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Crisped chicken liver gyoza topped with chives in a stone-colored bowl.
Date night at Sanjusan in the North Loop.
Sanjusan

13 Restaurants For A Romantic Date Night in the Twin Cities

Candlelit tables, indulgent tasting menus, and the most romantic bowling alley you could ever dream of

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Date night at Sanjusan in the North Loop.
| Sanjusan

Fragrant bites of carbonara and brandy pours in basement speakeasies: These are the ingredients of a romantic date night in the Twin Cities. From prix fixe tasting menus to a vintage bowling alley, Minneapolis and St. Paul have an array of romantic restaurants to choose from, all with different price points and tastes. Here are some essential date night spots in the Twin Cities.

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Martina

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The work of celebrated chef Daniel del Prado, Martina has a range of dishes for special occasions. Share plates like the celery root ravioli with king crab, the pork with corn puree and manzana juice, or the octopus with kalamata olives and fingerlings. The panqueque with dulce de leche, bananas, and crushed caramel is a favorite from the dessert menu.

A large open room set with tables, a large white wall to the right sports just a few green plants and the open kitchen is barely visible to the left.
Make your reservation for this romantic restaurant in Linden Hills.
Kevin Kramer / Eater Twin Cities

Broders' Pasta Bar

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Broder’s is worthy of a Lady and the Tramp pasta moment. Try the classics — like the spaghetti carbonara, the bolognese, or the gnocchi pomodoro. (A simple eggless pasta with tomatoes and olive oil is available for vegans.) Broder’s is elegant but not overly formal — the wooden wrap-around bar is a great place to share a cozy dinner.

A close-up photo of a wooden bar with wooden chairs, that’s set with white plates with white rolled napkins on them, plus small class containers of olive oil.
Pasta can enjoyed in the restaurant or to-go for a date night-in.
Broders’ Pasta Bar

Bryant-Lake Bowl & Theater

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Bryant Lake Bowl may not be the Twin Cities’s most buttoned-up date spot. But there’s an undeniable romance to its vintage set-up: the lustrous wooden bar, the wrap-around benches, the eight lanes crammed into the tiny bowling alley. There’s often a wait to bowl, even on weeknights — so show up ahead of time, get your name on the list, and grab a patty melt or Bryant Lake Bowl’s signature bloody mary wings while you wait.

A dark wooden bar with an array of glass bottles of alcohol on it, and bar stools and dine chairs with wooden backing in the foreground. The space is well-lit and the walls are deep yellow.
The historic bowling alley’s bar.
Bryant Lake Bowl & Theater

P.S. Steak

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This formal Minneapolis restaurant serves fine cuts of meat, much-lauded highballs, and, notably, crab cakes — relatively hard to find in land-locked Minnesota, and a good indicator of P.S. Steak’s price point. The restaurant is known for its sumptuous dining room, fitted with all manner of chandeliers and cloaked in tones of black. For date night, try to book a reservation in the private, more dimly-lit cozy back area.

Bar La Grassa

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Bar La Grassa has a bit of bustle to it — it may not be the best spot if you’re looking for a quiet, intimate meal. But if a more electric atmosphere appeals, this is the place. All the date night elements are there: black leather booths, candlelit tables, and fresh pasta, from mafalda bolognese to ziti with shrimp and vin santo cream. Start with the dreamy soft eggs and lobster bruschetta, though.

Chef Gavin Kaysen’s restaurant Demi is a great option for a date night at a higher price point (around $95 to $200 per person, depending on your drink choices). The tasting menu’s details aren’t posted on the restaurant’s website to see in advance, but previous ones have included Rohan duck with braised endives, and honey soy ice cream with cashew butter and kiwi.

Shelves behind a bar in dark lighting: there are many glass bottles of alcohol and mirrors behind the shelves.
Inside Demi in the North Loop.
Demi

Sanjusan

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One of last year’s hottest restaurant openings has made for a great date-night spot in the North Loop. Chef Danny del Prado (Martina, Colita, and more) and chef Shigeyuki Furukawa (of Kado No Mise) fuse their talents with a unique Japanese-Italian menu. Share a memorable night with dishes like pork gyoza with wood ear mushroom and foie gras, or squid ink pappardelle. The pizzas feature flavor combinations like prosciutto, preserved lemon, and bonito cream.

A plate of raw fish topped with dots of red sauce, kernels of corn, and cilantro leaves, on a white plate against a black background.
Sanjusan is a collaboration between Danny del Prado and Shigeyuki Furukawa.
Wing Ta

Young Joni

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Chef Ann Kim’s award-winning restaurant is a great choice for date night: The pizza is famously chewy, airy, and inventive, and the ambiance is intimate and warm, all walnut tones and candlelit tables. Slip through the alley into the basement speakeasy for a drink after dinner. The Korean BBQ pizza — made with short ribs, mozzarella, and soy-chile vinaigrette — is a favorite, as is La Parisienne, with prosciutto and brown butter. If you want to stay in for date night, grab a pizza for takeout.

Aster Cafe

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All through the seasons, Aster Cafe remains one of the most romantic spots in Minneapolis. Stationed on the cobblestone streets of St. Anthony Main, the restaurant overlooks the river — when the weather’s nice, the patio is an ideal perch for sunsets. The interior is low-lit and cozy. Come for a Sunday brunch with live jazz music and dancing, and try the French toast bake or bacon and ham quiche.

Tucked into a cozy brick building on University Avenue, Alma is a lovely date night spot that’s especially accommodating to vegetarians. In addition to its regular prix-fixe menu (with options like marinated fig bruschetta, seared Maine scallops, and lemon soufflé cake) there’s an entirely separate version for vegetarians (think torchio pasta with wild mushrooms, chilled sweet corn soup, and roasted cauliflower). It’s also attached to a hotel of the same name — make date night a weekend stay, if you’re so moved.

Chef Karyn Tomlinson’s standout restaurant opened last year and quickly became essential Twin Cities date-night dining. Choose from the tasting menu or a la carte options: Both change often (sometimes daily) and are not available online, but expect rustic dishes like Muscovy duck eggs, sausage with white bean ragout, and apple pies made with local ingredients. At the end of your meal, enjoy a Scandinavian-style egg coffee.

A dark marble bar with a lamp and greenery on it. Above is a wooden rack for wine glasses and wine glasses dangling from it; attached to the wall is a mirror.
Karyn Tomlinson’s restaurant dining room.
Jes Lahay/Myriel

Hyacinth

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Hyacinth is perhaps Grand Avenue’s most romantic dining room. Here, the menu features heirloom tomato crostini, beets with stracciatella, fusilli with pork sausage, and risotto with chanterelle mushrooms and hazelnuts. The petite dining room has an intimate, New York City feel — appropriate, as chef Rikki Giambruno returned to the Twin Cities after a period in Brooklyn.

A light-filled room with a bar and small table set nearby.
Get romantic on Grand Avenue.
Kevin Kramer/Eater Twin Cities

Meritage

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Meritage is all you could ask of a French brasserie transported to downtown St. Paul. The crescent bar serves oysters and Parisian cocktails (think: an absinthe-soaked sugar cube dropped into a glass of Champagne). But if a full meal is in order, chef Russell Klein’s menu features a daily preparation of Au Bon Canard foie gras, and delicate grilled octopus in a black garlic-shoyu glaze. The cherry-glazed Magret duck breast is worth the price.

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Martina

The work of celebrated chef Daniel del Prado, Martina has a range of dishes for special occasions. Share plates like the celery root ravioli with king crab, the pork with corn puree and manzana juice, or the octopus with kalamata olives and fingerlings. The panqueque with dulce de leche, bananas, and crushed caramel is a favorite from the dessert menu.

A large open room set with tables, a large white wall to the right sports just a few green plants and the open kitchen is barely visible to the left.
Make your reservation for this romantic restaurant in Linden Hills.
Kevin Kramer / Eater Twin Cities

Broders' Pasta Bar

Broder’s is worthy of a Lady and the Tramp pasta moment. Try the classics — like the spaghetti carbonara, the bolognese, or the gnocchi pomodoro. (A simple eggless pasta with tomatoes and olive oil is available for vegans.) Broder’s is elegant but not overly formal — the wooden wrap-around bar is a great place to share a cozy dinner.

A close-up photo of a wooden bar with wooden chairs, that’s set with white plates with white rolled napkins on them, plus small class containers of olive oil.
Pasta can enjoyed in the restaurant or to-go for a date night-in.
Broders’ Pasta Bar

Bryant-Lake Bowl & Theater

Bryant Lake Bowl may not be the Twin Cities’s most buttoned-up date spot. But there’s an undeniable romance to its vintage set-up: the lustrous wooden bar, the wrap-around benches, the eight lanes crammed into the tiny bowling alley. There’s often a wait to bowl, even on weeknights — so show up ahead of time, get your name on the list, and grab a patty melt or Bryant Lake Bowl’s signature bloody mary wings while you wait.

A dark wooden bar with an array of glass bottles of alcohol on it, and bar stools and dine chairs with wooden backing in the foreground. The space is well-lit and the walls are deep yellow.
The historic bowling alley’s bar.
Bryant Lake Bowl & Theater

P.S. Steak

This formal Minneapolis restaurant serves fine cuts of meat, much-lauded highballs, and, notably, crab cakes — relatively hard to find in land-locked Minnesota, and a good indicator of P.S. Steak’s price point. The restaurant is known for its sumptuous dining room, fitted with all manner of chandeliers and cloaked in tones of black. For date night, try to book a reservation in the private, more dimly-lit cozy back area.

Bar La Grassa

Bar La Grassa has a bit of bustle to it — it may not be the best spot if you’re looking for a quiet, intimate meal. But if a more electric atmosphere appeals, this is the place. All the date night elements are there: black leather booths, candlelit tables, and fresh pasta, from mafalda bolognese to ziti with shrimp and vin santo cream. Start with the dreamy soft eggs and lobster bruschetta, though.

Demi

Chef Gavin Kaysen’s restaurant Demi is a great option for a date night at a higher price point (around $95 to $200 per person, depending on your drink choices). The tasting menu’s details aren’t posted on the restaurant’s website to see in advance, but previous ones have included Rohan duck with braised endives, and honey soy ice cream with cashew butter and kiwi.

Shelves behind a bar in dark lighting: there are many glass bottles of alcohol and mirrors behind the shelves.
Inside Demi in the North Loop.
Demi

Sanjusan

One of last year’s hottest restaurant openings has made for a great date-night spot in the North Loop. Chef Danny del Prado (Martina, Colita, and more) and chef Shigeyuki Furukawa (of Kado No Mise) fuse their talents with a unique Japanese-Italian menu. Share a memorable night with dishes like pork gyoza with wood ear mushroom and foie gras, or squid ink pappardelle. The pizzas feature flavor combinations like prosciutto, preserved lemon, and bonito cream.

A plate of raw fish topped with dots of red sauce, kernels of corn, and cilantro leaves, on a white plate against a black background.
Sanjusan is a collaboration between Danny del Prado and Shigeyuki Furukawa.
Wing Ta

Young Joni

Chef Ann Kim’s award-winning restaurant is a great choice for date night: The pizza is famously chewy, airy, and inventive, and the ambiance is intimate and warm, all walnut tones and candlelit tables. Slip through the alley into the basement speakeasy for a drink after dinner. The Korean BBQ pizza — made with short ribs, mozzarella, and soy-chile vinaigrette — is a favorite, as is La Parisienne, with prosciutto and brown butter. If you want to stay in for date night, grab a pizza for takeout.

Aster Cafe

All through the seasons, Aster Cafe remains one of the most romantic spots in Minneapolis. Stationed on the cobblestone streets of St. Anthony Main, the restaurant overlooks the river — when the weather’s nice, the patio is an ideal perch for sunsets. The interior is low-lit and cozy. Come for a Sunday brunch with live jazz music and dancing, and try the French toast bake or bacon and ham quiche.

Alma

Tucked into a cozy brick building on University Avenue, Alma is a lovely date night spot that’s especially accommodating to vegetarians. In addition to its regular prix-fixe menu (with options like marinated fig bruschetta, seared Maine scallops, and lemon soufflé cake) there’s an entirely separate version for vegetarians (think torchio pasta with wild mushrooms, chilled sweet corn soup, and roasted cauliflower). It’s also attached to a hotel of the same name — make date night a weekend stay, if you’re so moved.

Myriel

Chef Karyn Tomlinson’s standout restaurant opened last year and quickly became essential Twin Cities date-night dining. Choose from the tasting menu or a la carte options: Both change often (sometimes daily) and are not available online, but expect rustic dishes like Muscovy duck eggs, sausage with white bean ragout, and apple pies made with local ingredients. At the end of your meal, enjoy a Scandinavian-style egg coffee.

A dark marble bar with a lamp and greenery on it. Above is a wooden rack for wine glasses and wine glasses dangling from it; attached to the wall is a mirror.
Karyn Tomlinson’s restaurant dining room.
Jes Lahay/Myriel

Hyacinth

Hyacinth is perhaps Grand Avenue’s most romantic dining room. Here, the menu features heirloom tomato crostini, beets with stracciatella, fusilli with pork sausage, and risotto with chanterelle mushrooms and hazelnuts. The petite dining room has an intimate, New York City feel — appropriate, as chef Rikki Giambruno returned to the Twin Cities after a period in Brooklyn.

A light-filled room with a bar and small table set nearby.
Get romantic on Grand Avenue.
Kevin Kramer/Eater Twin Cities

Meritage

Meritage is all you could ask of a French brasserie transported to downtown St. Paul. The crescent bar serves oysters and Parisian cocktails (think: an absinthe-soaked sugar cube dropped into a glass of Champagne). But if a full meal is in order, chef Russell Klein’s menu features a daily preparation of Au Bon Canard foie gras, and delicate grilled octopus in a black garlic-shoyu glaze. The cherry-glazed Magret duck breast is worth the price.

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