My husband and I have actually never ever done a traditional Valentine’s Day prix-fixe menu dinner. Our first couple Valentine’s Days he missed due to being on tour with the Foo Fighters so he would send a flower delivery on the actual day and we’d head to the cozy Italian restaurant Pace’s in Laurel Canyon for a much quieter Valentine’s dinner when he was back. When he started working in town we sort of kept the tradition of skipping the crowds and doing our own thing. Here are my top alternatives for celebrating Valentine’s Day without the crowds and pricey fixed menus:
- Dinner at Home. We love getting the kids down early, grabbing a nice bottle of red, making our favorite marinara, lighting some candles, playing some Glenn Miller, and making a fire. It sets the vibe perfectly for the ultimate date night at home. I also like to get dolled up with my hair and makeup but then put on some slinky pajamas (you can get mine here) – Netflix and chill vibes. I’ve linked some necessities below that will compliment the evening perfectly.
- Romantic Picnic. Wiley and I have done this several times for our Valentine’s celebration (works best if you live somewhere like L.A. where sunny days are frequent). We load up a picnic basket with wine, sandwiches, and yummy gourmet snacks and head into Topanga State Park for a short hike (or the beach would also be lovely!). We usually just find a little private spot somewhere off the trail early on and set up our picnic. Since you’re not spending a ton of money going out consider splurging on a nice picnic basket you can use again and again as well as a good waterproof-backed plaid picnic blanket.
- Live music. Find a band in town that both of you can agree on and go! Nothing more romantic than making out to some good music with the one you love.
If going out for a nice dinner is really what you’re craving though then consider going a few days before or after Valentine’s Day. It’s quieter, reservations are made easily, and you can have full rein of the menu and are not boxed in to one special V-Day menu. My favorite spots in Los Angeles for a romantic dinner are: Pace’s (our personal fav) in Laurel Canyon, Saddle Peak Lodge in Calabasas (for a rustic vibe), Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon (so romantic and gorgeous at night) and Bestia (because the food is out of this world) in Downtown. Let me know if you have any to add! Since having kids we don’t get to try all of the new restaurants out so I’m sure there are plenty more. Also – another tip – buy a nice bottle of wine on the way and pay the corkage. Much better deal and then you’re not guessing from a huge list of wines. Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers!