Remember the days when you and your spouse or significant other used to date? And I mean really date? Fresh haircut, both dressed to impress, cologne and perfume in the air, great restaurant picked out? When you’re past the honeymoon stage of courtship you can easily fall into a rut, and one of the best ways to break out of that is by hitting up the town for a great date night. But why make the drive all the way out to L.A. or the O.C. ? Check out this list of the top date night spots in the Inland Empire, pull out your best ensemble, and get ready for a great date night out.
Duane’s Prime Steaks and Seafood
The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa
3649 Mission Inn Avenue
Riverside, CA 92501
With the honor of being “Inland Southern California’s only AAA Four-Diamond Awarded Restaurant,” this well-known fine-dining restaurant has been on the top of countless best-of lists, and with good reason. From the moment you walk into Duane’s you are greeted by the grandeur and antique décor of The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa, itself a historic landmark located in the heart of downtown Riverside. The ambiance inside Duane’s is that of pure elegance, from the beautiful, plush seating, to the expansive wine list, and right down to the wondrous works of art adorning the walls. The service and hospitality shown by the staff to guests is nothing short of superb. Upscale, appropriate dress is required here, so leave the jeans and casual dress at home. The menu at Duane’s is heavenly, focusing primarily on steak and seafood selections, while the desserts give new meaning to the phrase “sinful indulgence.” After dinner, take a stroll along the grounds of The Mission Inn Hotel, and take in the sights of surrounding downtown Riverside, for a leisurely yet elegant date night.
Hip Kitty Jazz and Fondue Lounge
502 W. First Street
Claremont, CA 91711
Want to impress your date with some swanky jazz and a cool, classy, retro atmosphere? The Hip Kitty Jazz and Fondue Lounge in downtown Claremont has just what you need. Situated in a renovated 1922 packing house, this throwback to the days when jazz was king offers a menu with an assortment of cheeses, chocolates, meats, and seafood for fondue dipping, as well as a lounge menu. The Hip Kitty also features a great outdoor patio with private cabanas and a fire pit, and you can hear the incredible sounds of live music six days a week. Reservations are for fondue dining only, whereas cocktails and appetizer service is based on a first come, first serve policy. Being a 21 and over only spot also gives this establishment a more mature vibe. Business hours are until 2 a.m., so you’ll be able to enjoy the music and intimate conversation well into the night.
Ontario Improv Comedy Club
4555 Mills Circle
Ontario, CA 91764
Looking for some great laughs along with food and drink specials? Stop in at the infamous Improv Comedy Club’s location in Ontario, located at the Ontario Mills Shopping Center. The Improv never fails to deliver on great entertainment, featuring headlining comedic acts such as D.L. Hughley, Jon Lovitz, Aries Spears, Rob Schneider, Arnez J, and many more. Be sure to check show dates for your favorite act early, as the headlining shows sell out quickly. Also, arrive early before show time, as the venue is smaller and intimate, and seating is first come, first serve. Comedians love to joke with the front rows, so watch where you sit! The Ontario Improv always provides a night of great laughs and fun, relaxing entertainment.
The Vineyard Rose
South Coast Winery Resort and Spa
34843 Rancho California Road
With its menu of delicious, California-style cuisine, and an array of prestigious dining awards, the Vineyard Rose at the South Coast Winery Resort and Spa in Temecula’s wine country simply begs to be experienced for a night out with your other half. The expansive restaurant seats guests indoors and outdoors, with the outdoor terrace seating being preferred by most, as the terrace provides a great view of the grounds and vineyard. Start off the dinner date early, with an afternoon visit to the South Coast Winery’s tasting room or visit any of the other wineries within the Temecula Valley. Bask in the tranquil surroundings of Temecula’s Wine Country, and end your evening off here with a fine meal and exquisite wine pairings.
Citrone Restaurant and Bar
328 Orange Street
Redlands, CA 92374
A blend of fine dining, Italian, and California bistro-style cuisine, this gem found in the heart of downtown Redlands is located in a 110-year-old brick building and has topped awards lists year after year, satisfying customers and critics alike. The dinner menu features everything from filet mignon to fettuccine Bolognese to several vegetarian options, ensuring a great dining experience for varied palette preferences. Choose from an award-winning wine list of over 600 wines, or steer towards the bar for an array of premium liquors, ports, martinis, and more. Downtown casual meets upscale cuisine and décor in one place, and a date night here is sure to impress.
8220 Haven Ave #102
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
16635 Sierra Lake Pkwy #120
Fontana, CA 92335
Freshly prepared sushi, scrumptious rolls, huge portions, and great hospitality have led this sushi restaurant and bar to quickly become the buzz around town. The menu features everything from sashimi, gyoza, spicy tuna rolls, various sushi a la carte options, udon, green tea and tempura ice cream for dessert, and more. It’s truly an out-of-the-box taste experience. Happy hour specials, two flat-panel televisions, and great music playing throughout also make this a fun and entertaining place to spend an evening.
Pancho Villa’s Mexican Grill and Entertainment
10210 Juniper Avenue
Fontana, CA 92335
Serving up fresh, flavorful Mexican dishes, decked in beautiful Mexican décor, and being one of the only places in the Inland Empire to feature live Mariachi entertainment on a nightly basis, Pancho Villa’s in Fontana is one place not to miss. The food is bursting with authentic flavor, which is essential to good Mexican cuisine, and the staff go above and beyond to meet your every need. The main attraction here is the world-famous Mariachi Internacional de Mexico de Francisco J. Jara, an expertly trained ensemble who have performed for various network television Spanish-language shows and have even toured various parts of the world. Visit Pancho Villa’s for true Mexican flavor and flair.
Julie Ordonez is a freelance writer and columnist featured in OC Family and OC Metro Magazines, and she is also a fashion/lifestyle blogger for OC Family.com. When taking a break from taking care of their young son, Julie and her husband love a great night out to try out new restaurants and nightlife in the IE, OC, and beyond.