When you find that special someone, you want to take them to some place equally as special when you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary, promotion, or other event. That’s why we’ve put together a list of ten upscale restaurants in Raleigh for your next date night, so that your special someone feels just how special they are. From seafood restaurants to steakhouses, Raleigh has a variety of upscale restaurants to choose from. All you have to do is pick the one that will make your loved one the happiest.
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The best Bourbon bar in Raleigh.
4035 Lake Boone Trl | Raleigh | theoakraleigh.com
This bar is known as the best bourbon bar in Raleigh. The Oak has over 90 different bourbons to try, including their in-house blend, as well as wine and craft beers on draft. They use fresh ingredients in their drinks, just as they do in their Southern fusion food.
Menu favorites include the Braised Pork Shoulder, which comes with Southern mac & cheese and fried brussel sprouts and is topped with a BBQ drizzle, and the Bourbon Sliders which are comprised of angus beef, bourbon onion jam, smoked gouda, lettuce, black pepper mayo, and Union Special brioche buns.
For dessert, be sure to try the Cast Iron Bread Pudding with a bourbon brown sugar compound butter. Everything is better in a cast iron, and this dessert is no exception.
If your special someone loves bourbon and Southern-inspired fare, this is just the place for your next date night.
“This has become one of my favorite places! We came here for brunch one weekend. Little did we know they were going to serve some amazing food! Highly recommend this place to everyone and I can't wait to go back!” - Yelp Review
Contemporary Italian trattoria.
4209 Lassiter Mill Rd | Raleigh | vivaceraleigh.com
This Italian restaurant offers handmade pasta and an expansive wine list. If your special someone’s favorite food is Italian, you should take them here for your next date night.
Guests rave about their Scallop Risotto, which comes with carrots, brussels sprouts, and parmigiana reggiano. Other favorites include the Four Cheese Ravioli with wilted spinach, roasted garlic crema, and tomato sauce and the Spaghetti with Meatballs.
In addition to an extensive wine list, Vivace offers a variety of tasty cocktails including the Figaro, fig bourbon, dolin red, and angostura, and the Brillare Rye, rye, aperol, lemon, and prosecco.
“Good food, nice ambiance and good service. We usually dine at vivace on weekends for lunch or dinner and the service has always been quick. There is also tons of seating inside and outdoors and the staff is always friendly.” - Yelp Review
Upscale steakhouse and wine bar.
4325 Glenwood Ave | Raleigh | flemingssteakhouse.com
Fleming's is the place to celebrate a special occasion, if you want to celebrate with a Prime steak and a glass of wine or handcrafted cocktail, that is. This is the upscale restaurant for a date night for a couple of steak lovers.
There are a variety of premium Prime steak options on their dinner menu, as well as fresh seafood and innovative plant-based plates. Guests love the Filet Mignon, the Crab Cakes with a roasted red pepper and lime butter sauce, the Sweet Chili Calamari lightly breaded and tossed with sweet chili sauce, and the Prime Bone-In Ribeye.
The Chocolate Lava Cake is a must. This rich chocolate cake with a molten center of Callebaut belgian chocolate and served with premium vanilla ice cream and chopped pistachios is to die for, even when you are full from your meal.
“We absolutely love Flemings! What I love most about this steakhouse is the wonderful staff, the management, flexibility to allergens- it truly makes it all worth it. We will always be back at Flemings for everything fun and celebration.” - Yelp Review
Chef-driven seafood and oyster bar.
413 Glenwood Ave | Raleigh | cortezraleigh.com
Want to celebrate your loved one’s birthday with delicious seafood? Come to The Cortez.
The Cortez is a fresh seafood and small plates experience with a selection of tropical cocktails. Executive Chef Oscar Diaz's menu is a reflection of his weekly walks through the farmer's market and the fish brought in by the local fishermen. This dining experience will be an experience like no other you’ve ever had before. What better way to celebrate a birthday or job promotion?
From the Raw Oysters and the Lobster Roll to the Yellowtail Ceviche and the Charred Octopus, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. The same goes for the cocktails.
“Cortez offers seafood-centric contemporary Latin American in an eccentrically hip atmosphere for one of Raleigh's most distinctive and gratifying dining experiences. The food is creative, thoughtfully sourced and carefully prepared. (Order the "Sailboat" to sample a variety.) The drinks uphold the same quality.” - Yelp Review
Hidden gem with upscale American eats.
938 N Blount St | Raleigh | stanburyraleigh.com
If you want upscale American food without the glitz and glamor of an upscale restaurant, check out this hidden gem unbeknownst to many in Raleigh.
The dishes are inspired by the day's offerings, reflecting seasonal availability and “the unique qualities and mood of each day.” You won’t find a menu online, but you will find reviews of what some guests enjoyed on the given day they went to Stanbury.
Crispy Pig Head, Pork Chop, Grilled Romaine, Fried Oysters, and Tagliatelle are just some of the many dishes guests have had the pleasure of experiencing at Stanbury. Pictured is the Currywurst with fries, which we personally can’t take our eyes or minds off of.
If you want upscale food in a relaxed atmosphere, check out Stanbury.
“This was a real hidden gem that most of my friends in Raleigh haven't heard about. It's very hip. I ordered the NC Striped Bass. Cooked perfectly and very filling. I'm definitely going to come back here. Great vibe.” - Yelp Review
Contemporary wood-fired cooking.
105 W Hargett St | Raleigh | ac-restaurants.com/death-taxes
This restaurant offers contemporary wood-fired cooking from female chefs Ashley Christensen and Lauren Ivey.
On their menu, you will find plates like the Long Island strip steak with smoked sweet potato, aged beef fat butter, and chimichurri and the Farfalle with embered vegetable bolognese, parsley pistou, parmesan, and tobacco onions.
Begin with the Roasted NC oysters with chili butter and preserved lemon gremolata and The Golden Rule, golden beet-infused vodka, brandy, ginger, burlesque bitters, and lemon, if you want to have the full Death & Taxes experience.
Whether you are celebrating an anniversary or having a spontaneous date night, Death & Taxes welcomes you to their restaurant and bar.
“I ordered the steak after talking to them about how they cook it and I was not disappointed. All in all, I really enjoyed the restaurant and food was excellent. I'll certainly be back next time I'm in the area.” - Yelp Review
Hand-cut steaks and signature cocktails.
410 Glenwood Ave | Raleigh | sullivanssteakhouse.com
Sullivan’s specializes in hand-cut steaks, fresh seafood, signature cocktails, and swinging live music. It’s everything you want in an upscale restaurant.
We recommend starting with the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake or the Oysters on the Half Shell. For dinner, you can’t go wrong with any of their bone-in cuts, hand-cut steaks, or fresh seafood and chicken dishes.
Dress up your steak with one of Sullivan’s signature butters or complimentary sauces. (We’ve heard good things about the Cajun butter!)
And don’t knock it till you try it: The Knockout is Sullivan’s signature martini made with mandarin vodka infused with fresh golden pineapple. It’s delish!
“I'm going to start my review with the cheesesteak egg rolls because they are AMAZING. I've often heard about Sullivan's egg rolls and how they're the best in town and a must try, and they did not disappoint at all.” - Yelp Review
Fine dining with a French Quarter flare.
1130 Buck Jones Rd | Raleigh | reysrestaurant.com
This Raleigh restaurant offers signature “New Orleans, French Quarter-Inspired” meals.
The Grouper Lafayette, pan fried grouper topped with sauteed crabmeat over a New Orleans style butter, is a menu favorite. While the Bourbon Street Pork Chops, twin 6 oz loin chops, marinated in garlic, soy, and bourbon and topped with a white wine, apple and raisin chutney, is a favorite among meat lovers.
If you don’t end your night with the Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cake, a rich flourless cake with raspberry filling, then you aren’t ending your night right.
If you and your significant other want to try something new on your next date night, this is the place.
“Absolutely fantastic food and above and beyond service always. I have been twice in the last month and will be returning for my birthday dinner in a few weeks. Great drinks and the crab cakes are to die for!” - Yelp Review
Upscale French cuisine.
6112 Falls of Neuse Rd | Raleigh | saintjacquesfrenchcuisine.com
Executive Chef Aaron Matyac and his team bring authentic French cuisine to Raleigh, NC at Saint Jacques. Here, guests can enjoy French dishes like Escargots Bourgogne, citrus and white wine marinated snails with maître d' butter and fleur de sel and Duck Magret with Magret breast, local peas, Fox Farm mushrooms, sweet potato purée, and an orange demi-glace.
End your night with Crème Brûlée, an autumn spices custard with a caramelized sugar crust and toasted pumpkin seeds, and you’ll have had an authentic French dining experience.
If you want to take your significant other on a date night for French food, go to Saint Jacques.
You can purchase a GiftYa for Saint Jacques here!
“My wife and I enjoyed an amazing and authentic French dinner on our anniversary recently. The food was on point and the service was exquisite! I can't wait to return for my next fine dining experience.” - Yelp Review
French-inspired New American Fare.
509 W Whitaker Mill Rd | Raleigh | bloomsburybistro.com
This neighborhood bistro offers French-inspired New American fare. Offerings include Butternut Squash Bisque, Bistro Truffle Fries, New York Strip, Chicken Pot Pie, and more.
The Fettucine Carbonara is our personal favorite. It comes with hand-cut semolina pasta, tofu “bacon,” melted leeks and green beans, mushrooms, sweet potato puree, and reggiano. This is a great choice for vegetarians and meat eaters alike!
If you want delicious food in a cozy atmosphere for your next date night with your significant other, go to Bloomsbury Bistro.
“Decided to meander over to check this place out for the first time after we finished up a movie at the Rialto. I had a green curry mahi mahi and my husband had the meatloaf. We couldn't decide whose was better. Go, you won't regret it!” - Yelp Review
Let us know in the comments which of these upscale restaurants in Raleigh you try first for your next date night! You and your significant other will have a great experience at any of these restaurants.