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Valentine’s Day Romantic Dining in San Francisco & the Bay Area

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Valentine’s Day is the token day to show the one you love how much you care. There are many ways to celebrate love and this special day. For those with more time and creativity than cash, get inspiration from How to Have a Perfect Valentine’s Day in San Francisco without spending a fortune. Should you wish to celebrate by dining out, here are some suggestions for local restaurants with special menus. To ensure the perfect day, make dining reservations in advance, SOON.

Garden Court at Palace Hotel

Celebrate the one you love in one of the world’s most beautiful dining rooms – The Garden Court. With several options to choose from, The Garden Court at the Palace Hotel provides an elegant, romantic setting and delicious dining options.

Sweetheart Tea: Enjoy our elegant sparkling wine tea served with romance and a song. Be swept away by the magical setting, delicious treats and the sounds of strolling violin. Saturday, February 11, 2012, 1:00pm – 2:30pm, $48.

Valentine Brunch: Find everything your hearts desire at our signature brunch. You and your love will enjoy live music, sparkling wine, an array of savories and sweets including our special decadent chocolate desserts. Sunday, February 12, 2012, 10:30am – 1:30pm, $75.

Valentine’s Day Lunch: Create memorable moments over lunch for two in the unforgettable ambiance of The Garden Court. Select culinary delights from our a la carte menu – perfect for sharing! Tuesday, February 14, 2012 11:30am – 2:00pm.

Sip, Sup, Swing & Sway Dinner Dance: Experience an unforgettable evening in one of the world’s most beautiful dining rooms. Enjoy a five-course dinner, dancing, and music by the Kent Strand Band featuring the soulful vocals of Pamela Rose. Tuesday, February 14, 2012, Reservations available from 6:30pm – 9:30pm. $75 Pre Fixe Dinner / $100 Pre Fixe Dinner with Wine Pairing Selections.

Sweethearts Night Out: Relax and enjoy your evening in our Deluxe, fully appointed guest room for two sweethearts. Pampering will include Rosy turn down service with a sprinkle of velvety petals to enhance the ambiance as well as a special sweet treat from Executive Chef Jesse Llapitan. At your leisure, join our culinary experts Sunday morning for our very special Valentine Brunch featuring unending choices - both savory and sweet, with chocolate taking center stage of course! Sunday brunch begins at 10:30am and reservations are recommended. $329 per room, per night.

Palace Hotel Reservations: For room reservations call 888-627-7196 and request the PALEVENT rate code; For dining reservations please visit the Palace Concierge or call 415-546-5089; Menus, dining and guest room reservations also available at sfpalace.com.

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins: Celebrate in grand style at one of San Francisco’s iconic hotels. Take the elevator up to the 19th Floor where panoramic views, delicious cuisine, and cocktails await. Valentine’s Dinner packages are $395 per couple and includes: (Window not guaranteed – window based on availability ànd those who make reservations first get first priority); 1 Rose with Ribbon; 1 Bottle of Moet Chandon Rosé per couple; 1 Centerpiece Appetizer; 4 Course Plated Dinner (including coffee & tea).

Choose either Saturday, February 11, 2012 @ 7:30pm or Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 7:30pm. When you make a reservation for either Valentine Dinner you will be entered to win the “Pack Your Bag Contest:” pack an overnight bag for a chance to spend one night in the presidential suite. Contest will be held both Saturday 2/11/12 & Tuesday 2/14/12, Winner will be announced at end of dinner.

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar: Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your loved one at Absinthe! Executive Chef Adam Keough has prepared a special three-course American-influenced French brasserie dinner menu, including an additional Sommelier wine pairings menu priced at $39. Selections include Sonoma Foie Gras Torchon with Asian pears, citrus confit, pistachio butter, and brioche; Pan-Roasted Ivory Salmon with butter beans, Brussels sprouts, and blood orange-black mussel broth; and Vanilla Cheesecake with hibiscus meringue, Rooibos tea, pistachio crumble, and olive oil cake. $68 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made by calling 415-551-1590 or by visiting Open Table.

AQ Restaurant & Bar: For those not in the mood for a prix-fixe Chef Mark Liberman will offer a limited a la carte menu. However, there will also be a unique tasting menu denoted “Love & Passion” for Valentine’s Day. Special dishes will include Lobster & Sea Urchin with radish braised with apple juice and preserved pink pepper, Pumpkin Swordfish crusted with seeds, sweet potato and ginger, Rabbit Roasted with Laurel Leaves with herbed cereals and walnuts with salsify, Ribeye Aged on the Bone smoked in hay, root beer, fennel and parsnip and Red & Black with cassis, blood orange, almond and black sesame. A vegetarian tasting menu is available upon request. Price is $65.00 per person excluding tax and gratuity. For reservations please call 415-341-9000.

B Bar SF: Serving $5 cocktails to celebrate the most romantic day of the year, offering their infamous Love On cocktail for $5 all day on Tuesday, February 14. Featuring Hanger One Buddha Hand Vodka, fresh raspberries, pineapple juice and prosecco, the Love On just might give you the nerves to talk to that special someone, but if that doesn’t work, B Bar will have plenty of props available to get the message across including cards and crayons to create personalized Valentines, candy hearts and more. An old-school lovers jam mix will be playing all night by resident DJ “The Saltiest Cracker.” Located among the Yerba Buena Gardens in the heart of San Francisco’s SOMA district, B Restaurant & Bar sits atop an outdoor terrace overlooking the gardens and waterfalls with panoramic views of the city skyline.

COI: A traditional choice for a formal Valentine’s Day celebration, COI is one of San Francisco’s most dynamic fine-dining restaurants founded by Executive Chef Daniel Patterson. At COI, Patterson continues to challenge the boundaries of fine dining with innovative menus incorporating lesser-used ingredients ranging from native Northern California greens to lichen and even hay. Beyond ingredients, COI is truly a place of innovation in modern culinary technique. Enjoy Patterson’s ever-changing 11-course tasting menu, and celebrate Valentine’s Day discovering new ingredients and flavors. For reservations call 415-393-9000.

Foreign Cinema: Enjoy a special 4-course Valentine’s Day prix-fixe menu, including a glass of Champagne, featuring California-Mediterranean cuisine from the Foreign Cinema kitchen. From 6:30pm to 10:00pm, listen to the grooves of the Gaucho Gypsy Jazz Band, while you enjoy the glow of an independent film projected onto the wall in the courtyard. Options will be available for the second, third and dessert courses, and the dinner is priced at $105.00 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made by calling 415-648-7600 or by visiting www.foreigncinema.com.

LarkCreekSteak: LarkCreekSteak stands out from the crowd with an a la carte menu, fancied up with Chef Ismael Macias’ Valentine’s Day specials such as Marin Sun Farms Pig Head & Foie Gras Croquette with gribiche sauce, frisée, Bacon Wrapped Mary's Free-Range Chicken Breast with chicken leg confit, parsnip puree, broccoli rabe, natural jus, and Butternut Squash Saffron Risotto with maitake mushrooms, parmesan cheese, herbs. For reservations please call 415.593.4100.

One Market Restaurant: One Market will serve a four-course dinner priced at $75.00 per person. Michelin star Chef Mark Dommen’s specialties will include dishes such as Sweetbread Ravioli with black trumpets, Applewood smoked bacon, tarragon, and Meyer lemon, Roasted Liberty Farms Duck Breast, duck sausage, faro, wild nettles, and Earl Grey jus, Grilled Wild Sturgeon with creamed spinach, salsify, bone marrow and Caramelized Apple Tart, puff pastry, Calvados gelée, apple cider “slush”, and Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream. The menu will also include a cheese course. For reservations please call 415-777-5577.

EAST BAY:

Bistro Liaison, North Berkeley, California: Enjoy a romantic dinner at this French restaurant. Select from their special three-course menu, $110 per couple, $60 per person (excluding tax, gratuity), Reservations required, live cabaret music from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Bocanova Oakland, California: Details: ($42, 5-courses)Located in Oakland’s Jack London Square will serve a romantic 5-course prix fixe menu priced at $42 per person. Dishes will include specialties such as Deep Fried Oyster with spicy crema and pickled radish, Dungeness Crab with jicama and citrus salad with buttermilk dressing, Cazeula Baked White Shrimp with guajillo chile and peanut sauce and a Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting and hot chocolate. For reservations please call 510-444-1233.

B Restaurant & Bar Oakland: B Restaurant & Bar Oakland will be serving up a special four-course chocolate-inspired dinner for two for the holiday in addition to their regular a la carte menu on Tuesday, February 14. To start, diners will enjoy a Bitter Dutchess Cocktail with Pedro Ximenez Sherry, rum, rosemary and chocolate bitters followed by Citrus Roasted Chioggia Beets with garam masala, bitter sweet chocolate “dirt”, red beet hummus, and pickled county line farms puntarella; Coffee Roasted Short Ribs with Sauce Mole served with sweet potato gratin, truffles, and king trumpet & beech mushrooms; and for dessert, a choice of Chocolate-Praline Tart, Chocolate Panna Cotta, or Chocolate Polenta Cake. This special menu will be offered at $50 per person. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 510.251.8770.

Haven, Oakland, California: Celebrate Valentine’s Day waterside in Oakland’s Jack London Square at the chic yet homey eatery Haven. Serving new Californian cuisine from Executive Chef Kim Alter, the menu features craveable, technique-driven food including whole animal and vegetable preparations, shareable plates, and desserts-for-two from Pastry Chef Matt Tinder. The community-minded space evokes a sense of comfort and warmth while simultaneously providing a unique and personal dining experience including hand-crafted cocktails from the best local mixologists. Exclusively for Valentine’s Day, Alter is offering a 4-course tasting menu highlighting the best of Haven and providing an unbeatable dining experience. For reservations call 510-663-4440.

Plum and Plum Bar, Oakland, California: Details of offering/price: ($70, 4-courses) Plum exudes a relaxed and friendly urban atmosphere, with a vegetable focused, seasonal menu featuring fresh ingredients in creative compilation from local vendors. Reclaimed wooden tables and benches, hardwood floors, and weathered walls adorned with abstract images of plums create an atmosphere that is at once casual and intimate, perfect for a romantic celebration. An open kitchen bridges the gap between diners and chefs, further fostering conversation and community in the dining room. In celebration of Saint Valentine enjoy a 4-course tasting menu featuring Plum’s signature blend re-imagined dishes. Next door Plum Bar, is the ideal location for a before or after dinner drink, offering creatively mixed cocktails in a similar, lux environment. For reservations call 510-444-7586.

BEYOND SAN FRANCISCO:

Moonraker, Pacifica, California: Recently opened seafood restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean in Pacifica invites guests to reserve a romantic overstuffed leather booth to watch the sun set over the waves this Valentine’s Day and enjoy a decadent four-course tasting menu filled with aphrodisiacs from Executive Chef Jason Yeafoli. Menu highlights include Baked Marin Miyagi Oyster with melted leeks, breadcrumbs and truffle cream; Local Dungeness Crab served with blood orange, avocado, radish and crème fraiche; Foie Gras Torchon with local Sonoma foie gras, port fig jam, pink peppercorn and toast points; Maine Lobster “Thermidor” poached in butter with trumpet mushrooms, scallops, sherry lobster sauce and lobster crumbs; and Grilled Lamb Chops with fennel Yukon potato, rosemary salt, and an Italian lemon olive sauce. For dessert, guests can choose between a Chocolate Pavé with chocolate mousse, cherry crème fraiche mousse, pistachio, graham cracker and zinfandel kirsch sauce; a Lime Bombe with fresh lime mousse, white chocolate macadamia cookie, and wild honey caramel; or Passion Fruit Sorbet with blood orange sections and coconut emulsion. The Steve Nelson Jazz Ensemble will play throughout the night. Four-courses are available at $79/person; Sommelier’s wine pairings are available for an additional $29 per person (excluding tax and gratuity). Seatings are available from 4:30 – 9:30 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling (650) 557-7025.

Silverado Resort and Spa, Napa, California: The resort’s Dolce Valentine’s Package is offered daily from February 1-29, 2012. Starting at $279, this package includes an in-room bottle of Domaine St. Michelle Brut Champagne, chocolate covered strawberries for two, and breakfast for two in The Grill at Silverado. The booking code is CLB1. This package provides guests with 17% savings on breakfast, Champagne and chocolates.

The Create Your Own Romance package is offered daily from February 1-29, 2012. This package, priced at $679 per night based on double occupancy, includes a One-Bedroom Fireplace Suite, bottle of Napa Valley sparkling wine, breakfast for two in The Grill at Silverado, and a choice of one of the following: wine paired 3-course dinner and a 50-minute Couples Massage plus lesson; Four-hour private limousine tour of wine country; Personalized Hot Air Balloon ride including pre-flight pastries and post-flight champagne; or a wine paired 3-course dinner with a dozen roses and a $150 resort credit to use golfing, on spa treatments or tennis. Reservations available only by calling 800-532-0500. This package provides guests with a value of close to $175 in additional amenities.

In addition to special prix-fixe menus in The Royal Oak and The Grill at Silverado on Friday, February 10, and Saturday, February 11, Valentine’s dining options include a Husband and Wife Winemaker Dinner, featuring Julie Johnson and Jon Engelskirger of Tres Sabores Winery, on Tuesday, February 14. Guests are invited to join Julie and Jon at 6:15 p.m. for a sparkling reception followed by a four-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Jeffrey Jake. The dinner is priced at $125 per person with an additional $15 gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 707-257-5431 or by email to brooke.corro@silveradoresort.com.

Tavern at Lark Creek, Larkspur, California: The Tavern at Lark Creek will offer Chef Aaron Wright’s take on a romantic three-course meal. Choices will include Crispy Sweet Semolina Oysters with ruby grapefruit, avocado, bacon , endive salad and herbs, Natural Prime New York with spring onions, broccolini, blue cheese potato gratin and sauce bordelaise, and Lemon Ricotta Cake with huckleberry ice cream and lime cookie crumble. For reservations please call 415.924.7766.

Viognier, San Mateo, California: Located in downtown San Mateo above Draeger’s Market, Viognier is named for the grape variety originating from the Northern Rhône region of France. Chef Dishman blends classic French technique with California’s bounty of seasonal ingredients and supports local farmers and sustainable products whenever possible. This year, Chef Dishman will be offering a 3-course menu specially crafted for those celebrating Valentine’s Day. Available on February 14, the dinner is $65 per person with optional wine pairings offered for $30.

©Karla Erovick 2012 article

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