Many restaurateurs I know are champing at the bit—they can’t wait for Valentine’s Day. That’s because this year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday. And in the restaurant biz, that means butts in seats—and lots of them. Effectively, Valentine’s Day will be a four- or five-day celebration this year, which is terrific for hopeless romantics like me. Naturally, the most romantic restaurants in town—Fresco Italian Cafe, La Caille, Log Haven Restaurant and The Paris Bistro come to mind—are probably already booked up for V-Day. But, due to the extended Valentine’s Day weekend, you might be able to score a cozy table on the weekend following Feb. 14. Or, why not get really frisky and eat at five consecutive restaurants for Valentine’s Day, Thursday through Sunday.
I suppose I should post a disclaimer at this point. The truth is, I don’t like to go out on Valentine’s Day. For me, a romantic meal at home is just what the love doctor ordered. But, if you prefer to have someone else do the cooking and cleanup for you and your honey, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: With the right partner, any venue can be a romantic one. It’s as easy to fall in love at a taco cart or over a steamy bowl of pho as it is at a ritzy restaurant. So, let your heart, your stomach and your budget be your guide on Valentine’s Day.
To help get you started, here is a roundup of restaurants doing special dinners or events for Valentine’s Day. I’ve included all of those who contacted me with info prior to my deadline. If you know of others, shoot me an e-mail, and I’ll try to post them on the City Weekly Food & Drink blog. All events are Feb. 14 unless otherwise specified.
Spanish restaurant Finca (1291 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-487-0699, FincaSLC.com) will offer a special tasting menu for $45 per person for dinner, and $35 for optional wine pairings, featuring pinchos (small bites), tapas (bigger bites), platos grandes (big plates) and postres (desserts). Menu items include piquillo peppers with poached fennel, seared albacore with garbanzo puree, braised Pleasant Creek Ranch short rib, dark-chocolate ganache tart and a lot more.
At Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (20 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3704, FlemingsSteakhouse.com), Valentine’s Day will be celebrated over four nights, Feb. 14-17. The Valentine’s Celebration Dinner is $69.95 per person (each couple will receive a $25 dining card for a future visit) and includes an appetizer, amuse bouche and choice of entree. Menu items include heirloom tomatoes and housemade burrata, citrus-marinated salmon tartar, roasted lobster tail, and Chateaubriand with crab glašage and Madeira sauce.
In Sandy, Fratelli Ristorante (9236 Village Shop Drive, FratelliUtah.com) will host a five-course Valentine’s Day wine dinner for $40 per person for dinner, and $40 for optional wine pairings. Phone 801-495-4550 for additional information and menu selections.
In Park City, Hans Fuegi’s Grub Steak Restaurant (2093 Sidewinder Drive, 435-649-8060, GrubSteakRestaurant.com) will offer a three-course prix fixe Valentine’s Day dinner for $47.75 per person. Menu choices include Grub Steak’s 45-item salad bar, wild-rice & mushroom soup, Caesar salad, grilled beef tenderloin with Alaskan king crab meat, and chocolate lava cake with fresh raspberries and ice cream for dessert.
At Lugano (3364 S. 2300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-412-9994, LuganoRestaurant.com), chef/owner Greg Neville and his team will offer a five-course dinner with a Venetian-inspired menu Feb. 13-14. The cost is $59 per person for the dinner, and $39 for optional wine pairings.
According to Meditrina (1394 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-485-2055, MeditrinaSLC.com) chef/owner Jen Gilroy, they’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day early—Feb. 12, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.—with a special V-Day wine social. Always thinking out of the box, four wines will be paired with four food dishes, themed with what Gilroy calls “our favorite deadly sins”: gluttony, wrath, envy and lust. The cost is $20 for food, and $20 for the optional wine pairings. Sounds like some sinful fun!
At Pago (878 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-532-0777, PagoSLC.com) a four-course tasting menu will be featured for Valentine’s Day for $60 per person for dinner, and $45 for optional wine pairings. The menu includes sweet-potato blinis with caviar, wild game mixed grill, flounder with cauliflower and capers, Meyers Ranch fillet with sauce Diane, black-truffle gnocchi, chocolate mousse and many other options.
At Slopes in Park City’s Waldorf Astoria (2100 Frostwood Drive, 435-647-5566, ParkCityWaldorfAstoria.com) Chef Clement Gelas will offer a special four-course Valentine’s Day meal to lovebirds for $119 per person. The tantalizing menu includes options like elk carpaccio with quail egg, lobster bisque, short ribs with mascarpone polenta, seared turbo with roasted cauliflower, game hen with wild-mushroom ragu, and black diamond cake for dessert.
Thanksgiving Point (3003 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi, 801-768-4900, ThanksgivingPoint.org) will host its annual Valentine’s Dinner Dance at 7 p.m. in the Thanksgiving Point Show Barn. Couples will dine on a three-course meal prepared by Harvest Restaurant Executive Chef Jason Merryweather before dancing to the live music of the Joe Muscolino Band. The menu includes baby iceberg wedges, lemon-rosemary chicken, beef medallions with veal glaze, and black-bottom red velvet cheesecake. Tickets are $45 for Thanksgiving Point members, $50 in advance for nonmembers and $55 the day of the event.
Want to spice up V-Day with some South American atmosphere and cuisine? Tucanos Brazilian Grill at The Gateway (162 S. 400 West, 801-456-2550, Tucanos.com) will celebrate Valentine’s Day for four days, Feb. 13-16, with lunch ($18.95) and dinner ($26.95) specials. In addition to the never- ending churrasco and hot & cold buffet, there will be rosemary-herb salmon, roasted rib-eye, grilled shrimp and your choice of a chocolate Brazilian truffle or chocolate-dipped strawberry for dessert. And, each couple will receive a complimentary rose after dinner.