Valentine’s Day is February 14. It’s not one of the holidays that has different dates each year. It’s always on February 14. Which is good because February 14, 2018 is a Wednesday. Which means there are still good available reservations.
Here are 14 of our picks for February 14. As of this posting, all of the restaurants still have open reservations or do not accept reservations. We’ll update this list as seats are filled.
The Line hotel is open. A Rake’s Progress, on the second floor, is currently in previews. The small space by Chef Spike Gjerde is offering tasting menus and a “Golden Hour” happy hour. Since they’re in previews, we can’t be sure what they’ll be offering on Valentine’s Day but we can promise a new experience in a new venue in a much anticipated opening. The location and the chef’s reputation make it an easy pick for the holiday. -B.W.
Hell yeah we’re recommending pizza for Valentine’s Day. Pizza is for lovers (I’m using that word because of the Virginia is for Lovers campaign, not because the word lover is ever acceptable.). The reason we’re recommending All Purpose is one of their desserts, their rainbow cake. That dessert made our DC’s Best Desserts of 2017 feature. You should order dessert on Valentine’s Day.
Chef Jose Andrés damn near perfect bar is offering a $145 per person menu for the bar. This is definitely for the couple that needs a night off and has tomorrow off. Sitting at the barmini bar is almost a show so no need to plan much more for the evening. -B.W.
This 14th St institution (Is it an institution? We don’t mean this in a negative way.) celebrates 15 years in 2018 with a new Executive Chef Joel Hatton. Hatton comes from 1905, another restaurant we enjoyed but closed in 2017. Don’t forget about the restaurants that helped anchor dining scenes. -B.W.
When CHIKO opened in the summer of 2017 we were very happy of its existence. From our First Look:
The buzz around D.C.’s restaurant scene in the recent years seems to be going in three distinct directions: the special occasion (read: very to VERY expensive) tasting menu route, the wait-in-line-for-it-for-hours cool internationally inspired destination that has half the city clamoring for its dozen seats, or the fast casual build-your-meal-in-a-bowl experience.
But what if a restaurant opened that bridged the gap between these three models while still being affordable and adventurous and happened to have two of D.C.’s most loved chefs in the kitchen, cooking the food they always wanted to cook?
That’s CHIKO and CHIKO is offering a special Valentine’s Day $65 tasting menu normally only available at the kitchen counter. Reservations open January 18. -B.W.
Chloe made the list in our 18 D.C. Bars & Restaurants To Look Forward to Opening in 2018 feature. It’s now open. Chef Haidar Karoum made you love Doi Moi, Estadio and Proof. Now he’s trying to get you to fall in love with the southeast waterfront. -B.W.
Read our feature with Chef Karoum from summer 2017
If you’re leaning more towards a liquid dinner, you can’t really do better than the Columbia Room. Their tasting room is a unique experience that combines cocktails and small bites in an effort to light up all of your senses. Expect classic flavor combinations twisted in unusual ways, insane plating and service that’s equal parts history lesson and cocktail class. It’s not a hearty dinner to say the least, but if you’re down for a culinary adventure (and you’re fine to follow it up with a real meal), you wont be disappointed. -K.D.
The restaurant that appeared the most (at least in terms of positive sentiments) in our 2017 DC Food Round-Up – By The Food Writers was Himitsu. The pro is they don’t accept reservations. The con is they don’t accept reservations. It’s a good option for the couple that doesn’t need concrete plans. -B.W.
This brand new Indian restaurant on I between 6th and 7th is a very good option for the health conscious diner (you don’t want a heavy meal on a date and especially on a Valentine’s Day date) that doesn’t want to be a health conscious diner (you don’t want to be on a date with a picky eater). Karma is serving authentic Indian cuisine without the stereotypical heavy Indian food connotations.
Three of the dishes we enjoyed happened to be vegan and vegetarian. It was only after checking the menu that we realized they were vegan and vegetarian. Obviously, this is good for the vegan dater and meat eater. What makes it an even better date pick is every dish is good for sharing.
Karma Modern Indian is a fine addition to D.C.’s healthy Indian fine dining scene. If you’re a fan of Rasika and want something a little different, this is a fine option. -B.W.
One of 2017’s most anticipated restaurants opened at the tail end of the year. The reviews have been great. The only downside may be finding the place. From our First Look:
Dinner was at 8 p.m. The fact that I was five minutes late enveloped me in the type of anxiety that only comes from having the added bonus of hunger. Part of the “experience” of going to Maydan—Rose Previte and the Compass Rose team’s new restaurant in the Manhattan Laundry inspired by flavors from a region spanning North Africa to the South Caucasus and everything in between—is finding it. And boy was it tough. After walking past Franklin Hall and seeing a Hill staffer annihilate a liter of Miller Lite faster than you can think, “Nah, I’m good,” I began to panic. Only after finally finding Maydan, walking through its Harry Potter-esc door, and immediately being slapped in the face with the smell of lamb and burning wood, did that anxiety disappear.
For the couple that wishes they were out of the country but can’t just leave in the middle of the work week, this might be your best romantic bet. -B.W.
I went on a date Saturday night with a vegan and when you’re not a vegan that makes choosing a restaurant rather challenging. Vegetables terrify me. I enjoy meat and dairy. I’m the…worst? [Ed. note: No, you’re healthy.] Sure, but I’m not an absolute monster so I’m willing to eat at a vegan-friendly place which is how we ended up at Middle Eastern Cuisine (pretty straightforward name) in Takoma Park. My date had been there before. I imagine when you’re a vegan you know all the hot spot (ZING!). However when we entered the restaurant we didn’t stop there. He led me to the back, past the kitchen and bathrooms into a bar that I DID NOT KNOW WAS THERE. Now we’re talking. You can take the meat out of the girl but don’t ever take the alcohol out of the girl. It was crowded but not suffocating. You could still eat (he had hummus I had all the wine) and was really the perfect place for a great first date. -J.T.
Brookland’s newest (read: only) wine bar is taking Instagram by storm with its feathery light fixtures and straight-out-of-France themed interior design, but there’s more than meets the eye here. The small restaurant in bar is helmed by Sebastian Zutant, who has spent time in and out of The Red Hen, Komi, Rasika and Proof and knows what people want when it comes to fine and casual dining alike. The wine selection focuses on organic wines, but whether you’re a snob or an amateur, you shouldn’t have a problem finding something good. Foodwise, the menu is simple and includes all the French classics you’ve come to know and love, like coq au vin, French onion soup and bœuf bourguignon. -K.D.
Another pick for our vegetarian friends. Their celery root dish ranked as #1 in our Best Vegetarian Dishes of 2017 feature. Sure, it’s pricey but it’s Valentine’s Day. That being said, they are participating in Restaurant Week before Valentine’s Day so if you’re a foodie on a budget, celebrate your love a few weeks early. -B.W.
I hope you’re ready to eat pasta until you burst because that’s the only way to do Sfoglina right. Functioning as Fabio Trabocchi’s slightly more casual restaurant, Sfoglina maintains the quality of Trabocchi’s high end Fiola (and Fiola Mare) in a more relaxed atmosphere (and at corresponding prices). It feels like you’re hanging out inside your grandma’s house, minus the creepy dolls and the photographs of people who look kind of like you. The pasta tasting includes three pastas for $68, and it’s a great option if you’re looking to try a couple of different things. Also, don’t skip out on the appetizers. The spicy grilled calamari took my damn breath away. -K.D.