White chocolate yogurt cremeux, passionfruit curd, white chocolate almond cookie, mango passionfruit sorbet, yogurt sauce, passionfruit gelee and lime meringue from Altius. Photo courtesy of Altius.

The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, so we are looking for dining that dazzles. What better way to show someone you love them, than by taking them to a romantic spot for a good meal? Here are nine places in Pittsburgh that are pulling out all the stops to stand out to your date.  

Downtown & Station Square

Photo courtesy of Devon Colebank for gi-jin.

gi-jin is the hard-to-get reservation that will impress your date. The clean precision along with the complex flavors of the dishes let the quality of the ingredients speak for themselves. Make your order a more sensory experience, get a few hand rolls for the table and add a French black winter truffle to any roll for an indulgent touch. 208 6th St.

If it’s ambience and oysters you’re after, head to the Gandy Dancer Saloon at Station Square. Adjacent to the historic Grand Concourse, the restaurant has architectural elements to please the eye and menu items to satisfy the stomach. Oysters and martinis make for a recommended duo. The location is a perfect spot to take an after-dinner stroll along the Monongahela or a romantic round-trip ride on the incline for the city views. 100 W. Station Square Dr.     

Mt. Washington

Nothing says “I love you” more than dinner with an unbeatable skyline as a backdrop. Monterey Bay Fish Grotto is the restaurant in town that serves up both views and fine dining. The glass elevator going up to the top floor gives you a sneak peek of the panorama. While the seafood is superior, the wagyu strip steak is worth the splurge. The Lounge hosts frequent live musical performances, and the full restaurant menu is offered. 1411 Grandview Ave.

Photo courtesy of Altius.

If it’s the view you’re searching for to impress your honey, then Altius is sure to dazzle your date. Order the caviar to really make a sexy statement. The plating here is beautiful — edible flowers and garnishes add visual interest to the dishes. Altius is a restaurant with an “elevated dining experience,” so this is where you go to get dressed up and have a true night out on the town. 1230 Grandview Ave.


Let’s talk about aphrodisiacs and a shellfish dinner. Find a cozy table or belly up to the bar at Merchant Oyster Co. and order a dozen oysters with your sweetie. Oysters are known to get you in the mood, and this seafood spot is sure to get things started with its half-shell orders and different varietals served fresh on rotation daily. 4129 Butler St.

Photo courtesy of Morcilla.

Sharing is caring, and what better way to say “te amo” than with a tapas meal? Morcilla is ideal for an intimate dinner. The pintxos-style meal is a play on the traditional Spanish bar bites found typically in the northern Spain and the Basque country. The snacks and small plates are the ideal accompaniment to the cozy, candle-lit dining. 3519 Butler St.

North Side

Low lighting can really set the mood, and you’ll find that romantic ambiance at Siempre Algo. This is where you share several plates over stimulating conversation and several drinks. Spanish for “always something,” this sultry space has seasonal creativity on the menu. Be sure to peruse the cocktail menu, plus the boozy low-ABV and NA beverages all have flirty, cheeky names that make for a fun addition to your date night meal. 414 E. Ohio St.   

Squirrel Hill

For bold and spicy, Chengdu Gourmet has a hot pot that is sure to warm up the coldest of dinner dates. The menu is packed with tangy dishes — from dumplings with chili oil and pork in a spicy hot broth, to pan-fried hot peppers or spicy chicken in a flaming pan. This is the date spot for those who like it hot. 5840 Forward Ave.

Highland Park   

Smiling Banana Leaf also brings the heat, with several curry, rice and noodle dishes offering a spice level that will send sparks. Authentic Thai dishes are what’s on the menu, with Southeast Asian ingredients that, along with the warm spices, blend herbaceous aromatics and tangy citrus. The restaurant had been BYOB, but is currently takeaway only, so you can bring your spicy Thai right to the comfort of your own home. 5901 Bryant St.