Settling on the perfect spot for date night can be challenging. Some restaurants absolutely nail the food but might not have the perfect ambience you’re looking for. And we all know, the perfect date night should have both! Fortunately, there are a plethora of local gems in Portland that have gotten it right — boasting flavorful cuisine, festive and intimate atmospheres, and carefully curated wine and cocktail lists.
We rounded up our favorite romantic restaurants in Portland to help you plan your next night on the town. Whether you’re in the mood for an elegant Japanese tasting experience or authentic Italian with a great glass of wine, we’re sure you will find a restaurant on this list to impress your sweetheart (and your taste buds). Enjoy!
The best date night restaurants in Portland include:
Seafood | 2039 Southeast Clinton Street
Photo courtesy of Christine Dong via Jacqueline
The warm, welcoming setting and quirky artwork at Jacqueline is enough to draw in passersby, but people from all over the city flock here for the fresh seafood and inventive cocktails. The menu changes daily to reflect seasonal ingredients and the catch from that morning, and the restaurant goes to great lengths to make sure all of its selections are certified sustainable. Additionally, the oyster happy hour is the best in Portland, featuring $1 oysters Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 7 pm.
Russian | 720 Southeast Grand Avenue
Kachka is recognized as one of America’s best Russian restaurants, and even made Eater’s highly selective list of best restaurants in 2016. The Portland hot spot offers an extensive list of authentic vodkas, which can be paired with Zakuskis (small Russian appetizers), or a handful of hearty entrées. For a fun date night out, indulge in the Ruskie Zakuski experience, where you and your honey will enjoy a table filled with appetizers alongside free-flowing vodka for just $25 a person.
Japanese Omakase | 2832 Southeast Belmont
Photo courtesy of Briana Balducci via Nodoguro
Nodoguro is perfect for a romantic night out, not just for the quality of the food, but also for the atmosphere! Buy your ticket for dinner in advance, and enjoy it in an intimate setting. Inspired by Japanese craft cooking, but with modern twist, the Omakase tasting is a 13-course adventure filled with seasonal, farm-to-table ingredients and the freshest fish available. To ensure maximum flavor, the menu won’t be finalized until a few hours before your meal!
French | 215 Southwest 6th Avenue
The setting at Little Bird Bistro is at once cozy and elegant, featuring giant mirrors, plush booths and white table cloths. In the kitchen, James Beard Award-winning chef, Gabriel Rucker, whips up hearty and delicious contemporary fare with French influences, including lamb tartare, seared foie gras, fried chicken coq au vin and more. If you’re as charmed by Little Bird as we are (and we are sure you will be), don’t miss visiting its sister restaurant, Le Pigeon.
New American | 575 Northeast 24th Avenue
Enjoy an upscale culinary adventure at Nomad.PDX. This high-end, farm-to-table spot opened its doors in February 2017, but has already established itself as a revolutionary force in Portland’s food scene. Where there are traditionally white tablecloths, Nomad.PDX has instead placed all white modern furnishings set against exposed brick, and the result is eclectic, romantic, and chic. If the atmosphere itself isn’t enough to convince you, take a look at the menu. Executive chef Ryan Fox crafts dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious.
Pacific Northwest | 1204 Northwest 21st Avenue
Photo courtesy of Laurie Carter Photography via Paley’s Place
Enjoy authentic, locally sourced and sustainable Pacific Northwest Fare in a charming Victorian style home! Vitaly Paley, winner of a James Beard Award and Iron Chef competitor, runs the show here, and his culinary talents shine through in the innovative dishes. For date night, opt for the five or seven course tasting menus, which are curated by the chef and give you the chance to try a little bit of everything.
New American | 1239 Southwest Broadway
This cozy, neighborhood spot has long been a staple in the Portland dining scene! The restaurant is dedicated to sustainability and excellent flavors, and sources most of its ingredients from the Willamette Valley. While the menu itself is nothing short of delightful (charcuterie, oysters, risotto — oh my!), the carefully curated wine list and warm atmosphere also set the stage for a romantic night out.
New American | 404 Southeast 6th Avenue
Photo courtesy of Coopers Hall
Nothing says romance like wine on tap! Coopers Hall is an urban winery in the heart of Portland, and features its own wines on tap alongside a few specialty cocktails. Order your wine in sample glasses to create your own private tasting with your date, and once you’ve settled on a drink, peruse the menu — which includes decadent options made with locally sourced, sustainable and seasonal ingredients. Enjoy all of this in a chic, industrial atmosphere that is as festive as it is inviting!
This hidden away gem on Belmont Street serves up some of the best Thai food in town in a cozy and colorful Victorian-style home. The owners know their way around spice and fresh vegetables, and produce dishes that are at once innovative, authentic and flavorful. Meals here are cooked to order, which means you might have to wait a bit longer, but the few extra minutes are well worth it! Plus, you’ll have time to enjoy the beautiful setting with your date.
Italian | 3377 Southeast Division Street
Romantic candlelight, house-made pastas with rich sauces, and a celebrated wine list set Ava Gene’s apart from the rest. The menu is simple, allowing patrons to focus on the flavors of Italy, and all of the dishes are crafted from ingredients grown right here in Oregon. Choose a few courses to split, and complement your selection with a bottle from the extensive wine menu.
Southern | 212 Southwest Stark Street
Mother’s Bistro takes Southern hospitality to a new level, refining traditional homestyle favorites with modern ideas and techniques. The slow-cooked food takes hours to prepare (which only makes the flavors richer), and everything is made from scratch using the best ingredients available. By day, the sunny dining room welcomes lunchtime hopefuls with open arms, but by night the Velvet Lounge exudes sultry elegance perfect for romantic outings. Expect gilded mirrors, crystal chandeliers, an extensive craft cocktail menu!
Thai | 6 Southeast 28th Avenue
Photo courtesy of Christine Dong via Langbaan
Impress your date by snagging a reservation at this elusive restaurant! Langbaan hosts eight seatings every week for its authentic Thai tasting menu — two daily on Thursday through Sunday. Owner and Chef Akkapong Ninsom began cooking at an early age, and has been honing his culinary skills since then. His talent to bring the flavors of Thailand into America’s fine dining setting is unparalleled. The menu changes frequently to reflect seasonal ingredients, but you might find items like scallops in coconut cream with lemongrass, succulent pork with woven egg net, or smoked trout relish with kaffir lime.
Love is in the air!
What are some of your favorite date night spots in Portland? Leave your recommendations in the comments!