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The Most Romantic Restaurants in the NC Smokies

Couple eating outdoors in Downtown Waynesville, NC

It’s that time of year again when love fills the air—or maybe it’s just the smell of Frog Leap’s pecan-crusted mountain rainbow trout? Either way, the thought of taking your love up to the Smoky Mountains for an extended weekend of relaxation and reconnection should make you giddy with excitement. We know every memorable holiday staycation needs 3 things: a cozy place to stay, days full of activity and an amazing spot for dinner. We’ve got plenty of blogs to help you with the first two items on your checklist, but here’s where you need to head for an unforgettable dining experience in the Smokies:

Chef’s Table

You’ll find this hidden gem tucked away on one of Waynesville’s side streets and it’s worth the short walk off the well-worn path. Here, you’ll find dishes prepared with local meat and produce sliding through the open kitchen to your table. The chef has designed a menu full of unique wine country-inspired cuisine and each plate has been created with a specific wine pairing in mind. Its intimate atmosphere (the seating capacity is only 42, so make sure you have a reservation!) and polite service makes dining here a remarkable experience.

Frogs Leap Public House

You’ll find this excellent date night spot located right next door to Chef’s Table. Frogs Leap takes local, sustainable, organic ingredients to create special dishes that are as vibrant as they are tasty. If you’re looking to spend your evening ordering round after round of shareables and cocktails, this is the place for you! We say charcuterie and martinis sounds like a great start, but pace yourself: the cozy feel inside will make it hard to leave, so plan on a long and leisurely experience.

Bourbon Barrel Beef & Ale

Sitting in the Hazelwood district of Waynesville is Bourbon Barrel Beef & Ale, where they’re serving up hand-cut steaks, perfectly cooked burgers and rich flavors stuffed into every plate of American comfort food. The secret to their success is definitely in their ingredients: everything here is locally sourced and sustainable. The friendly, casual atmosphere makes this the place to head if you’re looking for a relaxing date with hearty portions sizes bursting with flavor.

Frankie’s Italian Trattoria

If your first thought when you hear “romantic date night” is a fine Italian restaurant complete with a heaping plate of fresh pasta and a bottle of wine, Frankie’s in Maggie Valley should be your go-to. With authentic Italian recipes and traditions that go back nearly a century, the Perrone famiglia knows how to stroke your heartstrings through food. The newly renovated interior is extremely laid-back and comfortable, so order the cannoli and stay a while!

Southern Porch Restaurant

Southern Porch sits perched in the quaint, historic town of Canton, occupying a striking Victorian mansion that’s nearly 150 years old. Family-owned and operated, you can expect to feel like you just sat down at mom and dad’s dining room table for a home-cooked meal. If you’re visiting on Valentine’s Day, their star hostesses—who also happen to be the owners’ daughters—will bring you a rose once you’ve been seated. Their menu is just as sweet: selections range from Southern comfort classics like shrimp and grits to the always-delicious cheesesteak, so this should be your spot for the evening if you’re hungry for a little bit of everything.

Blue Rooster Southern Grill

When you walk into Blue Rooster, you’ll hear the wait staff shout “Welcome to the Rooster!” If that didn’t prepare you enough for the experience you’re about to have, the “Bon Appetit Y’all” printed across the top of their menu should do the trick. This truly is a unique and authentic Southern cooking adventure, complete with décor sourced from the 1950’s. If you’re looking for a low-stress good time—this is your spot.

So—what’s your preference? Will you go for the dark and romantic dinner, a long and leisurely stroll through the menu, comfort food classics, or something else? No matter what you choose, we hope these restaurants pair nicely with any other plans you’ve got penciled in for the long weekend.

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