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Last modified on February 6th, 2019 at 3:17 pm
Planning on a wedding proposal with the good ol’ engagement ring in a frosty mug of Bud Light? No?
Champagne and wine might be more romantic. You probably want candlelight and a nice ambiance, too.
While Tucson no longer has heaps of jacket-required classy restaurants, 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.
Downtown’s original neighborhood bistro, 47 Scott features an intimate dining room with fresh flowers at every table.
The small-but-sophisticated menu includes 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.
The white walls and accents of marble and rustic woods create a refined charm that is 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.
One of the fancier dining rooms in Tucson, Arizona Inn features cuisine with southwestern and Mediterranean inspiration.
For more information, visit arizonainn.com.
Bottega Michelangelo brings in a hip, contemporary breath of fresh air to date night.
The menu options are solid — you can’t go wrong (but if you need some help, get the Burrata Salad and Porchetta). Happy hour offerings include Calamari Calabrese and Lamb Chop Lollipops with prickly pear reduction, lemon, and mint pesto.
For more information, call (520) 297-5775 or visit bottegamichelangelo.com.
Whatever your preference, brunch, lunch or dinner at Cafe a la C’Art are elegant date options. The Chili Braised Lamb Shank and La Marca Prosecco are calling my name.
For more information, visit cafealacarttucson.com.
The sleek interior provides the backdrop for owner and chef Suzana Davila’s signature cuisine and legendary mole.
The Plato Poca Cosa offers a trio of entrées on one plate, making it ideal for adventurous eaters. If each person orders a Plato Poca Cosa, no two entrées will be repeated.
For more information, visit cafepocacosatucson.com.
Newly opened Charro del Rey (sister restaurant to Charro Steak) is a seafood-lovers heaven.
Opt for the Asparagustos and Branzino Veracruz — or step it up with the Tower del Rey — and a glass of Frenchero ’75.
For more information, visit charrodelrey.com.
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 addictive and the desserts are creative.
For more information, visit charrosteak.com.
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 elegant Airline Chicken is cooked sous vide for unrivaled juiciness, while the Salmon with creamy mushroom risotto is perfection.
For more information, visit commonertucson.com.
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.
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.
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.
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 Calamari and Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Papas Bravas + Romesco Sauce, and finish with the signature Dark Chocolate Jalapeño Ice Cream Sundae.
For more information, visit downtownkitchen.com.
One of the most creative restaurants in Tucson, Feast changes its menu every single month. Jazzy tunes and a well-curated wine list round out the experience.
For more information, visit eatatfeast.com.
A long-time seeker of local purveyors for their top-notch kitchen, the Grill also features over 700 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 19 consecutive years. The brunch is also easily one of the most extravagant in town.
For more information, visit haciendadelsol.com.
The tall glass windows show off the gorgeous ceiling lanterns and lights, but they also 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.
The fireplace and warm woods provide a cozy vibe that complements the comforting yet sophisticated dishes. Get a hold of the guacamoliere for some fresh guacamole prepared tableside.
For more information, visit loewshotels.com.
Both locations feature lovely scenic mountain views. Don’t miss out on the house-made Saffron-Turmeric Pasta or Braised Short Rib.
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.
For a classically French experience, order the Chateaubriand Béarnaise Sauce For 2 (roasted beef tenderloin with herbs de provence & béarnaise sauce).
Other French delicacies such as Escargots au Chablis and Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée 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.
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 Lemon Goat Cheese Cheesecake and Cherry & Pear Bread Pudding.
For more information, visit maynardstucson.com.
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.
The Parish is open today until 3 p.m. We are serving up all your southern favorites, so join us for lunch!
This southern-style fusion gastropub offers elevated favorites and comforting plates. The Parish balances comfort and sophistication (with a side of live music) effortlessly. The Baked Oysters Bleu, addictive Bacon Popcorn, and Crawfish Hushpuppies are just the beginning.
For more information, visit theparishtucson.com.
The cuisine of Central Mexico is different from the Sonoran style Tucsonans are used to, making Penca 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 stunning Chile en Nogada and Costillas en Pibil.
For more information, visit pencarestaurante.com.
The outstanding 100%-scratch Italian kitchen and stunning views of the Tucson Mountains are enough to charm any food lover and Tucson lover.
For more information, visit marriott.com.
The Casino Del Sol Resort is a drive southwest, but it’s worth it to enjoy the talent of executive chef Ryan Clark, chef de cuisine Roderick LeDesma, and sous chef Buddy Hopkins. The culinary team has the talent to cook unexpected items (such as a pig face) into something glamorous. The basted 12 oz. Top Sirloin with Jumbo Diver Scallops is a marvel.
DeFeo’s French Cowboy cocktail features pear-infused VSOP cognac, black truffle, Rancio Sec, lemon, and honey absinthe.
For more information, visit casinodelsol.com.
Simple, expertly prepared Italian cuisine is on the menu at Reilly.
With cozy plates of Brussels Sprouts, wheat berry salad, Rigatoni pasta, and their Margherita pizza, it’s difficult to choose just one — you’ll have to order family style so you can try them all.
For more information, call (520) 882-5550 or visit reillypizza.com.
Although Tucson has its fair share of Thai restaurants, chef Dee Buizer steps up the game at Senae Thai 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.
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 feature six courses with wine pairings and are available with a reservation. The chefs are happy to chat about every course served, making it an interactive experience.
For more information, visit tanqueverderanch.com.
Tito & Pep was ranked Tucson Foodie’s ‘Best Restaurant of 2018′ for good reason. From the mid-century aesthetic to the exceptional plates and flawless service, this is one restaurant that will impress.
Start with the creamy, well-seasoned Queso Fundito and Grilled Octopus, go for the Striped Bass or Grilled Lamp Chops next, and end with a silky Buttermilk Panna Cotta.
For more information, call (520) 207-0116 or visit titoandpep.com.
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.
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 an advance reservation to ensure you get your favorite seat.
For more information, visit vivacetucson.com.
Fox Concepts’ original restaurant opened over two decades ago and still impresses locals with simple plates and fresh ingredients.
For more information, visit foxrc.com/restaurants/wildflower-american-cuisine.
Wild Garlic Grill is still one of the busiest restaurants in town — don’t forget to make a reservation.
For more information, visit wildgarlicgrill.com.
Where’s your favorite romantic date spot in Tucson? Let us know in the comments.
[This article was originally written on October 28, 2016 and most recently updated on February 6, 2019. Kate Severino Contributed to this article]
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