Dear Agenda… “My significant other and I will be celebrating a big anniversary in early June and are trying to think of the best place to celebrate it with a fancy dinner. Where should we go?” – A
If this is an extra special affair and you really want to blow it out of the water and do something you wouldn’t do any other day of the year, I’d go to the McNinch House, a AAA Four Diamond restaurant in Fourth Ward. Reservations are required and the prix fixe menus range from $79/person to $175/person depending on the number of courses (optional wine pairings are another $55 – $109/person). I got to experience this for a special anniversary once and it remains one of the best and most expensive meals I’ve ever had in my life. It’s the kind of place where they treat you like royalty and you fear that at any moment an alarm will sound signaling that it’s time for you to be ejected and returned to your life of frozen burritos.
If you want to tone the fancy down a bit, I actually think the routine familiarity of one of your favorite casual spots can be an equally if not more intimate and special way to celebrate. My fiancé and I celebrated our first anniversary at Thai Taste because that’s where we went on our first date.
The obvious choice is O’Charley’s. That’s where my wife and I went after our wedding (I got a beer-garita) and we’ve gone back once or twice on anniversaries since then. The one by Whitehall Corporate Center is nice.
But if that’s not your kind of thing, you’ve got a few options. If you’re looking for something that’s like a nice date night and you’re trying to spend $100-$150 on the meal and drinks, I recommend Firebirds or Smoke Modern Barbeque in StoneCrest, and Georges Brasserie or Red Rocks Cafe in the SouthPark area. All places where you’re going to wear a dress shirt.
If you want to take a step up from that, check out Zebra, also in SouthPark. It has a sweet patio area and an eight-course grand tasting for $110 per person.
I might be the worst person to ask. Really. For our anniversary last year, my boyfriend and I spent some time at Target before eating at Pita Pit on North College and rounding out the night with drinks at Fahrenheit. A group we struck up conversation with thought we were on a first date. Close, but no cigar.
If I was a good person to ask, I’d recommend Fig Tree, Stagioni or Barrington’s, but I can’t do that with a clear conscience because I’ve never in my short adult life stepped into a place that nice and expensive.
Honestly, I would tell you that I appreciate low-key dining experiences and that my go-to for a romantic date night is Alexander Michael’s. I like that the element of coziness makes it feel romantic and love the scenery of the walk you have to take through Fourth Ward to get there.
The bottom line is if you’re looking to drop an impressive amount of money, I’d look at Ted’s list of the 10 most romantic restaurants in Charlotte and go from there. If you’re not, I’d look at my answer to his list.
Typically, I always recommend Rooster’s for date nights – incredible food and value (order the $13 BBQ chicken). It’s local and Jim Noble is an incredible local culinary leader. But, it’s not fancy enough for what you’re looking for.
I’d narrow it down to Customshop, Kindred, Good Food on Montford, Barrington’s and Fig Tree. All A+ Charlotte restaurants. Judging from your question, I think you’re looking for a full experience, not just dinner. You want something cool-romantic, not formal-romantic.
I’d go with Customshop. I love the intimacy of their restaurant. Food is excellent (pretty sure I had the pork chop there last time and it was delightful). I’d also grab a drink at Passion8 or Carpe Diem (both within 25 yards) before or after to round out the date. Oh and grab a romantic ice cream after dinner at Elizabeth Creamery.
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