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Romantic Restaurants in Downtown Knoxville

Food & Drink

With a vibrant atmosphere, historic streets, and great food, Downtown Knoxville, Tennessee is the perfect place for a romantic night out. So if you're celebrating Valentine's Day, an anniversary, or date night, these restaurants are sure to turn up the heat.


1) Emilia

Trying to get more than just a *chef’s kiss*? Emilia is the perfect option for you and your date to nosh on great food and have even better conversation. Gnocchi as soft as pillowy clouds, focaccia that melts in your mouth, and butterscotch budino smooth as silk. Make reservations at this Market Square restaurant for a night to remember.

Photo Credit: @knoxfoods

2) J.C. Holdway

J.C. Holdway is an elevated choice for date night – or any occasion – as you savor food cooked by wood-fire. It's a charming spot on a quiet little street, that continues to do beautiful big things, thanks to James Beard Award-Winning Chef Joseph Lenn and his team. It was also named one of "The 12 Best New Restaurants in America" by Eater in 2017.

Photo Credit: @suttreestan

3) Kefi

Treat your special someone to a Mediterranean experience at Kefi. The flaming cheese and delicious flambeĢ rum cake will keep the night's spark going. The cozy booths and ambient lighting set the mood for a romantic evening over spanakopita, octopodi, dolmades, and some of the best cocktails in town.

Photo Credit: @lancechaneyphotography

4) Koyo

Koyo is an elevated Japanese "Chef's Choice" dining on Clinch Ave offering an upscale experience unlike any other found in Downtown Knoxville. It's an intimate space with a menu hand-crafted each season by the chefs.

Photo Credit: @nextstopknox

5) Lonesome Dove

So romantic you might even witness a proposal, Lonesome Dove is located in a historic building in the Old City. You can dine over candlelight and wild game fettine, plus memorable entrees like Antelope and Wagyu Tomahawk Ribeye. Ask about reserving a private table in their wine room for an extra special night.

Photo Credit: @mirtography_

6) Lilou

Escape to a retreat on Gay Street at Lilou, an authentic French brasserie with classic dishes like escargots, duck breast, steak frites, and profiteroles. Lilou’s curated wine list of exclusively French bottles span each of France’s 19 wine-producing regions. The stunning bar is a centerpiece of the space and offers cocktails celebrating French spirits, eaux de vie, absinthes, and vermouths.

7) The Melting Pot

The ultimate fondue experience is dripping in romance. Creamy cheese and rich chocolate fondues, paired with fresh salads, entrée skewers, wine, beer and signature dipped strawberries. It's a treat-yourself kind of night at The Melting Pot in the Old City.

Photo Credit: @takeabiteok

8) Oliver Royale

Fall in love over dinner at the Oliver Royale. With it's cozy, intimate, and candle lit atmosphere, a menu featuring mouth-watering decadence and creative cocktails, you’re sure to have a memorable experience that leaves you full of satisfying food, great conversation, and memories.

9) Osteria Stella

Osteria Stella offers an incredibly authentic Italian dinner thanks to their chef consultant from Milan, Italy, and the service is second to none. They create an atmosphere perfect for date night, as you two enjoy a selection of antipasto, primo, secondo, contorno, and dolce paired with a wine from one of Italy's 20 wine regions.

Photo Credit: @sartinphoto

10) Ruth's Chris Steak House

For those of you who’s love language is splurging, let us recommend indulging in prime cuts of meat, decadent seafood, and tasty sides like Lobster Mac & Cheese and Potatoes Au Gratin from Ruth’s Chris. A classic choice that does not disappoint! And boasts a view of the Tennessee River.

11) Vida

Discover a new world of fresh, Pan-Latin tastes and textures at Vida, an upscale restaurant that's big on flavor. Sharing a variety of tasty small plates, while sipping on cocktails, in their bold, blue velvet booths is a recipe for romance. End the date on a sweet, sweet note with the Churros de Azucar and bittersweet chocolate ganache.

Photo Credit: @knoxfoodgirl

Light a spark.

Wherever the night takes you, we're sure it will be full of romance in one of these Downtown Knoxville restaurants.