Valentine's Day Dining

If you have been wracking your brain for the perfect Valentine's Day gift, look no further than your favorite restaurant. Picture it: a table for two, a bottle of wine, your most special someone and a little candlelight to start the fire early — it's up to you to keep it burning all evening.

Whether you're dining on Valentine's Day — it falls on a Thursday this year — or celebrating belatedly on Friday or Saturday, do call ahead and make reservations. And it never hurts to throw in some flowers or a handmade valentine to improve your chances for sexy results.

MAX'S Wine Dive

4720 Washington, 713-880-8737

Chef Michael Pellegrino has created a three-course prix fixe menu ($50 per person) that fairly screams "romantic date night": oysters, sweet champagne field greens and, for dessert, Sex Panther, a dessert from Top Chef: Just Desserts chef Rebecca Masson. If you count Anchorman among your all-time favorite rom-coms, MAX'S has you covered. Bonus: If you feel like staying in on Valentine's Day, MAX'S is offering to-go packages (February 14 only) starting at $69.

Philippe Restaurant + Lounge

1800 Post Oak Blvd., 713-439-1000

Who does romance better than the French (Cowboy)? No one, so why not trust your romantic outcomes to Chef Philippe Schmit, who's offering his special Valentine's Day menu February 14-16. While he had us at Valentine Pizza (shrimp and truffles!), the decadent chocolate crème brûlée makes ordering dessert first sound like a brilliant plan.

Ninfa's on Navigation

2704 Navigation, 713-228-1175

Houston institution Ninfa's is offering a three-course dinner for two that's full of romantic details: pink peppercorn vinaigrette on your first-course salad of field greens; filet mignon and jumbo shrimp, a marriage made in heaven, for the main course; and a dessert that comprises a lush dark-chocolate mousse with strawberries soaked in Grand Marnier. Sounds grand indeed. Infuse your meal with a margarita (not included in the prix fixe price). We recommend El Pecado ("The Sinful") Margarita, made with rose-petal-infused tequila.

Bistro Provence

13616 Memorial, 713-827-8008

They say the brain is the most important sex organ in the body, so in addition to satisfying your palate this Valentine's Day, Bistro Provence has added a book signing with local author John Oehler to its February 14 menu. Choose from several delicious dishes for each of the three courses offered ($65 per person), and enjoy a complimentary glass of Domaine Sorin sparkling Bandol rosé with your dessert. You can choose from one of three seatings — 6, 6:30 or 7:30 p.m. — and a deposit is required.

Moody Gardens

7 Hope Blvd., Galveston, 409-741-8484

Take Valentine's Day and add "long walks on the beach" and "romantic sunsets" to the equation with Moody Gardens Hotel's special Valentine's Day packages, available February 8-9 and Valentine's night, February 14. Starting at $209 (plus tax), you can enjoy a beautiful hotel room for two with extras like champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries and breakfast for two (in your room or at the Terrace Restaurant). You can also add spa specials — like champagne hydrotherapy or peppermint truffle pedicures — for an additional price.

STRAITS Asian Bistro

800 Sorella Court, 713-365-9922

A lush and luscious menu of shared bites and specialty cocktails is available February 14-17 at STRAITS Asian Bistro. The key words here: fresh lump crab, duck confit and star-anise-braised beef short rib. For dessert, get cozy over a hazelnut chocolate fondue for two. Among the specialty cocktails offered are the Strawberry Lychee Martini ($11), the Raspberry Kiss Shooter ($8) and Moet Imperial (187 mL) splits ($36).


2815 S. Shepherd, 713-527-9090

Katharine Shilcutt aptly described Triniti as both "glamorous" and "surprisingly accessible" — two traits we like in a Valentine's restaurant. The seven-course holiday menu February 14-17 ($85 per person plus $45 optional wine pairing) features a perfect pairing for each course with names like "Ocean & Eggs," "Filet & Foie" and "Breakfast in Bed."

Latin Bites

5709 Woodway, 713-229-8369

Three courses of South American cuisine and a complimentary glass of Prosecco are on the menu at Latin Bites Café. Their special Valentine's Day menu ($60 per person) is available February 11-16, and the offerings just sound romantic: causa de cangrejo (purple potato causita with crab salad and avocado sauce), estofado de ternera con polenta en salsa de ají de gallina (veal stew with polenta in savory ají amarillo and peanut sauce) and alfajores de canela y lúcuma (South American cinnamon sandwich cookies with lúcuma mousse filling).

Killen's Steakhouse

2804 S. Main, Pearland, 281-485-0844

This Valentine's Day, you should heat things up with a special multichoice four-course menu at Killen's Steakhouse ($80 per person). You'll have options (for an additional cost) to stray from the special menu and make substitutions, so be as forward as you like — if you want it, just ask. The special menu begins February 14 at 5 p.m., but be sure to save room for dessert — your choice of carrot cake, crème brûlée bread pudding or a special Valentine's Day selection.

Backstreet Café

1103 S. Shepherd, 713-521-2239

Atmosphere is everything, and Backstreet Café offers couples outdoor dining, intimate tables and cozy fireplaces to set the mood. A special Valentine's Day-only menu ($72 per person) is composed of your choice of several dishes over four courses, from appetizer to dessert. If you're celebrating over the weekend, Backstreet offers a Couples Menu February 15-16 ($95 per couple) that starts with a goat cheese strata to share and ends with a dessert platter and your choice of coffee or hot cocoa.

Damian's Cucina Italiana

3011 Smith St., 713-522-0439

The three-course Valentine's Day menu at Damian's is positively mouthwatering. Sweet-potato ravioli, mozzarella en carrozza, insalata mezzaluna, insalata Mona Lisa — and those are just your appetizer choices! Enjoy three courses with several options to choose from ($59.95 per person), and you'll be groaning with pleasure (one way or the other).

Adair Kitchen

5161 San Felipe, 713-623-6100

Lovers on a budget will appreciate Adair's contribution to Valentine's Day: half off all bottles of wine February 14, 5 p.m-10 p.m.

Revival Market

550 Heights Blvd., 713-880-8463

Slip into something more comfortable, because Revival Market is making it easy to give your partner a delicious meal and your undivided attention. They have put together a special selection of meat cuts for two — standing rib roast, pork roast or beef Wellington — plus oysters, chocolates, charcuterie and special sides. Heat-and-serve options also available for those who want to get right to the good stuff. (Dessert, you dirty birds.)

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