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Jun 16, 2009 03:21 PM

romantic dinner Durham/Chapel Hill

Hounds; I need suggestions for places for a romantic dinner for me and a delightful, wonderful girl:)
Ideally I'd like an intimate Paris bistro vibe. The food is important but the atmosphere is more! So help cupid out ,hounds, with your good advice!

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    1. re: chizow

      It depends on the girl. Bonne Soiree in CH could be a better vibe.

      If this girl wears a toe ring, I'd say go to Vin Rouge and sit outside. Their patio really reminded me of bing in France.
      If she's more conservative, FourSquare or Bonne Soiree.

    2. Bonne Soiree or Four Square deliver ambiance and great food.

      1 Reply
      1. re: veganhater

        Thanks everyone I never thought about that....I meant 'girl' in a rhapsodic way..she's classy, 30's. . I said 'French bistro' for a vibe but it doesn't have to be French food at all.
        Inside Vin Rouge, is it toe-ring time? As that's a definite deal breaker....thanks for all the suggestions and asking those questions....

      2. I took my guy to Four Square for his birthday once and we sat out on the porch. Frankly, I might as well have been sitting on my own porch. Romantic is great, but if I go to a restaurant I want to feel some sort of vibe coming from other people. But maybe you want to be left TOTALLY alone. We like outdoors at Vin Rouge (and I don't have a toe ring), but only when there are others around. What does romantic dinner mean to you? Do you like posh? Do you want to be left alone and just waited on? I'm not quite as crazy as most people are about Lantern, but their bar in the back is super sexy and the food is nice. There are other people in close quarters, but it's dark and you can cuddle up. That would be my idea of a romantic date. If you feel like coming to Durham, you could go have a drink at Piedmont - they have a great little Champagne cocktail. Then you could walk up to Rue Cler, if you like it there and have dinner. I'm a big fan of appetizer hopping myself. You could include Revolution for an app. How about a picnic at Duke Gardens.

        5 Replies
        1. re: suse

          Thanks a lot Suse, yes Four Square does sound uncomfortabe. I dont' want to be totally alone, that would be akward, so that a lot for that.. I'd say romantic with other humans;-)

          Bon Soiree, so far sounds the best to me, great food and glamorous atmosphere for someone special. I also like the idea of the bar at Lantern:) I'd heard good things about it, but what about the tables....the place looks a tad spare. Or doesn't it feel that way...
          Right now Bon Soiree and Lantern are at the top of my list...thanks for the input everyone! keep it coming this is really so helpful.

          1. re: Rory

            The back bar at the Lantern is nice and dark (so dark it is hard to read the menu) and to me romantic. Much different feel than the front room.

            1. re: LulusMom

              We did a tapas style bar hop up Franklin for my wife's birthday (or maybe anniversary?) one year. Drinks and dishes at about a half dozen places (Elaines, Crooks, West End Wine Bar, Lantern, Penang, LocoPops). Lantern's back bar was the most romantic, though the window table at Elaine's could give it a run for its money.

              1. re: brokegradstudent

                Elaines! Yes yes. I had given up on the place for a year or so, but went back a couple of months ago and had a great dinner. Then went again, and had another great dinner. And the room is lovely, upscale but comfortable.

            2. re: Rory

              I've never sat out on the porch but the times we've eaten in the house at Four Square it was wonderful. I prefer it over the stuffiness of Bonne Soiree-- although I like BS's food slightly more.

          2. If *romance* is the high note, with setting and atmosphere taking the driver's seat, you're gonna want to make reservations at Fearrington House. It is still the most romantic venue in this area, bar none. Formal service, very good food, good wine list. There's typically a few other tables nearby, though with a party of 6 or more I've seen us put in our own private room.

            You can dress up as much as you like, I often wear one of my tuxes, but you can get away with just a jacket if you like.

            1. I'm with the Vin Rouge crowd here. I like the food at Bonne Soiree a lot, but I can't help but feel it is overly stuffy and muted. Sooooo quiet. Hard to have a romantic time when you're in a small quiet room and feel like everyone can hear you. We love Vin Rouge ... the food isn't superb, but it is very good. It's fun, comfortable, Reminds me of the places I've loved in France. It is a lot more bustling than BS, and for me that makes it more fun.

              8 Replies
              1. re: LulusMom

                I also agree with Vin Rouge and the outside area. Very nice - you'd never know you were right off of 9th St. Was there last Saturday and the food was very good to excellent. Loved it.

                1. re: Jeanne

                  okay, thanks for the great feedback.
                  Now it looks like Lantern at the top of the list:, bar for drinks and back room for dinner. I like the nice and dark, and Elaines vs. Vin Rouge 2nd. In case she doesn't care for oriental fusion:
                  Nice food, good atmosphere. Is Elaine's super quiet?
                  Bon Soiree now is out, as yeah I dont want the entire room hearing me. You all are fantastic!

                  1. re: Rory

                    Just to clarify - the bar is the same as the back room at the Lantern.

                    Elaine's isnt' super quiet. It is small, cozy and usually has some action going. Not loud, but not deadly silent either.

                    Hope you have a wonderful time!

                    1. re: Rory

                      I've never found Bonne Soiree to be stuffy. It's a small dining room, very elegantly appointed, but the service is warm, friendly and not quiet. I would just ask for a table off to the side. Also, check out four square's web site for an idea of what their dining rooms look like. The post about sitting on the porch is ridiculous. I, personally, would love an elegant meal completely alone on the front porch of an old historic house. If that's not what you want, just ask to be seated inside.

                      That all being said, lantern is a very good restaurant and definitely loud when busy and I would take elaine's over vin rouge for food.

                      1. re: veganhater

                        I think calling my post on the porch at 4 Square ridiculous is a bit harsh. It's cool if that's what you like. I was just saying it wasn't my idea of a night out, that's all.

                        1. re: suse

                          Criticizing a restaurant because you were seated alone outside on their front porch seems ridiculous when you could easily have requested to sit inside. I also would think that would be a bonus if you wanted a romantic or intimate dinner, assuming you enjoy your date's company.

                          1. re: veganhater

                            We all have different ideas of a romantic night out. I wasn't criticizing the entire restaurant. Of course, I enjoy my date's company or else he wouldn't be my date. I'm just saying it's not MY thing. We actually requested a seat on the porch, because we thought it would be romantic and it ended up just feeling too isolated where we were. I'm sure it's a fine enough restaurant and maybe it was just that we were way off in a corner - some people like that - that's cool. I was just expressing my opinion - didn't need to be criticized for it.

                            1. re: suse

                              "Thanks a lot Suse, yes Four Square does sound uncomfortabe. I dont' want to be totally alone, that would be akward, so that a lot for that.. I'd say romantic with other humans;-)"

                              That's the response to your post, leading this guy (I think) to believe you'll be dining in isolation. This, of course, is not true. When you express your opinion, especially in a disparaging way, you are certainly open for criticism.

                              On a different note, what have I missed at Vin Rouge? I've been there three times (2 brunch, 1 dinner) and the food, while decent, is nothing more than average renditions of bistro classics. Rue Cler, to me, seems to have better cooking and ingredients for a French bistro fix, although neither place is great.