Romantic Restaurants in Wollongong. Hot Dates on Cold Nights…

What’s on in Wollongong for Couples?

Your Guide to Winter Woo-ing in Wollongong, written by the lovely Wollongong Guru, Jodie Berry.

While Wollongong is well known for the beautiful long summer days by the beach, there is no need to put romance to bed during the colder months. There are many places to get snuggly with your plus-one this winter.

Wollongong Romantic Dining, we love Restaurant Santino
A perfect slice of Italy

It’s hard to go past Restaurant Santino for romance. Located in Globe Lane it’s just like stepping into an Italian side street and finding the secret local place. Hosting an eclectic mix of old film posters, family photographs and famous footballers on the walls, the atmosphere is welcoming and authentically Italian.

While the menu isn’t extensive, every dish is a winner. Employing the Italian ethos of fresh and simple ingredients, the flavours are bewitching. All the pasta is freshly made on site, and you can tell.

With Sonny’s Wine Shop next door (and owned by the same gang) it’s no surprise that the wine list at Restaurant Santino is one of the best in the ‘Gong. There isn’t much under $60 a bottle on the menu, but the selection is considerable. Particular attention is paid to Italian wines, and it’s worth talking to the waitstaff about their suggestions – they know their stuff.

The wine pairing option on the two different “Feed Me” menus is a great idea if you want to get the full experience that Restaurant Santino has to offer. It really is a place you sink into, not too loud – not too quiet. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable but not overbearing. It feels fancy without being pretentious. All in all, the perfect location for a special night out together.

Restaurant Santino

SoCo Kitchen
Southern Comfort on the South Coast

A relative newcomer on the Wollongong scene, SoCo Kitchen is a hard place to get into. Not only because of the buzz that has erupted around this little gem, but also because it really is a ‘little’ gem. There are only five tables in the room!

Owned and operated by couple Amy & Sean – Sean is the chef and Amy is the everything else – they have created the perfect Southern feel. From the music to the décor, you can’t help feeling like you have found yourself tucked away in New Orleans local hang out.

The place is dripping with Louisiana charm. Which is a pretty mean feat given that it used to be a Chinese Restaurant!

As well as your significant other, make sure you take your significant appetite, the servings are not small. The smoked fish dip for starters is an absolute winner. They have all the dishes you would hope for in a place like this – gumbo, brisket, po’ boys and amazing burgers.

If you really want to go all out, try the Fried Chicken and Waffle. That is not a typo! It’s amazing and not for the faint of heart – and yes, you will be wanting fries with that.

The cocktail list is a must see, with names like “Buddy Guy,” “Elvis Presley” and “Dolly Parton.” The “Jimmy Buffet” margherita is spectacular. There are American soft drinks and beers, as well as local favourites and a small wine list that covers the basics.

Steamers Bar & Grill
Get all hot & steamy at Steamers
Bar & Grill

For such a large space, Steamers Bar & Grill manages to convey a very warm and intimate atmosphere. Located right on Wollongong Beach, it’s an amazing place to visit for lunch on the terrace, but it is much more than just its stunning views.

Featuring a large modern fireplace in the middle of the restaurant, it’s a perfect winter dining locale. The comprehensive menu has something for everyone, featuring dishes from all over the world.

The shared boards are a wonderful place to start, although it can be hard to choose between the Butchers Board – with its Churrasco dry-aged rump. OR, the Tempura Soft Shell Crab and King Prawns on the Wood-fired Seafood Board. That is the kind of difficult decision I am happy to take on.

There is a lovely selection of wines, as well as an amazing little wine bar attached to the venue. For the gin lovers there are over 16 to choose from and the aperitif menu has even more variety. The specialty cocktail menu is definitely worth a look as well as some inspiring takes on the classics.

Of course, it would not be a restaurant in Wollongong without a handy selection of craft beers to choose from. There is a decent kids’ menu too, but they aren’t invited on date night!

Lux Bistro & Bar

Not just for the fun loving 20 somethings!

While Lux Bistro isn’t necessarily intimate it is certainly fun. The staff and the clientele are young and vibrant but there are plenty of older folk enjoying this new venue as well. The staff are really the stars of the show at Lux. They are all having a great time, without forgetting to take care of the patrons. They are super attentive, and it is easy to see they are proud of what they are building. You can’t help but be lifted up by the mood.

The music may be a little loud, but you soon acclimatise. The menu has all the usual suspects, but the attention is paid to the preparation and bringing the simplicity of each dish to life. The Apple Galette dessert with salted caramel sauce is an absolute winner.

You can pretty much order any drink you like – the bar is well stocked, and the sommelier is knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Johnny is passionate about his wine and also no slouch with the beers. A date night at Lux might not deliver the intimacy of other places, but there is sure a lot of love in the room.

Moomin
Better ‘Czech’ it out – see what I did there?

Moomin is a cacophony of kitsch. 70’s lamps, Chinese lanterns, vines hanging from the ceiling along with a crazy cork bunting, it’s a mish mash of colours and styles. But it’s completely right. This Czech kitchen and bar is both intimate and fun.

As soon as you walk in you know you want to stay a while. It’s not a big place, mainly tables for two and a few larger ones. The window corners are ideal for a cosy tete-a-tete, and the lighting is ambient and low (but not so low you can’t see!).

There is an excellent selection of Czech style dishes as well as a list of starters that will have you asking for one of everything. The décor is over the top and the food is too – in a wonderful way. Moomin Fries come with parmesan, parsley, and truffle salt. Coco Chanel is said to have claimed “less is more” but at Moomin – more is more, and it works in every delicious mouthful.

There is a small-ish selection of wines, but attention has been paid to the quality. Czech beers on tap are a great touch, but it’s the cocktails that will keep you coming back to the bar. ‘Grandmas Apple Pie’ featuring everyone’s new favourite whiskey “Fireball” is a treat and the Lychee Margarita did not disappoint.

Moomin makes a great starting point for the night, or for your nightcap. Or you know what? Just stay there all night.

Want more in depth What’s On In Wollongong inspo? Visit our site here 🙂