Whether it’s your first outing or a special night without the kids, dates require a certain amount of preparation. Clean socks? Check. Fresh breath? Check. Money (or viable credit card) in the wallet? Check. You've got the basics down, but it’s important to fit the ambience to the occasion. Fortunately, WNC has a varied dining scene to suit every stage of courtship.
The “I finally got the nerve to ask her out” date: This date shouldn’t be too formal. The Usual Suspects in North Asheville has sophisticated bar bites, an extensive cocktail menu, and an atmosphere that’s casual enough to pass off as a friendly get-together in case the night doesn’t go as well as planned. 791 Merrimon Ave.; (828) 350-8181
The “I think I’ll impress her with my knowledge of culture” date: During the Brevard Music Center's concert season, Café Con Brio, operated by Brevard’s Hobnob restaurant, offers a prix fixé three-course menu designed to get diners fed, full, and ready to enjoy the symphony. Adjacent to the main auditorium of BMC; (828) 966-4662
The “pure romance” date: Zambra wine and tapas bar in Asheville sets an exotic tone with Moroccan décor, low lighting, and inspired fare designed for sharing, like the imported navarro white asparagus or the grilled hanger steak. For an out-of-the-ordinary drink, try the Absinthe Drip cocktail. 85 Walnut St.; (828) 232-1060
The proposal date: Hot Springs is a steamy locale for romance. Treat your special someone to a soak in the natural spring water, then head to Mountain Magnolia Inn for dinner at martha's. As a special surprise, reserve one of the inn’s gorgeous rooms for the perfect moment to pop the question. 704 Lawson St.; (828) 622-3543
The anniversary date: Hendersonville's vue is a sumptuous restaurant decorated with chocolaty tones and plenty of warm wood and brick. A world-class menu and an atmosphere that encourages lingering over wine say thanks for the good times. 123 5th Ave. E.; (828) 698-7282
The break-up date: Sora in Brevard is a spectacular and innovative sushi restaurant. Why does this spell break up? If you stick to the sushi menu, and order your sake cold, burns from hot projectiles are highly unlikely. 91 Forest Gate Dr.; (828) 883-9808