Best Romantic Dining in Greenville

Greenville's romantic restaurants feature various cuisines, memorable scenes

Birthdays, anniversaries, and just plain “we haven’t done this in a while” are all perfect reasons for a night out with your special someone. No matter what you have going on with kids, work, and social engagements, healthy relationships need those evenings for just the two of you to connect like you used to. Conversely, if you are in the early stages of a budding relationship, now is the time to pull out all the stops and plan that perfect evening on the town.

All of the places on this list are perfect for each of these scenarios.

From the majestic views of Restaurant 17 to the dark and cozy embrace of The Cazbah, there are no wrong answers here. Connect over the James Beard-nominated cuisine at The Anchorage or the classic Italian comfort food at Giovanni’s (just don’t do that Lady & the Tramp thing with your spaghetti, please). Each of the establishments on this list offers a little something special for the perfect romantic evening on the town. Enjoy the read and start planning your night out today.


Photo courtesy of Leslie Jones

My recent visit to Limoncello saw my wife and I almost not make it to the entrée as the list of antipasti options had us dining on Fried Calamari, Ricotta Toast, House Meatballs, and Fried Mozzarella. We persevered, however, and found room for the scallops served with herb mascarpone risotto, crispy broccolini, and lemon butter. Everything was delicious and we look forward to going back for the cannelloni, pappardelle, and capellini on the pasta menu and again for the house-made pizzas. Limoncello is Larkins's organization's contribution to the Italian dining market and they are doing an outstanding job of things there.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Limoncello is Larkin's organization's contribution to the Italian scene and they have hit a home run with it.

10Best's expert tip: In warmer months, the outside seating area is perfect for happy hour (4-7 pm), especially on Thursdays when live music is scheduled.

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Focusing on the best local ingredients while supporting local farmers, Stella's Southern Bistro features fine regional cuisine, inspired by the coastal Carolinas and the American South. Stella's offers an intimate, but cozy atmosphere that makes it the ideal choice for a date or a night out with friends. Start with a plate of their specialty cheese or Stella's Sampler, before enjoying one of their delicious entrees that include steak, shrimp and grits and fried chicken. You can finish your evening with an exceptional dessert or a drink from the bar.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Stella's offers a more rounded version of Southern cuisine, with a changing menu and a relaxed setting.

Maggie's expert tip: Every dinner entree is gluten free or can be easily modified to be such.

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Northampton Wine + Dine
Photo courtesy of Northampton Wines

Let's be honest â€" a romantic evening for two is likely going to include wine. For that, you cannot forget about the restaurant side of Northampton Wine. It is a quiet, low key space that is perfect for a date night with upscale offerings like grilled quail and lamb shank on the menu. You also have the luxury of choosing between a recommended wine pairing with each dish or ordering a bottle from the retail side itself. That feels like a near-limitless assortment of options so leave room in the budget for an extra bottle or two (and an Uber ride home, of course).

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Northampton can't be overlooked as a romantic dining destination; the meticulous staff, sweet setting and excellent menu make it so.

Brett's expert tip: In nice weather, the outdoor patio is a real draw.

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Maestro Bistro & Dinner Club

Look up the phrase "hidden gem" and it would be fitting to find a picture of Maestro Bistro & Dinner Club as the definitive example of the term. Located behind the always bustling Nose Dive and inside of the TD Bank office building, this is the place for those in the know. Classic fare like their Pasta Rustica, French Rack of Lamb, and Pan Seared Duck Breast are perfect for any romantic dinner on the town but the "Chef's Inspiration" daily specials are always waiting in the wings to knock your socks off. A thoughtfully curated wine list and cocktail menu will pair perfectly with your meal, making this a perfect destination for your next date night with that special someone.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: For a casual weekday brunch to a pulling-out-all-the-stops date night dinner, Maestro is fast becoming one of Downtown's premier dining destinations.

Brett's expert tip: The regular menu is outstanding but be prepared to have your mind blown by the ever-changing "Chef's Inspiration", a nice twist on your typical restaurant specials.

Read more about Maestro Bistro & Dinner Club →

The Cazbah
Photo courtesy of The Cazbah

There is something undeniably sensual about tapas-style dining. When done well, each plate comes out on its own and a couple will take their bites simultaneously, thus perfectly enjoying the experience together. The subtle grunts of satisfaction are not inappropriate as good food is supposed to elicit such primal reactions, especially on date night. Just to take things to the next level, the amount of sexual innuendo on the menu itself ranges from nuanced to blatantly obvious and will entertain those inclined to such humor. Just make sure you order the Lobster Cigars and spring for a couple extra as the menu invites you to do (I have yet to meet the person that can just eat one).

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The Cazbah has been the place for tapas in Downtown Greenville since it opened.

Brett's expert tip: Pay attention to the Peace Center calendar as The Cazbah gets packed before showtime.

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Woodruff Road

The best restaurants are often the most unassuming and that was never more true in the case of Giovanni's. Nestled in a cozy corner of a strip mall on Woodruff Rd., nothing about Giovanni's outward appearance begs for your attention. Inside, however, you will find a new meaning for the word "cozy" paired with some of Greenville's best Italian cuisine. Enjoy Italian classics like Linguine with Clam Sauce (your choice red or white), Chicken Parmigiana, and Veal Marsala for the ultimate dining experience. The restaurant is small and they do not take reservations so get there early to avoid too much wait â€" or enjoy the wait with a nice glass of Italian wine at the bar.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Giovanni's is the perfect cozy little spot for an evening of classic Italian comfort food.

Brett's expert tip: They don't take reservations so get there early (or late) to keep your wait time to a minimum.

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Halls Chophouse may have originated in Charleston but it is right at home in Downtown Greenville. Space is nothing short of elegant as the restaurant's two-story glass façade gazes out over the Reedy River just north of Falls Park and the Liberty Bridge. Dry-aged NY Strips and ribeyes and grass-fed filets are the stars of the menu but your options extend to seafood, pork, chicken, and even vegetarian offerings as well. Pair your meal with a selection from Halls' extensive wine and cocktail list for the ultimate dining experience on a night out on the town in Downtown Greenville.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: With a dining room overlooking Downtown Greenville and impeccable service for every special occasion, you can't help but feel romance in the air.

Brett's expert tip: Halls offers live music seven nights per week. Check out the schedule on their website to see what's coming up.

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Larkin's on the River
Photo courtesy of Libby McMillan

Known for aged steaks, fresh fish and romantic ambiance, Larkin's on the River is a perfect choice for a splurge in Greenville. Few views are better than Larkin's, nestled just off of Main St. looking out across the Peace Center Amphitheatre and the Reedy River. All of their steaks are sourced from DeBragga New York butchery and are 100% certified Angus. These are paired with seasonal selections such as rack of lamb, sesame encrusted Ahi tuna, and their famous Larkin's Shrimp & Grits, for a menu that is hard not to fall in love with. The wine list is beyond comparison and the staff is well prepared to help select the perfect bottle for your next meal.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Excellent food served in stunning surroundings make this the perfect place for a romantic dinner with a loved one.

Brett's expert tip: Larkin's is a great spot for celebrating a special occasion or a nice place to splurge on an evening out.

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West Greenville

The James Beard-nominated Anchorage is one of Greenville's best eateries, featuring an ever-changing menu of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Sunday brunch is no different as they frequently wow us with specials like their recent Albacore tuna sandwich, house-baked brioche, and lamb schnitzel sandwich, all of which can only be found an establishment such as the Anchorage. Also, cocktails deviate from the standard Bloody Mary as the bar livens things up with House Palomas and other creative libations. This is a culinary experience of the highest order and the perfect reason to visit the Village of West Greenville on a Sunday morning.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: With some of the best food in town, The Anchorage is the perfect place to celebrate any occasion with your favorite person.

Brett's expert tip: The private lot across the street is fair game on Sunday mornings.

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One of the Upstate's best features is its natural beauty and Restaurant 17 puts as big a spotlight on that as the food coming out of the kitchen. Located just off Highway 11, Restaurant 17 is a part of Hotel Domestique, the luxury hotel owned by world-class cyclist George Hincapie that looks more like an Old World French mansion than a hotel and restaurant in South Carolina. On the menu, look for dishes featuring local and regional sourced ingredients like the grass-fed ribeye or Heritage breed pork chop. Time your meal around sunset for a stunning view of the mountains and, if you want to make a week of it, the rooms at Hotel Domestique are perfect for a romantic weekend away from home.

Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The restaurant itself and the views around it combine for the perfect date night dining experience.

Brett's expert tip: Time your visit around sunset as the view is absolutely spectacular.

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Meet Brett Barest

Brett Barest is a freelance writer in Greenville, South Carolina that has watched the city grow from cow pastures and boarded up buildings to the tourist destination it has become today. He...  More About Brett