Restaurants and bakeries rise to the occasion to make the holiday special
Love finds a way, even in a year claimed by the pandemic. Couples are still planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day, whether it’s dining out in their favorite, romantic spot or recreating a fine dining meal at home.
Several restaurants, including upscale destinations — even the yearly feast, Pigmania, at Goodwood Museum & Gardens — are offering takeout as an option.
To make takeout more romantic, Jenny Eason, general manager of Black Fig, the catering and storefront shop, suggests diners remove food from their takeout containers, arrange them on their best dishes, and set out candlelight with flowers or other pretty accents. You can even pile a bunch of cushions around a coffee table instead of eating at the dining room table.
If you’re cooking at home, consider buying special desserts like red velvet cakes, heart-shaped pastries or chocolate-covered roses.
Here are some ideas for places that are offering specials for all weekend or just on Feb. 14. Some are dining in only but you’ll also find plenty of choices for takeout as well. Whatever you do, make reservations early.
These restaurants and bakeries are either offering Valentine’s Day specials or offering special hours on Feb. 14th. There are several cozy spots that are perfect for any date nights so if we’ve missed one of your favorites, please email [email protected]
Aaru’s: Specializing in Indian, Indochinese, Thai and Indi-Mex cuisine, Aaru’s is serving a special Valentine’s Day, four-course dinner for two, with a complimentary glass of wine. There’s outdoor patio and deck seating as well as indoor seating. You can also get your meal to go (without wine). 1108 S. Magnolia Dr.; 850-350-0129.
Backwoods Crossing: The farm-to-table restaurant is offering dining in, takeout or delivery through BiteSquad. In addition to the regular menu and the Garden Creation menu, a four-course surf-and-turf, Valentine’s dinner will be available for $60 per person from Feb. 10 to Feb. 14 (the restaurant will be open on Sunday for Valentine’s Day dinners only). Reservations accepted for two to eight diners. 6725 Mahan Dr.; 850-765-3753.
Black Fig: The catering service, which also has a storefront togo business, is preparing a la carte dishes for a five-course Valentine’s Day dinner. Items include Italian wedding soup, salmon Wellington, Sweet Grass Dairy heart-shaped cheese and chocolate molten lava cake. You can add your own alcohol to infusion kits with dried raspberries and roses. Deadline for orders is Feb. 11, for pickup by 4 p.m. Feb. 13. 1300 Village Square Blvd.; 850-727-0016.
Blu Halo: Order an upscale meal for home or dine in. Blu Halo’s Valentine’s menu, served Feb. 12-14, features la carte items including arból and cheddar-baked oysters, surf or turf entrees and bourbon and strawberry brown butter cake. Bannerman Crossings, 3431 Bannerman Rd.; 850-999-1696.
Boru Boru: Sushi burritos, bowls and ramen are highlights here. A “Galentine’s Day” special is available from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 13: a $10 meal with two boba teas, two appetizers and two cookies. (Galentine’s Day was created by fictional character Leslie Knope of the TV show, Parks and Recreation, to honor the ladies in your life.) For Valentine’s Day, you can order two sides and get one free, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 14. 1861 W. Tennessee St.; 850-270-9253.
Chuck’s Fish: The new downtown restaurant, known for its fresh seafood and sushi, is usually closed Sunday evening but it will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. Feb. 14. Chuck’s will be running specials from Thursday through Sunday night. 224 E. College Ave.; 850-597-7506.
Clusters & Hops: The intimate restaurant and retail wine and cheese shop will be closed Sunday but chef/owner Kent Steels will be presenting Valentines specials all week. Look for salad with elk carpaccio, Kobe beef sliders, bone marrow for two with pickled beets, and “Nuttin’ but the bacon” with maple glazed bacon, duck bacon, homemade maple bacon gelato and nuts sauteed with duck and bacon fat. You can also pick wine off the shelf (there are more than 2,800 choices) for the retail price and pay a $10 corkage fee. No reservations so get there early and you can also do curbside pickup. 707 N. Monroe St., 850-222-2669.
The Edison Restaurant: Couples can order a three-course meal with a complimentary bottle of champagne (for guests 21 and over) for $100 from 3 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 14. You can dine in or try for a table overlooking Cascades Park or get takeout. 470 Suwannee St.; 850-765-9771.
Essence of India: Enjoy a Valentine’s dinner with Indian specialties for two on Feb. 14, starting at 5 p.m., with live sitar music by Christopher Seepersaud from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 1105 Apalachee Pkwy.; 850-656-7200.
Food Glorious Food: The contemporary restaurant will offer Sunday brunch, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with bottomless mimosas. At dinner, savor specials lamb ossobuco and surf-and-turf with filet and lobster claw or the regular menu. Bottles of champagne for $20 all day Feb. 14. Dinner from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Takeout available. 1950 Thomasville Rd.; 850-224-9974.
Georgio’s Fine Food & Spirits: Owner Georgio Koikos will be serving steak, seafood and cocktail Valentine’s specials all weekend, and the restaurant will open on Feb. 14. 2971 Apalachee Pkwy.; Tallahassee; 850-877-3211.
Jeri’s Midtown Cafe: You’ll find savory and sweet treats at Jeri’s, which has a lovely garden patio. Start the day with items include chocolate covered strawberries, French toast a weekend frittata sampler. The frittata of the weekend will be paired with fresh fruit cup, smoked sausage, heart shaped blueberry biscuits, smoked gouda grits, apple butter…..and French toast! 1123 Thomasville Rd; 850-385-7268.
Il Lusso: The upscale Italian restaurant is usually closed on Sunday but it will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 14, featuring the regular menu, with indoor and outdoor dining. 201 E. Park Ave.; 850-765-8620.
Little Paris: Executive chef/owner Herve Alcesilas and chef Loic Alcesilas are serving a three-course, Valentine’s Day meal in the French tradition. Choices include a terrine of foie gras, cherry compote and brioche, crispy chicken stuffed with pesto and chocolate fondant. Dine-in or outside or get your meal togo, from 4 to 9 p.m.; $59 per person. 1355 Market St.; 850-765-7457.
Lucilla: Owners Joe Richardson and Lara Hooper will be presenting a four-course “Mardi Gras Valentines” dinner. Choices include lobster and shrimp gumbo, andouille and cornbread stuffed chicken and chocolate chocolate chip bread pudding with bourbon sauce. The dinner is available Feb. 12 to 14 for $69 per person or $138 per couple with options for beer, wine and cocktail pairings. Dine-in only. 1241 E. Lafayette St.; 850-900-5117.
Melting Pot: The fondu specialists are offering a four-course, prix-fixe Valentine’s Day menu from 1 to 11 p.m. Feb. 13 and noon to 10 p.m. Feb. 14 for $75 per person. The dinner includes cheese and chocolate fondues, salad and entree options such as filet mignon, lobster, shrimp, chicken and sirloin. $75 per person. 2727 N. Monroe St.; 850-386-7440.
Mimi’s Table: Executive chef/owner William Lawson is preparing wine and food specials for Valentine’s Day along with Mimi’s regular menu. You can dine in or get takeout. Lawson said each customer will receive a small gift whether dining in or getting takeout for Valentine’s Day. 1311 Miccosukee Rd.; 850-999-8406. Top photo at Mimi’s by Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat
OverUnder Bar: The Midtown bar, lounge and restaurant is offering Valentine’s food and wine pairings at 6 p.m. Feb. 1. The cost is $80 per person or $150 per couple. Email [email protected] to make reservations. 1240 Thomasville Rd.; 850-597-7552;
Rootstock Pours + Plates: The retro restaurant/bar is showcasing a special food and cocktail menu for Valentine’s Day weekend. Dishes include oysters three ways, surf-and-turf (petite filet and lobster tail), bucatini carbonara, vegetarian cauliflower steak and molten lava cake. Reservations are not required, but are encouraged — email [email protected]. 228 S. Adams St.; 850-518-0201.
Sage: The cousin to Il Lusso, Sage is usually closed on Sunday but it will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 14th, featuring the regular menu and cocktails, with indoor and outdoor dining. 3534 Maclay Blvd. South; 850-270-9396.
Tally Mac Shack: The mac ‘n cheese mavens are presenting “Cherry-Ish You,” their cherry cheesecake dessert mac (without food coloring). It features white chocolate cherry infused brie, cream cheese, mozzarella, cheesecake crust crumbles, white chocolate drizzle. This item will be for sale on Valentine’s Day at Deep Brewing. Tally Mac Shack will be taking over for SlideHustle that day with a special menu, including a lobster mac and spinach florentine mac among others from noon to 8 p.m. at 2524 Cathay Court. You can eat there or order for curbside pickup. Tally MacShack is at 1215 Adams St.; 850-570-6858 and at FSU.
Ted’s Montana Grill: The steakhouse will be offering food and wine specials from Feb. 12 to 14 with curbside and togo options. One option: Ted’s Butcher Shoppe will feature a Valentine’s Butcher Box for a steak dinner at home, with two ranch-raised bison filets and two USDA Choice beef filets for $100. Order by 11 a.m. Feb. 11 for next day arrival at www.tedsbutchershoppe.com 1954 Village Green Way; 850-561-8337
Z.Bardhi’s Italian Cuisine: The restaurant is booked for dinner on Feb. 14 but you can still reserve a spot for brunch, served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Z.Bardhi’s has a covered patio; no takeout on Valentine’s Day. 3596 Kinhega Dr.; 850-894-9919.
Midtown Reader on Valentine’s Day: On Feb. 14, Midtown Reader will be open for an evening event. With purchase of one $40 ticket per person, guests can enjoy an hour to browse the bookstore, receive a curated Valentine’s day gift, including a book and themed goodies, catered appetizers from Jeri’s Cafe and one glass of beer or wine. Tickets are available for one-hour appointments for a maximum of 10 people at 6 p.m., 7:15 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 14. Book an appointment on the Midtown Reader website. 1123 Thomasville Rd.; 850-425-2665.
Ology Brewing Company: The brewing company is offering a special event, Brunch and Beermosas, from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 14 at 2708 Power Mill Ct.; 850-296-2809
Pigmania: Here’s a fun option for Valentine’s Day. The major fundraiser for the Goodwood Museum & Gardens will be doing something different this year: giving guests the option of dining outdoors on the front lawn or taking food home. The menu features Southern-style favorites like pulled pork, Lagran’s mac ‘n cheese, Nella’s corn chowder, collard casserole, pickled slaw, bacon brittle and bourbon milkshakes. Tickets range from $75 to $2,000. 1600 Miccosukee Rd.; 850-877-4202.
Sweets for your sweetie
Au Péché Mignon French Pastry Shop: The downtown bakery is normally closed on Sunday, but it will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 14, offering French pastries, milk and dark chocolates (some Valentine-themed), macarons and croissants. 220 Duval St.; 850-668-5533.
Barb’s Brittles: Barbara McGarrah has been making brittle and homemade ice cream for 17 years. For Valentine’s Day, she’s preparing praline and brittle hearts, brittle popcorn and red velvet cream cheese ice cream, among other goodies. Barb’s will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Friday to Sunday in her Lake Ella cottage. 1671 N. Monroe St.; 850-385-9839.
Big Easy Snowballs: For Valentine’s Day, Big Easy is creating the Lover’s Bowl, available for Feb. 14 only. The bowl of soft serve ice cream will be topped with chocolate syrup and paired with chocolate covered strawberries stuffed with cheesecake, along with beignets and whipped cream. It’s like celebrating Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras in one bite. Cottages of Lake Ella, 1621 N. Monroe; 850-329-6010.
Hawthorn Bistro & Bakery: You’ll find a special Valentine’s Day Menu this year, with items that include strawberry babka, quiches and honey croissants. Hawthorn is also offering a pre-ordering system to make it easier to order and pickup. These items will be available at the counter for sale on Sunday but amounts are limited. To pre-order, simply visit the Hawthorn website, call 850-354-8275 or go to the bakery. Pre-ordering will be available until 9 p.m. Feb. 12. Pickup for all orders will be available on Feb. 14 starting at 8am. http://hawthorntlh.com/holiday-menu-preorders/. 1307 N. Monroe St.; 850-354-8275.
Peterbrooke Chocolatier: You’ll find all sorts of chocolates, including popular chocolate-covered strawberries, smash open hearts, baskets, boxes and more. 1817 Thomasville Rd.; 850-577-3111.
Smallcakes Tallahassee: These two shops are taking orders for Valentine’s cupcakes through Feb. 11 for pickup Feb. 13. Killearn Shopping Center, 3495 Thomasville Rd.; 850-999-1943 and 1480 Apalachee Parkway; 850-765-2785..
Tasty Pastry: The family-run restaurant is showcasing a variety of Valentine’s Day-themed treats including heart-shaped cakes and cookies and cupcakes. Delivery and gift packages available. 1355 Market St.; 850-893-3752.
TC Bakery: Owner/baker Jennifer Young will be featuring homemade Valentine’s Day sweets, including a six-pack of red velvet, vanilla and chocolate cupcakes and six-inch red velvet and vanilla cakes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. 614 Eugenia St.; 850-577-1776.