2022 Date Night Restaurant Guide

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A couple at a date night restaurant.

All mamas deserve a romantic night with the one they love. Although COVID-19 has put a damper on most things, it shouldn’t stop you from having a date night out (or in!) with food from the amazing local restaurants located in our area.

We have created a guide to the best date night restaurants throughout Fairfield County. Since our loyal readers live all over, we have listed top restaurants from each area throughout our county. We have included some of the most romantic spots, as well as those more casual places where the food speaks for itself. No matter what type of cuisine you and your partner love, this guide will help you find your next favorite date night eatery. We hope you can use this guide, venture out of your comfort zone, and start tasting what Fairfield County restaurants have to offer. As always, please support our sponsors! Enjoy!

PONZA ITALIAN KITCHEN & PIZZA

Named after Italy’s most beautiful Island located in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the western coast of Italy, Ponza Italian Kitchen & Pizza is deeply rooted in hospitality and bringing people together around the table over great food and drink. A family-owned and operated restaurant since 1980, locals have been enjoying comforting Italian cuisine and the restaurant’s signature pizza over the years when the location was known as Pasta Fair and eventually as John’s Best Pizza. Couples will enjoy this casual and inviting neighborhood restaurant, known for its live ficus tree (weeping fig) growing through the center of the restaurant! For your date night, enjoy sharing appetizers such as seafood stuffed clams, arancini filled with gouda cheese, and fresh seafood salad with olive oil and lemon. The menu also features hearty salads and mouthwatering entrees such as eggplant parmigiana, chicken or veal sautéed with mushrooms in a marsala wine sauce, zuppa di pesce brimming with clams, mussels, shrimp, and calamari with a choice of red or white sauce, jumbo shrimp with a seafood and cracker stuffing, market-fresh fish prepared with tomatoes and kalamata olives, and decadent gnocchi al gorgonzola with broccoli and sausage, or their pizza. Ponza has a lively entertainment schedule with live jazz, R&B, rock, and more. Dance, eat, drink, and enjoy – the perfect date night spot that offers a little bit of everything.

GATES RESTAURANT

A New Canaan staple since 1979, Gates is a spirited restaurant and gathering place known for its delicious modern American comfort food with global inspirations, classic cocktails, and cold beer. The extensive menu starts with fun dinner snacks such as local oysters, street can nachos, and the restaurant’s popular chicken bites (try the sweet chili). Gates features a variety of Asian-inspired rice bowl combinations, vibrant salads, hearty sandwiches, wood-fired pizza, juicy burgers, and tacos too! Order a great bottle of wine to pair with the steak frites or spaghetti Bolognese. Visit on a Saturday to enjoy some live music in the background, on weekends for brunch (breakfast sammies and bloody marys), or during the week for happy hour. Gates is what a neighborhood restaurant and bar should be.

VIA SFORZA TRATTORIA

2022 marks Via Sforza’s 30th year as a family-owned and operated Trattoria, featuring authentic Italian cuisine and ambiance. From the architecture and décor of the main dining room to the all-seasons patio, tranquil al fresco dining, and rustic appeal in the intimate cantina room, you will feel as though you have been transported to Italy. Conveniently located on the Post Road in Westport, this Tuscan farmhouse is the perfect setting for your next date night!

Receive one free dessert per table with the mention of Fairfield County Mom. 

GERONIMO TEQUILA BAR & SOUTHWEST GRILL

Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill brings the authentic taste of Santa Fe, New Mexico to Fairfield (and New Haven!). With acclaimed Executive Chef Arturo Franco-Camacho at the helm, Geronimo’s cuisine is 100% Southwestern, even sourcing its Chile peppers directly from New Mexico, with the menu including tableside guacamole, tacos with housemade corn tortillas, award-winning chile, salads, and more, as well as a kids’ menu and special vegetarian options. With over 400 tequila options, the bar also offers more than 40 varieties of Mezcal, an extensive wine and beer list, and top-shelf liquors. The restaurant provides in-house dining in its dining room or covered, heated patio and takeout options.

EVARITO'S MEXICAN KITCHEN & BAR

Evarito’s is a fresh and visually dazzling restaurant in South Norwalk, CT where an elevated, modern take on Mexican cuisine and well-crafted margaritas are just the starter. Evarito’s reimagined Mexican cuisine offers options for all and vegetarians and vegans. Diners can also hop an elevator to Bar Zorro, Evarito’s stunning rooftop lounge with its sweeping views of the LI Sound, as well as the outdoor patio in the park down below. There’s just nothing typical about it. It’s hot. Its sexy downtown chic mixed with California cool.

GABRIELE'S ITALIAN STEAKHOUSE

Fairfield County dining enthusiasts will recognize the Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse brand from their restaurant in Greenwich (2011-2019), which was a popular haunt for high-profile sports and business personalities and celebrities, which set a high bar within the local dining scene over the years. This new Westport location carries on the tradition where couples can indulge a fine dining experience in Gabriele’s luxurious dining rooms (try to snag a table by the fireplace!) and grand bar lined with back-lit premium spirits. Under the direction of Executive Chef Dagoberto Turcios-Cruz, the menu takes seasonal cues from local organic ingredients. For date night, enjoy their steak-forward menu featuring signature classic cuts of hand-selected, prime dry-aged beef seasoned with sea salt and crushed black pepper. Passionate carnivores will also love their reserved international meats, including American Wagyu Premier Farms Beef, Certified Piedmontese Beef, and Japanese Kobe “A5.” For sides, try favorites like their XXL baked stuffed potato with crème Fraiche and crispy bacon, baked spinach au gratin, asparagus hollandaise, and creamy mac and cheese served classic, laced with truffle oil, or spiked with lobster. Dessert is a must at Gabriele’s beautifully prepared daily by pastry Chef Ruben Palma.

BRUXELLES BRASSERIE

This charming destination is a European-inspired brasserie that serves scratch cuisine focused primarily on the flavors of France and Belgium with a nod to all of the best European cuisines. Bruxelles Brasserie is anchored by locally-renowned European chef Roland Olah. Start with their Small & Share section which includes Burrata, house-made Country Pork & Duck Pate, Steamed Mussels, or classic Nicoise Salad. Menu highlights run the gamut from fresh seasonal salads, chilled seafood, and house-made charcuterie, to popular entrees such as Branzino Filet, Rack of Lamb, Acorn Squash Gnocchi, and a decadent Lobster Mash. Bruxelles’ bright and whimsy décor, high-energy bar, and a clientele that includes local restaurateurs dining there on any given night always makes for a fun experience.  

 

ROADRUNNER KITCHEN + BAR

Rooted in the cuisine of New Mexico and its many cultural influences, RoadRunner New Mexico Kitchen + Bar offers an exciting dining experience and craft cocktail program wrapped in hospitality. Located in the Historic Black Rock District of Bridgeport, RoadRunner is a high-energy neighborhood restaurant and bar at its core, a social gathering place for great food and libations, seasonal specials and events, and live music. Kick things off with the best margaritas in town or one of their fun craft cocktails and pair those with the “Three Amigos” comprised of house-made green chile con queso, salsa verde, guacamole. Stacked green chile chicken enchiladas and the “cowboy wok”, a.k.a. fajitas, are elevated versions of your favorites. Try the surf and turf burrito filled with juicy beef brisket, spicy shrimp, fresh greens, and a de-lish coyote sauce. And nothing screams brunch date more than sharing  RoadRunner’s Hangover Nachos overflowing with house-made crispy fried potatoes, bacon, egg and chorizo hash, fresh pico, salsa verde, jalapeños, and hot drawn cheese. Just sayin’.

PACI RESTAURANT

Paci set the benchmark for excellence, combining classic Italian cuisine and modern style in a historic Southport landmark. Blending seasonal and organic ingredients with an award-winning wine cellar and upscale ambiance, you have the perfect dining experience!

THE WATER'S EDGE AT GIOVANNI'S

The Water's Edge
The Waters Edge at Giovanni’s in Darien on Holly Pond loves celebrating love. They have been voted the most intimate venue by Moffly Publications Best of the Gold Coast because of their cozy setting and understanding that sharing a delicious meal with the person you love is extremely important. Their chef loves creating lunches and dinners for two like Chateaubriand, in-bone Ribeye steaks, a Seafood Tower for two including lobster, local Bluepoint oysters, shrimp, clams, and Alaskan King. Let their knowledgeable servers match the perfect wine from their award-winning wine cellar. Make your date night one to remember. Consider this their invitation to treat your special someone to only the best at Waters Edge at Giovanni’s.

BARTACO {WESTPORT & STAMFORD}

bartaco is inspired by the beach culture of Brazil, Uruguay, and southern California, offering upscale street food with a coastal vibe in a relaxed environment. This includes freshly-squeezed juices, specialty cocktails, and beer out of a bottle. bartaco evokes a visit to a stylish beach resort and creates an unforgettable experience.

ON-WASHINGTON

Great things are always happening OnWashington! Comprised of 27 addresses on Washington Street Historic District, South Norwalk’s OnWashington features a global dining scene, artisan retail shops, and the best salon services in the heart of this coastal city. Enjoy a truly special date night OnWashington that starts with plenty of convenient parking (download that ParkMobile App!). Choose from a myriad of dining experiences, including Italian, seafood, French, Vietnamese, sushi, tavern fare, and even coffee and sweets. Have a romantic stroll along Washington Street and take in the energy of South Norwalk’s premiere destination – OnWashington.

OnWashington: Shopping, Food, Fun, and More!

APPETIT BISTRO ON-WASHINGTON

Featuring seasonal modern French, Mediterranean, and Italian fare, Appetit Bistro is a cozy date night spot where you’ll love to admire its warm and eclectic urban decor featuring a mix of European accents and vintage furnishings. Upon the success of their first Appetit Bistro in Port Chester, NY, owners Edwin Montoya and Chef Ismael Carias brought their concept to South Norwalk, fitting in nicely among the eclectic restaurants that make up Washington Street’s “Restaurant Row.” For your date night, enjoy specialties like their classic frisée salad with crispy lardon and a soft poached egg and sherry vinaigrette, tender duck à l’orange with pungent citrus, and a perfectly cooked hanger steak with peppercorn sauce and crispy fries paired with a French Bordeaux – or one of their many varieties. Save room for the Mousse au Chocolat or Banana beignets.

IL POSTO ON-WASHINGTON

Il Posto brings Italian cuisine with a New American twist to historic South Norwalk. Featuring a contemporary trattoria design, the restaurant’s aesthetic boasts an active and open kitchen where the pizzaiolo can be seen creating their signature Neapolitan pizza. Try the Cacio E Pepe with spaghetti, pecorino, and black pepper; Pappardelle with porcini mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, gorgonzola cream sauce, and truffle oil; and Pork Chop Scarpariello with sausage, hot cherry peppers, and fingerling potatoes in a white wine sauce, to name a few selections. With an intimate dining room and social wine bar, Il Posto exudes genuine hospitality in the heart of Washington Street.

DONOVAN'S ON-WASHINGTON

A popular Norwalk outpost since 1889, Donovan was formerly owned by Jeremiah Donovan, a successful saloon keeper, member of the House of Representatives, and former Mayor of Norwalk (1917-1921). In addition, “Battling Bat Kunz,” a regional boxing champ who owned the bar for a couple of decades, is seen throughout the salon in the massive collection of vintage prizefighter pictures that adorn the walls. Current owner, Richie Ball restored the bar in 1979 to its original Victorian style and has since been the anchor restaurant and gathering place at the forefront of the now revitalized “SoNo.” Donovan’s boasts an award-winning New England clam chowder, along with delicious pub fare, signature sandwich boards, salads, and shareable sides. Gooey, delicious chocolate lava cake is the perfect way to end your date at Donovan’s.

MECHA NOODLE BAR ON-WASHINGTON

MECHA means “Mom and Pop” in Vietnamese. MECHA Noodle Bar features a flavor explosion for diners with American-Vietnamese-Japanese-Thai-Chinese-Korean-New England-Momofuku-Totto-and-Ippudo inspired cuisines – all under one roof. The Pho and ramen (slurping is encouraged) noodle dishes are prepared to order and incorporate a variety of flavor combinations from Hakata style 24-hour pork broth to spicy red miso. Customer favorites include Pork Belly Bao Buns, Pork and Shrimp Red Oil Dumplings, Kimchi Fried Rice, and Firecracker Sings with togarashi and tamarind. Paired with beer, wine, and sake, as well as Thai boba tea and Vietnamese iced coffee makes for a delicious date night.

POKEMOTO ON-WASHINGTON

Vibrant fresh fish and mouth-watering flavors come together beautifully at Pokémoto Co., a fast-casual Hawaiian restaurant concept inspired by the island’s native cuisine. A cross between sushi and ceviche, try out Pokémoto’s signature Hawaiian bowl with ahi tuna, sweet onions and cilantro tossed in spicy mayo and topped with masago, green onions, shredded nori, and crispy onions or the Miso Salmon bowl with sweet onions, mangoes, and cilantro tossed in creamy miso and topped with garlic chips or create your own combination of proteins, vegetables, sauces, and toppings. End your meal with a creamy frozen pineapple whip. Order online for take-out or delivery for a perfect night in.

SONO BOIL ON-WASHINGTON

Featuring a taste of low-country cuisine with a splash of Louisiana Bayou, SoNo Boil brings a bit of Cajun spice with their Crawfish and Crab menu, playful nautical décor, vibrant cocktails, and vacation vibe. The restaurant’s large bar, multiple dining areas, and party atmosphere make Sono Boil the perfect meet-up spot for cocktails and a great date night meal. Try the fish house favorites such as fried shrimp, catfish, and oysters, hush puppies, Cajun fries, mac and cheese, blue and Dungeness crab, spicy crawfish, and a classic seafood boil with lobster, shell-on shrimp, clams, sausage, corn, and potatoes, all steamed in a zesty broth and served tableside. Rocking their bibs will be a fun part of this date night experience.

TABLAO WINE BAR & RESTAURANT ON-WASHINGTON

Enjoy a taste of Spain at Tablao Wine Bar & Restaurant. Tablao’s high energy fuels the block with its cozy dining and active bar scene, featuring an authentic tapas menu, global wine list, and live music. Start your date with a glass of Sangria, mojito, caipirinhas, or enjoy a glass from Tablao’s extensive wine program, which features favorite Spanish varietals such as tempranillo, verdejo, albariño, and syrah. With over 30 tapas to choose from as well as traditional Spanish dishes, inspired by their land and sea menu, you’ll enjoy trying favorites like beef empanadas with garlic aioli; cheese croquettes; hanger steak with green chimichurri; tortilla Espaňola; sautéed shrimp with garlic and guindilla peppers; classic paella, and a mixed grill of seafood or meat.

ENCHANTED SZECHUAN ON-WASHINGTON

Enjoy the true tastes of China at Enchanted Szechuan, where the chef/owner brings his family’s home culture to life. This includes authentic Chinese cuisine prepared with fresh, quality ingredients, including a large selection of vegetarian dishes, dry pot prepared dishes, Szechuan noodles, market-fresh fish, and Peking duck. For date night, enjoy a selection from Chef’s specialties such as Ginger Shredded Duck, General Tso Tofu, or a Spicy or Dry Hot Pot in their charming dining room. Staying in? Order online for a Chinese banquet at home.

SALTWATER RESTAURANT & BAR ON-WASHINGTON

Saltwater Restaurant & Bar offers a stunning multi-tiered gathering place to enjoy incredible food, cocktails, and entertainment. Steel drums, Bob Marley, exotic fish tanks, and oceanic artwork create the backdrop for the restaurant’s seafood-inspired menu and creative cocktail culture. Start your date night dinner with a raw bar tower, fried calamari, and jumbo lump crab cakes. Enjoy pan-roasted salmon, seafood mixed grill or a PRIME 42-day wet-aged 50-oz tomahawk steak for the table. Saltwater’s large windows offer a view of a bustling downtown SoNo.

OISHI SUSHI & IZAKAYA ON-WASHINGTON

Treat yourselves to Oishi Sushi & Izakaya, an innovative Japanese pub concept that offers sushi, Japanese and Pan-Asian cuisine, vegetarian specialties, a traditional Omakase experience, and an extensive sake menu. Oishi’s wood panel and slate wall lined dining room, open sushi bar, stone backdrop bar, and outdoor seating exudes warmth. Enjoy a large selection of fresh fish, creative sushi creations, and small plates such as spicy edamame, vegetable spring rolls, shrimp shumai, and panko fried calamari. Date night favorites to try include the Crocodile Roll with spicy crunchy tuna topped with lobster tempura, avocado, and wasabi tobiko and drizzled with wasabi aioli and sweet soy sauce or tasty entrées such as the Grilled Lemongrass Chicken and Pan Seared Sesame Crusted Tuna Steak served with sautéed soba noodles.

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