Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and already, the pressure mounts: Where to take your sweetie for a romantic dinner on Thursday, Feb. 14?
Luckily, restaurants understand us procrastinators, and seats still remain at these popular eateries. But pick up that phone or computer, and make that reservation now!
Here are few places worth making a short (or a bit longer) drive from Sonoma/Napa for a Valentine’s Day dinner in Wine Country.
Left Bank Brasserie, Larkspur
Indulge in a three-course prix fixe dinner menu with entrée choices of star anise and carrot coated freshwater char with black rice risotto, hazelnut foam and a lightly smoked citrus sauce or slow roasted prime rib with Boursin cheese potatoes gratin, organic braised escarole, and forester sauce with truffle. $45.
507 Magnolia Avenue, Larkspur, 415-927-3331, leftbank.com.
Terrapin Crossroads, San Rafael
This reservation may be hard to get – the restaurant is a rock-star gem, but take a shot for a 5:30 to 10 p.m. seating for the three-course prix fixe menu including a complimentary glass of champagne, coffee or tea with dessert, and a chocolate truffle to take home. Entrée choices include Duo of Spring Lamb with roasted peppers, roasted cauliflower, spiced chickpeas and herb jus; Roasted Salmon with shaved Brussels sprouts, hazelnuts, duck fat roasted potatoes and preserved lemon; or Leek and Parmesan Risotto with roasted king trumpet mushrooms, crispy shallots and truffle oil. Enjoy live music, displays of fresh cut flowers and two featured cocktails on special: a Bubbly Blood Orange Campari Cocktail and a Godiva Chocolate Martini. $48.
100 Yacht Club Dr., San Rafael, 415-524-2773, terrapincrossroads.net.
Baker & Banker, San Francisco
Executive chef/owner, Jeff Banker, and pastry chef/owner Lori Baker come together as a rockin’ husband/wife team to create a special five-course menu. $95 / + $45 wine pairings. Why not start with desserts from the bakery, however, including the Red Hot Velvet Cupcake (made with crushed red hot candy), the Strawberry Champagne Cake (a moist yellow cake soaked in pink champagne), the Conversation Heart Cake or the Passionfruit Cheesecake with guava caramel.
1701 Octavia St., San Francisco, 415-351-2500, bakerandbanker.com.
Luella, San Francisco
Find your thrill on Russian Hill, with a three-course prix fixe dinner tempting with oysters on the half shell in red wine mignonette; black truffle fettuccini with chopped black truffles; Seared filet mignon with bone marrow butter, roasted hedgehog mushrooms, confit shallots and aged balsamic; and chocolate shortcake with strawberries and red wine balsamic syrup. $55 / + $25 wine pairings.
1896 Hyde St San Francisco, 415-674-4343, luellasf.com.
The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards, Livermore
Spend some time in this lesser-known wine country, where executive chef Matt Greco has creating a special four course prix fixe menu for couples, available throughout the entire weekend of Valentine’s Day (2/14-2/17). Select items include salad of artichoke, grilled sunchoke, heart of palm, beets and lavender barigoule; kampachi crudo with winter citrus, horseradish and crispy parsley root; roasted lobster fricassee with truffle potato, winter roots, and prosecco-leek sauce; and chocolate ganache tart with brandied cherries, macadamia nuts. $95.
5050 Arroyo Rd., Livermore, 925-456-2450, wentevineyards.com.
Tip: A chauffeured limo or Town Car means not only an easiser, more relaxing drive for you, but extra special time to snuggle with your sweetie. Pure Luxury Transportation can even outfit your chariot with sparkling wine, chocolate and flowers.