Love At First Bite: Ten Tantalizing Dallas Restaurants To Seduce Your Sweetheart

Photo courtesy of Rise No. 1
Photo courtesy of St. Martin's Wine Bistro Facebook
Photo courtesy of Steven Visneau
Photo courtesy of Five-Sixty
Photo courtesy of Ilene Jacobs
Photo courtesy of Gemma Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Matt Callahan
Photo courtesy of The Mansion Restaurant at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
Photo courtesy of Evans Caglage
Photo courtesy of Flora Street Cafe
By Ilene Jacobs, Dallas Local Expert

They say the best way to your special someone's heart is through his or her stomach, so what better way to ignite the flames than a magical meal at a dreamy dining spot? Luckily, Dallas has no shortage of romantic restaurants to set the mood.

Looking for something dark and intimate? Then book a table at St. Martin's Wine Bistro, where classic French fare paired with an old-world vibe has earned it the reputation for being one of the most romantic date places in the city. Speaking of French, nobody does l'amour like Rise No 1, a hidden gem in University Park that's famous for whipping out decadent savory and sweet soufflés. And just about everything at the swanky Mansion Restaurant on Turtle Creek oozes romance, from its stunning setting, complete with cozy nooks and fireplaces– to its enticing menu of modern American cuisine.

Of course, nothing is more seductive than a sensational meal with stellar views– which is what you'll find at Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty restaurant at the top of Reunion Tower and SER Steak & Spirits perched on the twenty-seventh floor of the Hilton Anatole hotel.

Whether it's a first date, special occasion or just an intimate meal for two, be sure to keep this fail-proof list handy when you want to make a good impression.

10. Rise No. 1
Photo courtesy of Rise No. 1

It's a rarity to find soufflé on a restaurant menu these days, much less a place boasting a menu almost entirely devoted to this puffed up French classic. Enter Rise, a rustic French-inspired bistro showcasing ethereal soufflés in versions both savory and sweet. You could easily come here for dessert alone, but then you might miss out on things like the restaurant's signature marshmallow soup, a tomato carrot bisque topped with pesto and tiny goat cheese soufflés. Or soufflés made with everything from jambon and Gruyere to lobster and foie gras. There's also non-soufflé options like salads, sandwiches, and even steak frites. And good luck choosing which decadent dessert to try. Of course, there are items like creme brulee and fruit tartes. But this place is all about soufflés. The chocolate mint one is undoubtedly the best. So is the pumpkin. Oh, and don't miss Rise's violet soufflé, it will have you swooning as much as it did for the folks who featured it on Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

9. St. Martin's Wine Bistro
Photo courtesy of St. Martin's Wine Bistro Facebook

Often billed as one of the most romantic restaurants in Dallas, this much-loved neighborhood stalwart oozes old-fashioned glamour with its dimly-lit Victorian decor, intimate little nooks and a menu that shines with comforting, Francophile classics. Expect old school bistro-style dishes to cover everything from escargots to beef tartar, lobster thermidor and roasted duck. Not to be missed is the champagne brie soup, it's legendary. Equally impressive is a wine list that includes over 150 bottles from around the globe, many of which are priced at less than $50. There's also an extensive selection available by the glass too. End with one of the souffles, they never fail to impress. Keep an eye out for the three-course set menus, which can usually be found during weekend brunch and on holidays.

8. The French Room
Photo courtesy of Steven Visneau

Once regarded as Dallas' ultimate fine-dining experience, the French Room restaurant in the recently renovated historic Adolphus hotel has reopened with a new chef and a swanky updated menu to match its revamped digs. At the helm is executive chef, Michael Ehlert (an alum of famed chef Daniel Boulud) whose weekly changing menus include the likes of everything from seared foie gras and pheasant galantine to wild black bass and lamb saddle for two. Sure, at $85 a head for three courses, and 7-course tasting menus going for $135 a pop, it's not the place to come if you're on a budget. But as bucket list places go, it's up there with the best of them.

7. Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck
Photo courtesy of Five-Sixty

Reunion Tower is Dallas' most iconic landmark and Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty restaurant resides at the top (560 feet up) of its glittering orb. The revolving restaurant is a destination for the setting alone: floor-to-ceiling windows provide stunning panoramic city views, and its sleek modern interior exudes a Zen-like ambiance. The modern Asian menu delivers everything you might expect and more. There's sashimi and sushi, as well as many of Puck's signature dishes like spicy tuna tartar in sesame-miso cones; Chinois chicken salad; and steamed Scottish salmon Hong Kong style. The place also whips up some of the best cocktails in town. Better yet, come by for happy hour (Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.) when you can score those tasty cocktails and appetizers for a steal.

6. SER Steak + Spirits
Photo courtesy of Ilene Jacobs

With its location on the twenty-seventh floor of the Hilton Anatole hotel, the views from SER (pronounced sear) are, as you might expect, stunning. And if the views alone don't wow you, then the black angus tomahawk encrusted with smoked blue cheese surely will. Carnivores can also find everything from elk loins, bison and aged prime rib-eyes to pork rib and rack of lamb. And the kitchen hits the mark when it comes to apps: Think house-made charcuterie, deconstructed Caesar salads and deviled eggs with Akaushi beef tartar and smoked trout roe. Don't overlook the striped bass with red rice grits either. Wines are well-chosen and the handcrafted cocktails are worth exploring as well. Ditto for the desserts– there's a creme brulee panna cotta, with burnt sugar crystals, pistachio dust and pistachio ice cream, calling your name.

5. Gemma Restaurant
Photo courtesy of Gemma Restaurant

Since opening in late 2013, Allison Yoder and Stephen Rogers' charming Napa inspired restaurant has continued to be one the most sought-after reservations in town--and for good reason. The restaurant is comfortably chic and the food is nothing short of spectacular. The menu showcases everything from wood-grilled Duroc pork chops with poached rhubarb to squid ink pasta with lobster, caviar and crème fraîche. Just as enticing are the late-night options which are offered from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. when the restaurant is open. Not to be missed are seasonal cocktails: the passionate Peruvian, with strawberry and Thai basil infused Pisco Porton is worth coming in for even if you don't plan on having dinner.

4. Fearing's
Photo courtesy of Matt Callahan

Dallas has long had a love affair with celeb chef Dean Fearing-- whose modern take on Southwestern cuisine has earned him numerous accolades over the years, including a James Beard Award for best chef of the Southwest. Here at his namesake restaurant in the swanky Ritz Carlton, Fearing and his chef de cuisine Eric Dreyer turn out hits like wood grilled pork tenderloin glazed with sorghum, mesquite grilled salmon with peach barbecue glaze, and of course, Fearing's signature tortilla soup. The dining experience is all the more enhanced by the restaurant's seven distinctive indoor and outdoor settings-- including a formal room with chandeliers and soaring eighteen-foot ceilings; an intimate wine cellar; and a romantic glass pavilion. If you plan it right, you can snag a seat in Dean's Kitchen where you can have a ringside view of the action and perhaps a chat with the exuberant Fearing himself.

3. The Mansion Restaurant at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
Photo courtesy of The Mansion Restaurant at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

Dallas has no shortage of fine dining options, but the Mansion Restaurant, tucked inside the iconic Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek hotel-- has remained a standout for more than 35 years. Luxuriously kitted out with sleek contemporary furnishings, Palladian windows and ornate ceilings, this former estate of a 1920s-era cotton magnate oozes all the lavishness you'd expect to find. And the cuisine, showcasing modern American dishes, is equally exquisite. The à la carte menu features everything from squab with sweet potatoes and coconut curry Diver scallops to a glorious Akaushi wagyu sirloin. For a show-stopping special occasion dinner, the gourmand tasting menu (priced at $110) is certainly worth seeking out. If you're looking for the ultimate Dallas dining experience, this is the place to go.

2. Lucia Dallas
Photo courtesy of Evans Caglage

If you ask any discerning foodie which is the hottest restaurant in town, they'll point you to David and Jennifer Uygur's rustically charming 36-seat Bishop Arts trattoria. But be warned, the place is so popular that you have to either book two months in advance or try your luck at scoring one of the counter seats saved for walk-ins. The focus is on Italian home cooking, with a rotating menu full of regional must-haves, ranging from house-cured meats and fresh crudo to handmade pastas, wild game and seafood. Expect to find selections like spaghetti with sea urchin butter and Wagyu beef with celery root and truffles. Be sure to order a few of the foie-gras-stuffed prunes to start. And for dessert-- the milk chocolate panna cotta with sanguinaccio and malt gelato-- is nothing short of genius.

1. Flora Street Cafe
Photo courtesy of Flora Street Cafe

Since it debuted in 2016, this sleek Dallas Arts District restaurant has landed on all the "best lists" and earned a five-star rating by the Dallas Morning News. Which should come as no surprise considering this is the flagship restaurant of James Beard Award winning chef Stephan Pyles. And though it may be one of the most beautiful restaurants in the area (think: walls of glass with dazzling views of the Meyerson Symphony Center) you'll probably be too distracted by the Instagram-worthy dishes to notice. But the pretty presentation is only part of the story: Good flavor combinations and cutting-edge cooking techniques are also in play here. Showcasing elevated Texas cuisine, the menu offers up everything from lobster tamale pie to kumquat-crusted sea scallops and dry aged Texas Akaushi striploin steaks. Desserts are also worth a browse, not-to-be-missed is the fleur de sel chocolate mousse with goat's milk ice cream. As you might expect, the restaurant stays jammed on a nightly basis, so be sure to make reservations well in advance.