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Jun 27, 2007 10:20 AM

Romantic Restaurants in Fresno, CA

I need a good reccomendation for a Romantic Restaurant in Fresno, CA maybe even Clovis, CA. Doesn't matter about expense of the meal. I'd even prefer if it was more upscale/fine dining.

Anyways, thanks!! any suggestion would be awesome.

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  1. I recently dined at FIVE on Champlain/Perin! I thought the meal and atmosphere were excellent!!

    1. Romantic in Fresno is difficult. The first two that come to mind are Manhattan and Ripe Tomato. If you go to the Ripe Tomato, ask to be seated in a booth or what they call "a half booth". At the Manhattan, ask to be in the upper area. Also, if you like Italian, Parma is wonderful, probably not as romantic as the other two, but good food.

      1. We like Chef's Table.

        But I will emphasize that we stay away on Friday and Saturday night. But weeknights we love the food, sitting on the patio and service.

        3 Replies
        1. re: FresnoFacts

          FF, Is there a different patio for the Chef's Table or is it served on the main area patio?

          1. re: Gail

            I assume you are thinking about the patio off The Elbow Room bar.

            No Chef's Table has its own patios. Go in the same door as Elbow Room but go left. You pass by the Chef's Table room next to the kitchen, but continue straight ahead and out the door.

            What they call the vineyard patio is a separate patio with a fireplace for cool nights, shades and misters for warm nights. They also serve at a few tables at the Bocce Ball court patio.

            We went a few months ago on a weeknight and got a table right in front of the fireplace. Nice romantic atmosphere with the fire going. Since weeknights are slower we had outstanding service.

            1. re: FresnoFacts

              Thanks for clearning that up. I didn't know the Chef's T had it's own patio. Will have to check it out, sounds great.

        2. Romance? In Fresno? Hands down it would have to be be the Ripe Tomato or, possibly Cracked Pepper Bistro. Both are small, nicely lighted, with soothing colors, efficient (usually) service and much quieter than the other suggestions. Parma is quiet and has great food, but the room just doesn't exude "romance".

          8 Replies
          1. re: FAT Traveler

            Romantic is difficult to narrow down in Fresno. I have to disagree with FIVE, the noise level is outrageous (nothing to absorb it) and the food is nothing spectacular. We have tried FIVE three times and have been ultimately dissapointed every time. Ripe Tomatoe does have a "cuddly-close" booth atmosphere. In the past years it has been nominated for "Most Romantic". I had my b-day dinner there last year and was very impressed with the appetizers (soft-shell crab and smoked trout). The entrees were okay (kind of blah, no *wow* factor), but the service is by far one of the best I have ever had.

            I have not dined at Trelios (Clovis) but here is a link to a former thread, maybe it helps:

            Two suggestions would be Cracked Pepper Bistro (Shaw and Fresno) or Bistro Rustico (Palm and Bullard). I am suggesting these on the basis of spectacular food and great service. The ambiance in both are a bit casual, but cozy, with soft lighting and candles. Both of these places I have dined at and can highly recommend.

            A couple other suggestions would be Upstairs Downtown, Slates, or (if you are willing to drive an hour) Erna's Elderberry House.

            1. re: cocktailqueen77

              I guess I can't get over the Cracked Pepper's location. I haven't eaten there so can't comment on the food.

              I really disagree with you on Slates. I love the location and the ambiance, but the food has disappointed all three times.

              Thanks for the Bistro Rustico rec. That would be handy for us.

              1. re: Gail

                I gave the Slates rec without ever really dining there, just by word-of-mouth. SO and I only have had a soup and app at the bar. Service was below par, food was alright. I don't know how the dining room lives up to its *hmmm* expectations.

                Bistro Rustico: food and service has been amazing every time we dine there. It is only a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from where we live so we have become quite the regulars. I appreciate that the owners take the time to talk to each table about their experience, plus they greet us by name now. Makes it feel intimate and special.

                1. re: cocktailqueen77

                  CQ, I guess Bistro Rustico doesn't have a web site. We have trouble with Italian restaurants that feature only pasta. We enjoy mussels, veal and other Italian fare, not just fancy pasta dishes. What does their menu feature?

                  1. re: Gail

                    They have an awesome appetizer list. Carpaccio, fritto de casa (lightly fried calamari, oranges, lemons, and basil leaves), eggplant terrine (my latest addiction-layered grilled eggplant, zucchini, sundried tomatoes, and goat cheese served with their homemade focaccia and a bell-pepper coulis).

                    I highly recommend the soft-shell crab salad, it comes with a layer of blue crab meat, avocado and grapefuit over greens with a passion fruit vin and a lightly fried soft-shell crab on top. Beautiful presentation and flavors (note: all the salad dressing are made on-site, plus the figs/strawberry on the spinach salad is delicious).

                    They make all their own pasta/gnocchi. Although the gnocchi (olives, tomatoes, eggplant in a red sauce) is very good, I highly reccomend the stratsopretti (sp?) which is made with ricotta and spinach and it literally melts in your mouth!! It is sauteed with pancetta with a balsamic reduction, so yummy!!

                    The pork entree with a pomegranate sauce has become a signature item. They typically change the menu seasonally, but this item was such a hit during the winter that they kept it on!! If you feel like splurging, the fish of the day (which has been mahi mahi or sockeyed salmon on previous occasions) comes with a parsnip puree which is to die for. Get a side of this if you can!! It is addicting!! The lamb and skirt steak have been ordered by SO and I have to say that both were cooked perfectly. I was hesitant about a skirt steak, but the cut and texture was spectacular!! I will be ordering this cut in other restaurants more often in hope for amazing results.

                    The desserts are all made in-house. The marscapone cheesecake is creamy and is topped off with a creme de cassis panna cotta. Wow!! They always have this so we order it every time we need a sugar kick, so we haven't tried the other desserts.

                    1. re: cocktailqueen77

                      OH my gosh, I think we have to go here for that salad alone!! Thanks so much for such a great menu review.

                      1. re: Gail

                        No problem, I love this restaurant. Like I said, it is a weekly staple in our dining adventures and I can't rave about it enough!!

              2. re: cocktailqueen77

                Unfortunately, Upstairs Downstairs closed a few weeks ago.

            2. Thanks for the great advice guys!!

              I'll be heading into Fresno this weekend. I mean I'm a native of Fresno, but never really went out and ate before.

              Cracked Pepper Bistro or Bistro Rustico ... from the response .. seem to be not too overwhelmingly noisey? right? Either way, should I make reservations ahead of time? since it will be on a weekend, Saturday night.

              6 Replies
              1. re: discreetlyblunt

                I love the Cracked Pepper Bistro. It's lovely and romantic. The food is excellent. I'd be sure to make a reservation as the restaurant only seats 40. The chef comes out to meet his patrons personally which is very nice. This is where we took our teenagers for their first find dining experience. Overlook the location. It's a wonderful place to dine.

                1. re: discreetlyblunt

                  Yes, you should always try to make a reservation to safeguard against being dissappointed or let down. Romantic settings are a challenge since most restaurants here get quite noisy. I think Slates is the closest to meeting that criteria but I agree with Gail, the food can be hit or miss and lately its been off. I would definetly stay away from Five, real noisy and food lousy. Parma gets the vote for Italian food, as it is some of the best in town.

                  1. re: mixnblend

                    could you give me more info. about Parma?

                    1. re: discreetlyblunt

                      Parma is discreetly (not intended towards username!!) located on the Northwest corner of Herndon and Marks. Very hidden. Traditional fine Italian fare. The interior is very nicely done in colors of blue and yellow with prints of Parma on the walls. Linen napkins, very clean and polished look. The owner is very enthusiastic and will warmly greet you like an old friend. The food has always been delicious when we have gone. I LOVE the Osso Bucco (might not be on menu since it is a winter dish). All the pastas and desserts are made in-house. Last time we went we ordered a strawberry dessert with a balsamic reduction that was amazing!! I wish I could give you more info on the recent menu but unfortunetly have not been in a couple months. I hope that little bit helps. I have never been dissapointed in anything I have ordered.

                      1. re: cocktailqueen77

                        Just a quick addition to CQ's comments. We attended a wine dinner there a few years ago. It was wonderful in all respects! Just to give you a feel of the owners thoughtfulness and concern, we declined dessert after so much food. However, as we were getting into our car, she came running out with a togo box with a huge portion of dessert...nice touch.

                  2. re: discreetlyblunt

                    I have to say I really love both, but I really lean towards Bistro Rustico. Both are romantic/not noisy. Both have excellent food and service. Try them both if you can!!