Pop quiz: On what day do one third of all Americans visit a restaurant? If you guessed Mother's Day, often referred to as the busiest day in the restaurant biz, you're wrong. Valentine's Day is the holiday that draws out the diners, so if you're planning a fancy date night with your special someone, it's never too early to start. Book a table three weeks ahead of time at one of the best spots in town, and all you'll need to worry about to complete the picture of romance are flowers and your outfit.
If, much like Seinfeld's George Costanza, you and your sweetie find salted cured meats to be sensual, join newly opened Pig & Pickle for a 3- or 5-course Valentine's meal, $29 to $49 per person respectively, which kicks off with a selection of charcuterie, pickles, and bread. The entrée is a choice of braised short ribs, pork loin schnitzel, "not really bouillabaisse," or chicken pot pie with sage gnocchi. Dessert options include The Elvis (a peanut butter cheesecake sandwich with bacon and brûléed banana) and a pineapple upside-down cake with ham brittle. To ensure that you can spend a romantic evening consuming lust-worthy swine, reserve a table by calling 480-990-1407.
It will be a Valentine's dinner to remember at T. Cook's, where you and your date can each select the perfect three-course meal from a wide variety of options. Starters include truffle foie gras terrine with fig pressed goat cheese, lobster cocktail with lemon tarragon crema and sturgeon caviar, and artichoke and cauliflower au gratin with shaved winter truffles. There are eight entrée options such as duet of filet mignon and butter poached lobster tail and vegan vegetable shepherd's pie. Finish your distinctive meal with desserts like milk chocolate mocha pot de crème with chai-spiced Chantilly cream and a trio including vanilla panna cotta and dark chocolate truffle cake. Dinner on Thursday, February 14 is $95 per person and includes a glass of champagne; Friday and Saturday, February 15 and 16, the three-course dinner is $75 per person. Call 602-808-0766 for reservations.
This Mesa bar with tequilas on tap is offering a three-course prix fixe dinner featuring grilled lobster tail with chipotle butter, a chicken and beef fajita platter, salad with pumpkin seed crusted goat cheese, and chocolate-dipped strawberries (extra dessert can be taken home with whipped cream -- wink wink). The holiday dinner is $49.95 for two and is available through the weekend. Call 480-813-TQLA (8752) for reservations.
Take your local-lovin' lover for a gourmet Southwestern dinner in Cave Creek. The regular menu will be available with a few special additions such as mesquite wood-fired tenderloin with Hudson Valley foie gras, grilled jumbo asparagus, and local merlot demi-glace, so this is a good pick for picky eaters. The holiday dessert is chocolate praline truffle cake with caramel confections and berry sabayon sauce. For reservations, call 480-488-0698 (no online reservations please).
Sister restaurant to Tonto Bar & Grill, Cartwright's will have a prix fixe menu on offer for $55 per person. Dinner begins with an appetizer trio of mixed greens salad, grilled vegetables with lemon dill yogurt dressing, and chilled Alaskan king crab leg with Mexican white shrimp. There will be four choices for the entrée, including pan-roasted chicken breast with wild rice pilaf and lemon honey-glazed carrots as well as toasted corn-crusted salmon with pickled jalapeno corn jus, roasted butternut squash, red yam hash, and sautéed baby spinach. Dessert is also the chocolate praline truffle cake. For reservations, call 480-488-8031.
Really wow your honey with a stay at The Hermosa Inn, including $150 in dining credit at LON's, turndown service with rose petals, Banfi Rosa Regale wine and chocolate-covered strawberries upon return from dinner, and $36 in breakfast credit to use in-restaurant or on the patio. Non-guests can enjoy the five-course holiday menu with beef wellington for $75/person (plus tax and gratuity) through Valentine's weekend, with wine pairings for an additional $35. The Last Drop will be serving a special cocktail for the occasion: Moletini, a combination of house-infused chocolate cherry vodka, chipotle vodka, PX sherry, Averna, and Bitters Lab Mas Mole Bitters garnished with orange peel and fresh nutmeg..
Guests can enjoy a four-course menu and live music by ShouTheory at this contemporary American restaurant located in the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel. Dinner begins with an amuse bouche of cedar-smoked gulf oysters with I'itoi onion pesto, ham hock bits, spinach, and roasted tomato relish. The main course, Dynamic Duo Scented with Passion, includes Cedar River filet mignon infused with white cheddar cheese, Schreiner's bacon, and caramelized onion crumbles presented alongside vanilla-basted Baja diver scallops with brandied lobster knuckles, corn puree, and asparagus ribbons. Served with a long-stemmed rose, dessert is a molten chocolate cake with strawberry clouds and champagne Jell-O with vanilla custard, a strawberry vinegar explosion, and champagne hearts of gold. Dinner is $55 per person, and wine pairings are an additional $20.
A four-course meal will be available at Wright's for $95 per person. The sommelier's wine pairings are an additional $45. Dinner begins with roasted chestnut soup with crispy prosciutto and Granny Smith apples followed by sweet lobster salad with bronze fennel and purple Peruvian potatoes. Decadent Kobe beef tenderloin will be served with foie gras, wild mushrooms, risotto, heirloom carrots, and demi-glace. Dessert will be chocolate espresso-spiked white chocolate mousse with cinnamon-sugared jaconde cake and freeze-dried raspberries. Call 602-381-7632 to reserve a table.
Also at The Biltmore, Frank & Albert's will be serving a three-course holiday menu for $65 per person with wine pairings for $25. There is an option of lobster bisque with puff pastry or salad with Crow's Dairy goat cheese, dried apricots, candied walnuts, Schreiner's bacon, and blood orange vinaigrette. The main course is a Surf-n-Turf with filet mignon, herb jump shrimp, blue cheese gratin, and grilled asparagus. The meal concludes with strawberry and chocolate martini cake. For reservations, call 602-381-7632.
There will be Latin cuisine and live entertainment at this downtown Phoenix restaurant on Valentine's Day. A three-course dinner will be served from 4 to 10 p.m. and costs $59 per person, $20 additional for wine pairings. The main course is a choice of skirt steak served with sweet potato gratin and chimichurri sauce or pan-seared sea bass with lobster fideo and zarzuela sauce. Want to make your party for two private? The Westin's special sweetheart rates start from $199 per night. Province will also be offering a Lover's Lunch for $20 per person on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Reservations are required; call 602-429-3600.
February is National Fondue Month, so what better time is there to take your celebration to a restaurant dedicated to dippable edibles? From February 12 through 16, locations in Scottsdale, Glendale, and Ahwatukee will have Valentine's specials, including cranberry walnut cheddar cheese fondue, champagne Swiss cheese fondue, a Lover's Combo entrée to share, and of course chocolate fondue with a variety of fruit and other sweets.
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Pull out all the stops at this Chandler restaurant with a four-course meal paired with wines or bubbly selected by in-house sommelier Robert Morris. This Valentine's menu includes selections like bourbon maple butternut squash bisque with crispy duck confit, pan-roasted scallops with smoked steelhead roe and bacon ragout, Berkshire pork tenderloin and shoulder with roasted baby beet hash and Swiss chard, and a raspberry Bavarian bombe. Call 480-883-3773 for reservations
The four-course Valentine's menu is inspired how romance tantalizes the senses and features prime ingredients like oysters and caviar. The main course is a surprise and will be followed by a chocolate and passion fruit finale. Dinner is $79 per guest, and diners will be serenaded by Nicole Pesce on piano. Call 602-468-0700 for reservations.