love & food

Sweet eats (and plenty of treats): Our Valentine's Day dinner top picks

Sweet eats (and plenty of treats): Our Valentine's Day dinner top picks

Austin Photo Set: News_Jackie_Valentines day round up_feb 2012_blue dahlia_ date
Blue Dahlia Bistro Courtesy of Blue Dahlia Bistro
Austin Photo Set: News_Jackie_Valentines day round up_feb 2012_fino
Fino Courtesy of FINO
Austin Photo Set: News_Jackie_Valentines day round up_feb 2012_blue dahlia bistro
Blue Dahlia Bistro Courtesy of Blue Dahlia Bistro
Austin Photo Set: News_Jackie_Valentines day round up_feb 2012_mansion at judges hill
Mansion at Judges' Hill Courtesy of Mansion at Judges' Hill
Austin Photo Set: News_Jessica Dupuy_where to eat_Dec 2011_carillon
The Carillon Photo by the Carillon
Austin Photo Set: News_Jackie_Valentines day round up_feb 2012_blue dahlia_ date
Austin Photo Set: News_Jackie_Valentines day round up_feb 2012_fino
Austin Photo Set: News_Jackie_Valentines day round up_feb 2012_blue dahlia bistro
Austin Photo Set: News_Jackie_Valentines day round up_feb 2012_mansion at judges hill
Austin Photo Set: News_Jessica Dupuy_where to eat_Dec 2011_carillon

Maybe you’ve been planning your Valentine’s Day evening for a while, or maybe you’ve put it off and are now trying to figure out what to do with only a few days left to decide…

Well, if you’re looking for a delicious night out on the town, you’re in luck! We’ve rounded up the names of Austin’s best restaurants that are offering special Valentine's Day menus.

And if you’re the type who falls in love with a restaurant just as much for its atmosphere as for its food, you'll especially like this list. Trust us — impressively delicious food and a romantic ambiance will make for a delightful and memorable meal.

Old School Grandeur: The Mansion at Judges' Hill

Dining at The Mansion at Judges' Hill is a beautiful experience — opulent, historic and classic. For Valentine's Day, the West Campus-area restaurant is featuring a prix fixe three course menu for $49.50 per person (not including wine pairings), with dishes such as a sweet potato mushroom chowder appetizer and a chorizo/queso fresco/spinach-stuffed roasted quail topped with ancho bourbon demi glace and accompanied by grilled asparagus and poached tomato. Reservations required and can be made here. (512) 495-1857

Pretty Patio: FINO

Although this modern Mediterranean restaurant will not be featuring a Valentine’s prix fixe menu, they will have specially priced a la carte options available that evening, like scallop and pork belly butternut squash with pomegranate dish ($18) and a lobster bomba risotto saffron sofrito with piquillo peppers, lemon aioli and pea shoot salad ($18). View the complete menu of Valentine’s specials here. (The full menu will also be available that evening.) Reservations can be made via the website. (512) 474-2905

Fancy Feast: The Carillon

This upscale restaurant located on the UT campus specializes in sophisticated versions of classic American dishes. Their Valentine’s menu, “A Texas Love Affair,” will feature “refined Texas flavors that include velvet textures, crisp contrasts and decadent desserts” and highlights include “vanilla lobster, scallops and salsify, dry aged beef.” The seven course meal with wine pairings is $120/person ($80/person without wine). Reservations can be made via phone or email. (512) 404-3655 / thecarillon@attconf.utexas.edu

Supper Clubbing: Bread & Circus Supper Club

Bread & Circus Supper club is a monthly pop-up restaurant held at downtown creative venue The Palm Door with food by popular (and in-house) local caterer, Pink Avocado. With its devotion to creating a seasonal, locally-sourced menu and a lively atmosphere, the vampire-inspired Valentine’s installment of the fun dining experience will offer a unique take on traditional Valentine’s Day affairs. Diners will enjoy flavorful dishes like grilled bison tenderloin with beets, wilted green, bordelaise and fresh wasabi or poached halibut with curried coconut borscht. Tickets include a cocktail hour, dinner and wine pairings and are $60 per person. View full menu and purchase tickets here. (512) 391-1994

Farm Fresh French: Blue Dahlia Bistro

This cozy East Side bistro will be serving up complimentary champagne and kir royals to all who are waiting to be seated on Valentine’s, and they'll be encouraging all to join in the fun — “Don’t have a date? Who cares! Bring your friends and celebrate friendship and life.” In addition to their normal menu of French-inspired fare, Blue Dahlia will have Valentine’s specials like heart-shaped artichoke and sundried tomato ravioli, heart-shaped lobster ravioli and a chocolate lava cake. Live French accordion music will top off the romantic setting. (512) 542-9542

Moulin Rouge: Max's Wine Dive

This Sunday, Feb. 12, popular downtown refined comfort food eatery Max's Wine Dive is transforming it's underground event space into an "opulent setting reminiscent of the Belle Epoque at the Moulin Rouge" as an early alternative to traditional Feb. 14 celebrations. In addition to an array of carefully selected wine pairings, the five course menu will feature decadent French dishes like seared foie gras, wine braised rabbit leg and house made duck confit. Tickets for the 5:30 and 8 p.m. seatings of "La Joie de Vie Moulin Rouge" are $199 each (includes dinner for two plus wine pairings) and can be purchased here. (512) 904-0111

Vegan- Friendly, Pure at Heart: Beets Café

This raw foodie lover's paradise is cooking up an extra special prix fixe five course menu for Valentine's Day, complete with inventive creations like pesto stuffed baby bellas (portabella mushrooms) and almond "cheeze" ravioli with herbed macadamia cream sauce and pistachio parsley salad. Tickets are $85 per couple or $50 per person. (512) 477-2338

Tex-Mex Romance: Vivo Lake Creek

The Lake Creek location of this favorite local restaurant has a special prix fixe "five course lover's menu" and wine pairings for those couples looking to celebrate the 14th with a twist of "San Antonio-style Tex Mex cuisine" in a romantic, low-lit atmosphere. Diners will be able to enjoy items like lobster sopapillas and petit tenderloin served with spicy chipotle mashed potatoes and cabernet butter, followed by a choice of dessert. (Although, the red velvet cake dressed with house made chocolate icing looks to be the festive winner compared to the likely equally delicious mango mousse.) Tickets for the meal and wine pairings are $85 per person ($65 per person without the wines). Reservations suggested. (512) 331-4660