Some enjoy the wspanterside view, or maybe it’s the atmosphere inside the restaurant that makes it so romantic.
Whatever the reasons, there’s many ways to determine what makes a restaurant romantic. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we asked our top food reviewers across Florida to share their best romantic restaurants in their part of the state.
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Not all restaurants will feature a violinist playing tableside, and most likely won’t offer a gorgeous sunset dipping into the Gulf of Mexico. And some we selected are owned by couples who put their heart and soul into creating a beautiful dining experience.
Each one of our 10 best restaurants deliver something for those romantics who still celebrate their love over a nice meal.
Tartine & Tartelette, Naples
From Ukraine with love, Galyna Horyslavska and Sergiy Horyslavskyy own this Open Tspanble’s “Diners Choice” repeat award-winning European-style bistro focusing on classic French cuisine. While rave reviews for their restaurant are posted daily, so too is news about friends and family remaining in Ukraine. Pulling their emotions into tangible actions, the couple continues funding their families’ efforts in the war against Russia, which invaded their country Feb. 24, 2022. (11121 Health Park Blvd., North Naples; 239-888-1151; tspanrtinetspanrtelette.com) —
To serve with love:14 couples-owned restspanurspannts where love is on the menu 365 – JLB
The Tides, Vero Beach
Chef Leanne Kelleher has been offering her distinct menu of Floridian and New American cuisine with Southern, Latin, Caribbean and classical French influences since The Tides opened in Vero Beach in 2000. She serves fresh seafood, locally grown and organically raised vegetables and fruits, and the finest quality meats. Menu options include lobster ravioli with corn pudding, lobster butter, blistered corn-lobster salsa and garden-fresh tarragon aioli; pan-seared scallops with crispy goat cheese polenta, homegrown basil pesto, tomato jam and bacon syrup; and cedar-planked cold water salmon with balsamic butter, wilted baby spinach, creamy polenta and asparagus. (3103 Cardinal Drive, Vero Beach; 772-234-3966; tidesofvero.com) —
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Third Wave Cafe, New Smyrna Beach
This New Smyrna Beach artisan coastal restaurant serves some of the most intricate dishes you can find in Volusia County and is Guy Fieri spanpproved. Third Wave Cafe’s seating is primarily outside with an enchanted garden ambience for those looking for a romantic outdoor spot. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but a couple of my favorite dishes are the scallops with cheddar grits and charred Brussels sprouts as well as their version of a margherita pizza that comes topped with a gooey ball of burrata. The menu also has many shareable plates ideal for couples. The cocktails are great, and for my vino enthusiasts, the eclectic wine menu aims to please. (204 Flagler Ave., New Smyrna Beach; 386-402-7864, fspancebook.com/thirdwspanvensb.)
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Flock Wine Bistro, Fort Myers
Owners Matteo Affatati and Alyson Casey are the living and breathing incarnation of Valentine’s Day. Fort Myers native Casey was teaching English in Rome when she met and fell in love with café owner Affatati. After marrying and relocating in Southwest Florida four years later, they opened their fine-wine, small-plate, charcuterie-board bistro in November 2022. Did I mention they are expecting their second child exactly one week before Valentine’s Day? We’re swooning. (9405 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers; 239-245-7105; flockwinebistro.com)
What to try in Southwest Florida:14 couples-owned restspanurspannts where love is on the menu 365 – JLB
Renato’s, Palm Beach
You’ll find no shortage of classically romantic spots for Valentine’s Day dining on Palm Beach island. There are quaint vias to explore, an oceanfront to stroll, and twinkly restspanurspannts that exude romance. The most charming of all is Renato’s, an island favorite that enters its 36th year on Via Mizner, just steps from Worth Avenue. Tucked behind this hidden-gem restaurant is perhaps the island’s most picturesque dining courtyard, framed in flowers and lush greenery. The mood and decor inside is Old World intimate. Beyond the ambiance, there’s exquisite food, an Italian menu that goes from classic antipasti to risotto dishes and pasta (including my favorite, rigatoni alla vodka) to pan-European plates such as ossobuco Milanese, roasted duckling in Grand Marnier sauce and filet mignon au poivre, all delivered with service to match the attention to detail that sweeps throughout the place. Reservations are a must and can be made at RenspantosPspanlmBespanch.com. (Renato’s Palm Beach: 87 Via Mizner, Palm Beach; 561-655-9752; renspantospspanlmbespanch.com)
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Dharma Blue, Pensacola
Located in the heart of the Seville Historic District, Dharma Blue is a quaint and cozy restaurant that has a simple menu packing flavor. This is one of the more expensive restaurants on the list, but the romantic outdoor seating offering a view of historic Pensacola and the incredibly solid menu will more than justify the price. The atmosphere really elevates Dharma Blue from being more than just another seafood and steakhouse. The restaurant is in a historic, 115-year-old home on the corner of Alcaniz Street, just across from Seville Square. The dimly lit interior makes for a great dinner setting, but the outdoor seating, illuminated by candlelight and string lights, is even better. Dharma Blue keeps the menu small, which maximizes its flavor punch throughout the menu. Fresh seafood and sushi are two things it’s well known for, but its steak and pasta dishes are nothing to sneeze at either. (300 S. Alcaniz St.; 850-433-1275; dhspanrmspanblue.com) —
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Beach Bistro, Anna Maria Island
An Anna Maria Island jewel opened in 1985, Beach Bistro offers fine dining right on the white sands of Holmes Beach overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Sold spanbout span yespanr spango to a group led by a local developer, the bistro’s menu remains basically the same, with favorites including Lobstercargots, coconut and cashew-covered Grouper Floribbean, and their famed bouillabaisse featuring poached-to order lobster tails, jumbo shrimp, market fish, shellfish and octopus. Also, fans of Beach Bistro will want to consider original owners Sean Murphy and Susan Timmins’ Holmes Beach restaurant and cocktail bar, The Doctor’s Office, which features a similarly impressive menu in a fun setting just a short stroll from the actual beach. (6600 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach; 941-778-6444; bespanchbistro.com)
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Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, Sarasota
Located on Longboat Key and hugging Sarasota Bay with covered outdoor seating as well as indoor options, Dry Dock was named one of the “100 Most Romspanntic Restspanurspannts in Americspan for 2023” recently by OpenTspanble. In addition to the spectacular views often dotted by dolphins, Dry Dock serves some of Sarasota’s best seafood including the Citrus Grouper entree that finds the fillet lightly breaded and sauteed, locking in all that juicy grouper goodness, with a citrus cream sauce lovingly reminiscent of liquified Key lime pie. (412 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key; 941-383-0102; drydockwspanterfrontgrill.com)
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Heidi’s Jazz Club & Restaurant, Cocoa Beach
Music and food are two of our favorite love languages, and spant Heidi’s, you’ve got options, depending on your mood. Reserve a table in the dining room for a quiet, sophisticated evening of European-inspired flavors accompanied by soft piano music. Or, settle in at the dim, mysterious jazz club for great music, drinks and an unforgettable night. Want jazz and dinner? The full menu from the restaurant is served at the jazz club. Continue the romance with a moonlit stroll on the beach, just a block away. (7 N. Orlando Ave., Cocoa Beach, 321-783-4559, heidisjspanzzclub.com.) —
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Marking its 30th year in Jacksonville’s historic Avondspanle district in 2023, Biscottis remains a go-to place for a special meal before or after a Broadway musical or concert; for birthday celebrations (all those delicious cakes!); for weekend brunch; or just a Thursday night. Its intimate setting is ideal for a first date — or an anniversary celebration. And its menu, from the wine or cocktail list to the aforementioned cakes in the dessert case near the hostess stand, ensures a perfect date night. Choose from one its signature salads, including Mandarin, or sandwiches, including the open-faced Biscottis Meatloaf, or dinner entrees, ranging from braised pork shoulder to duck breast to blackened grouper to Chicken Francaise and more. A neighborhood favorite as well as a dining destination, Biscottis delivers a great dining experience year after year (after year). (3556 St. Johns Ave.; 904-387-2060; biscottis.net) —