The lovely fact that Valentine's Day falls on a date night Saturday in 2015 has certainly caught the attention of Bay Area chefs, who are busy creating romantic dining occasions at top tables around town. Reserve early, especially considering the Saturday-centric strategic calendar.
Maravilloso! Chef Traci des Jardin's menu for Valentine's Day has authentic, amazing Mexican written all over it. There's plenty of opportunity for sharing, with three choices for each of three courses set at $55 per person. How delicious a starter of crab tacos dorados, grapefruit-serrano salsa seca sounds in any language. Arguello is adjacent to the charming and newly restored Officer's Club at the Presidio.
Note that there's no prix fixe menu...but, the essentials of Valentine’s Day romance are not overlooked: Champagne, oysters and chocolate are lined up at this Yerba Buena Lane favorite. Chef Curtis has created a luxurious Champagne fondue for two that could tempt you to order it twice.
Jazz artist Laurie Carsillo will entertain guests from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Valentine's Day. This cabaret with a French accent has a prix fixe menu at $75 per person with optional $40 wine pairing. Fish or meat? Both. A classic Poisson et Boeuf is oxtail and monkfish with spätzle, and huckleberry sauce. Fantastique!
Good-looking and French is a good choice for Valentine's Day. At Gaspar, Executive Chef Chris Jones has put together a four-course menu of citrus cured Massachusetts fluke (pomegranate, sea salt, olive oil, fennel pollen, blood orange gastrique) and Berkshire porc (grilled tenderloin & crispy belly, black chanterelle mushroom bread pudding, braised chard, jus). At $85 per person with optional $45 wine pairing.
Canela Bistro & Wine Bar
Doubly sexy Canela Bistro in the Castro is celebrating Valentine's Day for two nights on Feb. 13 and 14 with dinner accompanied by live Spanish guitar music. Choose à la carte or Chef Mat Schuster's special four-course menu at $65 a person, carefully selected pairings of delicious Spanish cava and wines to toast the occasion are optional.
Feed a sustainable relationship with sustainably sourced Spanish-inspired California cuisine from Commissary in the Presidio. It's a great way to end the day in the park, with dinner served from 5 p.m. Chef Traci des Jardins' special three choices for three courses menu is $70 per person, plus you can always splurge on oysters and caviar.
E&O Kitchen and Bar
Seconds from Union Square with soaring ceilings and a lively bar, Chef Sharon Nahm has created a menu of pan-Asian dishes. Try the bold flavors of Indonesian corn fritters, butternut squash dumplings and wood-roasted Char Siu black cod with sautéed water spinach. An after dinner sweet will go down a treat.
Because they're named as one of San Francisco’s sexiest restaurants, Gitane wants to help you pop the question. Yes, you can orchestrate it over dinner on Valentine’s Day when a four-course dinner ends with rich chocolate cremieux, $85 per person with optional $45 wine pairing. Or...surprise someone and make it a lunch not to be forgotten. The Gitane team will put together a completely customized proposal experience over a private three-course lunch for two, created by you and the chef.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company
When San Francisco Beer Week and Valentine's Day collide, these folks with the views and the fire pits go to town with a beer and dessert pairing menu served on a signature surf board for $20. On the 14th, The Glen Walters Band plays bluesy romance for Valentine’s Day on stage in the bar, open seating from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Book for dinner: Oysters Rockefeller and bacon wrapped prawns filled with smoked gouda...just to start with.
Hog & Rocks
Are you two oyster lovers in a shell? Chef Robin Song will be offering a $55 four-course prix fixe menu with additional $35 drink pairings based around the legendary aphrodisiac...with ham and whisky, of course. For reservations at this popular spot in the Mission, visit online or call 415-550-8627.
Romance doesn't have to be serious; these guys are into fun and for making it last the whole weekend in Uptown Oakland. Chef Kyle will be preparing a four-course menu for $55 per person available starting on Friday the 13th, and Jenny has crafted a beverage pairing option for $28.
Looking to impress, or surprise, that special someone this Valentine’s Day? Check out one of Hornblower Cruises Valentine’s Day events. Set the mood by letting the water reflect your love. Or do it for the food, dancing and a romantic view of the city from the water...if you've never done it, this could be the moment.
At the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, Valentine's dinner by Chef de Cuisine Kevin Tanaka is about exceptional seafood dishes at Navio that match the brilliance of the Pacific coastal setting. Of course, the hotel can offer couple's spa visits, a "S'more Romance" overnight package and a two-night "Suite Romance" package that is beyond dreamy in its every detail, down to the chocolate-dipped strawberries, bouquet of long-stemmed red roses and private cooking class with Chef Tanaka.
Especially for Valentine’s Day, a candle-lit dinner ends with one of three decadent desserts: orange-chocolate bombe torte with Grand Marnier anglaise, orange syrup, cocoa nibs and fior di latte gelato; salted caramel pot de creme with hazelnut-bacon brittle; warm spiced walnut cake with red wine glazed dates, blood orange curd and candied pecans. You may want to stay the night. Twelve cottages only and they're throwing in a massage, oysters and sparkling wine, too.
The emphasis on fun continues at Jack London Square in Oakland. Plank is setting up a prix fixe menu including a shared appetizer, individual entrée and shared dessert for $60 per couple. The fun and games come in the form of 18 lanes, 60 arcade games, pool tables, a deck and three bocce courts. Everyone looks good in bowling shoes, right?
Escape across the bay. Sausalito plus Valentine's Day plus charming Italian restaurant equals Poggio Trattoria. Chatting in a cozy booth with a bottle chilling, overlooking the water views as Executive Chef Benjamin Balesteri oversees your dinner prep. Well, that makes everything just right. Next door, Casa Madrone & Spa has two-night Valentine packages in guest rooms with wood-burning fireplaces.
Sam’s Grill & Seafood Restaurant
Reserve a booth for two and pull the curtain for fun at the new (but old) Sam’s Grill & Seafood Restaurant. We guess it's the perfect spot to enjoy some good, old-fashioned time together over a tasty seafood meal. Hey, they've been getting it right since about 1867.
The European and Warwick San Francisco
Newly renovated Warwick Hotel near Union Square does a bar menu and dinner at Aveline. The cocktail curation by Shirley Brooks needs no occasion, actually. She does amazing things with hometown Junipero gin; Zu vodka from Poland; Genepy, the darling of the French Alpine ski resorts and more. Try the Sazerac in "Amor y Amargo" and get a whiff of Laphroigh 10 in "Smoke Without Fire" and you'll see what we mean.
“Timeless San Francisco Love Affair” package includes: one-night deluxe accommodation, cocktails for two, three-course dinner with sparkling wine at Aveline, breakfast, late check-out and a photo contest entry for a future complimentary stay. Two-night minimum required over Valentine’s Day weekend.
The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
Fancy foie gras? A four-course dinner menu is served on Feb. 13, 14 and 15. Lobster with charred avocado, champagne and smoked beet is on the menu as well as duck breast with toasted farro, pecans and foie gras. Optional wine pairings are available.
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Polkapalooza at Schroeder's
And, then there's the lonely hearts club band meetup at Schroeder's, who put it like this. "Polkapalooza! Beer. Brats. Broken Hearts. Skip the sappy Valentine's Day norms and join us for a proper anti-heart day party. German Beer Hall style. Local and German craft brews flowing from 22 taps. No sad, sad love songs here, bring on the Polkalicious. Free pair of beer goggles with every Das Boot of beer consumed."