With Valentine’s Day approaching fast, now is the time to plan for your sweetie. Here are five great area restaurants for romantic dining.
Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, and it’s not too early to start planning a night of amore for your sweetie/significant other.
While the Knoxville area has no shortage of outstanding restaurants, we wanted to showcase eateries that not only offer delicious food, but an air of romance as well. And beyond that, we wanted to focus on local restaurants. So, after an unofficial newsroom survey — including input from the Grub Scout and food writer Mary Constantine — we’ve come up with a list of five great local restaurants for romantic dining.
Reservations are recommended for these eateries, and most of the restaurants will have specials the weekend before (Feb. 10 and 11) in addition to Valentine’s Day itself.
So, in no particular order, here are five great area restaurants for romantic dining:
1. Oliver Royale
Address: 5 Market Square; website: http://www.oliverroyale.com/; phone: 865-622-6434
Don’t miss: Oliver Royale’s craft cocktails. While the cozy Market Square spot boasts an eclectic seasonal menu, there’s no better accompaniment than one of the restaurant’s craft cocktails. Current options include the Flor De La Sangra (elderflower, champagne and candied hibiscus flower); the Classy Lass (pecan vodka, amaro di angostura, apricot brandy, honey and walnut bitters); and the Fennel Fizz (fennel star anise gin, domaine de canton, berenjager, lemon and soda). Our fave? The Royale Roulette, which is a custom-made rotating cocktail by the Royale bar staff.
2. Naples Italian Restaurant
Address: 5500 Kingston Pike; website: http://naplesitalianrestaurant.net/; phone: 865-584-5033
Don’t miss: Dessert. While you can’t go wrong with any of Naples’ traditional Italian entrees (a few favorites include spaghetti, lasagna, manicotti, ravioli of the day, veal picatta and eggplant Parmesan), the perfect finale is one (or two?) of the Bearden eatery’s signature sweets. Options include spumoni, chocolate chip cannoli, homemade creme brulee and chocolate ravioli. Our fave? The tiramisu.
3. Northshore Brasserie
Address: 9430 S. Northshore Drive, Suite 107; website: http://northshorebrasserie.com/; phone: 865-539-5188
Don’t miss: French favorites. Northshore Brasserie’s website says the eatery is “a family owned, full-service restaurant and bar serving homemade French Belgian cuisine in a relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere.” So a good bet would be to try some French favorites like the onion soup gratinee, iron skillet escargot or pomme frites, and entrees including duck confit, bouillabaisse, rabbit, lamb shank and roasted half chicken. We’ve seen multiple online and Facebook raves on the Filet Roquefort. Another word-of-mouth fave? The Brasserie Cheeseburger (with pommes frites of course!).
4. Echo Bistro and Wine Bar
Address: 5803 Kingston Pike; Facebook page: click here; phone: 865-622-3287
Don’t miss: Chef’s specials: In a 2010 “Meet the Chef” interview with the News Sentinel, Chef Seth Simmerman said his intent at the eatery is to focus on “the old classics.” “When we decided to open this restaurant, my partner and I sat down and thought, ‘Well why don’t we revisit all the classics?’ Kind of an echo back to the past.” In a recent phone call, Simmerman said that oysters and surf-and-turf will be among the specials on the Valentine’s menu.
5. Foothills Milling Co.
Address: 315 Washington Street South, Maryville; website: http://foothillsmillingcompany.com/; phone: 865-977-8434
Don’t miss: Fine dining in the Foothills. Don’t let the modest brick exterior fool you. Foothills Milling Co. is praised far and wide as one East Tennessee’s best fine-dining establishments. With an ever-rotating menu of inventive entrees (think Seared Mahi Mahi With Blue Crab, Low Country Shrimp Grits, Tempura Lobster Tails and Prime Sirloin), Foothills Milling Co. may not be centrally located for most Knoxvillians, but it is definitely worth checking out.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention a few of our other favorite romantic-dining establishments that may not be exclusive to Knoxville, but are certainly date-worthy destinations (in no particular order):
1. Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 950 Volunteer Landing Lane; website: http://www.ruthschris.com/restaurant-locations/knoxville; phone: 865-546-4696. One of the downtown area’s premier places for a great steak.
2. FIVE, 430 S. Gay St.; website: http://five-bar.com/bar-locations/knoxville-tennessee/; phone: 865-219-1676. It’s all about ambience at FIVE, with the soft glow of so many chandeliers creating a great atmosphere (we STILL can’t believe that used to be an Arby’s). FIVE also serves a delicious brunch (don’t skip the Bloody Mary bar), which is an option if you’re looking for a day date.
3. The Melting Pot, 111 N. Central St.; website: https://www.meltingpot.com/knoxville-tn/; phone: 865-971-5400. The Melting Pot has been Knoxville date-night favorite in the Old City for nearly 15 years.
4. Brazeiro’s Churrascaria Brazilian Steakhouse, 6901 Kingston Pike; website: http://www.brazeiros.com/locations/knoxville-tn/; phone: 865-247-0295. Boasting tableside service of 15 different meats, Brazeiros delivers an inviting atmosphere and also offers a great salad bar.
5. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse Wine Bar, 11287 Parkside Drive; website: https://www.flemingssteakhouse.com/ locations/tn/knoxville/; phone: 865-675-9463. Fleming’s is a wine-lover’s dream, offering more than 100 wines available by the glass.