There is no single prescribed way of celebrating Valentine’s Day. February 14 can be as much about a candle-lit intimate setting as it can be an occasion to unapologetically indulge in rom-com-worthy mise en scène. However, regardless of preferences, Valentine’s Day is an occasion to show care and attention to your loved one and appreciate your love story.
And nothing captures the essence of sharing loving memories quite like a romantic dinner. From a luxury picnic in a treetop to French cuisine in an urban garden, some of the world’s most renowned chefs are putting romance at the core of the dining experience this February.
We’ve delved into the dining scene of cities and extraordinarily scenic locations across the globe to bring you our selection of the world’s most romantic restaurants for Valentine’s Day.
[See also: The World’s Most Romantic Valentine’s Day Hotels]
Club del Doge, Venice (Italy)
There aren’t many places more closely associated with romance than Venice, and the Grand Canal is undoubtedly among the city’s most iconic locations. This places the candlelit terrace of luxury hotel The Gritti Palace’s restaurant Club del Doge high on the list of the world’s most romantic dining spots. Here you can dine on the Venetian gourmet cuisine of chef Alberto Fol whose culinary style is deeply rooted in the flavors from his parents’ region of the Dolomites. He takes inspiration from his domestic landscapes and uses ingredients such as herbs from high altitudes and fresh fish.
While the menu is changed according to the season, Valentine’s Day has its special dishes. Those include amberjack tartare, homemade ravioli with scampi and bottarga and a duet dessert made of Tulakalum chocolate and tangerine.
Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, London (UK)
One of the most romantic tables in London is the private Table Lumière within the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester. Placed at the heart of the restaurant but cocooned by a luminescent curtain encompassing 4,500 shimmering lights, the coveted table allows you to enjoy the buzz of the restaurant while also enjoying the privilege of having your own private dining space.
On Valentine’s Day, indulge in a five-course meal created by executive chef Jean-Philippe Blondet with a glass of rosé champagne. Tuck into dishes like hand-dived sea scallop with cauliflower and duck foie gras, fillet of Cornish turbot with salsify and black truffle, and a special Valentine’s dessert for two.
[See also: The Best Fine Dining Restaurants in London]
The Little Door, Los Angeles (USA)
This Parisian-style West Hollywood brasserie serving French-fusion cuisine is deservedly considered one of Los Angeles’ most romantic restaurants. Intimate and full of character, the Little Door is made up of atmospheric Mediterranean-inspired dining areas including a candlelit piano room and a courtyard filled with bougainvillaea, ferns and exotic foliage.
The kitchen places the focus on French-Moroccan cuisine, with an exclusive Valentine’s Day menu including appetizers such as wagyu carpaccio and Portuguese piri-piri shrimp, main courses like black truffle risotto or seared seabass and orange cardamom creme brulee for dessert.
Cress on Oak Creek at L’Auberge de Sedona, Arizona (USA)
An extraordinarily idyllic location, Cress on Oak Creek lies on the banks of the eponymous pristine brook. The lantern-adorned, candlelit fine dining setting is a part of L’Auberge de Sedona in the heart of Red Rock Country, ensuring both gastronomy and service are of the highest level.
The special Valentine’s Day six-course tasting menu features Australian tiger prawns, mesquite wagyu striploin and a lychee Bavarian cake – plus, guests are offered a bouquet for the occasion. For those who want to make it a Valentine’s week, the experience for two can also be booked for the 15th.
Samabe Bali, Bali (Indonesia)
With its location on Bali’s secluded coastal stretch, Nusa Dua, Samabe Bali Suites & Villas boasts a tranquil spot on the island’s southern coast. This setting provides the resort with especially scenic dining settings, of which the most famous is its fine dining set-up in a cave lit with hundreds of twinkling candles and lanterns. With your feet in the white sand and the roof of the cave overhead you can dine at candlelit tables while looking out to sea.
An 11-course degustation menu is on the cards here, starting with a gorgonzola fondue and finishing with an indulgent praline profiterole – including vegetarian options where needed. Romantic gestures such as flowers can also be arranged easily.
One if by Land, Two if by Sea, New York (USA)
While plenty New York restaurants take your breath away with their city views, the best steal your heart with their warm ambiance. One if by Land, Two if by Sea is among the restaurants noted for particularly appealing decor and character. Often named New York’s most romantic restaurant, this dining spot combines a historic brick façade, original fireplaces and hanging candelabras with candlelit tables with American fine dining plates.
The Valentine’s special five-course tasting menu, which can come with wine pairing, consists of dishes like tuna tartar with an avocado-wasabi purée, seared scallops with caviar, and chilled strawberry soufflé.
Flagstaff House, Colorado (USA)
High up on Flagstaff Mountain, this Colorado dining spot comes with far-reaching views over Boulder – a sight that takes your breath away in winter and summer. But the views through the dining room’s floor-to-ceiling windows aren’t the only reason people come here. The restaurant has an award-winning 15,000-bottle wine collection, a highly regarded menu of French-American cuisine and the personalized service that comes from being a family-owned and run venue.
While sitting on a terrace or by the fire, dine on delicacies such as lobster with pecorino risotto, beef tenderloin tartare and parsnip arancini.
Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn, California (USA)
Big Sur’s clifftop Post Ranch Inn has become famous worldwide for its contemporary architecture incorporating floor-to-ceiling windows and for its cinematic position overlooking the sea. The hotel’s restaurant Sierra Mar makes the most of these views and has won awards for its wine cellar, which further enhances the dining experience.
Innovative fine dining plates are the focus here as the chefs strive to instill a sense of place through the ingredients used, especially by offering a “farm-driven” menu based on the onsite chef’s garden. A four-course dinner can consist of dishes such as sunchoke soup with pears, handmade cavatelli with dry jack fondue and octopus with gochujang aioli.
Treepod Dining at Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood (Thailand)
Set on the edge of the rainforest from the oceanfront of Koh Kood island, Soneva Kiri stands out for the natural beauty of its surroundings, which also provide exceptional seclusion. Within the resort’s collection of idyllically situated restaurants and bars, perhaps the most memorable dining spot is its treepod, which is hoisted up into the treetops once diners have settled in. Fine dining plates are then delivered by a waiter who reaches you by zipline.
Here, unrivaled privacy and panoramic sea and forest views come with the comfort of this elevated pod and your choice of gourmet food and fine wine from the restaurant menu. From Thai cuisine to Peruvian-Japanese fusion, guests can customize their experience based on their own – or their loved one’s – favorites.
Clos Maggiore, London (UK)
Continually named London’s most romantic restaurant, Clos Maggiore ticks all the boxes for an intimate meal for two, from its flower-filled conservatory complete with log fire to its French-influenced fine dining plates and noteworthy wine collection.
While sitting beneath the flowering branches that create a canopy over the elegant dining space, order indulgent dishes such as grass-fed beef filet, winter violino pumpkin risotto, and Merryfield duck breast. The tasting menu brings together a selection of seasonal dishes and the dessert menu proves particularly tempting: try the lemon, black sesame ice cream and yogurt foam, which is accompanied by no less than a Nelson Estate Chenin Blanc 2018.
Ristorante Il Refettorio, Amalfi Coast (Italy)
The Michelin-starred Ristorante Il Refettorio is a part of the cliffside 17th-century convent turned luxury hotel, Monastero Santa Rosa Resort & Spa. Positioned on the famously picturesque Amalfi Coast, the hotel boasts terraced organic gardens where produce for the restaurant is cultivated. With an outdoor terrace and view over the coastline, the restaurant is the perfect place to take these surroundings in.
While savoring the uninterrupted view of the open sky and sea, dine on chef Alfonso Crescenzo’s Mediterranean cuisine, which encompasses ingredients from the Campania region and follows the idea that “nothing is more complex than a simple cuisine”. Expect dishes like homemade cacio e pepe tagliolini with squid, oil-poached blue lobster with quince and slow-cooked pork belly in pizzaiola sauce. And to top it off – literally – the sommelier is on hand to pair each dish with the ideal wine.