Best Restaurants in Athens to Treat Your Valentine

Athens Ohio Best Restaurants Valentines Day

While love is often in the air around our beloved Athens, it’s February and Cupid is out in full force! Maybe the casual or brew-pub dining scene that Athens excels at is right up your alley to celebrate all things love (check out some of our more laid back favorites in the last paragraph).  But for the purposes of this post, we are going to focus on restaurants that offer a bit more on the traditional Valentines vibe for wooing your date, while pleasing your tastebuds with their delicious food. Ranging from a classic dinner and flowers evening, to something unique and distinctively “Athens”, check out this list of best places in Athens OH for Valentine’s Day.


A growing favorite since it opened in 2019, Ciro Italian Kitchen & Bar is a great date night spot and offers some of the best Italian food in Athens. Located within walking distance of Uptown, Ciro showcases a diverse menu, from savory small plates to hearty entrees crafted with locally sourced ingredients. Whether you’re craving the delicate flavors of house-made pasta or delighting in the succulent grilled meats and seafood, Ciro is bound to deliver the experience you are looking for, and boasts the ambiance many desire for their Valentine.

Shade Winery  

Although best known for it’s outdoor dining experience which is a little difficult during February in Ohio, Shade Winery always has to make the list for best date-night spots in Athens. Located 15 minutes outside Athens, Shade Winery has some of the best food around.  Locals love their shareable boards and salmon entrees (some version of it always is on the menu), and pairing their seasonal menu with a wine flight makes for a perfect evening.  With limited seating due to the winter season, it’s recommended you book your reservation in advance!


Athens Ohio Best Restaurants Valentines Date

Photo courtesy Restaurant Salaam

Restaurant Salaam

Offering a departure from the ordinary, Salaam brings a wonderful fusion of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors to Athens. The restaurant’s cozy and ornate decor sets the stage for a distinctively intimate evening. Couples can indulge in a diverse array of dishes, including flavorful kebabs and curries. Located in the heart of Uptown Athens, Salaam stands out as an excellent choice for those desiring a culinary adventure for date night. Seating is first come, first serve and typically they do not take reservations for parties under seven.

Cutler’s Restaurant 

Nestled within the Ohio University Inn, Cutler’s Restaurant is a classic date-night option for Valentine’s in Athens. The ambiance offers a refined yet approachable atmosphere, perfect for both casual gatherings and romantic Valentines Day celebrations.  As you enter, the Bunch of Grapes Tavern welcomes you with a cozy lounge setting for drinks and lighter fare. For most holidays, Cutler’s presents a special dining menu, but guests can always count on classic steak and seafood options.

Purple Chopstix

With its vibrant atmosphere and decor straight from the local Passion Works Studio, Purple Chopstix offers a delightful blend of Asian-inspired cuisine with a modern twist. As you step inside, you’re greeted by the aroma of sizzling stir-fries and savory sauces wafting from the kitchen. The menu at Purple Chopstix boasts an array of mouthwatering options, including its flavorful peanut pasta, spicy curry dishes and seafood crepes. The vibe of Purple Chopsix is distinctively “Athens”, making this choice a delightful twist compared to the more traditional Valentine’s options above.


If these five don’t pique your interest, there are always local classics like Jackie O’s Brew Pub, Little Fish Brewing Company, Star of India and Casa Nueva.  Don’t have time for a meal, plan to make dinner together at home, ordering take out, or want to fun drink spot before or after dinner?  Toast to your love over a drink at The Ciderhouse, Athens Uncorked, or one of the local breweries.  That’s what makes Athens, awesome, you can make an evening unique to you and your love.  With such a diverse range of food, drinks, price points, atmosphere, etc. you’re bound to find something memorable in the best college town in Ohio for Valentines Day!

Staying for an overnight? Check out these breakfast recommendations for Athens here.