As playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food!” Here we look at three delicious and romantic options for your dining pleasure this Valentine’s weekend.
FOR THE SEAFOOD LOVER – SEREA
at the Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Avenue – 619-435-6611
The Hotel Del has teamed up with Chef JoJo Ruiz to transform the formality of 1500 into a fresh, sea-breezy sensation reminiscent of coastal restaurants in the Med, though the catch is decidedly local. On a typical night your server will invite you up to the crushed ice display area to consider your ocean-friendly options – from Vermilion Rockfish to spiky black Sea Urchin, which Ruiz laughingly compares to “kissing a mermaid” in terms of its briny taste!
Oysters are of course synonymous with romance and Ruiz can guide you to a West Coast option with “more of a cucumber finish.” But what if you are squeamish about seafood? Ruiz recommends the tuna sashimi as a light raw option and for a cooked fish, it’s worth noting that “The less oily the fish, the milder (and less ‘fishy’) the taste.” Ruiz and his team have great passion for the Serea experience and pride themselves on creating a relaxed atmosphere (sandals and shorts welcome!), but he does confess that his ultimate food Valentine is not currently on the menu – to get his fill of Chocolate Clams he has to go to Mexico!
Valentine’s Menu: Chef JoJo Ruiz has created a special 3-course (plus amuse-bouche) Valentine’s menu for $95. Options include a first course of Baja Striped Seabass Ceviche with citrus, coconut, ginger, turmeric and taro chips and a main of Sumac Seared Alabacore Nicoise with roasted fennel, braised greens, crispy potato, smoked tomato and olive tapenade. For dessert, the His & Hers chocolate truffle duo with red and white detailing, sounding particularly swoon-inducing.
Valentine’s Cocktails: Serea mixologist Eric Hobbie has created two alluring concoctions for the month of February: Cupid’s Lipstick (strawberry-infused gin, lemon juice, honey and Prosecco served in a flute) and Puppy Love (hibiscus-infused vodka with pomegranate juice, agave and mint served in a coupe).
FOR THE PASTA-LOVER – ROSEMARY TRATTORIA
120 Orange Avenue – 619-537-0054
Red checkered tablecloths, a relaxing ambiance and rave reviews – Rosemary Trattoria is gaining repeat customers aplenty with its tasty, eat-every-last-bite, mop-up-the-sauce menu! Get cozy in the corner and recreate the spaghetti scene from Lady & The Tramp – the gluten-free version if that’s your preference! The rosa sauce is the perfect choice for Valentine’s Day (rosa means pink in Italian!) and Chef Alex Martinez will woo your tastebuds with the sublime blend of tomato and cream.
Valentine’s Menu: Every dish is made with love every day of the week but we hear the Tiramisu dessert really sets hearts aflutter!
Coffee-Lovers: Complete your meal the Italian way with a reasonably-priced coffee – $2.75 for an espresso, $3.75 for a latte.
FOR THE STEAK-LOVER – STAKE CHOPHOUSE & BAR
1309 Orange Avenue – 619-522-0077
Stake has the sophisticated, special occasion vibe down! Take the elevator up to the raised restaurant and gaze out over Orange Avenue through dancing flames. The terrace is always toasty, or you can opt for the low-lit, atmospheric interior. Select a table beside the panels of golden onyx to enhance your glow.
Valentine’s Menu: 3-course Prix Fixe Menu for $125, credit card required to hold the reservation. Steak-lovers choose between Filet Mignon, Wagyu Eye of Rib and the intensely-marbled Japanese A5 – one of the most coveted cuts in the world! Even the amuse-bouche sounds heavenly: Coconut Lobster Panna Cotta with Lemon Balm, Ginger Trout Roe. For Valentine’s dessert, the Ruby Chocolate Chiffon is a must.
Valentine’s Wine: With 1,200 vino options ranging in price from $40-$4,000, it’s easy to feel spoiled for choice. Fortunately Sommelier Mike is on hand to match-make you with a bottle to suit your meal, your taste and your wallet.