Romantic restaurants for Valentine's Day
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It's the time of year when people start thinking about where to have a romantic and delicious dining experience on Valentine's Day.
Even though Valentine's Day falls on a Wednesday this year, making restaurant reservations will still become more difficult as time goes by. But the Des Moines metro area has plenty of charming spots where hungry couples and singles can celebrate this lovely occasion.
Here are just a few of the many romantic restaurants across the metro offering Valentine's Day menus and features. And if you can't get in on Wednesday evening, keep these places in mind for another night or the weekend instead.
Perfect for couples, Lucca has become a great go-to spot for a night of romance in the East Village. Lucca will be offering four courses for $40. The last course will be a dessert sampling built for two. The menu changes weekly and can include dishes like homemade gnocchi with butter and sage, seared duck breast with eggplant salad and puréed red pepper soup with brie crostini.
Location: 420 E. Locust St., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.
Harvey's Diner & Pub
It's worth the short 30 mile trip west of Des Moines to the small town of Redfield for a sweet culinary visit to Harvey’s Diner & Pub. Featuring creatively exciting dishes, cocktails and sweets, Harvey's is serving a special 4-course Valentine's Day menu ($50 or $65 with beverage pairing).
Enjoy homemade popovers with warm Gruyère cheese and rosemary popover champagne and citrus compound butter; lobster tagliatelle with house-made squid ink pasta, lobster and cream; and braised fennel and apple stuffed pork loin with champagne and sage sausage, duck fat fingerling potatoes and sautéed string beans. But save room for champagne truffles.
Sam & Gabe's at the Lyon
Sam & Gabe's newest location in the Lyon Building in the East Village has become a great spot to enjoy a meal with unobstructed views of the city across the Des Moines River. Sam & Gabe's will be featuring a surf and turf dinner including prime rib in either queen (12-ounce cut for $42) or king (16-ounce cut for $52) sizes. Both are served with an 8-ounce half lobster tail and sides.
Location: 600 E. 5th St., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m.
Harbinger's cozy dining room invites diners to relax and stay a while to enjoy chef Joe Tripp's local yet global fare. Harbinger will be offering two 6-course tasting menus for Valentine's Day—$75 for a menu with protein and $55 for the vegetarian-friendly menu. The regular menu changes weekly, depending on what's in season from local growers and producers.
Location: 2724 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 4 to 10 pm.
Table 128 Bistro and Bar has established itself as a cozy cornerstone of culinary creativity in Clive. Chef Lynn Pritchard is offering a delightful a la carte assortment of courses including lobster pot pie with New England lobster, velouté sauce, vegetables and puff pastry ($15); wild boar with nettle and walnut pesto, quinoa and celery salad and pickled grapes ($33); and raspberry pot de crème with candied kumquats, ginger whipped cream and tuile.
Location: 12695 University Ave., Clive
Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays.
HoQ recently celebrated five years of bringing locally-sourced cuisine to East Village. Chef and owner, Suman Hoque, is offering a 4-course menu that includes choices like mushroom bisque with whipped quark; oysters with roasted corn salsa; and duck and lobster tail with root vegetable purée, Maharishi Farm kale and sauce duo. The romantic dinner is $75 per person with an additional $35 per person for a wine pairing.
Location: 303 E. 5th St., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays.
With an atmosphere full of Southern charm and a menu of elevated Southern favorites, Bubba is a great place for a romantic dinner. The full menu will be available, along with a menu of features including lobster bisque with cognac cream and chives ($6); Beef Wellington—a 6-ounce filet with country ham and mushroom duxelles wrapped in puff pastry, with roasted butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, pomegranate and red onion finished with a whiskey cream sauce ($36); and molten red velvet cake with cream cheese ice cream ($9).
Location: 200 10th St., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 4 to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Le Jardin in Beaverdale has established itself as a place to go for people who are amorous over approachable French cuisine with a focus on Iowa ingredients. Chef Tag Grandgeorge is offering a 4-course menu for $65 per person. The inventive menu includes crab and Parmesan clafoutis with roasted pepper coulis and radish sprouts; red curry duck with pineapple, grilled peppers, potatoes, Thai red curry and rice; and a vanilla Pavlova with grapefruit syrup and Aunt Polly's garden pepper jam.
Location: 2815 Beaver Ave., Suite 101, Des Moines
Hours: Thursday and Friday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; closed Monday through Wednesday.
For a special night out in Des Moines, it's difficult to beat this flagship of French cuisine in Windsor Heights. Owner and James Beard Award Semifinalist, David Baruthio, is planning two magical menus - available February 9-17. Diners can choose between three courses for $75 per person or six courses for $140 per person.
Location: 6587 University Ave., Windsor Heights
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays.
With a view of Western Gateway Park and the whimsical cuisine of three-time James Beard Award semifinalist, Proof is hard to beat for a divine dining experience. Proof is offering a 3-course menu with items like beet and ricotta gnocchi with gorgonzola nd walnuts; Gulf shrimp and mussels with pimentón de La Vera (smoked paprika), potato and chorizo madeleines; and a 16-ounce Iowa ribeye with a garlic and porcini mushroom crust, pickled onions, winter squash, Boulangère potatoes, gremolata and marrow custard. The menu is $75 per person and a wine pairing is an additional $42.
Location: 1301 Locust St., Ste. C, Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays.
Take a trip to Beaverdale and enjoy Reed Hollow's “Eat Your Heart Out” Valentine's Day special. The 3-course prix-fixe menu includes an amuse bouche and complimentary dessert wine and serves two people for $100. Chef Zach Gutweiler is ready to prepare dishes that are sure to make your night magical.
Location: 2712 Beaver Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; closed Mondays.
Contact: (515) 777-3625 ; Facebook
Trostel's Greenbriar has become one of Johnston's premier restaurants of romance. A round of specials will be offered from February 14-21, including lobster spring rolls, peppercorn-encrusted striploin filet and a Godiva hot chocolate soup with Grand Marnier flan. The full menu of classic Greenbriar favorites will also be available.
Location: 5810 Merle Hay Rd., Johnston
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays.
Love is in the air at Trostel's Dish in Clive. In addition to the regular menu of Dish mainstays, the chef specials are sure to entice. Feast on butternut squash and goat cheese ravioli and potato-encrusted halibut fillet. But save room for the chocolate pot de crème with toasted hazelnuts and chantilly cream. All specials are offered February 14-17 with live music by Brian Congdon on February 17.
Location: 12851 University Ave. #400, Clive
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 9:30; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 10:30; closed Sundays.
St. Kilda Cafe & Bakery
Since its opening last year, St. Kilda has brought a touch of Down Under to downtown. And with its dinner service launch in November, there's more to love. St. Kilda offers a 3-course menu for $55 that includes a complimentary glass of champagne. Dine on snow pea salad with shallot, pancetta, Gruyère and white balsamic; fresh-caught red snapper with sweet corn, heirloom variations, peanut potatoes and baby basil; and glazed dark chocolate cake with glaçage, dry caramel, housemade vanilla bean ice cream and strawberries.
Location: 300 S.W. 5th St., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Alba is considered one of the most romantic restaurants in East Village, and its 3-course prix-fixe Valentine's Day menu will further that sentiment. Dine on beef carpaccio with pickled mustard seeds and roasted garlic aïoli; New Zealand Red Stag venison with goat cheese rösti (potato pancake) with a blackberry Bordelaise; and deviled eggs with a mustard crumble and a grana tuile ($68-$80; $10 for sides). But save room for the orange dream crème brûlée with vanilla cream and a white chocolate cookie. Alba is also celebrating 10 years on February 16 and will feature a special menu until the end of the month.
Location: 524 E. 6th St., Des Moines
Hours: Monday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m.; closed Sundays.
Located just off the tropical foliage-filled dome of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, chef Lisa LaValle's Trellis blooms as a Valentine's Day dinner option. Two seatings will be available—5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.—for dinner for two ($120). Wine pairing is available for $22 per person or $40 per couple. Enjoy creamy asparagus soup with Berkwood Farms thick-cut bacon crumble; a 6-ounce center-cut Iowa beef tenderloin with green peppercorn mascarpone sauce, lobster lasagna and rosemary-roasted baby new potatoes; and mille-fuille—layers of puff pastry with chantilly cream and fresh strawberries.
Location: 909 Robert D. Ray Dr., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Mondays.
For one night only, Americana is playing matchmaker with two kinds of cuisine—comfort food and modern American. Try the bourbon barbecue prosciutto-wrapped shrimp with sharp cheddar cheese grits, black pepper chèvre and Italian parsley ($12); seared Chilean sea bass with arugula Brussels sprouts slaw, maple-sage brown butter and chive mashed potatoes ($35); and strawberry cheesecake with a chocolate graham cracker crust, champagne crème Anglaise and chocolate curls ($7).
Location: 1312 Locust St., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Cheese Bar DSM
Cheese Bar will bust out all the naughty bits for Bites and Bubbles: Offal edition from February 14-17. This menu is not for the faint of heart. Pairings of chef Brett McClavy's various tasty offal noshes for $5 each with $5 glasses of hand-selected champagne. Taste chicken heart empanadas with Graham Beck Brut Rosé; blood ravioli and consommé with Champagne Vollereaux; and Swiss pâté and rye crackers with Lambert de Seyssel. For the less adventurous, a rich and shareable specialty—älplermagronen, or Swiss macaroni and cheese—will be served with a side of housemade applesauce.
Location: 2925 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sundays and Mondays.
Bonefish Grill in West Des Moines is offering a lineup of specials that will please every palate. Dine on Imperial Dip made from shrimp, bay scallops, lump crabmeat with lemon-caper butter, served with seasoned house-made tortialla chips ($9.95); and wood-grilled Thai-inspired Georges Bank sea scallops over rice noodles in a coconut broth infused with fresh tomatoes, red onion and ginger, garnished with crispy onions ($22.90). Specials also include an Italian seafood risotto, grilled Atlantic Cobia and assorted fresh fish. But don't forget the warm chocolate lava cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream (specials run through March 19).
Location: 650 S. Prairie View Dr., West Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Is your restaurant serving Valentine's Day specials and you don't see your place on this list? Please email Brian Carlson to have your restaurant added.