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The most romantic restaurants in Dayton

Have you ever wondered where to go for a romantic meal? We've got a list of the region's best -- each of these spots has an intimate atmosphere, high-quality food, great service and well-made drinks.

>> 2017 Best of Dayton: Food & Dining Winners

The best part is that you don't have to just do this on Valentine's Day -- you can enjoy a cozy, seductive experience year-round.

>> The 12 best restaurants in Dayton, period

Here's a dozen of some of the most romantic restaurants in the Miami Valley, in alphabetical order. We recommend calling ahead to check availability and make reservations early.

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The Caroline

  • Basics: 5 S. Market St., Troy; Call (937) 552-7676
  • Why it rates: Great blend of an intimate atmosphere and well-crafted dishes.
(File Photo)

Coco's Bistro

  • Basics: 250 Warren St., Dayton; Call (937) 228-2626
  • Why it rates: This restaurant has carved a strong reputation with its eclectic menu and inviting atmosphere.
Close-up of a Maple duck dish at Coco’s Bistro. (ALEXIS LARSEN)

Coldwater Café

  • Basics: 19 E. Main St., Tipp City; Call (937) 667-0007
  • Why it rates: This restaurant in downtown Tipp City serves up perfectly executed, creative dishes in a charming atmosphere — and, it won third place in Dayton.com’s 2017 Best of Dayton contest for “Best Place to Take a Date.”
Scallops with butternut squash risotto, fried leeks, balsamic reduction and brown butter, on the menu at Coldwater Cafe & Catering. Photo from Coldwater Cafe Facebook page (Staff Writer)

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Jay's Restaurant

  • Basics: 225 E. Sixth St., Dayton's Oregon Historic District; Call (937) 222-2892
  • Why it rates: The antique bar is breathtaking, Jay's has the best wine list in the city, and the decadently rich chocolate mousse is guaranteed to melt a woman's (or man's) heart.
(File Photo)

Lily’s Bistro

  • Basics: 329 E. 5th St., Dayton; Call (937) 723-7637 
  • Why it rates: Lily's captured the most votes in the 2015 "Best of Dayton" designation as "Best Place to Take a Date," and with its romantic atmosphere, numerous nooks and crannies and laid-back attitude, it's easy to see why.
Lily’s Bistro in Dayton served this marsala chicken pasta with local, free-range roasted chicken, egg noodles, spinach, and mushrooms in creamy marsala sauce during a past Restaurant Week. (Submitted) (Contributing Writer)

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Meadowlark

  • Basics: 5531 Far Hills Ave., Washington Twp.; Call (937) 434-4750
  • Why it rates: An eclectic but comfortable vibe, inspired cuisine and a well-chosen wine list make this an inviting destination.
Meadowlark’s chopped salad with tofu. Contributed Photo by Alexis Larsen

Melting Pot

  • Basics: 453 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Washington Twp.; Call (937) 567-8888
  • Why it rates: This fondue restaurant's subdued lighting, glass-walled wine cellar and wine-themed artwork create an undeniably romantic atmosphere. And if you find chocolate an aphrodisiac, save room for dessert.
Enjoy a delicious combination of ruby salad, 40-award-winning cheese fondue and surf and turf, then sip through the decades with The Melting Pot's 3-course dinner menu from now until Nov. 17. (Source: The Melting Pot Facebook page)

Watermark

  • Basics: 20 S. First St., Miamisburg; call (937) 802-0891 
  • Why it rates: A quiet, intimate atmosphere and an ever-changing, yet consistently fine, menu, enhanced by some creative cocktails. A relative newbie to Dayton’s dining scene, it was recently named “Best Fine Dining” in the 2017 Dayton.com Best of Dayton contest.

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Eric and Maria Walusis are preparing to open Watermark restaurant in Miamisburg. (Photo by Amelia Robinson)

Shen's Szechuan & Sushi

  • Basics: 7580 Poe Ave., Vandalia; Call (937) 898-3860
  • Why it rates: The soft lighting and rich woods of this restaurant's interior make it one of the most inviting atmospheres in the Miami Valley.
Shen’s Szechuan & Sushi Miso Sake roll ($12.95) features spicy salmon, cucumber and Japanese mint leaf topped with a seared salmon, hot miso sauce and scallion. Contributed photo by Alexis Larsen

Salar Restaurant & Lounge (currently closed due to fire)

  • Basics: 400 E. Fifth St. , (937) 203-3999
  • Why it rates: A beautifully renovated restaurant, with fine cocktails and creative dishes. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Salar is currently closed due to a fire on Dec. 29, 2017. Chef and owner Margot Blondet states that the restaurant will reopen, though it is uncertain when.)
Salar's Chicken Chicharrone and chicken thigh strips marinated and deep fried, served with a lime, cilantro, yellow Peruvian chili pepper sauce. The dish is little like American fried chicken, but brightened with citrus, herbs and a pepper sauce that commands authority -- be forewarned that those chili peppers are indeed spicy. (Connie Post)

Roost Modern Italian

  • Basics: 524 E Fifth St., (937) 222-3100
  • Why it rates: Cozy atmosphere, upscale Italian cuisine combine to boost the romance quotient.
Roost Modern Italian's Spaghetti e Polpette (Source: Yelp user Darren L.)

Wellington Grille

  • Basics: 2450 Dayton Xenia Road, Beavercreek. Call (937) 426-4600. 
  • Why it rates: With high-backed, comfortable booths and elegant comfort food, it’s got the best of all worlds. The words “extraordinary” and “incredible” have been used by many a diner to describe the dishes here.
Mary Miller has quietly owned and operated Miami Valley restaurants that are very diverse in their concepts and geography: The Barnsider in Harrison Twp., the Wellington Grille in Beavercreek, Harrison’s in Tipp City, and recently became co-founder of an Asian restaurant, Ginger & Spice, on Brown Street near the University of Dayton. This is a woman in her ’70s who tried to retire once and couldn’t do it, choosing to come back and work seven days a week in her restaurants. (Jim Witmer)

Other romantic restaurant options

If none of the options above struck your fancy, give one of these a whirl, or, if your favorite doesn't appear here, suggest it by leaving a comment on the taste blog, because I know I must be missing some good ones:

  • Basil's on Market, Troy
  • Bonefish Grille, Miami Twp.
  • Brio, Beavercreek
  • Carvers, Washington Twp.
  • Greenfire Bistro, Tipp City
  • Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Beavercreek
  • J. Alexanders, Washington Twp.
  • Mamma DiSalvo's, Kettering
  • Michael Anthony's at the Inn, Versailles
  • Oakwood Club, Oakwood
  • Pasha Grill, Beavercreek
  • P.F. Chang's, Miami Twp.
  • View 162 Restaurant & Lounge in the Crowne Plaza hotel, Dayton
  • Thai 9, Dayton
  • The Winds, Yellow Springs

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