Biggest Little City Love: 10Best Romantic Restaurants in Reno

Whether it's for a first date or an anniversary dinner, there are many romantic restaurants to choose from in Reno. This 10Best list includes casino bars and award-winning restaurants to intimate dining establishments located conveniently within the city.

Start your evening off with craft cocktails and street food at the new Zeppelin restaurant in South Reno or an aperitif at Calafuria in Midtown. For main meals choose from steak and lobster at the Atlantis Steakhouse or classic Italian dishes from La Strada or local-favorite, Johnny's Ristorante Italiano.

If you want to try a few independent restaurants, visit Beaujolais Bistro near the Truckee River for their elegant French dishes and wonderful wine. If you want more French cuisine, chez louie inside the Nevada Museum of Art will give you two dates in one. Centro Bar + Kitchen in the CalAve District and the Wild River Grille near the Reno Riverwalk offer twists on comfort food. For a really special occasion, save up some money and head to LuLou's for their creative menu and eclectic dishes like grilled duck breast and caramelized sunchokes in truffle oil.


Lulou's is the place in Reno where you take your favorite date or demand to have your birthday dinner. From both locals and visitors, LuLou's is said to serve the best food in town. It is one of the most expensive places in the city, but the dishes are made with fresh, local ingredients and the service is unsurpassed. The atmosphere is chic and modern with a hip interior. The building itself stands out in this part of Midtown with its clean lines and bright colors. Their appetizers like the Crab Cakes and the Heirloom Tomato Salad are small, but the main entree such as Filet Mignon, wild game like Boar and Venison are generous. Other main dishes include Quail, Tuna Tartare and Ribeye Steak with Swiss Chard.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: LuLou's is pricey but well worth it for a special night out.

Christina's expert tip: LuLou's is the place for a special night out. Reno is not a formal town, but at LuLou's they do expect at least business attire.

Read more about LuLou's →


If being surrounded by art and music is truly romantic then chez louie in the Nevada Museum of Art might be one of the most romantic places to eat in Reno. With a menu that features locally sourced food for its affordable French-inspired meals, chez louie is a great place for lunch, dinner and brunch. Start off with the classic soupe a l'oignon au gratin or onion soup ($9) or a golden beet and arugula salad with candied pecans ($11). For an entree choose items like Julia Child's coq au vin ($17) or the tartine sandwich of the day ($13). Add a glass of French wine and your day just got even more romantic.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: chez louie is located in the perfect date location: the Nevada Museum of Art in Downtown Reno.

Christina's expert tip: chez louie offers an $18 lunch special with a tartine, cup of soup, petite salad and a dessert bite.

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Centro Bar & Kitchen is located in the CalAve District near downtown Reno. This stylish, little restaurant (with a back patio) serves small plates and cocktails with a local twist. Menu items include the popular Filthy Bastard Fries with cheese sauce made from Arrogant Bastard beer, queso fresco, chorizo, bacon and Calabrian chili, the Daily Tacos and Daily Sliders and the Baby Beet Salad with California grapes, snap peas and yogurt. Appetizers and desserts include the House Hummus and the Bread Pudding Waffle with Bananas Foster. Centro has a lively bar as well with creative cocktails like the Moonlight Tower with tequila or bourbon, absinthe, strawberries and ginger beer.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Centro is an intimate restaurant and bar with creative cocktails and experimental dishes.

Christina's expert tip: The plates may seem small at Centro, but they are really rich and full of flavor and you will fill up fast.

Read more about Centro Bar + Kitchen →


Surrounded by romantic lighting, columns, classical music and watched over by the statues of Roman hero Antinous and two maidens, visitors to Romanzo will have an enchanting dining experience. The exhibition kitchen serves classic Italian cuisine with a modern twist, wood-fired pizzas and handcrafted pasta and seafood dishes. The Peppermill's award-winning pastry chef offers a multitude of desserts and pastries for after the meal. Try menu items like Prosciutto Salad with frisee, fennel, apples and oranges, Saffron Fettuccine, and Pan Roasted Sea Bass. Decadent desserts include Buttermilk Panna Cotta (made from milk from local cows) infused with lavender, honey and peaches.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Romanza not only has some of the best Italian food in Reno but some of the most knowledgable sommeliers in town.

Christina's expert tip: Romanza's wine list features Wine Spectator choices from Italy and California.

Read more about Romanza Ristorante Italiano →

La Strada
Photo courtesy of Eldorado Hotel & Casino

La Strada has consistently been ranked not only one of the best restaurants in Reno but one of the best Italian restaurants in the country by Casino Player Magazine. The restaurant is located in the Eldorado Hotel & Casino and takes diners on a culinary journey to a quaint Italian village. Authentic Northern Italian cuisine is the draw at the respected place, and a wide selection of homemade pastas, fresh seafood, and beef dishes calls out to hungry patrons. Try menu items such as Prosciutto Wrapped Prawns ($13), Rigatoni Fra Diavolo with homemade sausage and any of La Strada's fresh made pastas. El Dorado's signature Mushroom Ravioli ($12) is also served here and should not be missed. For dessert, order the traditional, homemade gelato.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: La Strada has a very romantic atmosphere and lighting with private tables.

Christina's expert tip: La Strada was awarded "Best Italian Restaurant" by Casino Player Magazine in 2018.

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Built inside a historic brick building in Midtown, Calafuria serves up classic dishes from Tuscany with an elegant twist. Many of the items on the Calafuria menu use locally sourced ingredients as well. Start off a romantic night with appetizers like Fried Calamari and Sage with lemon and capers ($14) and Vegetarian Tartare with seasonal vegetables ($14). Entrees range from rich Cioppino ($35) to housemade Tuscan sausage from the grill. Of course, don't forget pasta such as homemade cheese ravioli or gnocchi ($20-$24). For dessert, try the homemade Tiramisu with a dash of lavender ($9) followed by an authentic Italian espresso.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Calafuria is a great place to both start and end a romantic evening in Midtown.

Christina's expert tip: Come to Calafuria early for a light Italian aperitif (before meal drink).

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When Reno locals are looking for a romantic or special occasion night out, they head to Johnny's. This Italian staple has been in the Reno area since 1966 and serves some of the most authentic food in the area without breaking your wallet. The high-quality meals include signature dishes like Pollo al Raggio ($20) and Penne alla Vodka ($17). There is a large pizza menu and don't forget to order antipasti such as Fried calamari with spicy marinara and caper dipping sauce ($14). Johnny's also has an extensive selection of wines from both Italy and other regions including nearby California.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Johnny's Ristorante Italiano is one of the top places for Reno locals to experience a special occasion.

Christina's expert tip: Johnny's not only has authentic Italian food but also some great views of Downtown Reno.

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Designed to look like you are dining in a stylish, underwater palace, the Atlantis Steakhouse is one of the top steakhouse experiences in the city. This cosmopolitan dining establishment features Allen Brothers of Chicago meats as well as fresh seafood, chef's specials, cocktails and over 336 selections of imported and domestic wines. Seasonal menu items include California Red Abalone ($30), French Onion Soup $11), Pan Roasted Chilean Sea Bass with garnet yams ($40), and Lamb Chops from Colorado with ratatouille ($48). The various steaks such as American Kobe Strip Loin can be paired with lobster tail, shrimp scampi or even the restaurant's Creamed Corn with a Kick.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The Atlantis Steakhouse has a clean, contemporary style that is different from most steakhouses.

Christina's expert tip: Several dishes, like the Steak Diane and the Bananas Foster, are prepared tableside with impressive flames.

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This popular little restaurant in the Arts District of downtown Reno serves excellent French food in an atmosphere of white tablecloths, brick walls, small, intimate tables and French bistro art prints in a 100-year-old building. The service here is excellent and the staff really know their food and wine. For starters, they usually suggest Onion Soup a la Gratin followed by Mushroom Ravioli or croque monsieur. Other dishes include Coq au Vin with Cinnamon Noodles or Filet Mignon with Port Wine Truffle Sauce. Beaujolais Bistro also offers over 100 bottles of wine including Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir and Beaujolais from France.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Beaujolais Bistro has intimate seating and their staff is well-informed on their wine selection.

Christina's expert tip: Many of Beaujolais Bistro's ingredients are sourced from local farmers and ranchers.

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Southwest Reno
Photo courtesy of Christina Nellemann

This over-21 restaurant and craft cocktail venue was inspired by the World's Fair and is livening up South Reno. The menu is designed by an award-winning chef and features shareable dishes, street food and small plates such as ceviche and tacos made with consciously-sourced ingredients. The craft cocktails include creative spins on margaritas and other classic drinks. There is also a curated wine and spirits list. The Zeppelin venue is intimate and features contemporary design and artwork such as a lacy representation of a zeppelin and attractive, warm lighting. This is a place for couples as well as small groups.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The shareable plates and intimate space make Zeppelin great for both romance and a great night out.

Christina's expert tip: Reservations are not accepted at Zeppelin, so getting here early is key.

Read more about Zeppelin →


Meet Christina Nellemann

Christina has lived in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area since she was a baby. A first-generation Nevadan, her Danish parents instilled in her an intense love of travel and the wild, rugged outdoors...  More About Christina