Atmo, for real, at Tamarind Tree.

Image: Facebook

That was the pressing question last week when a birthday loomed and I wanted a night off from taking notes and copying menus.

And I didn’t want to kill the household budget for the month.

A few of the places we considered, in alpha order, for their perfect storm of romantic ambiance and appealing food—at under $15ish an entree:

Buddha Ruksa

It’s Thai food in a pretty West Seattle space. The crispy garlic chicken has its own fan club and, quite possibly, Facebook page.

Café Munir

White tablecloth Lebanese food in north Ballard with very good mezes and, o rapture, tender kebabs.

Café Presse

Inimitably French ambiance with underpriced casse-croute (les oeufs!) and a $28 roasted chicken for two. Great cocktails.

Fonda La Catrina

Twinkly romance in Georgetown, with a long menu starring cochinita pibil tacos of sumptuous slow-roasted pork.

Independent Pizzeria

A pizzeria at the lake end of Madison that’s teensy but rewards inevitable waits with really fine pies, thoughtfully topped.

La Carta de Oaxaca

Along with sister restaurants, the Mezcalaria Oaxacas on Queen Anne and Capitol Hill, Ballard’s La Carta pretty much owns the market for stylish, authentic Mexican food. Great salsa bars; great tequila.

Ristorante Machiavelli

Dim-lit and charmingly throwbacky red sauce Italian that seriously everybody loves. Might strain the bounds of the $50 mark but worth it.  

Tamarind Tree

Cheaper than atmosphere this jewelly and Vietnamese food this consistently solid would warrant. Notable for salads, grilled meats, girly cocktails. And crappy parking. (We went here. It rocked.)

This by no means exhausts the list of Seattle cheap date spots—but that’s what the comments section is for. Please add yours.

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