A Valentine's Day guide 

Where to wine and dine your date on Valentine's Day

It’s that special time of year again. Pink hearts are everywhere. Chocolate is flooding the grocery aisles. Everyone is desperately scrambling for a partner on the date night of the year. Yep, it’s Valentine’s Day. While some people see it as a stupid, Hallmark-inspired day of consumer consumption, I like to think of it as a special day for singles and couples alike. It’s an excuse to stuff your face with chocolate, go on a blind date, try some amore-inducing foods, or just get wailing drunk to forget your ex. The only problem with celebrating the holiday in Charleston? Too many darn options. Check out your choices below, but choose wisely since the “holiday” only comes once a year.

For the sweet tooth in you, Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to splurge. That’s what  Charleston Crepe Company founders Jack and Rachel Byrne are hoping for with their limited-edition Chocolate Raspberry Crepe Cake sized for two. A combination of dark cocoa chocolate crêpes and a light Chambord-flavored raspberry crème, the dessert is sure to please for only $35. Call (843) 573-3458 to place your order by noon on Fri. Feb. 11. You can pick-up your six-inch, 25-layer crème concoction on Valentine’s Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at West Ashley’s Rococo Bakery.

At O-Ku, the sushi haven will serve up a three-course prix fixe menu for anyone who likes a little spice in their life, or at least their palate. The first course includes a local oyster shooter accompanied by uni, tobiko, orange ponzu, and eel tempura. Guests have a choice of either Kobe steak and scallop with cauliflower puree and Mepkin abbey mushroom, or a sushi combination with an array of tuna, salmon, hamachi, uni, unagi, toro, mirugai and a sweet dragon roll wrapped in eel with spicy tuna inside. A tasty dessert will wrap up the love accolade. The three course menu, inspired by aphrodisiacs, is sure to rev you up for the rest of the night. And if the food doesn’t get the romantic night rolling, the alcohol surely will.

For a different kind of intimate ambiance, head to the Aquarium’s first Love Under the Sea Valentine’s Day Dinner. Take your eyes off the person you’re with for a moment to watch the beautiful views that only the aquarium could provide. You and your date will be seated at a private table in front of exhibits like the Great Ocean Tank and Carolina Seas. Catered by Duvall catering, the three-course meal will include a Edisto salad to begin the evening and three choices for an entrée. Finish the meal with a Belgian chocolate mousse served with passion fruit coulis and sweet gaufrette for dessert. Guests also have their choice of red or white wine to accompany the feast. Call (843) 577-FISH (3474) or check out scaquarium.org to make reservations.

Chef Jeremiah Bacon will serve a four course prix-fixe menu at Oak Steakhouse. He will start guests off with a butter poached lobster bisque followed by a second course of either classic chop salad or Bibb lettuce salad with produce from Kurios Farms. Guests decide from seared Ahi tuna with wild mushrooms, baby bok choy and an orange Gastrique or a Surf & Turf plate with an 8 oz. CAB grilled tenderloin with lobster tail, pomme puree, and sautéed spinach for the third course. To top off the extensive menu, diners must choose from a chocolate molten cake with pistachio ice cream or raspberry “shortcake” with vanilla bean biscuits and Chantilly ice cream. Head to the restaurant's website or call 843-722-4220 for more information.

If pasta, cheese, and wine are what comes to mind for a romantic meal, Trattoria Lucca’s three-course dinner seems the choice for you. For $120 per couple you can expect to be wined and dined from 6-10 p.m. Walk a mere block over to Enoteca, Trattoria Lucca’s sister wine and cheese bar, to nosh on artisanal cheese and sip some Prosecco. Call (843) 973-3323 for more information.

At McCrady's, Chef Sean Brock aims to please all guests with his Valentine’s Day menu, not matter how picky the customer. Each of the menu’s three courses will have three or four choices. For $60 per person and a wine pairing for an additional $30, you can enjoy a more personalized dinner. McCrady’s, whose menu changes nightly, is still crafting the extensive spread but you are sure to be pleasantly surprised and satisfied with whatever Brock provides.

Cru Café, known for its local eclectic feel and unique Southern flair will serve guests a delicious four-course holiday menu that you and your stomach won’t forget for $85 per person.

At the Glass Onion, guests can enjoy a four-course local dinner with items such as Carolina Cup oysters on the half shell, Carolina grass-fed beef Carpaccio, and pan roasted Atlantic fish while being serenaded with jazz from 6-10 p.m. Lucky break this year: since Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday, Glass Onion will honor its traditional half-priced bottled wine. This week features French champagne Duval Leroy as a suggested pairing for $30 a bottle.

So what if the love holiday is only meant for one day? Why not make it a weekend event for you and your beau. Woodlands Inn Chef Andrew Chadwick invites you to spend the weekend in a love-induced food coma. From Friday through Monday at 5 p.m. guests can indulge in a decadent meal, live music, and a champagne toast for $65 per person. For an additional $22 per person, wine pairings are available. Anyone looking to really enjoy the whole night, overnight accommodations are available for a special rate when combined with the dinner. Call (843) 875-2600 to make reservations and go to woodlandsinn.com for more information.

If Monday’s isn’t the best date night for you, Peninsula Grill’s holiday menu starts on Saturday Feb. 12 featuring amorous-inspiring foods. You can prep for Valentine’s Day Saturday, Sunday, or go all out on Monday with a menu including lobster-tomato bisque, seared beef Carpaccio, local swordfish with fennel aupoive, grilled filet of beef ‘Oscar, roasted rack of lamb, and a red velvet twist for dessert, all for $60 per person.

So it’s the evening for loving and getting close right? Wasabi’s downtown location provides the perfect chance to nestle up to one another and share a decadent dinner for two for $40. Start off on the right foot with two glasses of champagne and two orders of Asian tartar. Next, share the pad Thai and Omakese sushi before finishing off the molten chocolate cake. Just be sure to get two forks for dessert and save some for your date.

Head to Starfish Grille for weekend long specials starting at 5 p.m. Guests who order from the Valentine’s Menu will receive a complimentary glass of champagne. Call (843) 762-9252 for more information and reservations.

High Cotton will serve a three-course prix fixe menu for $48. “Love potion” and wine options include La Marca Prosecco, a Valentine’s Day Chocolate Martini, and Billecart-Salmon Burt Reserve Champagne. Call (843) 724-3815 for reservation information.

At Old Village Post House, enjoy a neighborhood style Valentine’s Day menu for $36 or $42 to add dessert. Make reservations at (843) 388-8935.

For $39, couples can enjoy a two-course prix fixe menu at Slightly North of Broad including options like jumbo lump crab cake, tuna crudo, and sautéed potato and parmesan gnocchi for the first course. Next, the second course includes a roast rack of lamb, pan-seared golden tilefish, and gilled New York strip. Add dessert, for a $42 total, and choose from temptations including Greek yogurt panna cotta, banana cream pie, and hot apple cider. Make reservations at (843)723.3424.

Maybe this Valentine’s Day you want to impress your date with your own culinary skills. Charleston Cooks! is hosting a Valentine’s Breakfast in Bed class at 11 a.m. on Sat. Feb. 12. For only $65 per person you can make your special someone feel extra special as you prepare a more personal meal filled with love (or at least effort).

Bella Napoli, located at North Charleston’s Northwoods Pointe Shopping Center, is serving quite the feast for couples hoping for some Italian love. Call ahead and check out the special group discounts at (843) 863-8552. Felice San Valentino!

If you use every holiday as a chance to dress up and get out of character, Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be excluded. Mad River’s Effen Red Light Green Light Party on Fri. Feb. 11. It's ia great chance to grab a costume and compete for a top costume prize of $75 to spend at Mad River. But be sure to know your color codes: Red flashes “not a chance,” yellow means you better try harder, and anyone wearing green better be ready to party. The evening, sponsored by Effen Vodka, will offer drink specials including $4 Effen vodka, $5 Cruzan Rum, and $4 Jim Bean. But the fun doesn’t stop there at Mad River. Both Saturday and Monday evening, the restaurant will offer a four-course Valentine's Day Dinner for two for anyone looking for a quieter evening. The menu which includes a house salad, appetizer, beef or chicken entrée, and dessert will cost you a mere $45. 

And for all you singles out there, while the thought of spending Valentine’s Day dateless might make you cringe, you’re actually in a good spot. No date to pay for, no one in particular to try to impress, and you get to spend the night or weekend doing exactly what you want. Doesn’t sound too bad to me.

The Music Farm is presenting it’s F**K Valentine's Day party. Composed of members from bands Black Venus, MovieStar, and Skintight, Dante’s Camaro will play a jungle, metal-rock mix starting at 7 p.m. for $20. Plus there'll be comedy, burlesque, male strippers, and lots more. It’s sure to be a rowdy night that’ll convince you Valentine’s Day isn’t all about love and gushy stuff.

I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve gone to Market Street Salon, I’ve had a darn good time. Maybe it’s the dancing on the bar or the drinks that get me ballsy enough to jump up there. Valentine’s Day is no exception. The Salon’s Dip It and Lick It Anti-Valentine's Party will start for the ladies at 6 p.m. with a Passion Sex Toy Party and fondue. Guys can jump in the not-so-innocent fun at 8 p.m. Don’t want to come downtown? Market Street Saloon North is having its Bitterness Bash for all singles who hate the gushy day. Expect some free giveaways from Fredericks of Hollywood, Chateau Experience, and penny draft from 5- 7 p.m. Sounds like you definitely won’t be missing out if you don’t have a date.

Celebrate the single life at Mellow Mushroom’s 10th annual F -Cupid Valentine's Day Party with an insane twist, literally. Singles and non-singles (just don’t flaunt it) are welcome to participate in this year’s insane asylum theme. With electo-shock therapy to torture cupid, crazy costumes, and DJs JeffET and Birdflu of CPO Gents working the turn tables, it’s sure to be a memorable event. Don’t forget to bring that picture of your ex (the one you can’t throw away) to win some prizes while gambling the former love’s fate at the craps table. Specials include a small one-topping pizza for $5 after 4 p.m. and evening drink specials. The party, which starts at 10 p.m., is free and the perfect chance to celebrate the beauties of single life (flirting, free drinks, crazy pick up lines, anyone?).


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