Valentine’s Day Date Nights for Everybody
Cards, letters and red-foil-wrapped truffles are all great, but they are not the only way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This Feb. 14, you’ve got to step up your romance game and really make your sweetheart swoon. If you have no clue where to start, don’t worry. There are many things to do around Newport Beach that don’t feel too scripted (OK, a certain degree of cliché and planning is necessary on love day). Whether you’re looking to be serenaded by local talent or just want to indulge in a good meal, here are six Valentine’s Day date night ideas.
Newport Beach is best known for its outdoor splendor, so it’s no surprise if your love for “long walks on the beach” is more of a reality than a dating profile cliché. On heart day, schlepp over to Crystal Cove beach with your loved one, take your sneaks off, and enjoy a peaceful walk along the shore. Bonus points if you can time your promenade to a lavish, pink sunset. Next, mosey on to The Beachcomber cafe, where the atmosphere is laid-back, the cocktail list is mighty, and the food is downright delicious.
For movie buffs.
There’s nothing wrong with doing the stereotypical dinner and a movie. But if you want to break mediocrity and shake things up a little, head over The Lot—a luxury movie theatre nestled in the premier open-air center of Fashion Island. There, you can dine at the in-house restaurant— which rustles up modern American fare with a California lilt—with a cocktail or a glass of beer or wine in hand. Best of all, you can do it all from the comfort of your plush leather reclining chair while watching the night’s flick.
Never dined at Pelican Grill? There’s no better time to right this wrong than on Valentine’s Day. On Feb. 14, Pelican Grill will be rolling out special fare for you to enjoy on the ocean-view terrace (or alternatively, in the dining room area with a view of the open-display kitchen). The three-course menu includes standouts like the roasted kabocha squash soup and prime beef filet mignon with truffle pomme purée, haricot verts and pink peppercorn jus. End the night on a sweet note with a lemon mousse tart or a dark-chocolate mousse with brandied cherries.
No need to travel back to Italy to recreate that fairytale-esque gondola ride you once shared together. Gondola Adventures has a fleet of ornate boats (some of which are imported from Venice) at the ready, waiting to set sail in Newport Beach. On Valentine’s Day, you can kick things up a notch with upgrades like scattered rose petals and love notes in a bottle. End the day with a dinner at Pizzeria Mozza, which doctors up the kind of charred Neapolitan pizza that will have you ooh-ing and aah-ing and reminiscing about your travels. (Note: from the deceptively simple margherita to the more ornate fennel sausage pizza, the pies here are all worthy of your attention. The thing that you can’t miss, however, is the Mozza caprese, which features a melt-in-your-mouth mozzarella di bufala).
For music lovers.
As far as dates go, there’s a simple joy that comes from hunkering down in front of a fire at night, especially if you’re simultaneously grazing an assortment of bites and sipping on a glass of wine. If you’re nodding your head in agreement, then an evening at Oak Grill might just be your ticket to a perfect evening. Every night, from 6 – 9 p.m. (but Sundays from 5 – 8 p.m.), Oak Grill serves up handcrafted cocktails paired with delicious small plates. But here’s the best part: it also brings in a local musician to liven up the scene. Because what’s better than a fireside date? Being serenaded while you’re on it.
For artistic souls.
There’s something to be said about creating a work of art with your own two hands. And the experience is even more special if you share it with your significant other. Enter Art + Soul Collective, which hosts both one-time workshops and a series of classes for tots, teens and adults. On Valentine’s Day, take your date to Lido Bottle Works first, which is a mere four-minute walk away from the studio. The restaurant’s short rib croquettes, fluffy pork belly bao buns and beef stroganoff will most definitely set a positive mood for the rest of the evening. Wrap up the night romantically by painting modern hearts with watercolor paints—and, of course, a glass of wine.
Tags: ARt + Soul Collective, Crystal Cove Beach, fashion island, Gondola Adventures, Oak Grill, Pelican Grill, The Beachcomber Cafe, The Lot