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Inexpensive Valentine's Dinners in Boston - $30 picks

happy valentine's day!
happy valentine's day!
jek in the box from Flickr

After Valentine's Day cycles through town, you may find yourself wishing you had budgeted in advance. Even the best laid plans can turn into hundreds of dollars spent between dinner, flowers, gifts, and chocolate.

It may seem hard to believe, but it is possible to get out of the house and do something romantic for practically the same amount it would cost to cook a fancy dinner at home. Here are three places to find excellent food in Boston on Valentine's Day in a great, cozy local for only thirty bucks.

The Middle East Restaurant & Night Club
Central Square

The only place in town that has a weekly belly dancing show, The Middle East is hosting the Viva Viva Valentine's Eve Prom. How could you expect such an inherently sexy local let the day of love pass by unnoticed?

Thankfully though, the menu hasn't noticed the holiday, and you can expect all the usual Middle Eastern favorites at the usual affordable prices. Entrees top out around $12 and there are a bevy of options for meat-lovers and vegetarians alike. For something seasonal, try the pumpkin kibby.

The Franklin Cafe
South End

The preferred location for discerning theater professionals to end their night, Franklin Cafe in the South End might just have the most mouth-watering list of appetizers in town. And what filling starters they are! This is the perfect place to make a meal out of duck prosciutto croque monsieurs with port poached pears or crispy shrimp toasts with bbq pork sticky ribs and skip the heavy meat entrees.

In a town where most restaurants closed their doors around ten, Franklin cafe is open until 1:30, and so is the kitchen! So catch a play, take a stroll through the South End, and end the night with some light fare in an incredibly cozy local just south of Tremont.

Baraka Cafe
Central Square

Call it a cozier, more affordable version of the famed (and very romantic) Tangierino in Charlestown, but Baraka wins hands down when you are looking for an intimate place to pass the evening - especially after Tangierino's re-modeling. WIth appetizers at more third of the price, you couldn't find a better locale for an inexpensive Valentine's.

Whether you make a meal out of the unique meze (chickpean Karentika, eggplant Bedenjal Mechoui, and carrot M'Chermlat El Sanaria are stand-outs) or call ahead for the special Classical Bastilla Torte, a filo pastry layered with almonds, cinnamon, saffron, parsley, marinated squab or free-range chicken with figs, mint, parsley, orange blossom infusion which requires 36-hour notice, your date will be ablaze with exotic tastes. Just make sure to avoid awkward post dinner moments and be prepared though, because Baraka only accepts cash.