Date Night Spots Part 2: Great Date Spots on a Budget

As promised, here is part II of our date night dining guide. This go-round we look for spots that have great atmosphere, food and drink, and at a price point that will not break the bank. Here’s what we came up with:
Raduno Brick Oven & Barroom: It could be argued that this SOMA eatery has the prettiest, most romantic bar in town. With wood-oven pizza, original cocktails, and a hefty amount of craft beers on tap – you’ll be sure to wow your date. Get the Burrata and anything (and everything) else that strikes your fancy.
The Faded Rose: A staple in Little Rock’s food scene, The Faded Rose is a great date night destination. Although the interior can get a little boisterous the food has always been top quality. The NOLA restaurant offers a killer Muffuletta, as well as some of the best steak in town. If crawfish is your thing, be sure to follow the restaurant to keep up with when their special crawfish events.
A. W. Lin’s: You might have ordered out from the Asian eatery a few times, but have you stopped in lately? The promenade restaurant is upscale but comfortable and their menu ranges from sushi to rice and noodles. Don’t pass up the spring rolls and check out the Pineapple Fried Rice.
The Pantry Crest / The Pantry: The cuisine and quality alone should be enough to convince you to head to either Pantry location. Do date night right under twinkling lights at the Hillcrest location or on the cozy patio on Rodney Parham. It’s one of the pricier options on this list but definitely worth it. Order the Bacon Wrapped Dates, Truffled Deviled Eggs, or House Made Ricotta to start, and peruse the tap list or check out an original cocktail. Bonus: The kitchen stays open until midnight if you and your date didn’t get an early start.
The Fold: Botanas & Bar: If you’re looking to impress your date with an atmosphere that’s remnant of Austin’s eclectic vibe, stop by the Fold. The usually-full patio makes a cozy date or you can find a spot inside. The margaritas are solid, but if you’d rather, opt for a beer. Order a round of Shrimp Diablo Tacos or check out Chef Alex’s special for the win.

The Root Cafe: It’s time to try the Root’s dinner service, and what better way to do so than on a date? Part of the eatery’s charm lies in its eclectic, homey aesthetic, and their recent expansion keeps in line with that feel. Garden-lovers rejoice, and get ready for an intimate delectable meal that won’t break your bank.
Big Orange: Midtown: If you want burgers, shakes, cocktails, and craft beer, look no further than Big Orange. While both locations are nice, Midtown is a little more bar-focused. Sit at the bar with your date and enjoy the energy of the restaurant all around you or, if you’re lucky, snuggle up in a booth. Any burger will do, but don’t forget to ask about the specials – right now it’s the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich – and it is on fire.
Maddies Place: For comfort food reminiscent of NOLA, head to Maddie’s in Riverdale. The restaurant is highly underrated, and the comfortable yet intimate interior makes for a nice ice-breaker. This place is ideal for a casual date with little pressure and great food. Order the Shrimp and Grits – they’re some of the best in town – and take a sip from the tap list.
Boulevard Bistro & Bar: When was the last time you ate at the Heights restaurant? The interior is minimal, airy, and elegantly comfortable. Grab your date and make plans to enjoy Baked Pimento Cheese to start, along with an original cocktail. The restaurant sources fresh ingredients as often as possible and, lately, we have been huge fans of their specials.
Baja Grill: Two words – Triple Dipper. Order the large and hang with your date on the patio. The food is delicious, and as an added bonus you can navigate a few quality veggie options. The Cuban Tacos are solid, and the recent addition of Blackened Shrimp to the menu is also top-notch. Be sure to order a margarita – start with the Ilegal on the Rocks and there’s no way your date will bomb.
Bruno’s Little Italy: Head downtown for some decent Italian food. The Main Street eatery offers a free valet service for dinner so you can enjoy pizza and pasta galore. For a laid-back vibe that will no doubt end in a satiated appetite, park it at Bruno’s.
The North Bar: Not ideal for a first date, The North Bar still makes a great place to catch up. There’s a wide menu with veggie, vegan, and gluten-free options, plus there is a great tap list with local options. It can be pretty loud, so get ready to yell or just enjoy the company of your boo from across the table. Bonus: It’s in Park Hill.
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