Monday, February 6, 2012

Romantic Spots for Valentine's Day

Miami is a haven for anyone that appreciates a romantic night of fine cuisine. There is one special day each year where an overwhelming number of couples celebrate their romance with a special dinner for two: Valentine's Day. While this is a widespread tradition, it can turn out to be disappointing if we don't remember a couple of things.

First, most popular restaurants will be full on this evening, so reservations are a must! Don't expect to just walk up to that special place and find a table. This is one evening where people reserve their table with ample time so plan ahead. Second, if there is a particular dish you love and are looking forward to having on Valentine's Day, remember that many restaurants actually prepare a special menu on this day (price-fixe menu) and do not offer their complete menu. There is nothing quite as disappointing as looking forward to a favorite dish only to find it is not available when you order it. If this is the case, check with the restaurant ahead of time to see if they will be offering their complete menu. Finally, remember to keep an open mind. With so many patrons dining out, a restaurant known for its outstanding service may not be able to perform to its usual standards due to the sheer volume of customers it will have to serve at one time.  Also, keep in mind you may have to be a bit patient and wait a little longer for your waiter/waitress to come to your table, as well as between courses. Something else that may occur is that the food may not be prepared quite the way you remember it. Chefs are people too and while there may be a lot time to dedicate to a dish when it is a normal business day, the same may not apply on one of the busiest dining out nights of the year. You should always expect and the demand the very best when you dine out, but also be fair and realistic. Keeping these things in mind before that special Valentine's Day romantic evening, will help make it as special as you envisioned it would be.

While there are many places that are ideal for spending Cupid's popular evening, I'm sharing a few of my personal favorites. Each one offers something unique that I feel makes it stand out from a regular dining experience. Whether it is food presentation, ambiance, or originality, these restaurants are a great choice to start an evening of romance.

Tantra Restaurant and Lounge
Love Apple
The name says it all. This sensual, exotic restaurant, features Middle Eastern decor that is strategically designed to stimulate all your senses. From the live grass floor, the enticing music, and the alluring scents to the mouthwatering aphrodisiac cuisine, Tantra is a pulsating abandonment to the senses. My favorites include the Love Apple, consisting of a hand-picked vine ripe tomato layered with goat cheese discs and fresh picked basil leaves; all drizzled with basil oil and toasted pinenuts, and their Goddess dessert, a decadent flourless chocolate cake that will make your eyes roll back when you experience it. Tantra is located at 1445 Pennsylvania Avenue, Miami Beach. After midnight, the restaurant becomes a lounge so if you wish, you can enjoy some after dinner drinks and dancing. For reservations, call 305-672-4765.

Barton G The Restaurant
Lobster Pop Tarts
Seafood Martini
A visit to Barton G is a visual and gastronomical adventure. The creative presentation of the food makes you want to order everything on the menu - from the Lobster Pop Tarts appetizer, consisting of lobster and gruyere in a flaky crust, accompanied by a trio of sauces; to the giant Seafood Martini, a seafood lover's dream come true. Not only is the food delicious, but the anticipation of what it's going to look like makes you giddy with excitement. It definitely ignites a romantic spark that will grow as the evening progresses. Two must-haves when dining at Barton G are a hearty appetite and a camera to capture the memory. Barton G is located at 1427 West Avenue, Miami Beach, FL. For reservations call 305-672-8881.

The Melting Pot
Chocolate S'mores
The Melting Pot is a fun, fondue restaurant that offers an original twist on dining out.  It is romantic and interactive all at the same time, making the experience an entertaining evening to be shared with that special someone . From the the savory cheese appetizers and delicious entrees, to the decadent chocolate fondue desserts, dipping the fork into the fondue pot becomes a precursor to a love-filled evening of great conversation and memorable moments. My personal favorite as an appetizer is the Cheddar Cheese Fondue, consisting of aged, medium-sharp Cheddar and Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses, lager beer, garlic and seasonings, sinfully enjoyed by dipping fresh breads, vegetables and apples. And for the grand finale, I love the Chocolate S'mores fondue for dessert. Just envision milk chocolate topped with marshmallow cream, flambĂ©ed and garnished with graham cracker pieces. Then take your fork and dip the fresh strawberries, bananas, cheesecake, marshmallows, pound cake, brownies and other goodies for a moment in culinary paradise.  There are two locations in Dade County and four in Broward County. For reservations, check for your nearest location.
If you have any other great suggestions for unforgettable Valentine's Day dining, please share them here. Hope you have an amazing Valentine's Day!!


  1. Tantra is definitely on my list of new restaurants to try. Thanks, Maria for the inside scoop.

  2. You're very welcome! I'm sure you are going to have an unforgettable time when you go! Be sure to come back and give me all the yummy details!! :)