Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

14 dining spots for Valentine’s Day

  • By
  • | 3:50 p.m. February 7, 2013
  • Arts + Entertainment
  • Eat + Drink
  • Share

There are few holidays as widely celebrated throughout the world as Valentine’s Day. New Year’s Day is one, while Christmas is another, but no others exceed the February 14th holiday. In fact, Valentine’s Day has been celebrated in one form or another for thousands of years. However, its current-day incarnation began to take shape in the 1300s. For a brief history and some interesting Valentine facts, just click here.

For me nothing expresses love better than food, whether it is a shared snack, a home-cooked meal or a romantic dinner around town. Each year we try to pick 14 special spots for dining on the 14th. This year our list (in no particular order) includes:

1)      Divino Restaurant & Lounge:  A romantic spot with al fresco dining in their new courtyard named "La Veranda." Divino will be offering their standard menu items plus some specials. Call (941) 330-9393 for reservations. Our review

2)      Derek’s Culinary Casual: Culinary award-winning chef Derek Barnes will be offering his standard menu with some specials created for the evening. His restaurant is a casually elegant spot for dining. Call (941) 366-6565 for reservations. Our review

3)      The Beach Bistro: Gulf side, sunset dining on Anna Maria Island---need I say more? A special holiday menu will feature all of the Beach Bistro favorites. Call (941) 778-6444 for reservations. Our review

4)      Bijou Café: An elegant spot for fine dining. The Bijou will be offering their regular menu with two special entrees and a special dessert. Call (941) 366-8111 for reservations. Our review

5)      The Table Creekside: Waterside dining on Phillippi Creek featuring casually elegant, creative, upscale cuisine. Their standard menu will be spiced up with several specials. As an additional attraction to the Table on Valentine's Day, all guests may enter a drawing to win a one-night getaway package to Sarasota's boutique hotel, Hotel Indigo. Call (941) 921-9465 for reservations.

6)      Euphemia Haye: All reservations for Valentine’s Day are a prepaid $100.00 minimum per person. This minimum includes food, beverage, tax and gratuity. To reserve a table for the downstairs fine dining area, call (941) 383-3633. Valentine’s walk-ins may enjoy fresh gourmet pizzas, homemade desserts, top-shelf spirits and exotic coffees up in The Haye Loft, starting at 6:00 p.m. The abbreviated menu will not be available that evening.

7)      Libby's Café + Bar: Always a great spot for indoor and outdoor dining, with a creative menu that adjusts seasonally. Libby’s will be offering their seasonal menu plus some specials for the day. For reservations please call (941) 487-7300.

8)      Cafe Amici: A cozy, comfortable, classically Italian spot for those in the know. Good food, wine and people. There will be a special Valentine’s menu comprised of their most popular dishes, with a complimentary glass of Prosecco for your lady. Call (941) 951-6896 for reservations. Our review

9)      MoZaic: Just a few short steps up Main Street from Café Amici is the classy, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine of MoZaic. Consistently a top-rated restaurant, MoZaic will be offering a special Valentine’s menu. For information and reservations call (941) 951-6272.  Our review

10)   Darwin’s on 4th: The award-winning, Peruvian-inspired restaurant and brewery will be offering its regular menu plus a five-course Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu at $80 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. For reservations call (941) 343-2165. Our review

11)   Savory@Night: Just a block or two from Darwin's on the corner of 4th and Orange is the delightfully charming Savory Street Café. Serving Latin-inspired cuisine in a bistro-like setting, Savory@Night will be offering their regular dinner service plus a few specials for the evening. In addition, each entree will be accompanied by a complimentary glass of wine. For reservations call (941) 312-4027. Our review

12)   Maison Blanche: Truly one of the outstanding chefs in Sarasota, Chef Jose Martinez will be serving a special Valentine’s Day menu. The special five-course prix fixe menu is priced at $85 per person and will surely be a superb gastronomical experience. Please call (941) 383-8088 for reservations and information. Our review

13)   Indigenous: With a mission of providing locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients, Chef Steve Phelps delivers creative, sophisticated, “New American” cuisine in a beautifully restored building in Towles Court. For reservations call (941) 706-4740. Our review

14)   Ophelia’s on the Bay: One of the great spots for waterfront dining. Voted "most romantic" restaurant by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune's Reader Choice Awards, this casually elegant restaurant will be offering their regular daily menu and will include some sultry, romantic specials as well. For more information or reservations call 941-349-2212. Our review

Sarasota boasts the highest concentration of Zagat-rated restaurants in the state of Florida. With over 600 independent restaurant locations, the culinary arts community in Sarasota is vibrant, alive and thriving. So if food is your elixir of love, go out and enjoy your Valentine’s Day dinner with that someone special.