“What? Valentine’s Day is just around the corner?” was my response when I was informed it was, in fact, just around the corner. Scrambling to my desk and looking up the telephone numbers to some of my favorite romantic restaurants, I was soon chatting with representatives to see what each was offering. I’ve done the footwork so you don’t have to, so use this list and find a romantic spot to take your sweetie on V-Day. But hurry, these are really popular locales and are filling up very quickly.
The Hobbit, located in Orange, is offering a six-course prix fixe dinner on February 11, 12 and 14. As of Jan. 31, their menu was still being formulated, but they are known for excellent lamb, prime rib and sirloin, so I would expect to see offerings along that line. Price: $138 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
2932 E. Chapman Ave., Orange
Located on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, Basilic Restaurant is one of my favorite small, but romantic restaurants. Chef/Proprietor Bernard Althaus is offering a four-course prix fixe menu that will include items prepared based on his French/Swiss background. Reservations will fill up quickly as there is minimal seating at this quaint little restaurant. If you aren’t able to snag a spot for Valentine’s Day, be sure to try it another time. You will not be disappointed. Price: $85 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
217 Marine Ave., Newport Beach
Located in Fullerton, The Cellar is offering a four-course prix fixe menu. As of Jan. 31, their menu was still under development, but expect to see items similar to their chef’s cut, pork chop or classic chateaubriand, for which they are known. Price: $94 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
305 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton
Serving what they call the “Oh Baby” Valentine’s Day Celebration, a tasting menu is being offered featuring dishes such as Maine lobster bisque, New Zealand venison and Colorado bison duo. With a chef’s selection of desserts, you can’t go wrong. Price: $89 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
2647 Park Ave., Tustin
With a breathtaking view overlooking the ocean, the scenery can’t be beat at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point. Offering a four-course dinner with seatings from 6 to 9 p.m., Raya starts with a botana (appetizer) of an oyster dish, follows up with a beet salad, a second course consisting of a prawn dish, a third a choice of sea bass, chicken or filet, and a final of a shared dessert for two. Price: $125 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
1 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point
With another really great restaurant in Orange, I may have to seriously consider relocating. Orange Hill is offering a four-course tasting menu featuring choices such as oysters and pearls, confit of lamb and beef duo. With a choice of one of three desserts, I’d probably choose the Textures of Chocolate. Add an awesome view and you can’t go wrong by spending your Valentine’s Day at Orange Hill. Price: $90 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
6410 E. Chapman Ave., Orange
Located in Newport Beach, The Cannery is offering a four-course tasting menu consisting of choices such as an English muffin with Maine lobster, ricotta ravioli and Chilean sea bass. Finishing with a chocolate tart, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Price: $85 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
3010 Lafayette Road, Newport Beach
Another incredible restaurant located in the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point (how can one resort have two incredible restaurants?), Enosteak is offering a four-course shared dinner. The amuse-bouche is bacon-wrapped date stuffed with Boursin cheese, with a first course of tuna tartare dressed with avocado, truffle and quail egg and accompanied with a crostini. Your second is a shared lobster pot pie, followed up with grass-fed chateaubriand. Your dessert, also a shared dish, is lovingly known as Two Hearts, One Love. Those Ritz Carlton people know how to do romance! Price: $145 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
1 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point
Another resort with absolutely incredible views, The Loft at the Montage is offering a four-course prix fixe dinner. The menu was still under development as of Jan. 31, but based on meals I’ve enjoyed there before, whatever they come up with will be well worth the trip to Laguna Beach. Price: $150 per person, plus tax and gratuity.
30801 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach