Bar, Photo: La Taberna Steaks and Tapas Bar
- The Refectory Cafe, Photo: The Refectory Cafe
- University Club, Photo: University Club
- Vin Rouge, Photo: Vin Rouge
- Yamazushi Japanese Restaurant, Photo: Yamazushi Japanese Restaurant
- Cover Photo: smspsy/stock.adobe.com