Valentine’s Day dinner

As much as I love the romance of a dinner date, I personally would not venture out to a restaurant or theater this coming Saturday – Valentine’s Day – I know better.

For those of you who are, I hope you’ve already made your reservations. If you haven’t – good luck!

Most all restaurants, fancy or not, are usually packed on this occassion of flowers, candy and teddy bears.

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Maybe it’s because I’ve been in a long committed relationship, or the fact that I don’t like to wait in overcrowded restaurants for my food, but I am happy celebrating love or like, (whichever your case may be), on any other day.

But for those who have no other choice but to celebrate Saturday, I offer some suggestions:

- Make it a Valentine’s Day lunch instead. You may be able to score a better table and price for a lunch or early dinner.

- Make it a late dinner. Check which restaurants are offering reservations after 9 p.m. and you’ll avoid most of the dinner crowd by then.

- Cozy up at the bar. Lots of restaurant bars serve the same food here than if you waited for a table. Plus, you don’t have to wait so long for your drinks – the bartender’s right there.

- Get home already. Why not light your own candles and play your own romantic music at home. Order ahead from you and your sweetie’s favorite place and pick it up. You won’t have to worry about who’s the designated driver.

Send us your suggestions, ideas, or locations of your favorite way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your loved one.

 And don’t forget the sweets!

Most romantic restaurants, part 3

Some final notes regarding the most romantic restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley:

  • At least three people tried to make a case for Dino’s Burgers in Azusa. Reporter Jennifer McLain said the chicken produces heartburn. Reporter Dan Abendschein said the dishes are big enough to share (awww…). And graphics designer Manny Amaya said something like — nothing says romance quite like Dino’s chicken.
  • 2008 Doo Dah Queen Michelle Mills adds Cafe Santorini in Pasadena to the list. “… very romantic spot. You can eat inside or on the patio. …. Save room for their luscious desserts…. I went there once on a date and I will never forget it — the guy, perhaps, but not the restaurant!”
  • In the last post, one person asked about romantic Chinese restaurants. Is it an oxymoron? My suggestions: Triumphal Palace in Alhambra and Capital Seafood in Monterey Park. If you like Japanese food, try Gyu-Kaku in Old Pasadena and Shin-Sen-Gumi in Rosemead.
  • Final word: Features staffer Linda Gold says the romance-level of a restaurant has less to do with the decor, food, service or lighting, and more to do with the person you’re with.

Most romantic restaurants, part 2

More ideas for a romantic dinner:

Mojitos Restaurant
in Pasadena – “The food is latin-Cuban. The atmosphere is great. The Mojito glasses even have a little slant.” (Andrew Landeros, designer)

Taco Bell – “I always see the teens in there holding hands and gazing
into each other’s eyes over plates of nachos. I also see boy and girls
flirting with each other in there or using it to meet new beaus. So
sweet you don’t need a churro for dessert!” (Michelle Mills, reporter)

Tulipano’s in Azusa – “… Delightful. Northern Italian (i.e. not everything smothered in ubiquitous red sauce!) No atmosphere in location, but the food and music, sometimes there is guitar, make up for a lot.” (Linda Gold, features editorial assistant)

Chelsea in Glendora – “Glendora’s only good restuarant for grown-ups, sort of a fusion, some Asian, some Italian, some pizza, some Continental. Everything is really good and there are these little, tiny, fresh rolls, covered in garlic and olive oil that are something.” (Linda Gold, features editorial assistant)

Most romantic restaurants

Yes, romantic restaurants do exist in the San Gabriel Valley. Here are the results of a quick poll of the newsroom:

Dino’s Burgers in Azusa — “Because the chicken warms hearts — and sometimes creates heartburn.” (Jennifer McLain, reporter)

Firefly, South Pasadena; Bistro 45, Pasadena; 750 ml, South Pasadena; Crepe Vine, Old Pasadena. (Larry Wilson, public editor)

Graziano’s Italian Restaurant in Rowland Heights – “(It) has a very nice intimate atmosphere perfect for a romantic dinner and the food is great, very authentic. It’s hidden away in a little shopping area. (Claudia Palma, reporter)

Buca Di Beppo is always a fun and romantic dinner. The authentic food is always delicious, and since there is always so much to take home, it makes great leftover lunch too. They also have great wine and dessert choices. Chris and I love this place! I would suggest sitting in a private booth or request to sit away from parties or large groups to really have an intimate romantic dinner.” (Claudia Palma, reporter)

Bistro K in Pasadena — “… One of the best meals I’ve had in my life, and as an added bonus allow diners to bring in their own wine. The only downside the restaurant is TINY. You’ll be snuggled up close to your date … and the the couple sitting behind you. (Audrey Reed, reporter)

Bistro 45 in Pasadena – “The food is on par with Bistro K, the dining room is far more spacious and the wait staff was attentive. Both bistros have bank-breaking power; dinner for two could run about $200.” (Audrey Reed, reporter)

Magnolia Lounge in Pasadena – “The food offerings are typical bar fare – hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, french fries – however all dishes are well-prepared with quality ingredients. The bar oozes romance, but to up the flirt factor, skip over the clear chairs and look for a spot on a couch or outside under the tree.” (Audrey Reed, reporter)

Crabby Chad’s in Covina – “… The food and service are excellent. Plus, what could be more romantic than gazing into your sweetheart’s eyes over a plate of oysters??” (Michelle Mills, reporter)

Fuddruckers in Burbank – You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. Watch TV, play games, dress your own burger, and finish the night with a warm cookie. Best of all, Fuddrucker’s doesn’t take reservations! (Esther Chou, online editor)