Contributions by Anthony Stafford

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, with about a week to go before it’s too late to land the perfect outing. In a city with a surplus of amazing food choices, you’d think it would be simple to just pick a place to have a Valentine’s dinner date, but it’s so much more difficult than that. Take five minutes to give it some thought and consideration, at least. If you’re still scrambling to find a great gift and the right reservation, then you can now consider half of the job done! We’ve got a roundup of some of the best restaurants in LA featuring Valentine’s Day specials across the spectrum of whatever suits your wallet, and taste. The clock is ticking. Dive in and discover your options:

Avec Nous at Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills

Avec Nous — the contemporary take on the classic French bistro with a St. Tropez vibe, is ready for the day of lovers with their Mediterranean-inspiried dishes. Spanish and Italian touches compliment their Riviera feel, and diners can expect a dosage of European spices to accompany their locally sourced seasonal ingredients. What’s in store for Avec Nous’ Valentine’s Day specials?

A refined yet inviting dining experience featuring a 5 course tasting menu (and optional wine pairing), with appetizers like Lobster Raviolo, Armagnac Cream, and Chili-Chive Espuma; while the entrees include a choice of Seared Scallops, Sweet Potato Purée, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and Candied Pork Belly. You can view Avec Nous’ entire Valentine’s Day 5 course menu here. Reserve now, as it’s likely to be a full house.

In their own words, “Our passion is defined by our name: Avec Nous – dine with us, drink with us, celebrate with us.” Celebrate your love with Ave Nous!

Other details:
Category: 5 course tasting menu with optional wine pairing.
Time: 5 pm – 11 pm
Address: 9291 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Cast at Viceroy Santa Monica

When you see what Cast at Viceroy is, and what it has to offer, you’ll most likely be reminded of a movie that features scenes of a luxurious dining experience. Creative food, hand-crafted cocktails, and stylish outdoor cabanas where you can enjoy both, with a side of coastal personality? That should be enough to persuade you into making a reservation, right? If not, maybe you’re picky, but don’t fret.

The Santa Monica restaurant Santa Monica restaurant stars a unique indoor/outdoor scene and commitment to sustainability. Keeping with the trend of healthy eating and fresh, local ingredients, Cast works with nearby farms and prepares their dishes from scratch. Their Valentine’s Day plans involve a specialty dinner paired with a decadent cocktail menu:

Roasted Tomato & Fennel Bisque, Grilled Little Gem Salad, and the Baby Beet & Burrata Salad are just a few starters to get you all warmed up. Entrees include Branzino, Maine Lobster and Tagliatelle, and Farro Risotto to name a few. You can check out the rest of Cast’s Valentine’s Day offerings here, along with photos of the cocktails available for the lover’s holiday. The cocktails by Anuar Chavez, are as dreamy as you can imagine, with chocolates, fruits, and liqueurs — yet their names alone should be enough to entice you: Old Fashioned Love, Cherries on Top/Bubbles on Cherries, and Chocolate Covered Strawberry.

Are you convinced yet? If the answer is “yes,” make your reservation. If you’re still not sure, don’t worry. We’ve still got a few more stops to make.

Other details:
Category: Specialty dinner & cocktail menu
Time: 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Address: 1819 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Love & Salt

The name is clearly an indication that Valentine’s Day should be celebrated here! Love & Salt’s Valentine plans include you and your date, along with a special menu themed “Is it love or lust?” What’s in store? Pasta tasting is being offered as a supplement to the Love & Salt dinner menu, and served by the course to each guest. In addition, themed cocktails and oysters on the half shell are available a la carte. Pasta tasting options include Papparadelle, Potato Gnocchi, 15 layer Lasagna, and Love Letter. Love & Salt’s steamy cocktails, named “Lady in the Ballroom” and “Lady in Red,” will seal your night with a kiss of citrus and mint.

In this appropriate pairing, the restaurant’s story goes fittingly with the season:

“Love & Salt is a story that begins with Cafe Pierre, a restaurant birthed by Guy Gabriele in 1977 to bring a taste of France to Los Angeles’ South Bay. While Cafe Pierre was a beloved part of the community for nearly 37 years, in 2014, Guy and his daughter Sylvie Gabriele, now the owner of Love & Salt, closed the restaurant to bring new life to the iconic space.

Love & Salt is a philosophy: that food needs only two ingredients to be great. It’s a sensibility that informs the feeling in the restaurant and the dishes on the menu — Italian-inspired with Southern California soul. An approachable wine list and classic cocktail program similarly reflect the vibrant SoCal setting of the restaurant, located just steps from the Manhattan Beach pier.”

Make your reservation here.

Other details:
Dates: February 13 & 14
Time: Dinner
Address: 317 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

Southern dining meets love at Yardbird, and it couldn’t get any better! Yardbird’s Valentine’s Day offerings consist of elevated comfort food, including appetizers, entrees, “finishing touches,” and desserts. Black truffle lobster mac and cheese, grouper, steak, sea scallops, and red velvet coconut cake are only a few of the impossibly difficult choices you’ll have to make when you reserve at Yardbird.

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar is owned and operated by 50 Eggs Inc., a multi-faceted, full-service creative firm focused on developing irrepressible brands within the hospitality and entertainment industries. CEO, John Kunkel says, “We’ve been blessed with an extremely talented, intelligent and enthusiastic group of people who possess a roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic second to none. That has been, and will continue to be, the driving force behind our success, plain and simple. We have more concepts in the works and our goal is to continue to develop ideas that we’re passionate about. We’re proud to be developing, building and operating the kind of places that we want to share with our families and yours.”

Other details:
Category: Special menu served Feb 14 – 17
Address: 8500 Beverly Blvd #112, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Umami Burger x Coolhaus

Burgers can be romantic too!
In our final stop you’ll see why, like a cute Valentine’s Day couple, Umami Burger’s latest partnership with Coolhaus will have you and your Valentine swooning!
Umami Burger has partnered with Coolhaus this Valentine’s season to bring a special in-restaurant offer to the lover’s — and even those who aren’t! From February 11 through the 17th, when you order free delivery from DoorDash, Postmates, or Caviar (at a $15 minimum/order), you’ll receive an in-restaurant offer to redeem at a participating Umami Burger location on your next visit!  Any purchase of a burger or salad means guests are eligible to receive 1 complimentary Coolhaus sandwich of their choice. (Limit one per voucher. Not valid to combine with other offers or promotions. Offer expires after February 28, 2019).
Also, for those redeeming their free Coolhaus sammie, receive an additional $1 off coupon valid for any Coolhaus Pint at a Whole Foods nearest you (in SoCal and NorCal only).
Clearly, this holiday was made for pairings, and that includes dinner choices and drinks. Now that you’ve got a great list of potential places to romantically grub out, there’s no excuse for disappointing your Valentine this year. Still, make sure you find an equally amazing gift for your love!


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