Simply arriving at Vault & Vator is an experience every couple should share at least once. Just finding it on the back side of Main St. in the West End can be a challenging experience, as is adjusting to the lighting when you walk in the door before you find yourself reading the cocktail menu by candlelight. This is the speakeasy experience and it is executed so well that you almost feel like you are violating some kind of law just by being there. That imagined thrill of illicit behavior will certainly spice up date night as you sip on some of the finest cocktails in town. It is important to note, however, that the small plate menu is limited so plan your evening accordingly if a full dinner is on your menu.
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).
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 an ideal choice for date night. 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. No matter where in town you live, Stella's is hands down worthy of the ride to Simpsonville.
Let's be honest 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 which 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).
While an old steak house might not intuitively inspire romance, there is no denying the charm of The Peddler. It is in the ambiance of the old stone building in the woods off of Poinsett Highway. There is passion in the spirit of your fellow diners, many of whom line up in the parking lot an hour before the restaurant begins seating. There is an energy about the whole experience that begs to be enjoyed with a couple looking for a romantic evening alone. From prom dates to senior couples and everyone in between, there are a lot of dates going on in the room and everything about that just feels right.
In the mood for a cozy little Italian place with good food and the sort of quirkiness that can often be the hallmark of family-owned places? Then brave Woodruff Road and search out this tucked-away eatery, set in a strip mall. Meals are leisurely, and they're as convenient for a family as for date night. If the menu doesn't offer something you've been craving, ask if they'll make it for you. They're usually happy to accommodate and are always intent on pleasing diners. Again, a perk of independent places.
If you want to pull out all the stops for date night, Halls Chophouse is the place to go. The location is stunning with a two-story glass wall gazing out upon the Reedy River and Downtown Greenville the perfect backdrop to a luxurious evening out. Select from 28-day dry aged steaks, grass-fed or Japanese Wagyu filets, or less traditional menu items like bison, duck, lamb, or locally raised trout. There are no wrong answers at Hall's and you are guaranteed a dining experience you will not soon forget.
Known for aged steaks, fresh fish, and romantic ambiance, Larkin's on the River is another excellent choice for a romantic evening in Downtown Greenville. Subdued lighting and cozy tables set the stage for date night as does the backdrop of the Reedy River, the Peace Center Amphitheatre, and Wyche Pavilion just outside. Restaurant specialties include she-crab soup, shrimp and grits, dry aged center cut ribeye, and Chilean sea bass. The bar also features a stacked 14 page wine list and cocktail menu featuring some old favorites with their own unique twists. When the weather is nice, sit outside and take in all the best parts of Downtown Greenville in the air and all around you.
It is fascinating how well a good meal can ignite your emotions so, if you are looking for the best cuisine in town, you will want to consider The Anchorage. Not too many establishments get nominated for a James Beard award in their first year in business but one visit will show you exactly why they did. Put your faith in Chef Greg McPhee's hands and try the Tasting Table where the kitchen will surprise you with a five course selection of his choosing. It is date night so let them go ahead and provide the wine pairing as well, leaving you lovebirds with nothing to think about than each other.
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.