We usually steer clear of restaurants on Hallmark's favorite holiday, but these menus might change our minds.
Nothing says “I love you” like an unforgettable meal in a romantic setting. In New York City, there is no shortage of special menus targeting the Valentine’s Day crowds, but it can be tricky to tease out which of these is worth shelling out the big bucks for. We’ve rounded up seven of the best menus the city has to offer, from opulent brunches to over-the-top dinners, and from a parents’ night out to a sexy aphrodisiac tasting. Wherever you decide to go, do yourself (and your relationship) a favor and make reservations ASAP.
Whether you are flying solo or are spoken for, Eataly has you covered. The Flatiron Italian specialty store has two different Valentine’s Day offerings, tailored to your relationship status. Their rooftop beer garden, Baita, is hosting the appropriately-named Drink Your Heart Out event from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. for singles. All-access drink bracelets start at $35 and there will be a full menu of “love bites” for noshing. Those looking for a couples’ dinner should head to Manzo, Eataly's fine dining restaurant, for a $125 five-course tasting menu complete with candlelight and roses. —200 5th Ave. | (646) 398-5116 |
Situated next to the Museum of Natural History, chef John Fraser’s Michelin-starred restaurant Dovetail is worth a trip any day of the year. The tasting-menu only format means that diners will have ample opportunity to sample the refined American nouveau cuisine throughout their leisurely meal. For Valentine’s Day, they are offering special menus at both brunch and dinner. Brunch (from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) features a $68 three-course prix-fixe with unlimited champagne, signature canapés, choice of entrees like lobster omelet or crab benedict, and a dessert. The $150 five-course prix-fixe for dinner includes delectable options such as filet mignon with sunchokes and bone marrow emulsion and red velvet beet cake.—103 W. 77th St. | (212) 362-3800 | website
This eponymous, high-concept French/Alsatian restaurant from the highly lauded former chef of The Modern is the definition of a special-occasion restaurant. Elegant in design and presentation, the food is art in and of itself. For Valentine’s Day they are going all out, with an opulent special menu offered on both Saturday and Sunday evenings (as well as Sunday for lunch). For $235 per person, you will get nine courses of decadence, from foie gras terrine and black truffle praline to wagyu beef strip loin. For an extra romantic evening, head to nearby Bryant Park for some after-supper iceskating. —41 W. 42nd St. | (212) 257-5826 | website
4. Maison Premiere
For those who don’t want to leave Brooklyn, or who want to see and be seen, head to the trendy Williamsburg spot Maison Premiere. Though absinthe and oysters are usually their specialty, for Valentine’s Day they are offering special menus for both brunch and dinner. The $55 brunch comes with a pastry tray, coffee or tea, and mimosa or bloody Mary as well as your choice of entree (how about a mushroom and caviar strata?) and Malva pudding for dessert. Dinner, which is offered on both Saturday and Sunday evenings for $125, is a four-course tasting that includes options like fluke tartar, seared foie gras, and absinthe panna cotta.—298 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn | (347) 335-0446 | website
For something fun and fancy in an unpretentious atmosphere, check out The Gander in Flatiron. Chef Jesse Schenker, who made a name for himself at Recette, the Greenwich Village darling, serves up American food with an upscale twist. For Valentine’s Day, he’s crafted a $95 five-course prix-fixe menu that is sure to impress. The amped-up oyster chowder with potato espuma and bacon has an optional $45 black truffle supplement, and the meal concludes with a chocolate “clutch” designed to look like a purse. If you really want to impress that special someone, splurge for the $60 sustainable caviar supplement.—15 W. 18th St. | (212) 229-9500 | website
Celebrated as one of the best modern Greek restaurants in the city (which has no shortage of Greek spots), Nerai (pictured at top) is a New York treasure located near the Museum of Modern Art. For Valentine’s Day, Chef Chris Christou (who has worked in some of the city’s best kitchens) has concocted a $135, five-course menu that highlights natural aphrodisiacs to add a little sensuality to your meal. The meal includes oysters, a kale and pomegranate salad, and salmon with avocado mousse and candied beets. The dessert, appropriately entitled “Aphrodite’s Embrace,” is samos zabaglione with balsamic macerated strawberries.—55 E. 54th St. | (212) 759-5554 | website
The interior of this cozy East Village restaurant is pleasantly sparse and outfitted with reclaimed materials. Chef Thomas Chen put in his time at local heavy hitters like Eleven Madison Park before opening his own place, a Chinese-inspired upscale modern restaurant. For Valentine’s Day early birds get the worm with a $95 six-course tasting menu that jumps in price to $120 after 7:15 p.m. (but which also includes Champagne). The prix-fixe is quite different from most you’ll encounter, with items like bergamot and sea urchin.—536 E. 5th St. | (646) 833-7811 | website