Local Spotlight

The 5 Most Romantic Restaurants in Katy

You would think that Katy, Texas, as one of the fastest-growing communities in Texas, would have its fair share of romantic restaurants and date night spots. Surprisingly, there aren’t many dining destinations in Katy suitable for a first date or anniversary dinner — but there are a few good options.

Knowing where to go for romantic dinners is important. If you are single, you will go on several first dates. For most of us, unfortunately, the best part of the night is the food. For married couples, celebrating an anniversary is likely one of the few times of the year they're able to eat dinner without the kids.

We delved a little deeper — past all the chains and restaurants geared toward families and kids — to find five spots in Katy that have not lost that loving feeling.

Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, 23501 Cinco Ranch. For those going on a first date, this is likely the safest choice for making a good first impression. It is one of the few true “fine-dining” options in the area and arguably has the best ambience. Unlike many other restaurants in Katy, it’s not located in a strip mall. Lighting is an underrated but crucial component of creating the right mood. While the restaurant is dimly lit, lighting is focused specifically onto each tabletop, which enables people to tune out background distractions and tune into their dates – exactly what is needed for a romantic dinner. A baby grand piano in the bar area, personalized wine lockers in the foyer and chandeliers are all nice touches. The staff is well-trained, so service is excellent. For the “wow” factor, be sure to get the restaurant's famous pork chop and, for dessert, the Nutty D’angelo, both of which are prepared tableside. Since Perry’s is located at the LaCenterra at Cinco Ranch shopping center, there are convenient after-dinner entertainment options within walking distance, too.

Little V Vietnamese Bistro, 4031 FM 1463. Let’s be real: When you want customer service and a romantic environment for your date, going to an Asian restaurant typically is not the right fit. This neighborhood gem is an exception, thanks to its modern ambience and exceptional Vietnamese cuisine. With a beautiful tapestry depicting a Vietnamese village that covers an entire wall and staff who wear traditional ao dai or Vietnamese dresses, Little V’s is a cute place to spend quality time for those who enjoy something more unique. The flavor of the shaking beef wok, also known as bo lúc lac, rivals that of any Vietnamese restaurant in the International District (a.k.a. “Chinatown”), and small details like pho broth poured tableside help to elevate the experience. The owner tirelessly works the floor, ensuring that every table receives attention and customer service — a nice surprise for this type of concept.

La Balance, 20680 Westheimer Parkway. For dates who are also foodies, this is the right spot. Of all the restaurants on this list, La Balance arguably has the most sophisticated cuisine thanks in no small part to its founder, chef Jose Hernandez of Philippe, Triniti and Radio Milano fame. Although Hernandez left after only four months, most of the original menu’s focus on French classics seems to be intact. The restaurant is located in a nondescript strip mall with a barely noticeable storefront sign, but the ambience does get better once you're inside. Stick to the original menu items, like seared foie gras with a hint of orange marmalade and chocolate sauce; and the magret de canard (duck breast). A tasting menu option is always available for dinner, which is a good idea if you need help stirring up conversation. If your date enjoys wine, remember to check La Balance’s events calendar for its frequent special wine dinners.

Ray’s Gourmet Country Grill, 8502 FM 359. Ray’s is a great date spot for those who prefer locally sourced produce and meats as well as free-range chicken. Although technically in Fulshear, this spot, from experienced restaurateur Ray Salti (Pepperoni’s, Bollo Woodfired Pizza), is still a relatively short drive for Katy residents. Expect a unique dining experience with dishes like venison and chicken-fried ostrich, as well as Texas-sourced meats like Wagyu beef from Simonton and pork from Brookshire. Interesting surprises will be offered from time to time, such as South Texas rattlesnake, so those with an adventurous palate will appreciate this place. Owing to its location, Ray’s has a quiet, small-town feel to it, complete with an ice cream and candy shop across the street.

Da Vinci Ristorante Italiano, 6455 South Fry Road. Romance and Italian food seem to go hand in hand, don’t they? This small yet charming restaurant features classic, old-world cuisine and seats no more than 50 guests. The ambience is intimate and cozy. The textured walls, curved ceiling and dimly lit main room set the tone, and with framed paintings of the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper as well as a mural of an Italian coast, Da Vinci definitely feels like an authentic Italian cafe. Candlelit tables with “hugging couple” salt and pepper shakers add to the romantic environment. It's hard not to get full from the complimentary bruschetta with pureed olive tapenade, and don’t miss the pappardelle aragosta (lobster pasta), which includes crab, scallops and shrimp. Da Vinci’s personality is most vibrant during the dessert course, when the ornate presentation can include sparklers and be prepared tableside by the chef. The extensive wine list is a plus, and be sure to make reservations, because of the limited seating capacity.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Thomas Nguyen is a freelance food writer for the Houston Press and co-founder of South African restaurants Peli Peli & Peli Peli Kitchen.