23 Spots for a Fancy Pants Date

Last modified on October 28th, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Planning on a wedding proposal with the good ol’ engagement ring in a frosty mug of Bud Light? No?

Well I suppose Champagne is more romantic. You probably want candlelight and a nice ambiance too, I suppose.

While Tucson no longer has the classiest of restaurants where a jacket is required, it’s bursting with romantic restaurants where you wouldn’t be out of place if you dressed to the nines.

For a special occasion or fancy pants date with your significant other, check out these restaurants.

47 Scott / Scott & Co.

47 Scott Ave.
Scott & Co. is now connected to 47 Scott via a door near the entrance (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Scott & Co. is now connected to 47 Scott via a door near the entrance (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Downtown’s original neighborhood bistro, 47 Scott features an intimate dining room with fresh flowers at every table. The small-but-sophisticated menu includes elevated approachable items such as the Stack of Grilled Cheese and elegant options such as the Phyllo-Wrapped Chicken. Head next door to the speakeasy Scott & Co., one of Tucson’s pioneers of modern craft cocktails.

For more information, visit 47scott.com.

Agustin Kitchen

100 S. Avenida del Convento, Ste #150
Baked Oysters at Agustin Kitchen (Photo by Jackie Tran)

Baked Oysters at Agustin Kitchen (Photo by Jackie Tran)

The white walls and accents of marble and rustic woods create a refined charm that are only heightened by the location in the Old World-inspired Mercado San Agustin. Start the evening with some oysters and transition to any of the brasserie fare proudly showcasing ingredients from a hefty list of local purveyors.

For more information, visit agustinkitchen.com.

Amalour Restaurant

4340 N. Campbell Ave.
Spaghetti and Piedmontese Beef Meatballs at Amalour Restaurant (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Spaghetti and Piedmontese Beef Meatballs at Amalour Restaurant (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The tufted button booths and warm antique lights create a chic environment, while the patio’s open shade, fireplace, and cozy outdoor booths create a sexy lounging area. Start with the irresistible Truffle Arancini. Though there’s a variety of house-made pasta, the Spaghetti and Piedmontese Beef Meatballs is just asking you to recreate the Lady and the Tramp scene.

For more information, visit amalourlounge.com.

Cafe Poca Cosa

110 E. Pennington St.
Main Dining Room at Cafe Poca Cosa (Photo Credit: Cafe Poca Cosa)

Main Dining Room at Cafe Poca Cosa (Photo Credit: Cafe Poca Cosa)

The sleek interior provides the backdroup for owner and chef Suzana Davila’s signature cuisine and legendary mole. The Plato Poca Cosa offers a trio of entrees on one plate, making it ideal for adventurous eaters. If each person orders a Plato Poca Cosa, no two entrees will be repeated.

For more information, visit cafepocacosatucson.com.

Casa Vicente

375 S. Stone Ave.
(Credit: Casa Vicente)

(Credit: Casa Vicente)

While the sangria, paella, and morcilla are all worth the trip to Casa Vicente, the live Spanish music deserves at least as much love. Flamenco from world-class guitarists such as Misael Barraza Díaz provides a romantic yet energetic mood.

For more information, visit casavicente.com.

Charro Steak

188 E. Broadway Blvd.
BBQ Pork Belly Mac & Cheese at Charro Steak (Credit: Jackie Tran)

BBQ Pork Belly Mac & Cheese at Charro Steak (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The wooden tables and rusted metal provide a distinctively Tucson vibe to match Charro Steak’s distinctively Tucson take on steakhouse cuisine. The kitchen cooks the hand-cut steaks as requested with remarkable consistency. Though the ranch-to-table beef is the star, the shareable side dishes are eye-openingly addictive and the desserts are creative.

For more information, visit charrosteak.com.

Commoner & Co.

6960 E. Sunrise Dr.
Melon Gimlet at Commoner & Co. (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Melon Gimlet at Commoner & Co. (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Even though Commoner’s menu is filled with comfort food, it’s presented with grace and style to match the posh environment and mountain view. The short rib‘s unctuousness is amplified with the bone marrow bread pudding, while the scallops are seared to perfection.

For more information, visit commonertucson.com.

Contigo Latin Kitchen

3770 E. Sunrise Dr.
Paella at Contigo Latin Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Paella at Contigo Latin Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

For traditional recipes from South America and Spain, go to Contigo just south of the Westin La Paloma. The Parrillada is a mixed grill for two including rib eye steak, chorizo, morcilla, lamb chop, roast marrow, salsa verde, chimichurri, and seasonal vegetables. Paella for four is available when ordered a day in advance, made with your choice of shellfish, chicken, rabbit, or chorizo.

For more information, visit eatatcontigo.com.

CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar

15000 N. Secret Springs Dr.
Achiote Pork Chop at CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar, Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain

Achiote Pork Chop at CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar, Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Even Freddie Mercury sang about “dining at the Ritz” due to their golden standard of quality. Make the drive to the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain to dine at CORE and experience some of the best luxury available around Tucson. The adjoining citrus grove provides outstandingly fresh oranges, grapefruits, and tangelos.

For more information, visit ritzcarlton.com.

The Coronet

402 E. 9th St.
The Coronet (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The Coronet patio (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Agustin Kitchen’s sister restaurant the Coronet features Old World cuisine with a patio reminiscent of a Paris sidewalk. The custom Mission tiles inside provide a vintage, worldly touch. The delightful bistro fare and sophisticated cocktails meld perfectly with the live music on the patio.

For more information, visit cafecoronet.com.

[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10139″ padding=”15″]

DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails

135 S. 6th Ave.
Oaxacan fries with mole at Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Oaxacan fries with mole at Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails (Credit: Jackie Tran)

James Beard award-winning chef Janos Wilder serves up refined dishes from around the globe at DOWNTOWN. Admire the local art adorning the walls as you dine on the Seared Duck Breast, Mole Negro, Pomegranate or Grilled Rib Steak Romesco and finish with the signature Dark Chocolate Jalapeño Ice Cream Sundae.

For more information, visit downtownkitchen.com.

The Grill at Hacienda Del Sol

5501 N. Hacienda Del Sol Rd.
Grilled Octopus at The Grill at Hacienda del Sol (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Grilled Octopus at The Grill at Hacienda del Sol (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

A long-time seeker of local purveyors for their top notch kitchen, the Grill also features over 900 labels and 6000 bottles of wine, earning them “The Award of Ultimate Distinction” by Wine Enthusiasts Magazine and “Best Of Award of Excellence” designation from Wine Spectator for 16 consecutive years. The brunch is also easily one of the most extravagant in town.

For more information, visit haciendadelsol.com.

Elvira’s Restaurant Tequila Cocina Vino

256 E. Congress St.
Elvira's dining room a few days before the grand opening (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Elvira’s dining room a few days before the grand opening (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The tall glass windows show off the gorgeous ceiling lanterns and lights, but they also unfortunately seal in the aroma of the complex moles. Come inside to try the traditional mole poblano, guajillo-spiced mole pipian rojo, and anise-scented mole xiqueño. Don’t miss the Chile Poblano “Frida Kahlo” when it’s in season.

Keep up with Elvira’s on Facebook.

Kingfisher

2564 E. Grant Rd.
Oysterfest at Kingfisher (Credit: Kingfisher)

Oysterfest at Kingfisher (Credit: Kingfisher)

The bar is great for first dates, but sit in the jazzy main dining room for the signature Kingfisher experience. Straightforward, well-executed American regional cuisine and seafood has maintained a loyal following since the restaurant’s opening in 1993. Chef Jim Murphy’s no-fuss old-school talent has made him an icon among other local chefs.

For more information, visit kingfishertucson.com.

Le Rendez-vous

3844 E. Fort Lowell Rd.
Boeuf Wellington (Credit: Le Rendez-Vous)

Boeuf Wellington (Credit: Le Rendez-Vous)

For a classically French experience, order the Chateaubriand Béarnaise Sauce For 2. Other French delicacies such as Escargots, Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée, and Charlotte Verrine are also available. You might want to peek at the menu ahead of time so you get a chance to practice the pronunciation on most of the items.

For more information, visit rendezvoustucson.com.

Maynards Market & Kitchen

400 N. Toole Ave.
Maynards Kitchen dining room (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Maynards Kitchen dining room (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

To enjoy a more contemporary approach on Old World cuisine, head into the dining room at Maynards. The Fresh Oysters, Steak Tartare, and Hudson Valley Foie Gras all highlight top-notch ingredients. The dessert menu also offers twists on classic desserts such as the Meyer Lemon Goat Cheese Cheesecake and Spiced Flourless Chocolate Torte.

For more information, visit maynardstucson.com.

Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa

5000 E. Vía Estancia Miraval
Tableside cocktails with programming chef Gabe Nabor at Miraval Arizona (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Tableside cocktails with programming chef Gabe Nabor at Miraval Arizona (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The resort is more New Age than fancy pants, but the Chef’s Table dinner (known as Just Cook For Me Chef!) is one of the most sublime experiences you can treat someone to in Tucson. You’re greeted with a pour of champagne as you arrive and the courses are divine. The experience requires advance reservations and three to four guests, so make it a double date.

For more information, visit miravalresorts.com.

Penca

50 E. Broadway Blvd.
Grouper with mole verde at Penca Restaurante (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Grouper with mole verde at Penca Restaurante (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The cuisine of Central Mexico is different than the Sonoran style Tucsonans are used to, making a breath of fresh air on a night out. Though tacos are available, take advantage of the intimate bar and dining room with a flight of mezcals and orders of the stunning Chile en Nogada and Costillas de Res.

For more information, visit pencarestaurante.com.

PY Steakhouse

5655 W. Valencia Rd.
E & R Crispy Pig's Face at PY Steakhouse (Credit: Jackie Tran)

E & R Crispy Pig’s Face at PY Steakhouse (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The Casino Del Sol is a drive west, but it’s worth it to enjoy the talent of Chef Ryan Clark and Property Mixologist Aaron DeFeo. Clark has the talent to cook even a pig face into something glamorous, but the 24 oz. Porterhouse is a prime marvel. DeFeo’s Lincoln County Slowdance cocktail features Tennessee whiskey, vanilla pecan orgeat, Oloroso sherry, AZ Bitters Lab Mi Casa bitters, whole egg, and nutmeg.

For more information, visit casinodelsol.com.

[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10139″ padding=”15″]

Senae Thai Bistro

63 E. Congress St.
Som Thum at Senae Thai Bistro (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Som Thum at Senae Thai Bistro (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Although Tucson has its fair share of Thai restaurants, the Buizer family steps up the game at Senae with hyperlocal ingredients and a well-curated wine list. Many of the ingredients are grown walking distance from the restaurant. The upstairs mezzanine offers seating with additional privacy.

For more information, visit senaethai.com.

Tanque Verde Guest Ranch

14301 E. Speedway Blvd.
Sunrise view from Tanque Verde Ranch (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Sunrise view from Tanque Verde Ranch (Credit: Jackie Tran)

For one of the most stunning Tucson views, visit the Tanque Verde Ranch nestled in the Rincon Mountains adjacent to Saguaro National Park and Coronado National Forest. The candle-lit private Chef Dinners features six courses with wine pairings are available with a reservation. The chefs are happy to chat with every course, making it an interactive experience.

For more information, visit tanqueverderanch.com.

Tavolino Ristorante Italiano

2890 E. Skyline Dr.
Carpaccio at Tavolino Ristorante in Tucson

Carpaccio at Tavolino Ristorante (Credit: Adam Lehrman)

Cuisine a la northern Italian grandmas stars at Tavolino. The fresh pastas and wood-fired pizzas are the main draws, but the Tuscan-style rotisserie meats are to die for. Tavolino is also proud to feature wine produced from Chef Tenino’s brother Paolo Tenino.

For more information, visit tavolinoristorante.com.

Vivace

6440 N. Campbell Ave.
(Credit: Vivace Restaurant)

(Credit: Vivace Restaurant)

Daniel Scordato’s flagship restaurant Vivace earned a spot on OpenTable’s 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America list, so it’s in good company. The panoramic mountain view is best during daylight, while the Tucson city lights twinkle at night. Do yourself a favor and make and advance reservation to ensure you get your favorite seat.

For more information, visit vivacetucson.com.

Where’s your favorite romantic date spot in Tucson? Let us know in the comments.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He enjoys neon-lit dinners and long crab walks on the beach. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com
  • Edd Vinci

    How is the Flying V missing from this List? The Lowes waterside stop is only Rated #1 on Trip Advisor. I have been going here for 15 years .some on your list should not be but this one is MIA.

    • Jackie

      Hi Edd,

      Thanks for your feedback. I’ve heard great things about Flying V but haven’t had the chance to check it out myself yet. I’m swinging by suggested restaurants whenever possible so I can update the article as needed.

  • Ellen

    Some of these places are so noisy that you have to shout at your dining companion. Not exactly romantic! For a restaurant where you can actually carry on a conversation, the Arizona Inn cannot be beat.