Valentine’s Day Dining: Five Restaurants Where Food Meets Romance

Don’t give away your heart on an empty stomach, baby

Valentine’s Day, that ancient tradition, might provide the perfect night to Netflix-and-chill, sure – but maybe only after you and your significant other have sated your, ah, more gastronomic appetites in a place where the vittles are excellent and the atmosphere is conducive to a little lovey-dovey lingering.

The fresh Gulf fish crudo at Dai Due is just the start of their Valentine's specials … (Photo by courtesy of Dai Due)

Even ordinary joints tend to push their menus to the next level of yum for this romantic holiday, but the five recommendations we’ve listed below were already more than merely ordinary – and you won’t believe, as they say in these internets, what they’ve got in store for you now.

Hyde Park Bar & Grill
4206 Duval
Ah, yes, the old tried-and-true, right? Longtime culinary landmark of the Hyde Park neighborhood (since 1982!), with its literal fork in the road and menu of Modern American comfort food, Hyde Park Bar & Grill is upping the ante of deliciousness in its handsomely familiar dining room with a Valentine’s special on Wed., Feb. 14: A 12-ounce Akuashi ribeye with choice of three fried Argentinian shrimp or a salmon cake, plus some pillowy mashed potatoes and a second side choice. Pro tip: Second side choice, right? Go for those bacon-braised collard greens. Bonus: Available for dine in or carry out. Price: $40.

Dai Due
2406 Manor Rd.
Jesse Griffiths’ Manor Road emporium of locally sourced (and, hell, sometimes foraged or field dressed) cuisine is supercharging their regular menu with Valentine’s specials all week long (Feb. 13-18), offering French onion soup (featuring wild game broth); Gulf fish crudo with choupique caviar; baked Gulf oysters (with tallow, lime, and fermented fresno chile hot sauce); mushroom bourguignon with rutabaga purée, mushroom bacon, parsley, and lemon zest; Peeler Farms Wagyu tenderloin, with fried oysters; and Gulf fish a la plancha with crawfish cream sauce over Carolina gold rice with sautéed vegetables. Price: Varies.

L'Oca d'Oro
1900 Simond
Not content to “just” cook up a special dinner, Fiore Tedesco’s bastion of Italian gustatory brilliance in Mueller is unleashing “a full-blown experience inspired by the hair bands and pop icons of the 80s.” They’re calling Wed., Feb. 14, the “Wham Glam, Thank you, Ma’am” night, wherein each couple gets a set menu featuring eight sharable dishes – cannoli, Yorkshire pudding, chicken liver mousse, Wagyu carpaccio, chestnut tagliatelle, deviled lamb breast, sticky date pudding, and orange butterscotch soft-serve ice cream – while the hits are played and the videos projected and, O sweet Mötley Crüe, you’re back in the 80s again! Price: $120.

Mmhmmm, you do know how good Canje's pepper pot is, right? (Photo by courtesy of Canje)

1914 E. Sixth
What, precisely, is the special menu for this lovemad night at Tavel Bristol-Joseph’s popular (and critically acclaimed) Caribbean restaurant on the Eastside? The kitchen team’s still fine-tuning it with their plethora of spices, but when Canje offers “a multicourse dinner, optional cocktail pairing, special wines, and featured bites” for Valentine’s day, and our sweetheart has been downright jonesing for a taste of the islands as only these chefs can serve it up, we’re gonna be so there. Price: $125.

Dip-Dip-Dip Tatsu-Ya
7301 Burnet Rd.
This extraordinary shabu-shabu showcase, one of the several successes from Tatsu Akaiwa, is also bringing the omakase Valentine’s goodness all week long (Feb. 12-18), with A5 Wagyu, lump crab-and-shrimp meatballs, bone marrow with wasabi chimichurri, and more, in additional to their usual panoply of delectables. And how about some ube cheesecake for dessert, and (this is an occasion for splurging, n’est-ce pas?) curated sake pairings for you and your lucky date? Yup-yup-yup, Dip-Dip-Dip’s got you covered. Price: Varies.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle