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.
The Shore is located at the Renaissance Reno hotel in Downtown Reno. With views of the city and the Truckee River, you can enjoy the Mediterranean-inspired menu while sitting in a hip, contemporary space. The Shore serves brunch, lunch and dinner and the menu features a variety of items such as Brioche French Toast with warm syrup ($12), Fish Tacos with hapanero-chipotli aioli ($14), and Beef Moussaka with pickled romanesco ($18). Their cocktails (and mocktails) are fabulous and include classics such as the Howard Hughes with gin and sour cherry liqueur ($14) and the Truckee River Green with fennel juice ($10).
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The Shore is conveniently located in the Renaissance Reno and has some great views of the Truckee River.
Christina's expert tip: Come early to dinner to enjoy the daily happy hour from 4:00-6:00 with classic cocktails and small plate specials.
La Vecchia has been serving some of the best Italian food in the area for over 20 years. By using local produce and meat in their fine-tuned dishes, the restaurant is a great place for a romantic meal for any special occasion â" and it won't break the bank. Each meal is served with a complimentary crusty bread. Along with that comes various entrees such as Pumpkin Ravioli with sage, butter, sausage ragout ($16.50) or Crispy Seared Salmon with capers and roasted fennel ($22). Also try their variety of wood-fired pizzas including Proscuitto and Calabrian with fresh, local meats and salami.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: La Vecchia has been serving crafted Italian food in the Reno area for over 20 years.
Christina's expert tip: With their extensive wine list and amazing views of the Reno skyline, La Vecchia is a perfect romantic dining getaway.
The Steak House is located in the lower level of Harrah's Hotel & Casino in Downtown Reno. Voted consistently as one of Reno's top restaurants, their offerings include top prime beef, steaks, fresh seafood, chops and chicken. Romantic candlelight and cozy booths add to the ambiance of the overall wonderful dining experience. The Steak House desserts are well known, many of them are served flambéed by your tableside. The dress code is dress casual, but customers tend to dress up for the Steak House and this is where a lot of Reno's elite will meet up for lunch or dinner.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The Harrah's Steak House is the first restaurant in Northern Nevada to be elected into the Fine Dining Hall of Fame.
Christina's expert tip: To save some cash, try the early bird, three-course dinner special for only $33 per person.
Located on the Riverwalk in Downtown Reno, Wild River Grille is a contemporary restaurant with nature-inspired influences, a full bar and expansive riverside patio. Situated in the Historic Riverside Artist Lofts Building just across Virginia Street from the Pioneer Theatre, the menu features both traditional and innovative cuisine. The bar prepares incredible hand-crafted cocktails featuring fresh squeezed juices and liquor infusions. Dinner menu items include Ahi Poke ($14) with seaweed salad, Pan Seared Idaho Trout ($24) with herbed buerre blanc and pearl couscous with quinoa, and Grilled Pork Chops ($25) with apple brandy sauce. Try the seasonal selections from the Great Basin Co-Op, just down the street.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Wild River Grille is conveniently located on the Truckee River Walk. If the weather is warm, their patio is a great place for people watching.
Christina's expert tip: The Wild River Grille has a great outdoor patio near the river for people watching.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.