Our date night ideas article has been such a hit that we wanted to round it out with a list of our favorite date night restaurants in Columbia.
As you’ll see in this article, Columbia has soh many great date night restaurants. Whether you need an impressive first date spot, a perfect place for an anniversary, or just a casual night on the town with your love, you’ll love our list of tried and true spots.
There are so many great eateries in the area worth trying, so be sure to check out our list of over 20 awesome restaurants in Columbia. But if you’re specifically looking for special date night spots in Columbia, read on!
Map of Columbia’s Date Night Restaurants
Romantic Date Night Restaurants in Columbia, SC
The perfect restaurant in Columbia for wine lovers
Hampton Street Vineyard is a charming date night restaurant in downtown Columbia, SC. You’ll find sidewalk seating, an exceptional wine list and a delicious French-inspired menu.
What to order at Hampton Street Vineyard: Start with the cheese plate or charcuterie board paired with the perfect wine. For your main course, don’t miss the steak frites. End your night out with a slice of their cheesecake with strawberry puree.
Fine dining menu in a casual setting
Colas is a great date night restaurant because you get a fine dining-style menu in a cool, laid-back space. They open their garage doors when it’s nice out which makes it even better! The building was a former RC Cola bottling company and it’s a charming spot with brick walls.
What to order at Cola’s: Try the whole crispy flounder with apricot sauce! It sells out and I have heard that people call ahead to reserve one. It’s a much-loved dish in Columbia! If seafood isn’t your scene, check out the fried pork chop with granny smith apple gravy. They also have a great cocktail menu with very reasonable prices.
The top destination for a fancy steak dinner in Columbia
Hall’s Chophouse is located just across from the SC State House and is a perfect date night restaurant. Their food is delicious, they have a wide variety of dishes, the service is exceptional and the presentation can’t be topped.
What to order at Hall’s Chophouse: Hall’s is known for their steaks, so my recommendation is to start there when perusing the menu. They have several different cuts available (wet or dry-aged), all of which are from USDA Prime beef flown in from Allen Brothers of Chicago. Their sides are family-style, so expect large portions!
Fine dining Italian restaurant in downtown Columbia
Di Vino Rosso is an excellent fine-dining restaurant in Columbia. They have divine Italian food and a great atmosphere complete with a beautiful bar and white tablecloth dining.
Di Vino’s has an excellent and extensive wine list. They even have a section for wines that are given a score of 100 by top wine critics. As you’d expect, these are pricier bottles but would be fun for a very special occasion!
What to order at Di Vino Rosso: Start with their Polpette Al Sugo (meatballs with herb bread crumbs) or their Salumi (charcuterie board.) Their signature dishes are the rack of lamb and the pappardelle. You can’t go wrong with either! Try their homemade limoncello!!
Note: Di Vino Rosso was formerly Ristorante Divino. It closed in 2020 and reopened next door under a new name.
Nostalgic Italian restaurant in downtown Columbia
If you are looking to recreate Lady and the Tramp, Villa Tronco is a good place to start. It’s an intimate date night restaurant located in downtown Columbia just off Main Street. They have delicious Italian food ranging from seafood to pasta to pizza. It’s cozy with great service and delicious dessert!
What to order at Villa Tronco: We absolutely love their caprese salad, lasagna, and the antipasto salad. They also have great pizza. You can buy their salad dressing by the bottle! End your night at Villa Tronco with their famous cheesecake and amaretto bread pudding!
Upscale farm-to-table eatery in the Vista
Motor Supply is an upscale American eatery with an ever-changing farm-to-table menu. It’s located in the Vista and you’ll find a great atmosphere and even better food.
What to order at Motor Supply Co: Though the menu changes daily, you can always count on exceptional food at Motor Supply Company Bistro. Their steaks are a sure bet! Salads and pork chops are also always delicious. I also want to mention their cocktails– they have a great selection of featured cocktails.
Not only is Motor Supply open for dinner, but they also serve weekend brunch and lunch Tuesday-Friday. We actually featured them on our best lunch restaurants list too– in the upscale section, of course!
Fine dining with white tablecloths and Southern classics
Saluda’s is a fine dining restaurant in Columbia’s Five Points. They have been serving up classic Southern cuisine with a continental twist for over 20 years. Saluda’s is known for its elegant atmosphere, attentive service and delicious food.
Saluda’s is housed in a historic building and the interior has been carefully restored to its original grandeur, with high ceilings, hardwood floors, and elegant chandeliers. The dining room is set with white linen tablecloths and napkins.
What to order at Saluda’s: Start with the fried green tomatoes! They come with cheddar and gouda pimento cheese. A perfectly Southern appetizer! We also love their lobster bisque, shrimp & grits and filet mignon.
Pinterest-worthy atmosphere with oysters and steak
Smoked is a fine dining restaurant that does not disappoint. Their high-end menu includes oysters, entrees and small plates that range from shrimp cocktail to charcuterie.
What you are really going for, though, is the amazing ambiance. They have a wildly beautiful interior and an outdoor patio that seems to come off the pages of Southern Living.
Smoked has an excellent cocktail menu and also has an in-house microbrewery. The microbrewery is the pilot project for the future Peak Drift Brewery that is planned for North Main. Be sure to check out their weekend brunch menu!
What to order at Smoked: If you are feeling fancy, try their Japanese A5 Wagyu Ribeye. It is cooked table-side! You could also opt for their steak flight which comes with one ounce of three different steaks served on a 450-degree lava rock.
Casual Date Night Restaurants in Columbia, SC
Our go-to date night restaurant in Columbia
Mr. Friendly’s is not only the perfect place for a first date in Columbia, but it’s also perfect for your thousandth. It’s casual but with delicious Southern food. We recommend it to anyone and everyone who enjoys delicious food in a casual setting.
What to order at Mr. Friendly’s: Meatloaf!! It’s a dinner special but they have it pretty often, including on their ‘Meatloaf Monday’ days. Everything at Mr. Friendly’s is exceptional, though.
A charming date night restaurant on Devine Street
If you want a charming, hidden gem-style restaurant, head to Il Giorgione on Devine Street. We love the laidback atmosphere and the family-like feel at Il Giorgione. Plus, they have great outdoor seating when the weather is nice.
What to order at Il Giorgione: Start with their burrata and don’t miss their house-made mozzarella on the Caprese salad. We love getting pizza and pasta at Il Giorgione and sharing it all. For pasta, the spaghetti alla carbonara can’t be topped. And definitely don’t miss their killer desserts! We love their panna cotta and the tiramisu.
Awesome Thai food and delicious drinks in the Vista
Kao Thai tops the list of our favorite Thai restaurants in Columbia for a good reason: it’s awesome! Their food is great, the drinks are delicious and it’s a fun spot for a casual date night in the Vista.
What to order at Kao Thai: Everything! Start with the Gyoza or Bangkok Shrimp– both are awesome! They also have delicious crispy Brussels sprouts. For your entrees, their drunken noodles, all of their curries and their pad Thai are awesome.
Upscale yet casual pan-Asian restaurant in the Vista
Boku is a fun spot for excellent Asian food in the Vista. You’ll find great food, excellent service and a trendy atmosphere. What really stands out at Boku is the fresh and flavorful food. You can tell they use top-notch ingredients and take pride in their dishes.
What to order at Boku: Start with crab rangoon or their wok-fired Brussels sprouts. Or both! For entrees at Boku, we love their General Bob’s chicken, pho noodles and steak + broccoli. Don’t miss their sticky rice dessert with toasted pineapple ice cream.
Fun Date Night Restaurants in Columbia, SC
Part arcade, part amazing restaurant
Transmission Arcade is on our list of fun ideas for a date night out in Columbia. Not only do they have a ton of arcade games, with everything from pinball to mortal combat to skeeball, but they also have amazing food!
What to order at Transmission Arcade: Go on Mondays for their cheesesteak-only menu! They also have great appetizers that are perfect for sharing, like banh mi fries and chips + salsa + guacamole.
Not only is it a fun date night idea, but Transmission Arcade is also a great spot for brunch in downtown Columbia.
A fancy bowling alley and delicious food make for the perfect night!
The Grand on Main is a boutique bowling alley and restaurant located in the heart of downtown Columbia. You’ll find seven bowling lanes at The Grand in addition to pool tables, shuffleboard, foosball, putting greens, retro video games and other fun finds. And they have a full restaurant with great eats all day.
Bonus: The Grand is open late! They close at 11pm Sunday-Thursday and 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
What to order at The Grand: Try their buffalo catfish bites for something unique and delicious. We also love their charcuterie board.
A fun spot for a New Orleans night out in Columbia
Bourbon is a cajun-creole restaurant and bar in downtown Columbia. It’s the perfect place to go for a fun night out with your special someone. Just make sure to call an Uber home!
You’ll find a large selection of whiskey (over 500!) at Bourbon, as well as a knowledgeable staff that can help you choose the perfect one for your taste. Bourbon also offers a variety of cocktails.
The energy at Bourbon is always abuzz as the bar and kitchen serve up delicious cocktails and delectable dishes.
What to order at Bourbon: Start with creole pimento cheese and boudin balls or their garlic-herb fries. For entrees, we love their shrimp & grits.
An intimate wine bar in downtown Columbia
Lula Drake is a refined upscale wine bar located on Main Street in downtown Columbia. It’s also a James Beard finalist for 2023!
It’s an intimate space and almost has a 1920s speakeasy vibe to it. You’ll definitely feel like you have left Columbia for a moment. Lula Drake is featured in our article on ideas for date nights in Columbia because it always delivers on a fun, romantic evening out.
What to order at Lula Drake: Settle in with a charcuterie board paired perfectly with a glass of wine. Lula Drake also partners with local pasta company Dorsia for awesome collab dishes.
Spot airplanes and enjoy a delicious pizza and brew
A craft brewery may not initially strike you as a date night destination, but Hunter Gatherer’s location at Owens Field Airport is awesome! In fact, it’s one of our favorite breweries in Columbia.
Not only is the beer great at Hunter Gatherer, but the food and ambiance are too. Plus, it’s dog-friendly! They occasionally host events there which would make a date night even better.
What to order at Hunter Gatherer: They have amazing pizza! You can also choose from several appetizers, like a beer cheese dip made with their own beer or even beer cheese nachos. Their BLT salad with ranch dressing is also great. But mostly we go for the pizza!
Date Night Restaurants in West Columbia, SC
Our pick for a date night restaurant for a group
Terra is a chef-driven neighborhood bistro, and it makes such a perfect destination for a date night out. We especially recommend Terra for a group of people because it’s a fun place to share plates and they have larger tables available.
What to order at Terra: You can get everything from Steak Frites (and you should) to a wood-fired pizza. Don’t miss their Lamb Mac appetizer if it’s on the menu– it’s so unexpected but wildly delicious. Terra has a pretty small menu with less than 10 small plates and 5 entrees.
Intimate fine dining with a view of downtown Columbia
Al’s Upstairs is a charming Italian restaurant in West Columbia with a great view of downtown Columbia. It’s a go-to spot for locals wanting to celebrate something, like a birthday, anniversary or graduation, and is especially perfect for a romantic night out.
What to order at Al’s Upstairs: Start with their amazing lobster bisque. For entrees, we love their Chicken Parmigiana, Chicken Charleston and Veal Piccata. And their desserts are incredible! We especially love their cheesecake.
The best rooftop patio in (West) Columbia
A casual yet elegant “French-ish” restaurant overlooking the river in West Columbia. They have one of the best rooftop bars in the Columbia area. Patio and rooftop seating is on a first-come basis, but you can make a reservation for the main dining space.
What to order at Black Rooster: You’ll find everything from Escargots to an upscale grilled cheese with tomato bisque dipping sauce on the appetizer menu. My top pick for dinner is starting with their Onion Soup Gratinée and pairing it with their Steak Frites. If you like spicy things (and I mean SPICY!!), try their Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich.
Do you have a favorite date night restaurant in Columbia that isn’t listed? Let us know so that we can check it out. We are always looking for new date night ideas in Columbia, so definitely get in touch!