Date Night is the ever coveted, oft forgotten, cornerstone of relationships. As a wife (for six years!), and long term life partner (we’ve been together for over 11 years!), I know that date nights can fall by the wayside. Life gets busy, you’re always making plans with friends, and sometimes you forget to treat yourself. One thing we are really great about is going big for our anniversaries. We love to eat at fancy restaurants we wouldn’t normally frequent. Sometimes we’ll speak in british accents, and pretend we’re mad that there’s no caviar on the menu….but mostly we smile like children and order too many alcoholic beverages. Regardless, date night is awesome, and living in Austin, TX gives you so many choices! So, where to start? How should you celebrate your special occasion? I got you covered! Here are my current faves:
“My Top 5 Special Occasion Eats in ATX”
- Uchi: Look, this is that kinda cliche place that’s known to be expensive, and fancy or whatever, but I think it lives up to the hype! We have been to Uchi twice in our six years in Austin, and both times I leave wondering when I will get the pleasure to go again! Small plates are my favorite kind of dining experience, and the food at Uchi is so incredible you end up ordering the same small plates multiple times! The staff are knowledgeable and passionate about your experience, and the food speaks for itself. Our experiences here have been incredible (and V expensive), and totally worth it. If you are really wanting to splurge, I think this is an amazing experience! Located just off of South Lamar, you can partake in other activities, or a nice free walk around Zilker park when you’re done! :-p Pro-tip: you can go for happy hour for a great selection of discounted foods and drinks, though they don’t take reservations – so you have to show up for the early bird special to get a table! Personally, I think it’s worth it to eat early for some discount. Then you can hit gelato for dessert after, while you walk around and ponder how food can taste so good.
- Justine’s: We just had the pleasure of celebrating our six year wedding anniversary here, and holy crap we loved it! We like French Food, but for some reason this one had been further down on our to-do-list than some other ATX establishments. I can say with full certainty that I have only amazing things to say about the restaurant! We opted for several small plates/apps, and got the Ratatouille for our main course to split. Every piece of food we put in our mouths was fantastic. We were so full by the end (two french onion soups, one app, one crab-salad, one entree)! I can’t wait to go back and try more dishes, and drink more Sidecars (yum). BONUS: we got our Tintype photo taken beforehand! Lumiere Tintype Photography is located on the grounds of Justine’s, in the worlds cutest tiny house. We decided to commemorate our day with an old school photo, and holy crap it’s amazing! My new favorite thing. I recommend this in tandem with your dining experience!
- Wink: So we went here on our anniversary about three years ago, and we had the sweetest experience. This gem is tucked away off of North Lamar, not too far from Waterloo Records, and also has a wine bar. From the outside you’re not sure what to expect, but once you step in the ambiance makes you feel like a duchess. It’s very small and romantic, and the service is impeccable. We called ahead and made a reservation, and they had special menus made up just for us wishing us a happy anniversaray, and commemorating our day. We opted to add wine tastings paired with our food, and it was a wonderful (and tipsy) night I will never forget! They paced everything just right, the small plates were incredible, and the wine was top-notch. Customer Service meets incredible food in this hidden gem. I definitely recommend it for someone wanting a more intimate experience!
- Mattie’s (formerly Green Pastures): I haven’t been here since the rename/rebran(circa 2017), but this gem has been around for decades in Austin. Located in a gorgeous house off of the South Congress/Live Oak area, the grounds of this restaurant are to die for. With picturesque decor, peacocks roaming around and sweeping live oak trees: it’s a very picture-worthy spot to eat. The menu is very southern-fusion, and features delicious twists on common steakhouse meals. There is an eclectic starter selection, and beautiful cocktails to choose from. If you ever make it through the door (because you’re gonna be so distracted by the peacocks), you’re not gonna regret filling up on big plates of hearty food! We have loved our experiences here in the past, and I can’t wait to go back soon!
- Odd Duck: Odd Duck is centrally located off of South Lamar, not far from Zilker Park, The Alamo Drafthouse, and 3,000 other adorable date-night activities you can participate in. It has a refined menu, with shareable/small plates, that changes seasonally (locally sourced goods!) and wont break the bank. If you are celebrating your special occasion between Thursday-Sunday, they also have an amazing happy hour! From 2:30-6:30 PM you can enjoy half-price bottles of wine & large format beer; $3 select beers; $6 draft Paloma cocktails (yum!); and from 5:00-6:30 PM half price select food! It’s a steal for anyone wanting to get a tasting, and save some change for additional activities! I’d recommend Dinner & a movie, or soaking up some sun at Barton Springs, and then chowing down on some shareable plates!
My top-two-probably-runners-up are:
I’ve been wanting to try both of these places, and will probably hit them up for my next special night on the town! Have you been to any of these amazing places?! Where else should we go?
Forever eating & exploring ATX,
Morgan Messick is a Pop-Culture fanatic, Podcast Host, Booktuber & total #BookBabe living in Austin, TX with her Husband and two dogs — Scoop & Eleanor. She aspires to grow her #TBR pile, do all of the hiking, travel as often as possible and make a joke at every turn. She utilizes laughter and yoga for daily medicine, thinks that Harry Potter is magic for all ages, and truly believes Die Hard is a great Christmas movie (SO DEAL WITH IT.)
Catch her musings here, and around the web — links in the “about” page!