It's February, folks, and you know what that means: Valentine's Day, a day dedicated to rom-coms, fuzzy feelings and commercialized tokens of affection. Whether you're looking to celebrate with your sweetheart or surrounded yourself with other singles, L.A.'s food scene is ramping up their romance factor for a night of sweet dinner deals. They say money can't buy love – but a thoughtful reservation for two won't hurt.
If you're looking to celebrate with, probably, a bunch of single people, maybe try Hollywood's take on a Moroccan lounge and bar, complete with dancers, cushioned seating and kama sutra cocktails. Acabar's Love Temptation promises a strangers mixer party with live music and a special dining experience by chef Octavio Becerra. Group reservation and bottle service available. $125 per person.1510 N. Stanley Ave., Hollywood; 323-876-1400; email@example.com.
Church & State
At downtown's bistro Church & State, you can wine and dine your valentine with their $95 prix fixe menu, which contains ingredients know for their aphrodisiac qualities. Included among the dishes: Huitres Glacee's (chilled oysters, caviar, watercress avocado and watermelon radish), St. Jacques et Coquillages (scallops, shellfish, artichokes, gratin) and Tournedos de Boeuf (beef tenderloin, potato, spinach, shallots, black winter truffle jus). Add a $50 wine pairing to sweeten the deal. Reservations recommended. 1850 Industrial St., Los Angeles; 213-405-1434.
At Salt's Cure, chefs Chris Phelps and Zak Walters are offering an a la carte Valentine's Day menu. Look for lamb tartar; butter-poached lobster; and stuffed quail breast with fried quail eggs. And don't forget to ask about their wine offerings, selected by sommelier Andre Mack. 7494 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles; 310-850-7258.
The folks at Scratch Bar are serving a set menu on Valentine's Day, which will feature three hour-long floor seatings (5 p.m., 7 p.m, and 9 p.m.) and two chef's counter seatings (6 p.m. and 9 p.m.). Six, eight and 14-course menus are available, ranging from $55-$111 (wine pairings not included). Options include pork belly and raw oysters; dry aged hanger steak; and a dark chocolate and cayenne candy car for dessert. 111 N. La Cienega Blvd.; 310-289-8010.
If you want to head out to Malibu, Mr. Chow is serving a special Valentine's Day multi-course menu. Offerings include Beijing dishes such as Red Lantern water dumplings; lobster with butter sauce and black pepper; chicken with cantaloupe; and prawns with garlic and green onion sauce. $85 per guest (drinks not included). Dinner from 5:30-11 p.m. 3835 Cross Creek Road #18A; 310-456-7600.
At downtown's Dragro Centro, chef Celestino Drago presents a Menu di San Valentino. A four-course Italian dining experience allows you to choose an antipasti, pasta, main dish and dessert. Tasting menu begins at $68 per person. 525 S Flower St., Los Angeles, 213-288-998.
If one day of celebration isn't enough, El Cid is hosting a two-day Valentine's weekend special. Each night will showcase three performances: two flamenco dinner shows and a midnight burlesque show. A Spanish-inspired, pre fixe menu from chef Olivia Hernadez includes soup, salad, choice of entrée, dessert and a special Valentine's mini-craft cocktail in an edible chocolate cup. Vegan options available. Feb. 14-15, beginning at 7 p.m. 4212 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; 323-668-0318.
Terranea Resort will be offering several “romance” packages, including discounts on rooms and a variety of spa treatments. Dining options include a Champagne tasting and a prix fixe meal at Mar'Sel, a Valentine's Day beer pairing dinner at Nelson's, tapas for two at Catalina Kitchen, specialty menu items at Bashi and house-made chocolates at Sea Beans. For details and reservations call 310-265-2836; 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South, Rancho Palos Verdes.
Café del Rey
Café del Rey offers a romantic view overlooking the Marina along with a special three-course seasonally inspired surf-and-turf dinner for $85. From 5 p.m.-11p.m. executive chef Chuck Abair is serving up a prix fixe menu of winter seafood, homemade pastas and shareable treats. 4451 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey; 310-823-6395.
In honor of the big night, Lucques has designed a special five-course dinner prepared by chef de cuisine Javier Espinoza – and the wood-burning fireplace makes Suzanne Goin's restaurant a pretty cozy setting. For $125 per person, dishes include potato blinis with American caviar; diver scallops with risotto carbonara, fava beans and black truffle; braised beef daube with carrot puree; and bittersweet chocolate dacquoise with caramel, candied hazelnuts and coffee cream for dessert. 8474 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood; 323-655-6277.
Seasonal small plates and organic wine dominate the menu at A.O.C., where chef de cuisine Lauren Herman will prepare a special appetizer, main dish and dessert. Choose from three entrée options: grilled scallops, fennel puree, winter citrus and green olives in green harissa; braised beef cheek, roasted kabocha squash, pea tendrils, green garlic soubise, truffle butter; grilled asparagus, roasted root vegetables, Parmesan pudding, soft egg and crème fraiche. 8700 West 3rd St.; 310-859-9859.
If you're in the mood for Japanese comfort food, you might try Valentine's Day at Katana. Their $55 Valentine's “couple's feast” includes two glasses of Champagne and a chocolate volcano cake – in addition to your choice of appetizer, robata course and sushi course. The $80 “premium feast” is available upon request. 8439 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; 323-650-8585.
Chef de cuisine Chris Reyoso will prepare some of Tavern's favorites in a mulitcourse Valentine's Day dinner. Dishes include Maine lobster and spiced carrot salad; wild mushroom farrotto with shaved pecorino and toasted almonds; pan-seared halibut; grilled rack of lamb with saffron rice, spinach, harissa, and feta; frozen s'mores pie with graham cracker crust chocolate sorbet, toasted marshmallow and crushed honeycomb. $95 per guest. 11648 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles; 310-806-6464.
BOA Steakhouse West Hollywood and Santa Monica
At BOA in West Hollywood, Valentine's Day specials include a half dozen oysters ($32), 16-ounce chateaubriand carved table-side ($95) and a lobster thermidore for two ($100). The menu at BOA's Santa Monica location starts with grilled calamari salad, then features a prime hanger steak au poivre, and ends with dark chocolate mousse and fresh raspberries. 8439 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 650-8585. 101 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica; 310-899-4466.
Sushi Roku Santa Monica and Pasadena
Sushi Roku in Santa Monica will offer a special Valentine's Day omakase menu for $80 per person. And you get a special red velvet bread pudding for dessert. Sushi Roku's Pasadena menu is $85 per guest, complete with Valentine's Day-themed cocktails, Champagne specials and a complimentary takeaway photo of each couple. 1401 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; 310-458-4771. 33 Miller Alley, Pasadena; 626-683-3000.
At The Pikey in Hollywood, chef Ralph Johnson is offering shareable treats from his new English pub. Among several Valentine's Day dinner specials will be West Coast oysters on the half shell with a bottle of bubbly. Catch their lunch hour from 11:45-5 p.m., or their dinner menu from 5 p.m.-2 a.m. 7617 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; 323-850-5400.
For $75 you can spend the evening with 5 vegan courses from chef Tal Ronnen's Valentine's Day-inspired menu. Mediterranean dishes include Italian wedding soup, artichoke ravioli, scaloppini chanterelle, risotto del giorno, plus red velvet cake and hot fudge sundaes for dessert. 8284 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; 323-782-9245.
Karen and Quinn Hatfield are offering a five-course prix fixe menu for Valentine's Day diners. There will be multiple options per course, featuring some of the Hatfields' favorite dishes and wine pairings. This $140 deal will be available from 6:00-10:30 p.m. 6703 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; 323-935-2977.
The Hungry Cat
Both of David Lentz's L.A. seafood-centric restaurants, the original Hungry Cat in Hollywood and the newer Santa Monica locale, are offering multi-course menus on Valentine's Day. At the Hollywood location, you'll find a $75 prix fixe feast; in Santa Monica, try their slightly pricier $85 menu. Call for reservations. 1535 N. Vine St., Hollywood; 323-462-2155. 100 W. Channel Road, Santa Monica; 310-459-3337.
Each female diner will receive a long-stemmed rose on Valentine's Day at Mo-Chica, chef Ricardo Zarate's downtown Peruvian restaurant. The $55 set-price menu has four courses of Mo-Chica favorites, such as lobster bisque, tuna tartare, pan-fried branzino, truffle porcini quinotto, aji mirasol butter-poached lobster and grilled lamb loin. Vegetarian options available.514 W. 7th St., Downtown, Los Angeles; 213-622-374.
Orsa & Winston
Orsa & Winston is celebrating Valentine's Day with six courses from chef Josef Centeno's Japanese-Italian “super-omakaske” menu. Priced at $85 per person with an optional wine pairing for $75 per person, reservations are strongly encouraged, as the restaurant only has 32 seats. 122 W. 4th St., Los Angeles; 213-687-0300.
This Valentine's Weekend, Patina is partnering up with French parfumer L'Artisan, where each dish will be inspired by a different scent from the L'Artisan collection. Available from 5-9:30 pm, the $80 3-course “fragrance” menu features items such as Nova Scotia salmon with apple grain mustard; Atlantic black cod, carrots and roasted garlic fumet; Omaha beef tenderloin, smoked potato mousseline and bordelaise syrup; and for dessert, passion fruit cremeux with Valrhona chocolate and coconut sorbet. For a more traditional option, the $160 6-course tasting menu will feature dishes such as oysters in seawater, black truffle risotto, wild striped bass and herb roasted beef tenderloin. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 141 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles; 213-972-3331.
In honor of Valentine's Day, chef Jordan Kahn is dishing up a shareable 6-course feast. The $85 tasting menu features dishes such as California white sturgeon caviar, Spanish mackerel, rice porridge, Atlantic black bass and coconut bavarois, among others. 8400 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; 323-651-5500.
Chef Ray England will team up with pastry chef Shannon Swindle to ring in the 14th at Craft. Expect to see hamachi with jasmine and cucumber; purple yam agnolotti and pecorino; and Sonoma duck, farro and chestnuts on their special prix fixe menu. $95 will get you 3 courses, with chocolate almond torte and creamscicle panna cotta for dessert. 0100 Constellation Blvd., Los Angeles; 310-279-4180.