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12 Restaurant Chains Perfect For Date Night

From steakhouses to a retro burger chain, these restaurants are cozy and worthy of a special outing.

Date night can mean a lot of different things, from a third date with a new love interest to a weekly (or monthly) opportunity to reconnect with your long-time partner without distraction. While movies and shows are often on the agenda, there's one thing that's an absolute must on date night: a nice dinner that both parties enjoy.

And while some may want to splurge on fancy restaurants, there's nothing like the familiar comfort of a great burger or 9 Best Steakhouse Chains In America you both know and love. Who says you can't have a romantic time at a LongHorn Steakhouse?

To find the very best date night spots that won't break the bank, we looked at all of the top chain restaurants with a few attributes in mind, including a menu that had lots of shareable plates, a nice atmosphere that's not too stuffy, and an eye on anything that would create a cozy shared experience. Our list includes a wine bar with small plates, several steakhouses, and a retro burger joint. Here are some ideas for your next date night!


applebees bourbon street steak
Photo: Applebee's

When you and your baby are feeling fancy-like, and are looking for that Bourbon Street steak with the Oreo shake, it's time to hit Applebee's (according to Walker Hayes, anyway). The national chain, with over 1,500 locations around the country is a crowd-pleasing spot to unwind with your special someone after a long week (or during the week when you just can't face cooking). After all, there's nothing that says "romance" like feeding each other that well-priced steak and sticking two straws in your Oreo shake.

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Barcelona Wine Bar

a couple on a date at barcelona wine bar
Photo: Barcelona Wine Bar

Most of us love connecting over food, and this growing wine bar chain, with locations in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., offers a rustic menu that's perfect for sharing. With a fantastic wine program, along with tapas shaped by Mediterranean, Spanish, and South American influences, Barcelona Wine Bar is an excellent choice for sharing bites on date night.

Bonefish Grill

bonefish grill bang bang shrimp
Photo: Courtesy of Bonefish Grill

This seafood restaurant has classier vibes than some of the other chains. We love Bonefish Grill for great cocktails and, of course, the famous Bang Bang Shrimp—if they won't share the shrimp, you might want to reconsider your relationship. The woodfire grilled fish like Mahi Mahi and salmon are also an excellent treat for a special night.

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The Cheesecake Factory

cheesecake factory avocado egg rolls
Photo: The Cheesecake Factory / Facebook

We don't care what anyone says, The Cheesecake Factory, with its 200 nationwide locations and a huge menu, is an excellent choice for date night. The enormous menu truly has something for almost everyone, with choices ranging from eggroll samplers to vegan cobb salad to Jamaican black pepper chicken and shrimp. Not only are there a lot of choices, but the portions are huge, so you'll likely have leftovers the next day.

Johnny Rockets

people doing cheers with johnny rockets milkshakes
Photo: Johnny Rockets / X

If you and your person are craving a classic burger-and-milkshake experience, look no further than Johnny Rockets. The fun retro chain's chrome and linoleum decor evokes the 1950s, and they have every type of burger to choose from, including a double cheeseburger with bacon and Impossible burgers.

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Legal Sea Foods

Photo: Legal Sea Foods / X

What started as a family-owned fish market in Cambridge, Mass., is now a mid-size chain centered mostly in the Northeast. Legal Sea Foods focuses on fresh, sustainable seafood when selecting products to serve at its 25-plus locations. The seafood is excellent, the burger is also a great choice, and the vibes strike the right casual fancy note for a date night splurge.

Longhorn Steakhouse

longhorn employee
Photo: Longhorn Steakhouse

For a memorable date night where dress pants or heels aren't part of the equation, take your person to Longhorn Steakhouse. With over 600 locations around the country, you'll get excellent steaks, chops, and sides, along with friendly service that feels higher-end than the prices.

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Maggiano's Little Italy

Tomato Basil Bruschetta at Maggiano's on a plate
Photo: Maggiano's

Cozy Italian food is a date night must, and Maggiano's is one of the best chains serving Italian food. With over 50 locations around the country, the restaurant makes date night feel special with warm service and a menu with lots of shareable starters like the Chef's Meat and Cheese Board and the Artisan Bruschetta Board.

The Melting Pot

melting pot valentine's day
Photo: Courtesy of Melting Pot

We're convinced that sharing food or interacting through food, makes for a great date night, and fondue is a great shareable and fun conversation starter after a long day. The Melting Pot is more than just a meal; it's a fondue experience. Start with a shareable pot of melted cheese, then try a hotpot of broth with meats and veggies, and finish with a warm pot of bubbling chocolate for a fun (and filling) night out.

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Outback Steakhouse

Photo: Outback Steakhouse / Facebook

It's impossible to have a bad dinner or a bad time at Outback Steakhouse. With 600 locations around the country, this restaurant is the perfect choice for a lowkey date night after a busy week when you both just want to catch up, chow down on a great steak or burger, and keep it simple. Also, sharing a Blooming Onion is a love language that speaks to most of us.

Raising Cane's

raising canes chicken tenders
Photo: Raising Canes

Chicken tenders may have replaced burgers as America's food obsession, and we think it's important to make sure whomever you're dating is down to share tendies. Where better to try this out than Raising Cane's? Hit the drive-thru, get a couple of Caniac combos—fingers, fries, Cane's sauce, Texas toast, and a soda—and settle in on the couch to watch The Bear with your sweetheart.

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Texas Roadhouse

Texas Roadhouse table full of food
Photo: Texas Roadhouse / Facebook

There's something about a steakhouse that just makes date night feel special, and Texas Roadhouse hits the right casual fancy notes with excellent in-house dry-aged steaks and an atmosphere that's the opposite of stuffy. Start with some grilled shrimp or fried pickles, and pick a steak from a menu that has a size and style for everyone, including a lean little filet mignon, a beefy cut of prime rib, or an enormous porterhouse t-bone.

Tanya Edwards
Tanya Edwards is a seasoned food and health journalist, who has held roles at Yahoo Health as Managing Editor and at Food Network as Programming Director. Read more about Tanya