Dinner dates aren’t necessarily the same as they used to be. We don’t really want the white tablecloths or the dim, candlelit lighting any more—we want places with energy, flair and, most importantly, lots of talking points. With that in mind, here are Perth’s best date night restaurants.
Francoforte Spaghetti Bar
This one tops the list of date spots whether you’re on a budget or not. Francoforte is hip but unpretentious, intimate but easy-going and, above all, the menu is short but uncompromising on quality. You literally cannot go wrong here, but the kale pesto with cacciatore sausage and the porco rosso are absolute game-changers. Plus, it’s BYO.
This place was practically made for date-goers on budgets. Transport your date to Spain by heading to Pinchos, where you can enjoy delicious morsels made up of white anchovy, pickle and olive, or sausage, honey and goats cheese for as low as $1. Yes, one damn dollar. But don’t worry, the more substantial menu items don’t increase in price exponentially—so treat yourself to the albondigas (meatballs) and the beetroot and chickpea salad, both of which are exquisite. Order as you go and have some fun with it.
Never impartial to a good mid-week deal is Clarences, a much-loved neighbourhood joint offering a variety of drinking and dining options. Chill in the courtyard with a beer and some chips, tuck yourselves away at one of the high tables and enjoy some share platters, or go for a full sit down dinner in the dimly-lit, street-facing restaurant. The burgers are epic, and can be made a bit more date-appropriated if coupled with one of their mouth-watering cocktails.
The Modern Eatery
Fremantle or Mount Lawley
Bringing fine Japanese sushi to the people of Perth is The Modern Eatery, who specialise in Aburi Sushi which is the kind that’s seared with an open flame. Both the Fremantle and Mount Lawley restaurants are beautifully fitted-out, promising to impress. Share some ‘Japas’ (yeah, Japanese tapas) or go straight for the Aburi ‘feed me’ option.
Lulu La Delizia
We hope your date likes pasta because here’s another list-stopper for you. Lulu La Delizia is a quaint little eatery and wine bar specialising in premium fresh, hand-made pasta. Here, you can practically taste the love that has been put into carefully creating each bowl of pasta served, so how can love not abound on your date, too? The space is small, intimate, and homely, striking the perfect balance between romantic and relaxed.
Lady Of Ro
You can see why this list was hard to narrow down. Lady of Ro is the definition of laid-back elegance, what with its dim lighting, marble bar and menu that’s chalked-up nightly. Choose literally anything from their grill (the prawns, if they’re on offer, are insanely buttery and delicious) and don’t forget the wine, because this gem is BYO. P.S. Order dessert if you want extra points.
Canteen Pizza is like the date spot for the kids of the people who go on dates at Il Lido, its parent restaurant up the road. In all seriousness though, Canteen is bringing new credibility to the date suggestion of, ‘we could grab a pizza?’. They serve up some of the best pizza in Perth which goes down nicely at sunset with an Aperol Spritz in hand. The place has a wine menu heavily inspired by that of Il Lido’s, so you know you’re in for some good liquid accompaniments, too. Don’t leave without splitting the tummy-bustingly good tiramisu.
If your date could require a bit of a tequila blanket, look no further my friends. El Publico is a fun and energetic spot for a date, and their Tommy’s Margarita is, undoubtedly, the best of its kind. Choose from the a la carte menu—the duck carnitas are a non-negotiable—or go for the ‘feed me’ menu which will see you buried in chicharron, street corn and tacos for just $39. Note: The hot sauce is seriously hot, don’t derail the date by going too hard.
Think hot, sweet, spicy and sour flavours in a laid-back but charactered joint. Kitsch Bar is traditional Asian street market inspired food meets cocktails reminiscent of the bars of Bangkok, Singapore and Malaysia. Don’t miss the lamb massaman curry, green papaya salad or the crispy skin pork belly—though the menu changes frequently, so be sure to get adventurous, too. Also, if you’re wishing you were still reading the ‘budget’ category, these guys do weekly specials— read: Pad Thai Tuesdays for $20 including a beer.
Oozing Freo cool, but relaxed and romantic, Habitue is dishing up delicious Mediterranean fare made from fresh, local produce. Their ‘thing’ is chargrill cooking, so expect some tantalising smells and flavours to emanate from the kitchen.
If you really feel like treating yourselves, do it at this ever-reliable neighbourhood joint-meets-world-class-eatery. Il Lido’s beachside location, tall ceilings and familiar service ensure it never feels too fancy, while their award-winning wine selection, contemporary fit-out and expertly crafted food secure its spot as a very fine place to dine. Our recommendation? Book a Sunday date and split the lasagna—it’s so luxurious, the sugo almost warrants plate-slurping.
Bread In Common
Built into a beautiful heritage listed building on Pakenham Street, Bread In Common has been running since 2013 and their menu is showing no signs of failure. The open kitchen makes for great date discussion, and the farm to table food will delight and surprise. If the flourless chocolate is on offer for dessert, don’t leave without treating yourselves to it.
It’s hard to go past Long Chim for date night, not least due to its irresistibly cool location (the basement of the State Buildings) and excellent fit-out. It cannot be overstated how good Long Chim’s menu is. From the chicken larp and the cured pork sausage, to the papaya and grilled beef salads, to the prawn and fish dumpling laksa, the roast duck, and the charred noodles, you will leave here wanting to come back for lunch and dinner again the next day, and every day after that for the rest of time.
The State Buildings ooze romance, character and fun, so it’s hard to go past any of their restaurants for a good date. Petition Kitchen serves up rustic, Mediterranean-inspired food that is uniquely Western Australian, showcasing some of the best local produce there is. Order a delicious assortment of eats because they’re all delicious (we're looking at you broccoli salad).
So continues our love affair with great food that lies behind inconspicuous doors. Tsunami Ko is the epitome of exclusive dining and could represent the peak of experiencing teppanyaki in Perth. The place only fits 16 people, all seated around the iron plates, so you’ve got pretty much full view of the teppanyaki theatrics from wherever you’re seated. You can order straight from the teppanyaki menu, or go for the Omakase, which is a chef’s selection. Make sure to accompany your meal with one of their fifty different sake varieties or a Japanese whisky, if you dare. Being entertained by the incredibly skilful, knife-wielding chef makes for a really fun (but still sophisticated) date-night.
Want more date night ideas? Here are 8 date ideas that aren't dinner and drinks.
Image credit: Elle Borgward