If the proliferation of pink and red everything at your local grocery store hasn't given it away yet, Valentine's Day is right around the corner. If you're looking to impress your sweetie without having to cook dinner yourself, we've rounded up a few spots in the San Fernando Valley where you can wine and dine your valentine.
Marché LA: Fairly new to the SFV dining scene and already a hit with locals, Marché, helmed by chef Gary Menes thrives on a seasonal menu that changes with the market. His Valentines Degustation Menu is no different. For $75, add an additional $55 for wine pairings, you and your sweetie will get a five course meal. Says Menes, "I wanted to focus on love so of course we had to have oysters which we are pairing with champagne, but also the cauliflower on the menu is so inspiring, the colors speak of the season and is just as special as a black truffle to me."
Marché LA: 13355 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; (818) 784-2915.
Saddle Peak Lodge: This special occasion staple has a reputation for doing some inventive things with wild game, and while Chef Adam Horton's Valentines Menu is a bit more delicate, there is still the option of ordering elk tenderloin for one course, this one served with currents, arugula and sweet potatoes. The four course meal will set you back $125 and it's an additional $60 for wine pairings.
Saddle Peak Lodge: 419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas; (818) 222-3888
Inn of the Seventh Ray: Tucked away in a secluded spot in Topanga Canyon, Inn of the Seventh Ray is a truly romantic find. And if you're one who likes your food organic and sustainable, then this just might be a match made in heaven. Chef Bradley Miller is offering five courses and an amuse bouche for $100. If you go the vegetarian route it's $95. Tack on another $45 for a wine flight. The menu includes dishes like the "Be My Seafood Plate Medley." Owner Lucile Yaney says the "lovers plates" are composed of four complimentary dishes meant to be shared by two.
Inn of the Seventh Ray: 128 Old Topanga Rd.,Topanga; (310) 455-1311.
Il Tiramisu: This father and son run Italian in Sherman Oaks has flown under the radar since it opened 11 years ago but it has a staunch neighborhood following. Ivo and Peter Kastelan along with chef Giovanni Garcione straight from Modena, Italy have put together a three course Valentine menu that sounds as delicious as it is easy on the pocket book. For $50 you get five first course choices, five main course choices and three picks for dessert.
Il Tiramisu: 13705 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; (818) 986-2640.
Madeleine Bistro: Vegans need a romantic meal just as much a the carnivores of the world and even if you're not vegan Madeline Bistro serves up some inventive fair every day of the year. This little bistro is not your Birkenstock-loving vegan joint. With dark woods, white tablecloths and lots of candlelight it is the perfect place to take your non meat eating sweetie. Chef Dave Anderson has put together a six course menu. For each course he says he played with a group of ingredients and created two different but complimentary dishes meant to be shared, "so instead of one dish per course you actually get two."
Madeleine Bistro: 18621 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana; (818) 758-6971.
Brandywine: With seating for under 40 and an unassuming store front, blink and you might miss this little jewel box of a restaurant. Owner/Chef Peggy McWiliams along with chef Jean Luc have crafted a four course menu that will set you back $150 for just the food. But, if you love traditional choices like Chateaubriand for two, it just might be worth the hefty price tag. It's served only on Sunday the 14th, so make your reservations early.
Brandywine: 22757 Ventura Boulevard; Woodland Hills; (818) 225-9114.
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Pinot Bistro: You get a choice of three courses for $65 or four for $75 at this Studio City bistro that will be offering their Valentine Menu all weekend long. In addition to dishes like seared foie gras with potato latkes and crisp Fuji apples, or cognac flamed chicken with sweet potato fries, sautéed haricot vert and mango, you can also choose from a few special Valentine's day cocktails.
Pinot Bistro: 12969 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; (818) 990-0500.
Bistro Garden at Coldwater: If you want atmosphere for your Valentine's Day date, The Bistro Garden has it in spades. The huge dining room is quite garden like with 30-foot ceilings set off with skylights and lattice work. This is the kind of place where people still "dress for dinner." You'll get three courses for your $78 and get to choose from old school dishes like beef Wellington and chocolate soufflé.
The Bistro Garden at Coldwater: 12950 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; (818) 501-0202.