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The Most Affordable Date Night Restaurants in California

The Most Affordable Date Night Restaurants in California

HEre are 13 affordable restaurants in California that are the top places for cheap date nights ideas.

Roubina Al Abashian


5 min read

March 06, 2022

Wish to impress your date but can’t really afford to go to a Michelin star restaurant? That’s totally fine, because inexpensive eateries just so happen to serve all your favorite meals. Treating your special someone to a romantic dinner doesn’t have to be costly at all—you can easily find an array of restaurants in a variety of cuisines that will satisfy both of your taste buds. We’ve done the work and compiled a list of delicious restaurants for cheap date night ideas.

Affordable Restaurants in Southern California

Kensho is a tiny Japanese restaurant in Hollywood and one of L.A.'s most intimate eateries—perfect for a lowkey date.

1. Kensho 

Location: 1999 North Sycamore Avenue, Los Angeles

For a romantic thing to do in L.A. on a budget, invite your boo to Kensho for the best of both worlds—an intimate setting with an affordable price tag. This small Japanese restaurant knows how to add charm to any date. Ask for the spicy miso soup and the unagi bento; you’ll definitely order takeout from this SoCal spot

2. Mantee Cafe

Location: 10962 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City

Mantee Cafe is a high-quality, romantic, and affordable restaurant near you that you didn’t know about. This place serves a combination of Armenian and Lebanese cuisines—a fusion that’s delectable, to say the least. For a romantic setting, grab a seat on the outdoor patio, where you’ll be surrounded by beautiful trees and twinkling lights. Their regular and vegetarian mantees are to die for, and the hummus and grilled feta platters will hit the mark.

Cucina Urbana is a contemporary Italian restaurant lined with reclaimed wood. Share a pizza at this stylish spot for a memorable first date.

3. Cucina Urbana 

Location: 505 Laurel Street, San Diego

When it comes to food, ambiance, and quality, no other restaurant in San Diego compares to Cucina Urbana. This affordable restaurant prepares authentic Italian meals that are delicious, appetizing, and satisfying. Opt for their creamy fried squash blossoms or the rigatoni bolognese. All you have to do is make a reservation and the staff will handle the rest.

4. Canton Bistro 

Location: 79405 Highway 111 Suite 5, La Quinta

Located in Riverside County, Canton Bistro is a small and romantic restaurant serving Chinese cuisine. Here, you’ll indulge in scrumptious orange chicken and Mongolian beef dishes. We also recommend ordering the basil shrimp—this meal is served with mushrooms, zucchini, onions, celery, and jalapenos. It’ll leave a lasting impression without breaking the bank. 

5. Woodspoon

Location: 107 West 9th Street, Los Angeles

If you’re thinking about first date ideas in Southern California, always include good food in your plans. And when it comes to choosing a cuisine, Brazilian is a winner every time. Reserve a table at Woodspoon, a restaurant that will prove that a flavorsome explosion is hidden in unique spots. Mismatched chairs, old photos, and a stylish yet homey setting create an intimate ambiance that’ll make your date all the more romantic. Opt for chicken pot pie and the pastel Portugues and you won’t even think of it as a cheap date night.

Offering nicely cooked chicken pho, fried prawns, and shrimp spring rolls, Phở Vu is where Vietnamese cuisine lovers should head to.

6. Ph Vu

Location: 34260 Monterey Ave, Palm Desert

If you’ve ever been to Vietnam, you know that their ultra-spicy and healthy food is something you can’t shake off. Thankfully, you can always take your date to Ph Vu. This cheap date night spot serves the best authentic Vietnamese dishes and specializes in phos, which will soon be your go-to dish. Their spring rolls and egg rolls are just as delicious, so make sure to leave room for those as well.

Cheap Date Night Dinner Spots in Northern California

Piazza Del Pane is the perfect balance between fine dining and the friendly comfort of an Italian Piazza. We hear their pastas are next-level.

7. Piazza Del Pane

Location: 8043 North Cedar Avenue, Fresno

Penne for your thoughts? We’re feeling a little Italian. Piazza Del Pane is an inexpensive restaurant near you that’ll wish you knew about it sooner. This spot makes all your favorite dishes, from steak and pasta to artisanal pizzas and house-made desserts. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, order the mushroom and artichoke pizza and the steak and avocado cobb salad. 

8. Shanghai Dumpling King

Location: 696 Monterey Boulevard, San Francisco

Shanghai Dumpling King is the spot to go for dumplings in the Bay Area and beyond. The relaxed eatery adds a modern twist to classic Chinese dishes, resulting in creative meals that make you crave more. Wish to try their most iconic food? Order their hong zhou crab and pork steamed dumplings and the shredded pork with garlic sauce.

9. La Fiesta Alteña 

Location: 1105 Alhambra Boulevard, Sacramento

If you love someone, bring them tacos from La Fiesta Alteña. As one of the cheapest date night restaurants in Sacramento, this Mexican eatery will swoon your boo with appetizing burritos, enchiladas, and carnitas. You have to try their huge carnitas burritos—it’s what your dreams are made of.

Oyo is a family-owned restaurant that features South American cuisine, tropical refreshments, and vibrant culture. What's not to love?

10. Oyo

Location: 680 Main Street, Pleasanton

When you’re not sure what cuisine you want to try, go with Oyo. This restaurant serves a large variety of mouthwatering Caribbean and South American dishes. The oxtail stew with butter beans and dumplings served along with the jerk half chicken with caramelized sweet plantains will quickly become two of your favorite meals. You two might find yourselves coming here more often for cheap date nights

11. Gyro King

Location: 25 Grove Street Suite 4702, San Francisco

My Big Fat Greek Wedding taught us that nothing tops a good Greek meal. And it just so happens that one of San Francisco’s most affordable restaurants is Gyro King. You can’t go without trying the lamb and beef gyros, but don't stop there. Give their mezze platter a try—we guarantee you’ll ask for more. 

La Calenda is a classic Mexican spot featuring wood plates and pottery, plus outdoor seating and delicious meals.

12. La Calenda

Location: 6518 Washington Street, Yountville

Can’t afford to splurge in Wine Country? Having dinner at La Calenda will save you a lot of money. This cozy and friendly diner is everything you expect from a Mexican restaurant and more. Your taste buds will have a palatable experience as you devour the delicious tacos al pastor and chicken enchiladas. After dinner, we recommend sharing a tres leches—it’s the cherry on top! 

13. YAKS On The 5

Location: 4917 Dunsmuir Avenue, Dunsmuir

People love visiting Dunsmuir to view the pristine nature, but the divine burgers at YAKS On The 5 make them return to this destination time and time again. This affordable restaurant prepares most of its meals from locally sourced products. Indulge in the cilantro bomb and jalapeno burgers for an unforgettable dining experience—no other burger could live up to this one. 

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