Top 10 BEST First Date Destinations in Columbus

First dates can be stressful. Worrying about what to wear, what to say, and probably more important, what not to say, are all part of the anxiety we put upon ourselves. However, the most important component to a successful date is where you go! There are many variables to consider (too noisy, difficult to get a table, parking issues, etc.), which ultimately can make an already uncomfortable first meeting, potentially, even more awkward.  

A-LIST Introductions, Columbus’s only executive matchmaking firm, connects and introduces some of the city’s most eligible singles. We specialize in the formal first date introduction, tailoring each introduction to each client’s distinct personality/style.

We’ve compiled a Top 10 List of our most popular first date destinations in Columbus! Whether you prefer somewhere casual or with reservations; somewhere creative or tried and true; and inexpensive versus costly – we’ve got you covered.

  1. Nada – $$  Located in the Arena District, Nada has a great patio if you want to sit outside and enjoy a margarita with their delicious Mexican cuisine.
  2. The Pearl  – $$$  The Pearl is a local Columbus favorite located in the Short North. The ambiance is laid back, fun, and modern. This Cameron Mitchell classic prides itself on quality food and excellent service. Insider tip: they also offer a great Happy Hour if you desire an early evening  ‘drinks and appetizers’  date.
  3. Tucci’s  – $$$$  Located in the heart of  Dublin, the  patio season here during the summer is beautiful. The  live music is also a big plus! If the date is going well, after-dinner drinks on the patio at Brazenhead or ice cream at Jeni’s are perfect accompaniments.
  4. Cooper’s Hawk – $$$  Dining at Cooper’s Hawk at their Easton location is a popular choice, in addition to visiting their Tasting Room. A tasting includes seven to eight different wines and no reservation is necessary.
  5. Barcelona –  $$$$  Located in German Village,  Barcelona is consistently voted one of Columbus’s most popular restaurants and patios each year. Plus, there are wine specials and live music on Sunday nights. It is the perfect blend of fancy and fun.
  6. The North Market – $  This is a foodie’s dream, and a perfect first date spot. The North Market has a little bit of everything from different cultures. Try it. You will not regret it
  7. Akai Hana – $$$  This Upper Arlington sushi classic features traditional Japanese cuisine that offers the perfect portion of appetizers with an unexpected Korean twist. Three words: spicy scallop roll. Your life will be forever changed.
  8. Spagio – $$$  A modern take on classic Italian, this Grandview gem has a fun and warm environment. A cozy spot for you and your date. Follow your date up with a stroll along Grandview Avenue to shop local businesses.
  9. Marcella’s – $$$  Cameron Mitchell makes our list once again. This unconventional twist of old meets new is a perfect first date spot. From its open air dining room, to crafted cocktails and Italian food, you can never go wrong with Marcella’s, offering two convenient locations (Short North or Lewis Center).
  10. Gallery Hop – varies  The first Saturday of the month has the Short North hustling and bustling. Strolling and getting to know someone while popping into stores, and stopping for drinks and dinner along the way is always a fun and exciting choice.


$ = $25 and under

$$ = $25 – $40

$$$ = $40 – $55

$$$$ = $55 and over

Nicci Sprouse
Nicci Sprouse
A-LIST Introductions is a members-only dating and matchmaking firm. We help successful singles thrive by offering: executive matchmaking, dating & relationship coaching, and group dates - empowering our members to connect and grow.