Top 5 Valentine’s Day Restaurants in SF

Yes, yes, there’s no question that Valentine’s Day is a much maligned holiday, with adjectives like “consumerist” and “cheesy” thrown around left and right. I understand that, and if you’re of that mindset, this list is not for you. But, if you are one of the people who likes – or even, loves – this day, and likes the idea that there’s nothing wrong with celebrating love and the closest people in your life, please read on. These are my picks for restaurants to spend Valentine’s Day…

Located on the quiet side of 24th Street in Noe Valley, Firefly has a rustic chic vibe, with a billowing, fabric roof, Mason jar candle holders, and reserved elegance. For Valentine’s Day, they’re going to be serving their regular a la carte menu, but with some special items from both their chef and pastry chef. Also, since Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, my guess is they’ll be serving up their incredible fried chicken (only served on Tuesdays) – which magically manages to be light while being , you know, fried chicken.

For those who want all the bells and whistles, Fifth Floor – aptly named for being on the fifth floor of Hotel Palomar – is offering some major decadence. Starting last week, the restaurant is serving a seven-course menu, which includes dishes like Foie Gras Torchon, Celery Root Agnolotti and Poached Maine Lobster. For the special day itself, Fifth Floor is bumping up their menu to a nine-course tasting menu, giving you and your honey plenty of time to spoil yourselves.

If you’re looking for something more understated, try L’Ardoise (the French word for chalkboard). Sitting quaintly on Noe and Henry, this beautiful and intimate restaurant combines neighborhood charm with heightened ambiance, packaging these traits together with authentic French food. For Valentine’s Day, they are serving a special three-course menu, which includes such options as Tiger Prawn Raviole, Braised Venison Shoulder, Caramelized Tarte Tatin… I’m going to stop because it’s making my mouth water!

The charm of Frascati begins at its location. Perched on the leafy corner of Hyde and Green, where cable cars rumble past, this restaurant feels like quintessential San Francisco. And since San Francisco is the most romantic city in the world (it is), this is a great beginning to a dining experience. Add to that, delicious Mediterranean-inspired dishes, an extensive wine list (hello, champagne!) and a menu that says, “Cell phones in use will be confiscated and made into soup,” and you are guaranteed a romantic dining experience.

Okay, no, this is not a restaurant. But, for those who believe that nothing is more romantic than a home-cooked meal, Bi-Rite Market is a perfect place to buy the goods. With its high-quality meat, cheese, fish, ice cream and prepared foods (if you want to cheat), Bi-Rite Market will start you on your path to creating a special meal for the evening. Don’t forget to buy a pretty bouquet of flowers on your way out.


While the above are my picks for romantic meals, here are a couple of runner-ups for other kinds of Valentine’s Days…

This is my pick if you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with girlfriends – or, as Leslie Knope calls it, “Gal-entine’s Day.” With pitchers of delicious margaritas, a fun atmosphere, and tasty Mexican food, you’re guaranteed an excellent night out with your friends, who, of course, are your other loved ones. (Men, you are also free to take this suggestion!)

My choice if you have children in tow. Pizzeria Delfina delivers the best of all worlds: delicious pizza, a good selection of wine, and a casual, yet graceful, atmosphere. And since it has two locations (one in the Mission and one in Pacific Heights), you have two shots at celebrating your family with style and fresh mozzarella. (A bit cheesy? Sorry. I can’t stop…)

No, you’re right. This is mainly a bar. But, it’s a very good bar, which is why it’s my pick for the place to go if you’ve recently gone through a break-up. You won’t care about cute couples when you’re sipping on 15 Romolo’s Pimm’s Cups. Also, they do have a small but excellent bar menu in case you need to eat something.

I hope that one of the above restaurants suits your Valentine’s Day needs. And if they are already booked up (as these wonderful restaurants are sure to be in demand), they’ll serve wonderfully any other day of the week!

What do you think of Alexa’s recommendations? Let us know in the comments sections or via our Facebook and Twitter accounts!

Photos courtesy of Firefly and L’Ardoise.

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