Valentine's Day dining guide
Whether you celebrate Valentine's Day the weekend before or the day of--with your significant other or your best friends--L.A. restaurants are paying homage to love with prix-fixe menus and aphrodisiac foods and spirits to enhance the experience. See our list on the next page.
Comme Ca: Located on Melrose Avenue, this upscale bistro is offering a moderately priced Valentine’s Day prix-fixe dinner at $65 per person. The menu includes tuna tartare with noisette vinaigrette in a potato nest, local seabass with leek soubise, and red-velvet macarons with rose-milk ice cream. An a la carte menu is also available. 8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (323) 782-1104, www.commecarestaurant.com.
Coupa Cafe: For a non-traditional Valentine’s Day meal, the Venezuelan cafe is debuting its “Love Sharing” menu at an affordable $26 per person. Guests will sample dishes like tequenos (cheese sticks wrapped in flour dough) served with a chocolate and rosemary dipping sauce, Venezuelan pabellon (shredded beef served with rice, black beans and fried plantains), heart-shaped goat cheese ravioli, and tres leches cake. 419 North Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, (310) 385-0420, www.coupacafe.com.
Culina: This modern Italian restaurant has crafted a four-course prix-fixe menu by Chef Victor Casanova. Priced at $85 per person, guests can dine on dishes like escarole salad with orange, rose petals and white balsamic vinaigrette, ricciola crudo with yellowtail, blood orange, avocado, Ligurian black olives, or garganelli with Maine lobster, English peas, panna and winter black truffles. Optional wine pairings are available for an additional $45 per person. 300 South Doheny Dr., Los Angeles, (310) 860-4000, www.culinarestaurant.com.
Fig & Olive: The Melrose Place location is planning a three-course prix-fixe dinner for $52 per person on Valentine's Day. The menu draws inspiration from the South of France and features choices like
Santa Barbara prawns, veal carpaccio and oysters to start followed by entrées including roasted rack of lamb and grilled truffle chicken paillard. 8490 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, (310) 360-9100, figandolive.com.
Gladstones: If the beach is on the agenda for Valentine's Day, consider Gladstones in Malibu for dinner. The restaurant is offering various customized packages from Feb. 11 through the 14th, with options like a three-course prix-fixe menu and split of Moët Champagne. Each package can be upgraded and modified. 17300 Pacific Coast Hwy., Pacific Palisades, (310) 454-3474, gladstones.com.
il Covo: Restaurateur Sean MacPherson's latest project will present a prix-fixe lunch and dinner menu in addition to the à la carte menu for three days of Valentine’s Day, Feb. 13-15. For $65 per person, diners can get the entire tasting menu, which includes lobster with sea urchin, champagne risotto, roasted veal tenderloin and a strawberry aspic with chocolate mousse. 8700 West 3rd St., L.A., (310) 858-0020, ilcovo.com.
Jar: On Feb. 14, Jar will be serving a Valentine's Day dinner for $85 per person. The dinner features a tasting menu selected from signature dishes and seasonal creations. Pickle-brined breast and confit of duck with roasted baby turnips, black kale and a marsala sauce is just one of the many menu options. And for dessert, a rhubarb strawberry pistachio crumble with vanilla bean ice cream will warm the heart. 8225 Beverly Blvd., L.A., (323) 655-6566, thejar.com.
Kendall’s Brasserie and Bar: The Music Center's brasserie has crafted a Valentine's Day menu to fulfill your inner Francophile. Guests can select between a three- ($60) or four-course ($75) menu, which include kabocha squash bisque with pickled ginger relish, asparagus and wild mushroom risotto and roasted venison loin with poivrade sauce, red wine poached pear and celery root purée. 135 N. Grand Ave. Los Angeles, (213) 972-7322, www.kendallsbrasserie.com.
LA Market Restaurant: From Feb. 10-14, LA Market restaurant is offering an exclusive four-course menu at $52 per person. Menu highlights include pan-roasted Diver scallops with buttercup squash gnocchi, porter house steak for two with parmesan mashed potatoes, creamed spinach and pink béarnaise sauce and a Valentine’s Day-inspired junk-food platter. 800 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 765-8630, www.lalivemarriott.com.
Livello: The newly opened restaurant at L’Ermitage Beverly Hills is serving a lavish prix-fixe menu ($125 per couple) for Valentine’s Day. Each couple will begin with a glass of bubbly and an amuse of brioche and caviar. Guests will be offered a selection of dishes including oyster chowder with potato and smoked Steelhead trout roe; and pulled rabbit with pistachio gnocchi and horseradish jus. For dessert, diners can expect blood orange with coconut cake, yogurt soda and gelee or chocolate souffle with vanilla ice cream. 9291 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, (310) 860-8660, www.lermitagebh.com.
Locanda del Lago: Couples with busy schedules can chow down at Santa Monica's Locanda del Lago February 11th through the 17th. Executive chef Gianfranco Minuz is whipping up a prix-fixe menu that will highlight aphrodisiac ingredients including lobster, sea urchin and chocolate ganache. Diners can chose four courses at $55 per person or five courses for $69 per person, with optional wine pairings. 231 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 451-3525, lagosantamonica.com.
Lot 613: The multi-purpose venue is hosting a Valentine’s Day prix-fixe menu prepared by chefs Jae and Ian. The event will feature a full bar, live music and local art. For $59 per person, the menu will include passed appetizers like braised short rib arancini and crab-stuffed heirloom bell peppers; a candied walnut, green apple and sun-dried cranberry salad; a choice of entree, vegetable and starch; and shared desserts. 613 Imperial St., L.A., lot613.com.
Lucques: James Beard Foundation award-winning chef Suzanne Goin has designed a four-course dinner at Lucques, where a wood-burning fireplace and garden setting make for an intimate affair. Roasted asparagus with prosciutto, burrata and pistachios; ricotta dumplings with English peas; pan-roasted market fish with beet purée, watercress salad and blood orange butter or grilled pork chop with wild mushrooms, cornbread stuffing, pancetta and sage; and bittersweet chocolate vacherin with salted caramel ice cream and candied hazelnuts will be offered on Valentine's Day for $110 per person. 8474 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (323) 655-6277, lucques.com.
Mélisse: Chef Josiah Citrin's two-star Michelin restaurant celebrates Valentine's Day with five nights of tasting menus, starting on Feb. 10. On Valentine's Day, a five-course dinner will feature Maine lobster bolognese, blue-fin tuna and Liberty Duck breast with confit of blood orange and turnips. There are two seatings on Valentine's Day at $250 per person. The modified version of the Valentine's Day menu offered before the 14th is four courses and costs $135 per person. 1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 395-0881, melisse.com.
Naya Sunset: The modern Indian restaurant in Silver Lake is offering a five-course prix-fixe menu with a rose-water scented Champagne cocktail to start. In addition to the romantic setting, with a fireplace and rose petals galore, live music and dancers will also set the mood. The five-course menu is $55 per person. 3705 West Sunset Blvd., L.A., (323) 663-8268, nayasunset.com.
Nick and Stef's: This downtown steakhouse is giving patrons a choice between a three ($65) and four-course ($75) meal for Valentine’s Day. Diners can enjoy dishes including Tuscan kale salad with shaved radish, toasted hazelnuts and goat cheese; pan-seared foie gras with medjool date puree and pickled plums; and grilled beef tenderloin with smoked potatoes and creamed spinach. For dessert, guests can choose between chocolate dacquoise or rose petal lychee raspberry cake. 330 S. Hope St., Los Angeles, (213) 680-0330, www.patinagroup.com/nickstef.
RH at Andaz West Hollywood: This sleek hotel restaurant offers a Valentine’s Day menu that will suit any music lover. For $150 per couple, diners will be served sturgeon caviar on Kumomoto oysters with crème fraiche and micro chives; King crab ceviche with avocado, red onions, micro cilantro and yuzu dressing; and farm beef tenderloin with sautéed baby spinach, garlic, pomme frites, shallot and red wine jus. To finish the meal, guests can enjoy an apple tart with Carmela’s lavender honey ice cream and a selection of chocolate bonbons and macarons. 8401 West Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 785-6090, www.westhollywood.andaz.hyatt.com.
Rivera: The restaurant's Valentine's Day menu is inspired by chef John Rivera Sedlar's visit to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera's blue house in Coyocan. Blood oranges, maize essence, South American carne with Malbec and a 'postre' reflect Sedlar's interpretation of one of the great love stories of Mexico through food. The meal costs $75 per person with optional wine pairings. 1050 S. Flower St., L.A., (213) 749-1460 riverarestaurant.com.
Royal/T: The Japanese maid cafe and art-space in Culver City is hosting a seven-course prix-fixe on Valentine's Day at $70 per person. The dinner will explore the "dichotomies of love," presented by Bereket, L.A.'s only Ethiopian supper club. The story of love will be narrated in seven Ethiopian courses including "pleasure and pain" with a spicy curried butternut squash soup with caramelized onion jam and cornbread croutons and "infidelity" with a hot-and-cold course of spicy tuna kitfo and warm sautéed gomen. The first seating starts at 6 p.m. and a second will begin at 8:30 p.m. 8910 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, (310) 559-6300, royal-t.org.
Valentino: Restaurant owner, Pietro Selvaggio, presents his famed Festa di San Valentino, a four-course Valentine’s Day menu ($90 per person) from Feb. 9-15. Guests will be given several choices for each course, including jumbo shrimp wrapped in swordfish in a garlic-tomato sauce; housemade garganelli with bolognese ragù; Napa Valley quail in porchetta with Umbrian black truffles; and grilled Pennsylvania veal chop with wild mushrooms. To complete the meal guests will be served housemade chocolate baci and a complimentary glass of Prosecco. 3115 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 829-4313, www.valentinorestaurantgroup.com.
Wilshire Restaurant: The outdoor patio at Wilshire Restaurant is a perfect setting for a romantic evening. Chef Nyesha Arrington has created a four-course dinner for Valentine's Day with a menu that reflects the restaurant's signature dishes. Oysters with American caviar, chicken liver terrine, lobster risotto, scallops and mushroom ravioli are just a few of the dishes available on Feb. 14. For dessert, a chocolate flourless cake with market berries and chocolate ice cream will be up against a meyer lemon soufflé. The dinner is $78 per person with optional wine pairing for $35. 2454 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 586-1707, wilshirerestaurant.com.
Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air: The prix-fixe menu at the elegant Hotel Bel-Air is a feast for the eyes. Priced at $175 per person, guests can select from a number of menu items such as blue fin toro and albacore ‘crudo’ with avocado, cucumber, wild arugula and blood orange; hand-cut agnolotti pasta with French black truffles, celery root and mascarpone; and roasted loin of Sonoma lamb with goat cheese persillade, rhutabega puree, honey-glazed turnips and pearl onions. Additionally, each guest will receive a celebratory glass of Champagne Henriot Brut. 701 Stone Canyon Rd., Los Angeles, (310) 909-1644, www.wolfgangpuck.com.
Wood & Vine: Located in the historic 1923 Taft Building, Wood & Vine features local small-batch wines, beers and seasonal small plates. For Valentine's Day, the Hollywood eatery is serving dinner for two at $60 per person. The menu will feature dishes such as oysters, slow roasted pork and chocolate pot au creme. 6280 Hollywood Blvd., L.A., (323) 334-3360, woodandvine.com.
WP24 Restaurant & Lounge: Wolfgang Puck’s Asian-fusion restaurant is serving an eight-course tasting menu for Valentine’s Day. Guests will sample dishes such as wok-fried Santa Barbara spot prawns with black garlic and yuzu uni emulsio;, grilled Colorado lamb chops with cashews, cilantro and Hunan eggplant; and Manjari passion with spiced caramel crème, puffed rice and manjari sorbet. This menu is priced at $175 per person or $250 per person with wine pairings. 900 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 743-8824, www.wolfgangpuck.com.
--Caitlin Keller and Leah Rodrigues
Photo credit: Larry Crowe / Associated Press