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We love romance as much as the next person, but there’s a fine line between mood-setting and gag-inducing. The next time you’re in the market for a special dinner for two, head to one of these eight restaurants, which serve up charming ambience (plus great food) without an ounce of schmaltz.

RELATED: The Perfect Miami Date Itinerary for Every Relationship Stage

mitalia square
Courtesy of Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar

For Italian Food Aficionados: Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar

Top Chef power couple Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth, who fell in love while working in restaurants together, are behind this dreamy Italian concept in South Miami. At Mi’talia Kitchen & Bar, the couple serves made-from-scratch food for the soul. (Think sunflower pizza, made with Sun Gold tomatoes, yellow squash, pistachio pesto, ricotta and sunflower seeds, and a big bowl of chili mussels with spicy salami and Calabrian chilis served with crunchy sourdough.) C’mon, there’s no better way to say “I love you” than with a generous glass of wine and a big bowl of pasta.

5958 S. Dixie Hwy., South Miami; 305-885-4008 or mitaliakitchen.com

ariete sq
Courtesy of Ariete

For Anyone Looking for a Cozy Spot That Isn’t Too Formal: Ariete

With its dim, intimate interior and charming outdoor courtyard, it’s no wonder chef Michael Beltran’s Ariete is a date-night go-to. The dining room channels a chic farmhouse vibe and the food is next-level. Plan to share just about everything, including the wood-grilled oysters and the signature Chug Burger, which is one of the best in the city.

3540 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove; 305-640-5862 or arietecoconutgrove.com 

malibu miami squaew1
Courtesy of Malibu Farm Miami Beach

For the Couple in Search of a Beachy (and Healthy) Escape: Malibu Farm Miami Beach

This farm-to-table eatery is as charming as it is healthy, with almost every dish incorporating a handful of fruits and vegetables. Grab a seat on the restaurant’s half-indoor, half-outdoor deck and summon your inner romantic vacation mode. Then order this arugula, mango and burrata salad to share with your beau—and the avocado pizza on cauliflower crust. 

4525 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-674-5579 or edenrochotelmiami.com

mandolin sq
Courtesy of Mandolin Aegean Bistro

For Those Who Want to Get Away (Without Paying for Airfare): Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Surprise your sweetheart with a quick trip to the Mediterranean—and by that we mean a reservation at Mandolin. Snag an alfresco table on the restaurant’s whitewashed outdoor patio and say cheers over a few orders of the cheese saganaki and kefte meatballs. Dinner will be so satisfying that your S.O. might finally agree to that European vacation you’ve been dying to go on.

4312 NE Second Ave.; 305-749-9140 or mandolinmiami.com

kaido sq
Courtesy of Kaido

For an Upscale and Swank Evening: Kaido

Everything about chef Brad Kilgore’s Kaido is sexy. The swanky, Japanese-inspired cocktail lounge includes high-end drinks and small, shareable bites. Depending on what you and your date are in the mood for, Kaido will suggest a unique lineup of food and drink pairings, which may include a full-blown multicourse dinner or something more low-key. Take it one step further with a reservation inside Kaido’s secret dining room, Ama. There, you’ll embark on a 16-course tasting journey limited to only eight lucky diners at a time.

151 NE 41st St. #217; 786-409-5591 or kaidomiami.com

chef adriennes sq
Courtesy of Chef Adrianne's

For People Who Don’t Feel Like Driving into the City: Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar

We’re not kidding when we say this place is romantic: Chef Adrianne Calvo’s Kendall restaurant always includes a massive bouquet of fresh red roses (which she purchases herself once a week) at the center of the dining room. A favorite among locals, this spot made the cut on Yelp’s 2019 Most Romantic Restaurants list. If you go, Calvo suggests sharing the steak for two with a bottle of red. Classique.

11510 SW 147th Ave., Kendall; 305-408-8386 or chefadriannes.com

swan sq1
Courtesy of Swan

For an A-List-Caliber Date Night: Swan and Bar Bevy

When Grammy Award–winning musician Pharrell Williams announced the opening of his first restaurant and lounge with hospitality wiz David Grutman (OTL, Planta, Komodo), we had high hopes—and they more than delivered with this flat-out gorgeous space. The restaurant serves modern American-French cuisine by Top Chef Europe winner Jean Imbert and a line of inventive cocktails in the dining room of our dreams. Date night just got real classy, real quick.

90 NE 39th St.; 305-704-0994 or swanbevy.com

amara paraiso sq
Courtesy of Amara at Paraiso

For the Most Romantic Miami Evening: Amara at Paraiso

James Beard Award winner Michael Schwartz calls Amara at Paraiso his “love letter to Miami” and we couldn’t agree more. With a stunning location on Biscayne Bay, this is low-key one of the best spots to catch the sunset with a chilled malbec. Oh, and don’t forget a couple platters of Argentine meat and cheese. Yeah, this place is heaven.

3101 NE Seventh Ave.; 305-702-5528 or amaraatparaiso.com

RELATED: 6 Elegant Cocktail Bars That Are Perfect for Date Night

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