Lucia is booked... most "Lucia-like" in spirit?
For a very special anniversary, I was really hoping for Lucia... but they're booked!
What should my second choice be?
I do not at all necessarily mean some place that's Italian, or in Bishop Arts District, etc., etc., but rather, some place that is special, "nice" but not ridiculously pricy, ideally small, intimate, romantic, amazing food obviously, bearing the imprint of an individual creative chef -- that sort of thing. Really any cuisine would be fine.
Thanks in advance!
I would look to Nonna in Highland Park. Small, yes. But not necessarily "intimate & romantic" due to it's closeness and noise level. But you can check off all the other things that must meet your criteria.
Especially the excellent food by a very creative young chef. IMHO, the closest you'll find in "spirit" to Lucia.
And yes, you will need to reserve with time in mind. Nonna is very popular.
You might also consider Adelmo's Ristorante on Cole off Knox Street. Smaller and more "romantic" with excellent food.
One other place that might meet ALL your criteria would be Amici Signature in Carrollton.
Small, dark, intimate, quiet, and romantic with excellent food prepared by a great chef.
Tei-An might be a possibility. Not sure how romantic Lucia actually is? It's brightly lit, tables close together ...
FT33 where I sat I didn't perceive the way you're describing, but we did end up staying quite a while and having a wonderful conversation. So perhaps there's something ...
So many chef-driven restaurants I've been to seem to be really loud and energetic ... which I think is perhaps the opposite of what you're looking for.
You could also call and ask them to call you if they have an opening. I did this when relatives were in town and got the call just before we were heading to another restaurant.
Tei An is an good suggestion. I also agree with foiegras that Lucia isn't particularly 'romantic' - I don't think it's that brightly lit (I have a tough time getting decent pictures), but the tables are fairly close together and it can get a little loud and bustling.
My suggestion would be Driftwood. It has excellent chef-driven food, and has always seemed a little more calm than some of the other places that have been mentioned (FT33 and Nonna - both of which are also great restaurants). If it happens to be a cool evening the patio is even more relaxed.
Belly & Trumpet might also be a good choice. Or Bijoux.
Other ideas to throw out there... none of which seem perfect for various reasons:
The Grape - more intimate, and the food is good... but not mind blowing.
Oak - slightly more upscale interior... but I'm not sure how the food is with the latest chef (I haven't heard, one way or the other)
Spoon - can be a bit on the pricey side