Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means couples far and wide are searching for the perfect romantic date night idea. Luckily, couples in the Charlottesville area won’t have to search very long to find some scrumptious food, from one of the region’s many intimate, cozy, and inviting restaurants! For all those out there racking their brains for a date night dinner that is sure to impress, perhaps this list of romantic restaurants in Charlottesville & Albemarle County will help make the decision a little bit easier. So bring your appetites and get ready to feast at these ten delightfully divine romantic restaurants in the Charlottesville area!
1.) The Alley Light
The Alley Light is sure to set the stage for a night you’ll never forget. Literally located in an alley on one of the side streets off Charlottesville’s historic Downtown Mall, The Alley Light prides itself on offering up classic French shared plates and craft cocktails, all in a casual, elegant atmosphere. On Valentine’s Day at 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. stop by for a 3-course dinner menu at $49 per person or at 7:00 p.m., a 4-course dinner is offered at $65 per person. Whichever option you choose, you and your date are sure to be wowed and dazzled by the ambiance, the cocktails, and of course, the food!
2.) Red Pump Kitchen
Staying in the vicinity of the Downtown Mall, a few blocks east from The Alley Light, you’ll find Red Pump Kitchen. Self-described as a contemporary European café style restaurant and bar (like ones you may find in Central Italy), this restaurant features an open kitchen concept with a wood-burning oven serving as its centerpiece. This restaurant is known for its house-made pastas, gourmet pizzas, and its Mediterranean and Tuscan-inspired fare. It doesn’t get much more romantic than that! Whether you pick their indulgent “Oysters in Purgatory,” a classic Margherita-style pizza, or the incredibly satisfying seared potato gnocchi, your date (and your taste buds) will be thanking you for weeks to come!
3.) The Ivy Inn
Located a few miles west of downtown Charlottesville, you’ll find one of the most romantic dining experiences around – The Ivy Inn! This restaurant has been a family-owned and operated business for more than 20 years. People who choose this fine establishment for their Valentine’s Day date night are in for a major treat, as the restaurant will be offering up a 5-course fixed-price menu for $75 per person, featuring decadent dishes such as sautéed sea scallops, Angus beef tenderloin, grilled farm-raised quail, and to top it all off, try some of Cupid’s pink champagne sorbetto!
Located in the hip and trendy Belmont neighborhood, only a short distance from the Downtown Mall, you will find the ever-popular (and always romantic) dining experience offered up by Tavola! Tavola, which literally means "food table" serves up rustic Italian dishes in its incredibly intimate and cozy dining room. You will be treated to pasta dishes galore, sure to satisfy your appetite, while undoubtedly charming your special someone. Be sure to arrive early and grab a drink at the recently-added cicchetti bar for a craft cocktail sure to set the stage for a romantic and enchanted evening ahead.
5.) The Clifton Inn (*Closed for renovations through the end of March*)
You could easily make an entire Valentine’s Day getaway at The Clifton Inn, located a few miles east of downtown Charlottesville. This boutique hotel features 17 perfectly-appointed rooms, plus an intimate dining room where you will savor delicious culinary creations straight out of the chef's kitchen. No matter which dish you choose, the chef at The Clifton Inn is sure to create something that you will remember for a long time to come. Plus, if you're thinking of popping the big question, this would be a perfect setting. The Clifton Inn also doubles up and an exquisite wedding venue that happy couples seek out from miles around!
The French definitely know a thing or two about romance, so why not treat yourself and your date to a French-dining experience that will be sure to take your taste buds over the top? That’s exactly the experience you will find at Fleurie. Located on a charming side street off the Downtown Mall, this fine-dining establishment has been receiving recognition for the caliber of its culinary efforts for years! Plus, with dishes like butter-poached lobster, roasted beef tenderloin, and shrimp risotto, it’s hard to make a bad selection!
7.) The Rooftop
Now let’s now take our romantic dining excursion into the picturesque rolling hills of Albemarle County. Located in quaint Crozet, a short and scenic 15-minute drive from downtown Charlottesville, you will find The Rooftop. This restaurant sits atop Piedmont Place at one of highest elevations in Crozet and offers up spectacular views of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. Serving up small plates, craft cocktails, and a wood-fired pizza oven, The Rooftop will provide the perfect date night for you and your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day.
8.) Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Located in the heart of Central Virginia’s wine country a few miles south of downtown Charlottesville, you’ll find the breathtaking Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. While well known for the wine and the views, this property also features an incredibly romantic tasting room offering a delicious food and wine pairing menu! With a food philosophy that is firmly grounded in using only the freshest, most locally-sourced food around, you can rest assured that while you are feasting on a delicious meal from the chef’s kitchen, you’ll know that most, if not all of the ingredients came from a nearby farm (or the property’s own garden)! Pair it up with a great wine and what could be better – or more romantic? This location also doubles up as a great proposal or wedding spot, so perhaps your dinner here could be the beginning of a lifetime of happiness down the road!
9.) Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria
Nothing says romance like sharing a freshly-baked pizza pie, straight from a piping hot wood-fired oven. For a uniquely romantic experience in a cozy, charming space, head to Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria in downtown Charlottesville. Located a few blocks east of the Downtown Mall in the Belmont neighborhood, this pizza joint cranks out pies that are sure to please, in an authentic, rustic way. So cozy up, grab a pie to share, a cocktail, and prepare for a pizza date night that will have you coming back for another slice!
It's hard to top the romantic feel and ambiance of Bizou, a French-style bistro located on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. This restaurant is cozy, intimate, and promises to deliver delicious food and spectacular service to all who enter its doors. After you have chosen an appetizer and then enjoyed your main course, don’t forget to have dessert! Almost all of the pastry served here is made in house, which will surely create a memorable end to any dining experience at this Downtown Mall favorite. Plus, the name Bizou literally means “kiss” when translated from French into English. Do you need any more proof why this is the perfect choice to spend your Valentine’s Day dinner?
While this list gives you a good glimpse into some of the most romantic dining experiences in Charlottesville & Albemarle County, it only begins to skim the surface. We invite you to click here for more dining options in the Charlottesville area and then click here for lodging options, so you can make an entire getaway out of your Valentine’s Day excursion. Of course, just because Valentine's Day is around the corner doesn't mean everything has to be all about love and romance! These restaurants and the Charlottesville area also make for terrific places to visit if you're here on a "Galentine's Day" trip or just on a vacation with some of your best girlfriends! With one visit to Charlottesville & Albemarle County we think you’ll agree that love is definitely in the air, and after a few meals in this foodie paradise, you'll probably agree that love is in the kitchen as well!