You can find romance in so many configurations and corners in our diverse Los Angeles communities.
Some of the most iconic romantic moments ever put to film happened here — the final scene of Casablanca at the Van Nuys Airport, or the Griffith Park dance extravaganza in La La Land. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt shot their steamy Mr. & Mrs. Smith tango downtown at Cicada, the same spot where Julia Roberts sent an escargot flying across the room in Pretty Woman.
Here are nine spots where you can celebrate Valentine's Day and make your own memories. But reserve now!
Le Petit Paris
At the bottom of the grand staircase in the sprawling two-story salon of downtown's historic El Dorado Building (built in 1913) is Le Petit Paris, where chef Baptiste Grellier is offering a $95 prix fixe Valentine's dinner.
Appetizers include a choice of salmon tartar heart, black trumpet mushroom ravioli or rainbow roasted beet carpaccio with artichokes, grilled asparagus, citrus fruits and minestrone vegetable vinaigrette. Dinner selections are Mediterranean sea bass, Maple Farm duck breast and bacon-wrapped pork loin. For vegans there's roasted baby peppers stuffed with olive mashed potato, red pepper coulis and fried squash blossom.
For a naughty finish, you can choose between Adam (sweetheart dark chocolate mousse, cherry sparkling heart and ginger chocolate sauce) and Eve (raspberry and lychee heart-shaped panna cotta with a Cupid’s arrow macaron and rose petal crumbles).
418/420 S. Spring St., downtown; (213) 217-4445, lepetitparisla.com.
If a stroll on the beach at sunset is your thing, you can top it off with dinner at Tallula’s in Santa Monica, which offers its first “Hecho con Amor” (Made With Love) celebration.
In addition to the regular menu, there is an optional four-course prix fixe dinner for $65 per person, with an agave spirits/wine pairing for an additional $35 per person. Selections include crab nachos, an assortment of crudo, prime beef fajitas and Mexican chocolate profiteroles.
118 Entrada Drive, Santa Monica; (310) 526-0027, tallulasrestaurant.com.
Lucques in WeHo, one of L.A.'s most romantic restaurants and once the rustic carriage house of the original Harold Lloyd estate, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Chef de cuisine Mercedes Rojas is offering a lavish five-course menu at $135 per person.
For starters there’s Dungeness crab with potato blini, beet puree, crème fraiche and American caviar, followed by arugula, citrus and avocado salad. Dinner is diver scallops with risotto carbonara, followed by herb-roasted rack of lamb with braised artichokes and beluga lentil salsa verde. Blackberry vacherin with crème fraiche ice cream and Swiss meringue is for dessert.
8474 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 655-6277, lucques.com
Maple at Descanso Gardens
If there’s anything that will put you in the mood, it’s a stroll through the blooming camellias in the historic Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge, followed by dinner in the garden oasis. Normally only open for weekend brunch, Maple at Descanso Gardens welcomes guests for dinner on Valentine’s Day with special five-course ($85) and six-course ($100) menus. Options include crab and chips, peas and lobster, sparkling lemon basil sorbet and Champagne as an intermezzo, halibut and mushrooms, and chocolate passion cream for dessert.
1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada Flintridge; (818) 864-6435, patinagroup.com/maple-restaurant?utm_source=googlemaps&utm_campaign=maple-restaurant&utm_medium=local.
Chef’s Not Here
And speaking of dinner under the stars, the rooftop Chef’s Not Here in the heart of Melrose Place is offering a “Spice and Romance” dinner of its endless tapas. Choice of any four courses from the regular menu is $62 per person, plus everybody gets a complimentary raspberry chocolate soufflé.
Selections include Italian crispy Brussels sprouts with currants, pine nuts, truffle-pecorino and aged balsamic, salt and pepper-grilled calamari, fennel and salami salad, linguine pasta with spiced shrimp, and New York steak with shallots and peppercorn sauce.
Rooftop at 8457 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 272-4681, chefsnothere.com.
In the heart of Culver City, Lukshon is offering a sexy prix fixe menu of Southeast Asian flavors for $95. The evening kicks off with a complimentary glass of French Champagne and barely poached oysters with silken tofu, Tokyo turnips and sour apple. Four courses follow with options including Hawaiian butterfish, lobster roll bánh mì, grilled lamb brisket, Sichuan dumplings, Chiang Mai curry noodles and crab fried rice.
3239 Helms Ave., Culver City; (310) 202-6808, lukshon.com
If you're just in the mood for cocktails, the chic Officine Brera in the Arts District is putting up a “Stages of Romance Wine Flight” for $18. The journey starts with a prosecco (La Vigne di Alice “Ose” rose brut from Italy), then a Sonoma coast pinot noir and finally a 2013 Barolo from Piedmont, Italy.
Head bartender Tom Costello has created a “Choose Your Type Cocktail List,” for $14 each:
Bachelor #1: sparkling served in a flute — Russian Standard vodka, muddled strawberries, elderflower, prosecco, hibiscus, lemon, honey.
Bachelor #2: on the rocks — Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Amaro Angeleno, fresh pomegranate juice, lime, passion fruit, agave.
Bachelor #3: on the rocks — Buffalo Trace, Amaro Montenegro, Leopold Brothers Aperitivo, Carpano Bianco.
The Valentine’s Day aperitif is Costello’s version of a brandy Alexander, made with Villa Zarri cherry liqueur, grappa, Amara Lucano and Meletti Cioccolato ($19).
1331 W. Sixth St., downtown; (213) 553-8006, officinebrera.com
For lovers of plant-based dining, Crossroads in WeHo is offering five courses and a glass of Champagne for $75. Choices include baby chicory salad, wedding soup with impossible meatballs, oven-roasted sumac sunchokes, socca crepe, sundried tomato tortelloni and a dramatic romanesco en croute. Bananas Foster and red velvet terrine are for dessert. There are three seatings for vegan Valentines: 5, 7 and 9:30 p.m.
8284 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 782-9245, crossroadskitchen.com
Belcampo’s Tenderloin for Two
Staying in? Try Belcampo’s Tenderloin for Two meal kit. The $149 package, all prepped and ready to cook at home, includes charcuterie to nibble on while you put your meal together. There’s a simple salad, an entrée of beef tenderloin with broccolini, rainbow baby carrots and peewee potatoes, strawberries and whipped cream for dessert as well as a bottle of red wine and a bottle of Champagne.
Orders can be placed in-store or over the phone, with kits available for pickup from any Belcampo location Feb. 12-14.