Valentine’s Day is usually a day when restaurants jack up their prices and give you sub par service because they know you’ve got no choice but to take out that very special someone. We’ve compiled a list of restaurants that will treat you right. These restaurants serve quality food at fair prices, with amazing service. You will have a great time here…and maybe get a little lucky later on in the night.
Gemma: 355 Bowery – Bowery/NOHO/East Village – Gemma’s Executive Chef Chris D’Amico wants to take the “labor out of love” and do the work for you. Gemma will be serving dishes including potato leek soup garnished with creme fraiche and caviar ($14), and Sicilian tuna tartare ($16). You can also indulge in rich mains, such as their saffron risotto with lobster and peas, or grilled filet mignon served with roasted new potaoes, glazed baby carrots and brussels sprouts, and a pinot noir reduction ($28). So pop the bubbly, savor the silky Chocolate Mousse dessert special ($9), and if things go right, you’ll need a room at the Bowery.
Jacques 1534: 20 Prince St. – Nolita – The restaurant has set up a Cupid’s Carnaval, bringing a touch of Brazil to Valentine’s Day. The restaurant will have specialty cocktails made with Cabana Cachaça and Carnaval Brazilian Sparkling Moscato, live entertainment, dancing and festive favors. Punch will be available for $5 and specialty cocktails for $10 from 9pm-1am.
Jeanne & Gaston: 212 West 14th Street – Meatpacking/West Village – Master Chocolatier Claude Godard will be crafting a 3-course prix fixe menu for just $55. There are lots of choices on the menu, but the dishes that piqued my interest were the escargot and tomato quiche Provencal, and braised short rib Bourguignon. For dessert, you get a tasting of three desserts. I’d say that’s a Valentine’s deal anyone can afford.
La Gringa: 800 Grand Street – Brooklyn – How about an under-the-tent screening of Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo + Juliet”? La Gringa’s Army tent is located in the backyard of the restaurant and has a wood-burning stove to keep romantics snuggly and warm. On Valentine’s, La Gringa will serve sustainable Mexican delicacies and steaming cups of hot chocolate. There will also be free Valentine’s cookies for attendees to nosh on after dinner. How fun does that sound? The screening will start at 8 p.m. and it’s free to attend. An RSVP is suggested since seating is limited. The menu will feature LaGringa’s signature tacos, nachos, quesadillas, and burritos, fresh margaritas and plenty of $3 beers.
Madison Bistro: 238 Madison Avenue – Grand Central/Bryant Park – This NYC landmark restaurant will host a $55 3-course prix fixe on Valentine’s Day including dishes such as duck foie gras terrine with an apple saffron compote, crayfish risotto, and a trio of desserts to finish off the evening.
Oficina Latina: 24 Prince Street – Nolita -Maybe you need something a little less bland? Oficina will be your spot for a little Latin Loving. Their 4-course menu includes dishes such as monkfish wrapped in smoked bacon, a baked rack of lamb in a wine reduction, orata wrapped in banana leaf, and for dessert, torta de chocolate with vanilla ice cream.
Pescatore: 955 2nd Avenue – Midtown East – A great meal on Valentine’s does not have to be expensive. Pescatore is proof of this. A meal at Pescatore can be less than $20 and a glass of wine as inexpensive as $6. The menu will be served a la carte with no additional fees over the holiday. The menu is full of pizzetta, antipasti and pastas intended for sharing at prices between $12 and $15. Choices of pizzettas include caprino with goat cheese, caramelized onions, spicy coppa and fig marmalade and croque-madame with fontina cheese, prosciutto, asparagus and soft-centered egg. Antipastis run at $6.95 for one or $18.95 for three, and include mushroom risotto balls with truffle aioli and citrus cured anchovies with shaved fennel, orange and dry olives. Their wine program includes over 30 selections of wines by the glass for $6 to $15 or half-bottle for $30 to $50 and bottle for $24 to $95. Needless to say, they’ve got you covered.
Pizzarte: 69 West 55th Street – Midtown/Central Park South – The restaurant will be featuring a special 3-course prix fixe for $50 per person (plus tax & tip). The meal will be served with a glass of Prosecco or a house cocktail. Dishes include a tuna tartare (with , avocado, orange, soya vinaigrette, and toasted bread), Risotto with red beets, burrata cheese, and anchovies; and for dessert they’re offering a heart shaped pizza with Nutella and strawberries, a cute way to end the meal with your special someone.
Raymi: 43 West 24th St. – Flatiron/Grammercy Park – Peruvian food may be the most perfect cuisinie for Valentine’s Day. Richard Sandoval’s Peruvian Kitchen will offer a $65 5-course prix fixe menu including oystes a la chalaca with lime, and sweet potato; a poached egg with uni (mmm) shrimp, and winter squash, and much more. Top off the night with Raymi’s Sparkling Chocolate-Strawberry Pisco, a chocolate-infused pisco with strawberry puree and topped off with sparkling wine.
Spina: 175 Avenue B – Lower East Side/Alphabet City – If you’re not familiar with Spina, you should be. They are a fresh pasta house. That means that their pasta chef Blanca makes your delicious pasta right in front of you. This Valentine’s Spina has put together a gorgeous 3-course menu. Choices include a beet and goat cheese ravioli with truffle sauce and pistachio dust, striped bass with a smoked cauliflower purée, fingerling potatoes and sea urchin vinaigrette, and for dessert chocolate chestnut ravioli with chestnuts and creme anglaise sauce.