Valentine’s Day Dining in Manhattan

Calling all you Cupids out there! Why do you love Valentine’s Day? Is it the beautiful roses, decadent chocolates, or the general feeling of love in the air? As a foodie, for me a big part of the romance experience is the menus and drink concoctions restaurants put together for this special day. Whether you’re seeking an elegant experience or a funkier venue, take your Valentine’s Day date to any of these fabulous NYC restaurants where sweets and deals are the romantic tune du jour.

Gus & Gabriel, Chef Michael Psilakis’s G&G lets couples try the best of his Upper West Side gastropub menu with a Lonely Hearts Pub Valentines Tasting for $34.95/person.  Dive into your favorite bar snacks, bone marrow or riblets, pork shank or steak frites, and a mouth-watering chocolate cake.  For an additional $14.95/person, add 8oz. beer pairings and experience some of the “browns” that make this pub famous. 222 W. 79th Street, (212) 362-7470

Mercadito, Mercadito will fire up the night with its fantastic Mexican cuisine in the East Village. Until 10pm, you can  enjoy a five-course menu for $45/person with a guacamole tasting, choice of two botanos or ceviches, choice of four of their incredible tacos, choice of two side dishes, and dessert.  Spice up your meal with either the Poción #9 cocktail for $11 or a Shot de la Passión for $4.  179 Avenue B between 11th and 12th streets, (212) 529-6490

Bondi Road, Baby, it may be cold outside, but inside this Aussie-style Lower East Side gem, you’ll feel like you’re sitting right on Bondi Beach. Head over between 11am and 5pm and chow down at Cupid’s Brunch. (I’m hoping they have their usual Barrier Reef Benedict with some Bondi Fish & Chips). Also, enjoy a $20 all-you-can-drink happy hour special for two hours.  153 Rivington Street between Suffolk and Clinton streets, (212) 253-5311

Bao Noodles, Celebrate Chinese New Year AND Valentine’s Day, Vietnamese style! Start the day with a Chinese New Year brunch from 12 noon-4pm with one of Bao Noodles’ authentic Southeast Asian-inspired brunch specials for only $9.99. Come back for your Valentine’s Day dinner and enjoy a five-course tasting menu paired with Prosecco, sake, and a cocktail for $40/person.  391 Second Ave between 22nd and 23rd streets, (212) 725-7770

Mari Vanna, For the perfect Valentine’s Day cocktail, take your sweetheart down to this Russian gem in the Flatiron District to try the chocolate-covered strawberry-infused vodka, a romantic addition to their extensive vodka menu. Stay tuned for details on the prix fixe specials of the evening.  41 E. 20th Street between Broadway & Park Avenue, (212) 777-1955 

Pampano, Make your evening sizzle at Placido Domingo’s midtown Modern Mexican restaurant with a six-course tasting menu for $70/person featuring signature ceviches, tempura shrimp with Hawaiian papaya and mango, lobster tacos, seared scallops with flan, seared striped bass, grilled duck breast, and caramelized banana empanadas.   209 E. 49th between 2nd and 3rd avenues, (212) 751-4545

Geisha, After you’ve finished buying your gifts at Bloomingdale’s, Barney’s or Bergdorf’s, step into the ultra-sleek Franco-Japanese Geisha for a four-course lovers’ meal for $59/person. Enjoy a black truffle tuna sandwich and mackerel tartare, miso-marinated Atlantic salmon with shitake mushrooms, miso-glazed or Korean barbeque organic chicken with Thai basil fried rice, and mochi ice cream. Each course will be paired with the perfect wine by sommelier Alessandra Rotondi.  33 E. 61st Street between Madison & Park avenues, (212) 813-1113

Benoit, Nicely positioned to complement a culture-filled evening at Carnegie Hall or City Center, Alain Ducasse’s French brasserie will make you feel as if you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day in Paris. Chef Pierre Schaedelin’s three-course meal features seafood vol au vent and the restaurant’s signature profiteroles for $55/person. Add a sweet ending to the night with one of the pastry chef’s red candy apples.  60 W 55th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, (646) 943-7373

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