“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”
That quote from playwright George Bernard Shaw certainly applies to me. I have an ongoing love affair with creative cuisine, and that love will be in full bloom on Valentine’s weekend.
I don’t always recommend dining out on Valentine’s Day, which is the busiest night of the year at many restaurants. Expectations are high (and so are prices), but with so many Newport Beach restaurants offering special prix fixe menus — some all weekend long — it just comes down to what type of cuisine you’re hungry for.
Here’s my roundup of what local restaurants have in store for lovers this Valentine’s Day.
Want bling with your dinner? Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar has an all-inclusive Valentine’s Day experience featuring a three-course dinner for two, premium champagne and — get this — a special gift from David Yurman.
Priced at $500 or $1,000, the “Wine, Dine & Sparkle” packages are available Feb. 12–15, with a curated assortment of jewelry gift options for her or him. This experience also includes a guaranteed reservation during one of the busiest times of the year. The prix fixe dinner includes crab and caviar blini, pear and pomegranate salad, entrée options including petite filet mignon with choice of lobster tail scampi, crab-stuffed colossal shrimp scampi or twin pistachio-crusted lamb chops, and New York cheesecake topped with strawberry champagne sauce.
To view the “Wine, Dine, & Sparkle” Valentine’s Day packages including the David Yurman jewelry gift options, visit flemingssteakhouse.com/winedinesparkle.
Or try the Fleming’s regular three-course, prix-fixe Valentine’s Day menu Feb. 12–15 priced at $85 to $110 per person depending on entree. Guests can also order from the full dinner menu.
For more information, visit FlemingsSteakhouse.com.
Chef Cathy Pavlos is serving up a four-course prix-fixe menu featuring your choice of dishes such as Black Canyon filet mignon and plancha-seared wild branzino filet.
Pricing is $80 per person, with an optional $35 or $50 wine pairing. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available upon request.
For more information, call (949) 718-0477 or visit provenanceoc.com.
The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar
Celebrate Valentine’s Day the Winery way with a four-course prix-fixe menu created by Executive Chef Yvon Goetz for $119 per guest. Entrees include surf and turf with lobster, rack of lamb, and New Zealand venison rack.
For more information, call (949) 999-6622 or visit TheWineryNewport.com.
Sushi Roku Newport Beach is offering its regular menu, along with a la carte specials, including lobster with pearl truffle cream and yuzu; zuke honmaguro with hokkaido uni, caviar, saikyo miso and dry miso sauce; and fondue with Belgian chocolate and assorted fruits.
Guests may also enjoy 50 percent off bottles of champagne during dinner.
For more information, call (949) 706-3622 or visit sushiroku.com.
ARC Butcher & Baker
Planning a romantic evening at home this Valentine’s weekend? ARC Butcher & Baker has a special charcuterie, cheese, crudités and hummus platter plus chocolate-covered strawberries; and a half bottle of Billecart-Salmon brut rosé to go for $95.
To place orders, email [email protected]
Fable & Spirit
Executive Chef David Shofner presents a four-course Valentine’s dinner that begins with a choice of appetizers, a second course of cavatelli or Wagyu strip loin, a third course of Norwegian halibut or Muscovy duck breast, and a chocolate mousse dessert. Price is $100 per person.
For more information, visit fableandspirit.com.
BELLO by Sandro Nardone
Valentine a la carte specials include beef heart tartare, grilled chicken heart spiedino, ricotta gnocchi with duck liver sauce, and tres leches tiramisu.
For more information, visit bellobysandronardone.com.
Chef Ivan Calderon is offering a tablita for two, featuring skirt steak, free-range chicken breast and prawns, served with pico de gallo, guacamole, Mexican rice, refried pinto beans and tortillas. The meal ends with a cuatro leches cake covered with white chocolate ganache.
This special dinner is priced at $75 per couple. Those with reservations between 6 and 9 p.m. on Valentine’s Day will receive a complimentary professional portrait.
For more information, visit tacorosa.com/events.
Great Maple at Fashion Island is offering Valentine’s a la carte specials including lobster mac and cheese, several entrées and a sweetheart cake for dessert.
For more information, visit thegreatmaple.com/Newport.
True Food Kitchen
True Food Kitchen at Fashion Island is offering health-conscious eaters a pre-fixe menu at $45 a person that features themed cocktails, wine, shareable starters, choice of four entrees, and desserts.
For more information, visit truefoodkitchen.com/valentines.
Balboa Bay Resort
Balboa Bay Resort’s Waterline restaurant has choice of two entrees for one couple: 30-day dry aged tomahawk steak (36 ounces) for $135 per couple, or fresh roasted whole snapper (32 ounces) for $115 per couple. It includes several sides.
At the resort’s A&O Kitchen + Bar, check out their Bubble & Bourbon event that features sparkling wine, bourbon, shareable bites and live music from 8 to 11 p.m.
For more information, visit BalboaBayResort.com.
Fig & Olive
Fig & OIive has a four-course prix fixe dinner menu and optional wine pairing on Valentine’s Day. Cost of the dinner is $75 and includes several options for appetizers and entrees. Wine pairing is an additional $42.
For more information, visit FigandOlive.com.
Pelican Hill Resort
Pelican Hill Resort has several options for Valentine’s Day dining, ranging from a three-course lunch at Andrea for $95 per person ($155 per person with wine pairings) or a four-course dinner for $155 per person ($225 per person with wine pairings) to a three-course lunch or dinner menu at Pelican Grill for $135 per person.
Coliseum Pool & Grill has two options: A la carte specials at the Coliseum restaurant, or an al fresco dinner by candlelight inside your own private luxury cabana overlooking Coliseum Pool. The chef creates a memorable four-course menu for two. Customized music, flowers and décor are available upon request.
For more information, visit Pelicanhill.com/valentines-day.
Five Crowns celebrates Valentine’s Day Feb. 13–16 with a four-course dinner for two, courtesy of Executive Chef Alejandra Padilla.
This prix fixe menu includes starters such as steak tartare or mushroom soup, and entrees including potato horseradish-crusted salmon, classic beef Wellington wrapped in mushrooms and flaky puff pastry, or the signature prime rib.
Cost is $129 per couple.
For more information, visit TheFiveCrowns.com.
Back Bay Bistro
Back Bay Bistro has a four-course prix fixe menu for $85 per person that features a choice of four entrees including braised short ribs and grilled king salmon, plus a view of the back bay.
For more information, visit BackBayBistroNB.com.
The Bungalow has a choice of prix fixe menus that are $75 to $95 per person depending on entrée. Options include choice of starters, entrees such as filet mignon, scallops and lobster tail, and dessert.
For more information, visit TheBungalowRestaurant.com.
Bayside Restaurant is celebrating Valentine’s Day with a curated, chef-driven menu that includes such options as freshly shucked oysters and lobster bisque to king salmon, venison medallions and filet mignon.
There are also champagne and sparkling wine pairing suggestions. Cost is $88 per person.
Valentine’s weekend continues at Bayside on Saturday with the same menu available all evening. Or skip the evening dinners and come to Bayside’s Sunday brunch with live music and a two-course brunch menu.
For more information, visit baysiderestaurant.com.