Date Night in Your Area

3 Places for Date Night Dinners

Thumbnail image from Pixabay

By Rebecca Fending

It’s not a secret that date night can get a bit stale, especially once you find a go-to restaurant and worry about branching out. If you and your sweetheart are in search of a new eatery to try, here are three places in your area:

Tampa Bay

Ossobuco Alla Milanese. Image from Donatello’s Facebook page.

Donatello Italian Restaurant – 232 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa

If you’re looking to impress your date, Donatello is the place. Listed as “old-school, upscale Italian dining with live music & tuxedo-clad waiters amid stucco arches,” this Italian eatery will make date night feel extra special.

Donatello’s menu boasts Italian classics like hand-made fresh pasta, scampi and parmigiana. However, it also includes entrees made only at Donatello such as the Abbacchio Al Forno Alla Ciociara, meant to be for two. This dish features a rack of lamb, seared and baked with mustard and herb breadcrumbs, and finished in a rosemary demi-glaze sauce.

You may want to make a reservation, just to make sure date night is as smooth as the imported Tuscan wine. You can do so at

Lake/Marion Counties

Image from the Katya Vineyards Facebook page.

Katya Vineyards – 101 East Silver Springs Blvd Ste. 102, Ocala

With a nearly perfect Google rating, Katya Vineyards offers a unique and upscale dining experience. This family-owned and operated business takes inspiration from their Eastern European heritage, creating a food and wine menu that is a one of a kind in the modern dining world.

The menu includes caviar sourced directly from the Caspian Sea, fresh seafood and even certified Japanese Wagyu beef cuts. However, the menu does not stop there. For $120 per person, guests can order the Food and Wine Pairing. This includes a four-course gourmet spread where you have the option of choosing between two plate offerings. A glass of expertly chosen wine is paired with each course to complete the ultimate upscale dining experience.

It is recommended that you make a reservation prior to your visit, which you can do with Open Table. Learn more at

Sarasota/Manatee Counties

Caribbean Jerk Red Snapper over yellow pepper potato mash, sautéed Brussel sprouts, roasted tomato and saffron sauce and a sea scallop. Image from Selva’s Facebook page.

Selva Downtown Sarasota – 1345 Main Street, Sarasota

Stylish, sleek and chic, Selva in Sarasota is perfect for anyone looking for a new and exciting dining experience. Listed as a “Peruvian eatery dishes up inventive ceviches & sizable cocktails in a chic room with elegant décor,” this restaurant is sure to breathe life into date night.

Selva’s menu lists items such as ceviches with fresh Hawaiian wahoo, shrimp, tuna and wild white fish for starters. With a focus on fresh seafood, the menu also includes entrees like Chilean seabass, snapper, ahi tuna and crab. However, Selva also includes land-roaming proteins such as various cuts of steak, lamb and chicken.

For more information or reservation information, visit

Southwest Region

Image from The Perfect Caper Facebook page.

The Perfect Caper – 121 East Marion Avenue, Punta Gorda

The Perfect Caper is a casual fine dining restaurant with a contemporary French-New American feel. This spot focuses on creating fresh, new dishes with locally sourced ingredients to offer a high-class taste of the Gulf coast.

The menu offers appetizers and small plates, salads, pastas and entrees including both seafood and other protein options. The Crabby Scallops are a popular item, made with grilled sea scallops and topped with brulee of jumbo lump crab and yuzu tobiko,
coconut, black rice, baby bok choy and apricot beurre blanc.

View the full menu and learn more at

Suncoast Region

Image from The Veranda’s Facebook page.

The Veranda – 2122 Second Street, Fort Myers

This fine dining restaurant is described as having a, “Historic setting featuring upmarket Southern cuisine, a romantic piano bar and a garden courtyard.” The Veranda is one of Fort Myers most awarded restaurants since 1978, and for good reason.

Not only is the atmosphere wonderful, but the menu is what keeps guests coming back. Appetizers include escargot, crab cakes and scallops, just to name a few options. Entrees at The Veranda include filet mignon, fresh herb-crusted salmon, New Zealand lamb and Chateaubriand, among many other options. And, if you’ve saved room for dessert, guests can choose between fresh berries with whipped cream, triple layer chocolate pâté with raspberry coulis and traditional Florida key lime pie.

For more reservations, the full menu and more information, visit


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