10 romantic dinner spots for those of us that aren’t engaged or can’t afford dinner at places like Fig Tree

10 romantic dinner spots for those of us that aren’t engaged or can’t afford dinner at places like Fig Tree
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The Agenda recently put together a list of the 10 most romantic dinner spots in Charlotte and ranked them.

It’s a good list… for a list of places that, in the span of my entire dating life, I have never been to nor been able to afford.

We actually got a lot of responses to the list that echoed that sentiment and mentioned wanting a list that wasn’t geared toward “rich (or engaged) people.”

That’s fair.

So, for the people of Charlotte that are closer to college than they are to 30 and both their wallets and diamond-less ring fingers show it, I’m here to help you out.

In my experience, and the experience of my friends, these are the go-to spots if you want a romantic dinner without the not-so-romantic look of shock when the bill comes (they’re all under or around $30 for two, drinks not factored in).

P.S. Serious question – why is it always sushi or Italian? Not that I’m mad about it, but…

Akahana Asian Bistro

Pro tip: Ignore everything but the BOGO sushi.

Alexander Michael’s

This one’s on the list because this was my contribution to the previous list when Ted asked me where I went for romantic dinners. The guy I go on ‘romantic dinner dates’ with didn’t want me to include it for fear of Al Mike’s becoming a thing. Too late, buddy. It’s definitely a thing.

Pro tip: Exactly what Ted said. No reservations, so get there early (or just drink and wait). Al Mike’s is the most underrated restaurant in Charlotte. People in the know love this place. I love that the owner turned down Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives when they asked to film a show there. It’s authentic. It’s cozy.

alexander michaels

Cajun Queen

Pro tip: Live jazz seven nights a week. Need I say more? And on cooler nights, ask to sit next to the fire.

Dandelion Market

Pro tip: Order two tapas a piece. Split them right down the middle.

@dandelionmkt via Instagram

@dandelionmkt via Instagram

[Updated Agenda guide: Most romantic restaurants in Charlotte]


This one’s weird for me because I eat here weekly with my family, but I could see the romantic appeal. Maybe just with different company.

Pro tip: Make friends with (and tip) the sushi chefs. It will change your entire experience.

@spotter0122 via Instagram

@spotter0122 via Instagram

Mama Ricotta’s

Pro tip: Always, always, always take the recommendation of the wait staff. And don’t be afraid to ask them anything – you can be sure you’re getting an answer that’s true and backed. They know their stuff.


@chrissie_beth via Instagram


Pro tip: The Park Road location. Utilize it. Head straight to Montford for bowling or singing karaoke at Jeff’s afterward.

@carp3_diem_ via Instagram

@carp3_diem_ via Instagram

Sir Edmond Halley’s

Pro tip: When the weather gets nice again, sit outside under the string lights.


Vine American Kitchen

Pro tip: Fire pits. Use them to your advantage.

You or your S.O.’s couch. 

Because nothing says romance like staying in and falling asleep to Netflix.

Pro tip: Eat your feelings and use the code PANTHERS777 to get two Papa John’s large two-topping pizzas for $7.77 each.


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