Knoxville has more to offer than Tennessee whiskeys, although guests will surely get their fair share of that. Local eateries throughout the city in East Tennessee showcase southern cooking elevated by fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Still, couples looking to share a romantic afternoon or evening over a delicious meal have their pick of all sorts of menus. Knoxville has a number of award-winning brunches for a charming daytime date. Premium steakhouses, fusion cuisines, classic Italian kitchens, and seafood restaurants all encompass the range of dining experiences in Knoxville.
1.Altruda’s Italian Restaurant
© Altruda’s Italian Restaurant
Altruda’s owner, Paul Meyer, credits his passion for food to his grandmother. Originally from Italy, his grandmother, Geraldine Ida Altruda, immigrated to America as a young girl. Like many Italian-Americans, she installed the values of cooking and together as a family. Altruda’s Italian Restaurant carries on those traditions, putting careful care and attention into its dishes. During a romantic dinner, couples wine and dine on Italian classics, from baked pastas to breaded chicken breast cooked in wine sauce. The kitchen will also create customized menus for private events. Located on Peters Road in Knoxville, Altruda’s opens for dinner nightly at 5 PM.
125 North Peters Road, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-690-6144
2.Bistro At The Bijou
© Bistro At The Bijou
The award-winning Bistro at The Bijou has consistently earned distinctions as one of the Top Restaurants in Knoxville from The Culture Trip. The Metro Pulse voted Bistro At The Bijou as the Best Brunch in Knoxville. Situated in a historic former hotel built in 1815, the restaurant in downtown Knoxville serves regionally-sourced cuisine for lunch and dinner daily and brunch on Sundays. Live jazz musicians perform almost every evening, but guests can check the schedule on its website for upcoming gigs. At the speakeasy, couples can sip handcrafted libations with deals on during happy hour, Monday through Friday from 3-7PM.
807 South Gay Street, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-544-0537
3.Bistro By The Tracks
© Bistro By The Tracks
The cooks at Bistro By The Tracks pay careful attention to every detail of each dish. Serving up sophisticated southern cuisine, Bistro By The Tracks manages to create an atmosphere that is both elegant and casual at the same time. The comprehensive wine list includes domestic and international reds and whites. Couples in town can come in for a romantic lunch or dinner served daily or share a Sunday brunch. Bistro By The Tracks sits in the heart of Bearden in Brookview Town Center. The menu covers small plates, land and sea dishes, and seasonal changes to ensure the freshest ingredients.
215 Brookview Centre Way Suite 109, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-558-9500
4.Brazeiros Churrascaria - Brazilian Steakhouse
© Brazeiros Churrascaria - Brazilian Steakhouse
With locations in both Knoxville, TN and Louisville, KY, Brazeiros Churrascaria (Brazilian Steakhouse) takes guests on a tour of the tastes of Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brazil. Offering outstanding service, Brazeiros staff slice fire-roasted beef, chicken, pork, and lamb right at the table. Guests can delight in the refreshing salad bar. The extensive wine list includes Argentinian Malbecs and a selection of reds and whites from around the world. The Knoxville restaurant has lunch specials like a Business Lunch, Light Lunch, or Full Experience on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Brazeiros Churrascaria opens for dinner every evening offering the full Brazilian steakhouse experience for a truly memorable meal.
6901 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-247-0295
La vita e bella (life is beautiful) at Cappuccino’s! Celebrate life’s pleasures at this Italian-eatery in Knoxville. The restaurant first opened in 1977. Since, its owner Chef Frank Aloise has shared his culinary heritage of Sicilian-Italian cooking infused with locally-sourced ingredients from East Tennessee. The menu consists of secret family recipes passed down through the generations. Robust reds pair perfectly with mamma’s meatballs or homemade ricotta dumplings. Crisp whites elevate chicken piccata or the fresh catch of the day. A romantic meal wouldn’t be complete without a decadent dessert like tiramisu or cannoli. Cappuccino's opens for dinner every evening at 5 PM.
7316 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-673-3422
© Chesapeake's Downtown
Chesapeake's Downtown brings the flavors of the Northeast to Tennessee. The fish house serves mouth-watering seafood dishes inspired by the eastern shores. Guests can admire the restaurant’s nautical decor and maritime antiques. Couples looking for a romantic meal can indulge themselves in oysters, lobster, or a ribeye steak in the garden patio or bar and lounge. Chesapeake's Downtown opens for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and hosts Sunday brunch and dinner. Happy hour lasts from 4:30 PM to 7 PM Sunday through Thursday. In addition to its downtown location, Chesapeake's also has a restaurant in West Knoxville.
600 Union Avenue, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-673-3433
7.Connors Steak & Seafood
© Connors Steak & Seafood
Connors Steak & Seafood gives guests a place to treat themselves to a romantic afternoon or evening meal. The menu specializes in serving up fresh seafood, aged steaks, and gourmet salad and pastas. Its flagship restaurant opened in Turkey Creek, Knoxville in 2004. Since, the local favorite has consistently won awards including the 2016 FourSquare Award for the Best Steakhouse in Knoxville. Diners can feast steaks and chops, shrimp, lobster tails, burgers, pizza, creamy pasta, and beyond for lunch or dinner daily. In addition to its Knoxville location, Connors has multiple restaurants in several Florida cities and in Franklin, Tennessee.
10915 Turkey Drive, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-966-0933
8.Copper Cellar West
© Copper Cellar West
Couples can indulge in fine-dining while relaxing in a comfortable atmosphere at Copper Cellar West. For over 40 years, this West Knoxville restaurant has cooked tender steaks and exceptional seafood dishes. Couples can treat themselves on the weekend to the Copper Cellar West Award-Winning Sunday Brunch buffet which includes a bloody mary bar. Dinner entrees are fit for a king with choices like filet mignon, prime rib, shrimp stuffed with blue crab, and cold water lobster tail. Customers can also add a-la-carte sides like spicy macaroni and cheese, baked potatoes, pasta, or blue cheese grits. Copper Cellar also has an entirely gluten-free menu.
7316 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-673-3422
9.Cru Bistro and Wine Bar
© Cru Bistro and Wine Bar
Cru Bistro and Wine Bar draws inspirations from American classics as well as Asian cuisines, creating a uniquely delicious menu selection. Open for lunch and dinner daily as well as Sunday Brunch, Cru Bistro invites couples to delight themselves in fusion foods like sushi, pizzas, shrimp and grits, bacon wrapped stuffed chicken, Korean BBQ tenderloin, or Mediterranean chicken pasta. The downtown location has daily specials on bloody marys, sangria, draft beers, and sparkling wines all day. Diners can also get discounted drinks and eats during happy hour Monday through Friday, 3 PM to 6 PM. Wine comes served by the glass, flight, or bottle.
11383 Parkside Drive, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-671-6612
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Whether a Knoxville local or touring the city for the weekend, Emilia offers an ideal atmosphere for a romantic meal. Situated in the historic Market Square, Emilia’s kitchen specializes in cuisine inspired by Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. Cooks prepare handmade pasta every day. The seasonal menu rotates to include fresh, locally-sourced foods. Chef and owner, Matt Gallaher, who grew up on a 170-acre farm, brings his passion for highlighting quality ingredients in each recipe. Couples can wine and dine while feasting on freshly baked focaccia, rib-eye steak, meatballs, and braised lamb. Emilia opens for dinner at 5 PM every week.
16 Market Square, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-313-2472
© J.C. Holdway
Foodies looking for the best in local cuisine should head to J.C. Holdway, winner of the 2013 James Beard Award for Best Chef Southeast. J.C. Holdway represents an authentic Knoxville dining experience. Chef Joseph Lenn originates from Knoxville and brings his love for Tennessee cooking to every plate. The restaurant’s name honors the chef’s late uncle, Joseph Charles Holdway or “Uncle Joe”, who had a passion for finding only the freshest ingredients to use for his cooking. J.C. Holdway continues those traditions, sourcing from local farms and vineyards. The kitchen and bar open every evening except Sundays.
501 Union Avenue, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-312-9050
12.Kabuki Turkey Creek
© Kabuki Turkey Creek
Couples looking for a taste of Japan can try sushi and hibachi at Kabuki Turkey Creek. Guests can share sushi rolls for lunch or dinner. The sleek interior provides an elegant atmosphere for date night. When the sun goes down, customers can indulge in a range of hibachi items like filet mignon, scallop, lobster, and steak. The menu also has a variety of signature sushi rolls including favorites like tempura, spicy tuna, and a fried lobster roll. The Turkey Creek location hosts $5 specials Monday and Thursday. Kabuki also has a downtown location in the historic Market Square.
10901 Parkside Drive, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-288-4111
© Kitchen 919
Kitchen 919 converted an old orangery building into one of Knoxville’s most elegant environments for sharing a meal. At the same time, guests feel at home while enjoying classic American cuisine combined with international influences. Couples can snack on a cheese and charcuterie board while sipping wines. Small plates include Asian glazed pork belly and shrimp and grits. As an entree, diners can indulge in pork osso bucco, duck breast, scallops, or an encrusted rack of lamb. Executive Chef, Jason Hayes, has nearly 30 years in the food industry drawing inspiration from French and southern fusion cuisine. Kitchen 919 requires reservations.
5448 Homberg Drive, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-337-5775
The sunset shimmering on calm lake waters provide an ideal view while sharing a meal with a loved one. Located right along the waterfront, Lakeside Tavern serves up aged Angus steaks and freshly caught seafood seared over hardwood coals. Signature dishes showcase different cooking styles like Creole shrimp, Jamaican Jerk chicken, rosemary pork tenderloin, and the oyster po boy. Diners can also order brick oven pizzas or a range of classic southern dishes. Whether looking for charming lunch for two, a romantic dinner date, or quality time during a Sunday brunch, Lakeside Tavern accommodates guests all throughout the week.
10911 Concord Park Drive, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-671-2980
15.Lonesome Dove Knoxville
© Lonesome Dove Knoxville
Lonesome Dove Knoxville provides a quintessentially American dining experience with its flame-broiled urban western cuisine. Chef Tim Love opened his third Lonesome Dove in Old City, Knoxville, adding sophistication and new interpretations to classic southern and southwestern cooking. The adventurous can try out unique menu items like rabbit-rattlesnake sausage. The kitchen specializes in roasting meats to perfection over open mesquite flames. Lonesome Dove Knoxville often runs special tasting menus with multiple courses and specialty wine selections. The bar serves up irresistible signature cocktails. Guests can come in for lunch on Fridays or dinner every evening except Sunday.
100 North Central Street, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-999-5251
16.Nama Sushi Bar
© Nama Sushi Bar
Located smack dab in downtown Knoxville, Nama Sushi has become a local sensation, consistently winning awards since its opening in 2004. Voted the best sushi in the city multiple times, Nama has grown over the years and now has additional locations in Bearden, Nashville, and Cedar Bluff. The downtown Nama Sushi Bar invites guests in for lunch and dinner with happy hour every day from 3 PM to 6 PM. Sushi lovers can share sashimi, maki, vegetarian rolls, and specialty platters. The hot dishes include delectable delights like scallop-crab cake, sesame beef, miso-glazed cod, and a spicy tuna burger.
506 South Gay Street, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-633-8539
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17.Naples Italian Restaurant
© Naples Italian Restaurant
Locals and tourists in East Tennessee can enjoy tastes of Italy at Naples Italian Restaurant. The original building, constructed in 1926, operated as a local inn and restaurant. Ownership changed hands several times until Chuck Naples and Ray Ward opened Naples Italian Restaurant in 1978. For the past 30 years, Naples has satisfied guests serving authentic dishes like homemade gnocchi, fire grilled pizzas, Italian subs, and chicken parmesan. Couples can share home-style cooking in a comfortable setting at one of Knoxville’s most cherished eateries. Naples opens for lunch, Tuesday through Friday and serves dinner every evening starting at 5 PM.
5500 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-584-5033
© Northshore Brasserie
They call oysters a natural aphrodisiac, and those in Knoxville can test that theory at Northshore Brasserie. This French-style eatery serves $1 oysters on the half shell every Wednesday. Lunch and dinner menus include a raw bar and oysters served on the half shell or fried. Those with an appetite can enjoy an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet every Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 2 PM. When the sun goes down, couples can indulge in delicacies like veal sweetbreads and iron skillet escargot. Entrees include mouth-watering steaks, lamb, roasted chicken, and Scottish salmon. The menu also features daily specials like market fish, chef’s choice, and rabbit.
9430 South Northshore Drive, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-539-5188
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© Oliver Royale
Situated in downtown Knoxville in the historic Market Square, Oliver Royale provides high-end dining perfect for a lovely afternoon meal, date night, or romantic weekend brunch. Those in town looking for nightcap can head to the bar which stays open late nightly. Sticking to their values of using local, sustainable, and organic foods, Oliver Royale sources from local farms, coffee makers, and distilleries for the New American menu. The gorgeous building, originally built in 1876, served as a bakery and later a hotel for guests in town for the World’s Fair. Today, the renovated restaurant maintains the vintage atmosphere and even has its original floors.
5 Market Square, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-622-6434
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20.Savelli's Italian Restaurant
© Savelli's Italian Restaurant
The scent of baked garlic bread, melted cheeses, and slow-cooked sauces waft from the kitchen at Savelli’s Italian Restaurant. Brooklyn-born, the owners opened the Knoxville eatery over 30 years back. Wine lovers can bring their own bottle as Savelli’s stands out as one of the only BYOW restaurants in the city. The candlelit dining room provides the ideal setting for a romantic evening while the sounds of Italy play softly in the background. Although not required, the restaurant recommends diners to make reservations by phone. Savelli’s opens for lunch and dinner throughout the week but closes on Sundays and holidays.
3055 Sutherland Avenue, Knoxville, TN
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21.Seasons Innovative Bar & Grille
© Seasons Innovative Bar & Grille
At Seasons Innovative Bar & Grille, Chef Deron Little brings decades of experience cooking all over the country to the kitchen in Knoxville, Tennessee. Chef Little puts his own “innovative” flare on classic American cuisine. Couples in town enjoy deals every day of the week. Those savoring meat and whiskey should head to Seasons on Thursdays for the Butchers and Bourbons special with $3 dollars off all whiskeys and bourbons. Seasons opens for lunch and dinner every day with brunch served on the weekends. The bar hosts special prices on drinks daily during happy hour from 4-6:30 PM.
11605 Parkside Drive, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-392-1121
22.Surin of Thailand
© Surin of Thailand
Surin of Thailand first began serving authentic Thai cuisine in 1990 with its flagship restaurant opening in Atlanta. Master Thai chefs now bring the flavors of southeast Asia to Knoxville. Surin of Thailand Knoxville opens for lunch and dinner daily with a full bar and take-out also available. For a romantic meal, couples can start off with fried crab and cream cheese wontons. Mains include classic Thai favorites like curries and phad thai. Sushi lovers can also get their fix of rolls, maki, and combination orders. Exotic cuisine pairs nicely with Asian-style martinis on a date night at Surin of Thailand.
6213 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-330-0007
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23.Tennessee Riverboat Company
© Tennessee Riverboat Company
Couples can take in views of Knoxville from a new perspective during a lunch or dinner cruise out on a riverboat. The Tennessee Riverboat Company hosts special themed dinners every week like the gospel, country, mystery, sunset showboat, deluxe dinner, and sunset dinner cruises. During the hour-and-a-half lunchtime cruise, couples can enjoy a romantic afternoon indulging on a full buffet and enjoying local entertainment. Lovers looking for a special night should attend the Prime Rib Dinner hosted on Friday and Saturday nights. The two-hour cruise consists of a delicious steak dinner while enjoying the sights, followed by live music and dancing.
300 Neyland Drive, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-525-7827
24.The French Market Creperie
© The French Market Creperie
The French Market is a love story in itself. The owners began their love affair with each other and French cuisine after meeting during a visit to Paris in 2005. After their engagement on the Eiffel Tower, they later opened The French Market Creperie. The French Market delights the senses with authentic French cuisine. At the charming creperie, couples can share a baguette, crepe, or croissant. The French Market serves breakfast and lunch every day of the week. Diners can come in for dinner in the evening, Tuesday through Saturday. The French Market Creperie has two locations in West and downtown Knoxville.
161 Brooklawn Street, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-288-7912
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25.Water Into Wine, Bistro & Lounge
© Water Into Wine, Bistro & Lounge
Couples looking for a more social evening while mingling with locals can head to the Water Into Wine, Bistro & Lounge. The restaurant engages the community by hosting frequent gatherings, networking opportunities, fellowship programs, workshops, wine tastings, live music, and parties. The website lists upcoming events. The kitchen specializes in artisanal fine foods like charcuterie boards, sharable dishes, and large entrees of short rib or baked fish. Mixologist, Kevin Thompson, creates unparalleled cocktails. The menu also has an extensive wine and bourbon selection. The cozy establishment welcomes patrons for lunch Tuesday through Thursday. It opens for dinner each evening except for Sundays. Local jazz musicians serenade diners every Saturday.
607 North Campbell Road, Knoxville, TN, Phone: 865-392-1586
25 Best Restaurants in Knoxville, Tennessee
- Altruda’s Italian Restaurant, Photo: Altruda’s Italian Restaurant
- Bistro At The Bijou, Photo: Bistro At The Bijou
- Bistro By The Tracks, Photo: Bistro By The Tracks
- Brazeiros Churrascaria - Brazilian Steakhouse, Photo: Brazeiros Churrascaria - Brazilian Steakhouse
- Cappuccino's, Photo: Cappuccino's
- Chesapeake's Downtown, Photo: Chesapeake's Downtown
- Connors Steak & Seafood, Photo: Connors Steak & Seafood
- Copper Cellar West, Photo: Copper Cellar West
- Cru Bistro and Wine Bar, Photo: Cru Bistro and Wine Bar
- Emilia, Photo: Emilia
- J.C. Holdway, Photo: J.C. Holdway
- Kabuki Turkey Creek, Photo: Kabuki Turkey Creek
- Kitchen 919, Photo: Kitchen 919
- Lakeside Tavern, Photo: nd3000/stock.adobe.com
- Lonesome Dove Knoxville, Photo: Lonesome Dove Knoxville
- Nama Sushi Bar, Photo: Nama Sushi Bar
- Naples Italian Restaurant, Photo: Naples Italian Restaurant
- Northshore Brasserie, Photo: Northshore Brasserie
- Oliver Royale, Photo: Oliver Royale
- Savelli's Italian Restaurant, Photo: Savelli's Italian Restaurant
- Seasons Innovative Bar & Grille, Photo: Seasons Innovative Bar & Grille
- Surin of Thailand, Photo: Surin of Thailand
- Tennessee Riverboat Company, Photo: Tennessee Riverboat Company
- The French Market Creperie, Photo: The French Market Creperie
- Water Into Wine, Bistro & Lounge, Photo: Water Into Wine, Bistro & Lounge
- Cover Photo: kieferpix/stock.adobe.com