For the romantically inclined, Valentine’s Day is fraught with pressure and peril. I always favored the DIY, stay-at-home approach: Buy a dozen roses, a dozen oysters, a dozen stone crab claws, a dozen chocolates, a dozen scented candles and one nice bottle of Champagne, and you’re set. Simple.
But relationships can be complicated, and some partners want more: scenery, novelty, or a cozy table for two. Fortunately, we’re in South Florida, where options abound for Feb.14, from a $5,000 three-night culinary package at a Miami Beach hotel to a $49-per-person dining stroll through Birch State Park in Fort Lauderdale. Here are some possibilities for the mother of all date nights.
Stroll in the Park, Birch State Park and Park & Ocean restaurant, 3109 E. Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale. 954-357-2606, Society8.com — A new restaurant overlooking the beach will soon open at the southeastern corner of Birch State Park, and the proprietors will hold a Valentine’s Day event to celebrate. For $49 per person (tax and tip included), couples can stroll along a lighted path that winds through the park, with food and drink stations along the way. Groups will be staggered, with reservations from 6:30 p.m. through 8:30 p.m., and there will also be a boat ride along the Intracoastal. Diners will end up at the new Park & Ocean restaurant, which will formally open later this month.
Hardy Park Bistro, 21 SW Seventh St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-652-1475, HardyParkBistro.com — Usually, this cozy spot near Hardy Park does not take reservations, but it makes an exception for Valentine’s Day. The restaurant is offering a three-course dinner for $69, with a $25 wine pairing option of unlimited 2-ounce pours. Offerings include filet mignon with parsnip puree and portobello risotto with shaved truffles. Dinner served from 5:30 until 10 p.m.
Hearts & Palms at Kitchen 5007, 5007 Hiatus Road, Sunrise, 954-281-2763 — You can show some heart on this heart-themed day by attending the Hearts & Palms charity dinner staged by two chefs to benefit the Jeremie Charitable Foundation, which helps an impoverished community in Haiti. Roshni Gurnani is a past winner on Food Network’s “Chopped,” and Vicky Colas has been honored as Caribbean Chef of the Year. The $150 four-course dinner will blend Indian and Caribbean cuisine and include wine. Tickets remain for the 9 p.m. seating, available at Eventbrite.com.
JWB Prime Steak & Seafood, Margaritaville Resort, 1111 N. Ocean Drive, Hollywood, 954-874-4462, JWBRrestaurant.com — Later availability remains at this comfortable high-end steakhouse that bears the initials of Margaritaville resort partner Jimmy Buffett. The Valentine’s Day three-course menu is $155 per couple, including a glass of Champagne, and includes entrée options of spear-caught fish, twin lobster tails or bone-in filet mignon. You can walk off dinner by taking a romantic stroll along Hollywood’s oceanfront Broadwalk.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
Cafe Boulud at the Brazilian Court Hotel, 301 Australian Ave., Palm Beach, 561-655-6060, CafeBoulud.com — Early and late tables remain for a three-course, $125-per-person dinner prepared by executive chef Rick Mace. The romantic outdoor courtyard is a perfect Valentine’s Day setting. Options include starters of citrus-cured king salmon or duck with foie gras presse, and entrees of roasted turbot with cauliflower or Daniel Boulud’s famed duo of beef.
City Oyster & Sushi Bar, 213 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561-272-0220, CityOysterDelray.com — Oysters have long been known for their amorous properties. So if slurping down raw bivalves floats your boat, then City Oyster on Delray’s main dining drag will be the perfect place to land on Valentine’s Day. Chefs Dennis Teixeira and Steven Tran are offering special holiday items Feb. 10-14, including a Love Me Tender roll ($23) with crab and spicy tuna, baked truffle lobster macaroni and cheese ($28) and Black Angus prime rib with Gorgonzola mashed potatoes ($44).
Caffe Luna Rosa, 34 S. Ocean Boulevard, Delray Beach, 561-274-9404, CaffeLunaRosa.com — Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean near Atlantic Avenue, this casual Italian restaurant will offer “Lucky Lovers Delight” specials in addition to its regular menu, including whole baked Orata fish boned tableside and squid-ink lobster ravioli.
Taste the Love Package at the Confidante Hotel, 4041 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. 305-424-1234, TheConfidanteHotel.com — If you have money burning a hole through your lingerie, this $5,000 three-night package in Miami Beach, available for Valentine’s Day and all month, might be the perfect getaway. It includes a suite with a private poolside cabana, a private cooking lesson and trip to a local farmer’s market with chef Richard Hales, and other meals, drinks and treats. Among them: “aphrodisiac turndown service” featuring amenities such as banana, strawberry and fig fondue with chili-pepper-spiked chocolate.
Beachcraft and Watr at the 1 Rooftop, 1 Hotel South Beach, 2341 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-604-1000, 1Hotels.com/South-Beach/Taste — The 1 Hotel has several dining options available, including a six-course $98 tasting menu at James Beard Award-winning chef Tom Colicchio’s Beachcraft. For a spectacular ocean view, there’s Watr, the cool rooftop bar that appears to float over South Beach. For the holiday, Watr will offer a special chef’s menu including small bites such as tuna poke and craft cocktails.
Fontana at the Biltmore Hotel, 200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables, 855-969-3219, BiltmoreHotel.com/Dining/Fontana.php — For throwback elegance, you can’t do better than the Biltmore. The famed Palme D’Or is sold out, but early-evening availability remains for Fontana, the fine Italian restaurant. A special four-course $85 menu will be offered, with options including steamed lobster appetizer, crab-stuffed ravioli and rack of lamb.