Upscale Takeout Options for a Date Night In

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching, and whether you plan on spending the day with a loved one or treating yourself, one thing is a must: a memorable meal. Dining out can still feel a little iffy with the ongoing pandemic, but don't fret. Some of the city's best spots for date-night dining are offering takeout and delivery, so you can indulge in a world-class meal in the comfort of your own kitchen. We rounded up some of our favorite local restaurants for a lavish dinner you can enjoy at home without lifting a finger.

Upscale Takeout Options for a Date Night In

Nicky’s Coal Fired

There are few people I trust with my dinner more than Tony Galzin. Ever since he and his wife, Caroline, opened Nicky’s Coal Fired in West Nashville, we’ve taken friends and family to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions. Tony built his kitchen around Enrico, a massive, tiled oven named for a great-great-grandfather who immigrated from Lazio, Italy. At temperatures double what a normal oven can produce, Enrico spits out Neapolitan-style pizzas in mere minutes and is used to finish other items on the menu. Tony’s background in pastry means that his dough and pastas are some of the best in town, but there are joys all down the menu. Antipasti and cheese plates frequently surprise and delight, while his gelatos and sorbets often take advantage of seasonal ingredients. And while the pandemic might have changed Nicky’s style of service from tableside to casual — you now order when you arrive — it also inspired a series of great takeout menus, including a Feast of the Seven Fishes at Christmas, which allowed for multicourse dining at home. Whether it’s a pie featuring the finest cured meats or a bowl of crawfish pasta, Nicky’s never fails to satisfy. STEVE CAVENDISH

Upscale Takeout Options for a Date Night In

etc.

The list goes on and on and on when it comes to things we love about Chef Deb Paquette’s dining room nestled in a nook of Green Hills. No matter what addresses her chef-driven eateries occupy — be it Etch downtown or the erstwhile Zola and Cakewalk on West End Avenue — Deb creates a sense of place with her inimitable culinary personality, which celebrates flavors, techniques and ingredients from around the world. An etc. event, whether it’s a takeout “Staff Meal” enjoyed at home or a romantic dîner à deux served in the dining room, might include eclectic innovations, such as duck fat fried rice; roasted pork and white bean pot pie; coffee-roasted carrots with honey-ginger butter; turkey-mole lasagna; or chicken-farro risotto, to name a few signature specials. Paired with a cocktail — perhaps vodka with pea-flower white ambrosia tea and lemon — dinner at etc. is just the potion to make you fall in love all over again. CARRINGTON FOX

Upscale Takeout Options for a Date Night In

Josephine

I got tired of trying to keep up with the Nashville restaurant scene years ago — seven years ago, to be exact. That’s when Josephine opened its doors in my neighborhood and gave me little reason to go looking for good food elsewhere. I love everything about Josephine: its cozy but chic vibe, its comforting but nuanced plates, its professional but never pretentious staff. Though I am no longer just down the street, Josephine remains my go-to restaurant for pretty much any occasion, whether a rare date night with my husband or a glass of wine with friends. And now, during the time of COVID, it’s also my choice for takeout when I want something that feels special. Beef cheeks have been on the menu since Josephine opened in 2013, and though Chef Andy Little has varied the recipe throughout the years, this season, he has gone back to the way he first made it: atop a creamy horseradish risotto. The dish travels well and is something I would never make on my own. Another favorite, less exotic but no less excellent, is the whole chicken for two. With crispy potato and kale, it is pure winter goodness. The folks at Josephine know that no good meal should go without a good drink, so they have that covered too. To-go cocktails come beautifully sealed in either a five- or 12-ounce bottle, and I have to say A Little Stitious is more than a little delicious. My favorite part of any meal at Josephine, takeout included, has to be the little bag of molasses cookies they give you as you go. That touch of hospitality keeps me coming back every time. VARINA WILLSE

Upscale Takeout Options for a Date Night In

Once Upon a Time in France

We often look to the French for romance and fine dining for good reason. They know exactly what they’re doing. Fortunately for Nashvillians this Valentine’s Day, the East Nashville bistro Once Upon a Time in France offers authentic French cuisine for takeout. The father-son duo of Laurent Champonnois, who dreamed of opening a classic French restaurant, and Melvil Arnt, who dreamed of opening a wine bar, combined their passions into one 1920s-style bistro, and the menu is perfect for a romantic evening in. The hors d'œuvres, such as the escargot with garlic and parsley butter, charcuterie plate featuring a selection of European cheeses and smoked and cured meats, and real duck foie gras, are easy for two to share before enjoying a hearty and classic French entrée of beef Bourguinon, duck confit or a gratin of potatoes with an herb-cheese dip. And don’t forget to order dessert. The decadent chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream and chantilly made by local French artisan Cocorico and the simply delightful panna cotta with raspberry coulis and blue Curaçao are to die for. JONATHAN SIMS

Upscale Takeout Options for a Date Night In

Tànsuŏ

For years, Nashvillians resided in a Chinese food desert, with the only options for the beloved Asian cuisine coming from dingy hole-in-the-wall eateries or commercialized chain restaurants. That is, until chefs Maneet Chauhan and Chris Cheung opened the doors to Tànsuŏ in The Gulch in 2017. Serving up contemporary Cantonese cuisine in a chic and cosmopolitan setting, Tànsuŏ has brought a world of flavor to the city and a gorgeous space to enjoy it. After closing for a few months off and on throughout the pandemic, Tànsuŏ is officially reopened for socially distanced dining and takeout. The restaurant’s decadent spin on Chinese classics, like lobster fried rice, crab-stuffed shrimp rangoon, kung pao cauliflower and the crispy glazed General Tso chicken, elevates familiar flavors to new heights. With an ever-changing assortment of dim sum, entrées, noodle and rice dishes and sides, not to mention truly unique signature cocktails and desserts, Tànsuŏ is the perfect option for a memorable date night meal, whether you feel comfortable venturing out or want to enjoy a remarkable takeout experience at home. NANCY FLOYD

Upscale Takeout Options for a Date Night In

Rolf & Daughters

From the moment Rolf & Daughters opened its doors in 2012, the popularity of Philip Krajeck’s “modern peasant food” never waned. Although a meal in the industrial-chic setting is not an option now, you can (almost) replicate the experience at home with an intimate dinner from the beloved spot. Definitely select the homemade sourdough bread with seaweed butter and at least two small plates to share — each has a wonderful mix of fresh, bright and nutty ingredients. The rustic, yet elegant, made-in-house pastas come topped with outstanding sauces that change regularly, and fortunately, the pork ragu seems to have a permanent spot on the list. Homemade ice cream — try the sorrel! — is the perfect finish to your meal. Let someone else choose the wine by clicking on “Mystery Bottle,” and the perfect bottle from the natural wine list will both surprise and delight you and your dining partner. Finally, when ordering your special dinner for two, please consider helping someone in need through the Family Meals program, which provides a nutritious meal for four. Simply add one to your cart, and the Rolf & Daughters team will handle the rest. It’s a wonderful way to spread more love any time of year. HOLLY HOFFMAN

Photographs by Ashley Hylbert, Nicky's Coal Fired, BRND House, Daniel Rivera, Aria Dorsey, Danielle Atkins and Daniel Meigs