The Procrastinator’s Guide to Valentine’s Day Reservations

These tasting menus are so romantic your special someone will never know you waited until the last minute to make a reservation.

Scenes from Assembly Rooftop Lounge / Photo courtesy of Assembly Rooftop Lounge

Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular nights of the year for restaurants. If you plan on strolling into a restaurant on February 14th, expecting a table, forget it. This is not the night to be a walk-in. Restaurants may say reservations are recommended, but we all know that, if you want to eat that night, they’re required.

We’re less than two weeks away from Valentine’s Day, and if you haven’t made reservations yet (like some of us), you’re in luck. There are still a few tables left at restaurants around the region offering highly anticipated tasting menus, wine pairings, and more for to celebrate your love. So whether you’re six months into a new relationship with someone who makes you feel like hearts are shooting out of your eyes, celebrating a milestone year in a long-term relationship, or you’re just looking for a reason to get dressed up, sip some sparkling wine, and look at your beloved across a tiny table in the candlelight, here are the reservations we recommend.

Lacroix at the Rittenhouse HotelRittenhouse
On a scale of least to most extravagant Valentine’s Day, Lacroix is the most. Over six courses (with an optional wine pairing), chef Eric Leveillee will prepare a completely over-the-top experience. On a regular day, the menu at Lacroix includes oysters, king crab and a lot of caviar, so that’s the energy you can expect on February 14th. I’m not saying they’re going to sprinkle you with rose petals, but it wouldn’t be out of place. As an added bonus, you could stay overnight at the hotel. Just saying. $185 per person.

Stina Pizzeria, South Philly
A neighborhood restaurant is a lovely place to spend Valentine’s Day, and Stina Pizzeria is a neighborhood spot with an impressive meal planned. Chef Bobby Saritsoglou is doing a set menu, featuring an appetizer spread, your choice of avgolemono soup or grilled halloumi, lobster spaghetti or braised lamb as mains, and red velvet cake for dessert. If you don’t want too much pomp and circumstance but still want elevated food, Stina Pizzeria has the best of both worlds. $75 per person.

River TwiceEast Passyunk
Newly minted James Beard nominee Randy Rucker always rolls out the red carpet for special occasions like Valentine’s Day. This year is no exception. He’s doing a seven-course menu including bone marrow gougeres, stone crab with miso, and New Jersey scallops. Beverage pairing available $150 per person.

High StreetWashington Square West
If February 14th doesn’t work for your schedule but you still want the experience of Valentine’s Day, make a reservation at High Street. They’re serving their special Valentine’s Day menu all week. It’ll be a three-course extravaganza of baked oysters, mushroom arancini, slops, steak, and pavlova — just to name a few options. $95 per person.

Vernick FishLogan Circle
If you want your Valentine’s Day to feel sleek and elegant rather than cozy, Vernick Fish is a good option. The spacious bar serves up some of the best cocktails in the city, and the seven-course menu, all served family-style, includes extremely fresh, carefully sourced seafood like oysters, shrimp and lobster. $175 per person.

It is easy to forget that romance can also mean having fun, but South is always just as fun as it is delicious, with strong cocktails and live music. Their three-course Valentine’s Day menu includes many of their hits, including crab cakes, fried chicken and baked oysters. Dinner reservations don’t include entrance to the live jazz show, but you should definitely get those as an added bonus. $75 per person.

Assembly Rooftop Lounge, Center City
There are few things as romantic as taking in the views of Center City while basking in the warm glow of a fire pit at Assembly Rooftop Lounge. From the 14th through the 17th they’re offering Valentine’s Day specials that are perfect for a before dinner cocktail or after dinner dessert. Cozy up with your special someone and toast to the evening with a Love Potion cocktail made with Maker’s Mark, green chartreuse, raspberry, and lemon, or a La Vie en Rosé libation made with Grey Goose vodka, Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao, strawberry rosé syrup, and lemon. You can also share a Burning Love Baked Alaska made with basil sponge, vanilla bean ice cream, bramble-berry meringue, and bramble-berry conserva for dessert. $17-$18 for the cocktails and $16 for the Burning Love Baked Alaska.

Lark, Bala Cynwyd
There are still a few spots left for chef Nicholas Elmi’s and chef Michael Millon’s five-course Valentine’s Day menu at Lark. The meal kicks off with tuna tartare with paddlefish caviar and an option to add a half-dozen oysters. The main course is your choice of either a roasted dry-aged beef or St. Peter Fish, and for dessert, a chocolate basque cheesecake. $125 per guest, $26 for the half-dozen oysters, and an additional $79 per guest for the wine pairing.

Stella, New Hope
If you want to turn your Valentine’s Day into a weekend getaway, snag a reservation at Stella and spend the night at the Ghost Light Inn. From February 9th to 18th, Stella is offering a chef’s tasting menu that will include West Coast Oysters with caviar, crispy pork belly, truffled cauliflower soup, Korean-Style braised short rib, and more. You can make it an even more glamorous meal by adding a wine pairing for $65 per person. $105 per person.

48 Record Bar, Old City
So you waited until the very last minute and there are no reservations left. Don’t worry — 48 Record Bar’s got you. On Valentine’s Day from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. they’re hosting A Very TSOP Valentine’s Day, a night of soul and jazz by Philly musicians. They’re describing as “an evening of romantic, uplifting, and, occasionally, erotic tunes” with music curated by their resident “Record Butler,” DJ On Mars. They’ll have signature cocktails and small plates, and best of all, there are no reservations or covers. Prices vary.