Wine And Be Mine: Valentine’s Day Dining
While the history of this centuries-old holiday honoring courtly love may be cloaked in mystery, it’s in modern times recognized among cultures across the world as a day of romantic gestures—declarations of love made with chocolates, blooms, shiny objects, and hashtags. But whatever your “relationship status” this February 14, any excuse to spread amore — with your partner, pals, family or even yourself — is worth celebrating. From a bubbly brunch to a sizzling seaside supper, Newport Beach’s talented chefs know the way to your heart. Here, we dish on where to imbibe and indulge in the spirit of St. Valentine.
Five-Star Valentine’s Day
At Corona del Mar’s cozy Five Crowns restaurant, Executive Chef Alejandra Padilla has created a Valentine’s Dinner for Two, sure to pleasure both your palates. The “mouthwatering” prix fixe menu mixes comfort with refinement: steak tartar with truffle chips, lime-drizzled Avocado Crab Mash with pita chips. Choose from multiple entrees including the signature California Cut Prime Ribs of Beef with Yorkshire pudding and whipped cream organic horseradish, or the seasonal Seared Salmon with purple cauliflower purée, honey-roasted beets and pomegranate. If you have room for dessert, your senses will go wild for the decadent Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée (topped with mixed berries); the Profiteroles with Nutella ganache, strawberries and almonds; or Poached Pears drizzled in a Champagne cream sauce.
The Resort at Pelican Hill
A festival of fine fare
The resort is spreading its love of fine cuisine, with a host of cocktail and culinary experiences, ranging from a modern English tea in the Great Room & Social Lounge, to a Candlelit Cabana by the Coliseum Pool & Grill, to a lavish Menu dell’ Amore at Andrea, which also offers a la carte specials throughout the week. On Valentine’s Day, enjoy a special three-course meal prepared by Chef Marc while you sip dessert wine and drink in the scenery from the ocean-view terrace.
Share the love
Whether you bring your betrothed or your besties, be sure that your Valentine’s dinner date(s) enjoy sharing plates. On Feb. 14, this elegant spot serves up more than an epic sunset and ocean breeze on its fireside patio. Enjoy a four-course prix fixe menu that includes options such as raw yellowtail and ahi; heart-healthy salad with shaved fennel, strawberries and candied pecans; creamy lobster bisque with lump crab and brandy crème fraiche; shrimp and mussels in a champagne cream sauce; and surprise delicious sides. For something sweet, share a bottle of bubbly or rosé, and top it off with the Strawberry Au Chocolate Shortbread with Grand Marnier Cream for dessert.
Supper by the sea
Step back in time to 1930-’50s California at Crystal Cove’s Historic District, where spectacular cliffs form a private enclave for its colorful vernacular cottages and iconic Beachcomber Café. Serving juicy burgers and crab cakes to tourists and locals year-round, this rustic yet charming restaurant in the sand is also the perfect setting for a romantic Valentine’s outing. On Feb. 14, feast on a four-course prix fixe menu that features dishes like Dungeness crab cake with celery puree, red ruby radish, tarragon aioli and shredded crispy phyllo, as well as surf & turf made with filet mignon, colossal shrimp, potato puree, English peas and hen of woods mushrooms in a port-wine reduction. The finishing touches — homemade chocolate cake with layered ganache and fresh strawberries, and a fresh fruit tart with seasonal fruit and Chantilly cream — are so delicious that you’ll want to order both and share!
Thrice the romance
Located in the Balboa Bay Resort along Mariner’s Mile, Waterline is beloved by locals for its casual California cuisine and relaxing ambiance. This year, its chefs celebrate Valentine’s Day on three occasions: Saturday, Feb. 10 and Sunday, Feb. 11, as well as on Wednesday, Feb. 14. They’ll prepare “love-inspired” specials to complement the regular menu and naturally romantic atmosphere. Imbibe in wine or Champagne, enjoy the music of the boats bobbing in the water, and share a delicious meal with your loved one(s).
A splash of the Mediterranean
Balboa Island’s chic Italian bistro beckons comfort-foodies with house-made pasta and sauces, and family-style platters that are molto delizioso, plus a quaint neighborhood setting that doesn’t feel like home. Toast this Valentine’s Day with a glass of Setteanime Prosecco, complimentary with Mr. G’s four-course prix fixe holiday supper. Dive into fresh oysters or watermelon gazpacho; Black Truffle Gnocchi (flavored with Pecorino Romano and black pepper) or Short Rib Ravioli (tossed wild mushrooms and cheese fondue); and Pan Seared Branzino with beets, kale and blistered grape balsamic or Petite Filet served with glazed root vegetables. For dessert, choose between red velvet or dark chocolate confections, and an apricot-filled vanilla sponge cake with rich buttercream.
For more Valentine’s Dining options view here.