Flowers? Champagne? Candle-lit dinner? A cake sprinkled with red, pink and white toppings? Culinary clichés are everywhere, yet there are those particular restaurants where every penny spent is worth it, be it for Valentine’s are any other special occasion. Whether it’s the famous cooks, alluring vistas, or the relaxing seaside setting that make these establishments great, here are 14 restaurants where every moment of romance and love will truly count.
If one would ask accomplished jet-setters to choose the best place for a quality romantic getaway, the Indian Ocean resort realm of Maldives is definitely in all of their lists. Soneva Jani is one of many possible dining options in the region, but its recent opening has really helped upped its game. The world’s best crustacean cuisine in the aptly named Crab Shack offers delectable varieties such as the Sri Lankan mud, Alaskan and Kamchatka crabs, all approved by the Marine Stewardship Council.
There are so many ways these delicious crabs can be served with, such as garlic, black pepper or even prepared in Szechuan or Vietnamese style. Mediterranean mainstays like seafood bouillabaisse stew or mussels meunière are also a must-have on the chomping list. To really shake things up, have your dining grand finale face the beautiful Maldivian sunset. It is guaranteed to whisk you and your loved one’s hearts away.
Soneva Jani, Medhufaru Island Noonu Atoll, Maldives
Lake House, Daylesford, Australia
Located at a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, Lake House is an opulent country hotel and is the site of the country’s most famous culinary programs. Alla Wolf-Tasker, and her family have spent more than 30 years giving the guests the best [romantic] hotel experience possible. The property’s balmy lagoon and gently sloped hills and forests are some of the hotel’s delightful views that are only rivalled by their top-notch cooking.
Lake House, an avant garde in regional Australian dining, reveres its own seasonal homegrown produce. Wild garlic custard, fresh curd, green asparagus, seasonal herbs and flowers make up their late spring vegetable spring tart, for example. The dish was so well-made that it would really be a shame to eat something that’s so elegant and pleasing to the eye.
Lake House, Australia
Sunset Monalisa, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
By itself, the bay at Cabo San Lucas is already a sight to behold, even before you realize that you have arrived at a dining establishment well-carved into a cliffside. This restaurant is none other than the Sunset Monalisa. Wealthy patrons will be interested in stopping by the Champagne bar, where the apéritifs served are complemented by Iranian beluga caviar or local oysters and lobster. Furthermore, Chef Paolo Della Corte’s Mediterranean-inspired menu can really tease the tummy with the likes of grilled octopus with crushed potatoes, tuna tartare or fettuccine with ricotta, anchovies and bottarga.
Sunset Monalisa, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Tate Dining Room & Bar, Hong Kong
Chef Vicky Lau has continued to wow the people with her cooking prowess since opening Tate Dining Room & Bar. This exquisite and dignified restaurant, sporting a Michelin Star, provides the ideal setting for a one-of-a-kind romantic dining experience.
The restaurant’s menu is a well-refined fusion of high-quality Chinese ingredients coupled with a baroque French approach. Pablo Neruda, the Chilean Great, was the inspiration for the establishment’s menu, with his poetry handsomely translated into fashionable fares called Odes. Ode to Pâté En Croute is just one example, with the French meat pastry being given the oriental treatment with sprinkles of ginger, scallion, pork and yearling meat. To round out the Tate Dining Room & Bar experience, Lau’s “Ode to Red Fruit” blends yogurt meringue with raspberry sorbet and white chocolate mousse, ending one’s night on a sweet note.
Tate Dining Room & Bar, 210 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Passerelle Bistro, Greenville SC
Reedy River in Greenville, South Carolina has a stately cascade of waterfalls which can really enhance one’s romantic dining experience at Passerelle Bistro. Passerelle is a popular and charming award-winning restaurant with a lively outdoor seating. Out of the many delectable selections at Passerelle, baked goat’s cheese, mussels, escargots and decadent cassoulet of duck are the most remarkable. On the sweet side of things, lemon crème brulee and chocolate mousse are the desserts to look out for.
Being a French-inspired restaurant, Passerelle Bistro has a fine selection of French wines that might make you lapse into speaking the French language. Once your stomachs are satisfied by the restaurant’s menu, you and your significant other can simply take a walk around 32 acres of Falls Park and enjoy the view of the Liberty Bridge above you.
Passerelle Bistro, Greenville
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Singapore
While Singapore may be on the other side of the globe for all of you western readers, it’s definitely no reason for you to miss out on Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. Imagine being given a serving of lobster, then have it accompanied by biscuits and gravy, sweet corn hush puppies, crispy chicken biscuits or mac and cheese. This is the kind of dining experience you’ll get from that restaurant.
Oysters with horseradish and Granny Smith apple or a Brussels sprout Caesar salad are also options for those who need to watch their weight. Regardless of selection, it’s the warm service that really adds to the wonderful dining experience. If you want to amp up your romantic dinner date, feel free to add some cocktails, though be warned that some of them are quite potent.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Singapore
The Kitchen at The Dunlavy, Houston
The Kitchen at The Dunlavy is a fine dining establishment that is run and managed by none other than Executive Chef Jane Wild. It is located at a prestigious spot with a good view of Houston’s bayou, with a dining room complete with both sunlight and chandelier light to give off a classy ambience. These are the reasons why this restaurant is a popular venue for wedding receptions. Most of the Southern California-inspired menu is locally sourced, particularly from the property’s three gardens. Heart-friendly dishes are also an option, as well as a seasonal menu with more zesty fare from the Middle East, Vietnam, and India.
The Dunlavy, Houston
Aqua Shard, London, UK
It is said that marriage proposals are a regular (weekly) thing at London’s Aqua Shard. Boasting a clear and stunning view of the UK capital, it is no wonder why it has attracted so many romantics. Located on the 31st floor, Aqua Shard houses some of the finest culinary geniuses, as well as as ingredients of astronomical quality. Hand-dived scallops from the Orkney Islands or Colchester rock oysters are two nautical appetizers from the restaurant’s menu.
Some main dishes may also include a fillet of Hereford beef and/or a stuffed globe artichoke. Since the business hours are from 7am to 10:30pm, you may have a good shot at reserving a much-coveted window table.
Aqua Shard, London, UK
ICEHOTEL Restaurant, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
This chilly hotel made entirely from snow and ice is like something from a fairy tale come to life, boasting a backdrop that really gives off a mystical vibe. The dining room, unlike the rest of the hotel, is pleasantly warm, which means that head chef Alexander Meier can deliver dishes that feature locally-sourced ingredients like moose, bramble berries, or arctic char. The hotel’s five-course menu, unsurprisingly, features some icebound fare like salmon with wasabi mayonnaise and soy jelly. For Valentine’s, a fillet of reindeer with Jägermeister sauce is one curious dish to feast on, and chocolate and Arctic brambles take on the sweet dessert role. The hotel’s broad menu is sure to make for one cool dining experience.
ICEHOTEL, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden