10 Spots You Need To Try This Valentine’s Day!

For this Valentine’s Day, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it out for dinner, given that my newborn will only be roughly a month old. But I sure hope to have a little romantic escape if all seems to be possible. Regardless, I thought it would be fun to put together another great list of “where to dine” in the city for us locals (here was last year’s.) I love tapping into my favorite SF bloggers/locals for these sort of things, especially those who loves to eat and dine (and yes, I do stalk their Instagrams for my dose of food porn and latest spots!) So, whether you want to keep it fancy or take it chill come Februrary, this list of 10 “hot” spots (wink wink) will have you covered. Last year, I forwarded my blog post to George and had him surprise me with his pick. It saved my guy the headache and I got the thrill of a surprise. :)

While you’re at it, don’t forget to hop on over to check out my amazing SF friends. I love all of their recs, and believe it or not, I had hardly tried any of them (talk about someone who’s been here for 25 years!) I admire all of their tastes as well as expertise in their niche, and I’m truly lucky to have met all of them! Be sure to send them a sweet hello, will ya?

food-icon Atelier Crenn

“Atelier Crenn is a favorite date spot of ours since it’s close by and the dining experience is more like a culinary adventure! Known for taking local ingredients and transforming them into beautiful works of art, this is probably one of the most creative meals I’ve ever had. As of last year, Chef Crenn became the first female to win 2 Michelin stars in the U.S., so I’m looking forward to supporting girl power this Valentine’s Day at her restaurant!”

food-icon Haven

“Haven is one of my favorite Oakland restaurants and not just because it’s within walking distance of my apartment. From the minds behind Coi in San Francisco and Plum, also in Oakland, the chefs at Haven create comforting, locally minded, family style, california cuisine that always satisfies my craving for a good meal. And with it’s location right on the water at Jack London Square in a beautifully designed space it’s perfect for a romantic Valentine’s dinner. Afterwards you can walk along the waterfront enjoying the view of the San Francisco skyline or stop into Miette, right next door for a sweet treat.”

(Profile picture by Jennifer Young)

food-icon Nick’s Cove Restaurant & Oyster Bar

“Nick’s may only be an hour and a half drive from from San Francisco in West Marin, but you’ll feel like you escaped to a slice of heaven. Fresh oysters, gorgeous views, and local, farm-fresh cuisine is what’s on the menu. They also have a delicious selection of cocktails and a well-curated wine list. I love that there is no cell phone reception, so your focus is solely on enjoying your company and the dining experience. V-day falls on a Thursday this year, so take Friday off and stay overnight in one of the waterfront cottages for some much-needed R&R in this serene coastal town. The Dungeness Crab Benedict for breakfast room service is a must.”

food-icon Pizzaiolo

“This will always be one of my favorite date spots. The ambiance at this Oakland restaurant is hip, sexy, yet down-to-earth. The tables are intimate and low-lit, great for couples. Plus, interesting art fills the walls and it always seems to have a killer soundtrack! I love that it’s not super stuffy — the food and drinks are seriously incredible, too.”

(Photo credit, The Kitchn)

food-icon Gitane

“Right off the bat the name Gitane is romantic. Inside it’s dark and luxurious. You feel like you’re in Europe, and the location on Claude Lane adds to that effect. If you can’t actually GO to Europe for Valentine’s Day, it’s the next best thing! They have amazing Spanish wines and the food is delish—the tasting menu is the way to go! Here’s hoping we can get a babysitter :)”

food-icon Ristorante Milano

“The cozy yet modern feel of Ristorante Milano makes it a favorite of mine for Valentine’s Day. It’s an intimate, upscale space (so no loud crowds) with impeccable design. The food is totally delicious and absolutely authentic to true Italian cuisine. Plus, you know it’s going to be good when the wait staff boasts Italian accents. Buon appetito!”

food-icon Bar Tartine

“Bar Tartine is one of my favorite restaurants in the city – every single item on the menu is mouth watering (especially the smoked potatoes). Eric and I usually make dinner at home on Valentines Day but a few years ago we decided that we would go to one of our favorites – Bar Tartine. It was a magical night and the atmosphere is perfect for a special night out with your sweetheart.”

food-icon Cafe Jaqueline

“I think the ultimate Valentine’s Day spot in the city has to be Cafe Jaqueline! The institution, hidden in North Beach, is tiny, intimate and serves only ONE thing. Souffles. The owner and chef Jacqueline herself whips them up in the kitchen nightly. Nothing says romance better than the most unique French dining experience you can find in San Francisco!”

food-icon Rich Table

“Sit at the bar or at the communal tables at Rich Table with mescal cocktails and sardine chips. Only to be consumed with someone you love.”

food-icon Venticello

“You can’t go wrong with amazing Italian food at Venticello in Nob Hill for a romantic evening out. The small-ish space and cozy atmosphere allows you focus on your date and enjoy a long conversation over dinner and wine! My husband took me for my birthday and we both can’t wait to go back!”

Otherwise noted, all images via the restaurants. Graphics by George Hu, I just art direct. :)




  • http://thehunt.com/ Kristen

    Awesome post, Jeanne! 

  • http://twitter.com/FluxiOnTour Ana Kamin

    Wow,  this are great recommendations!  Will definitely try some of these! Thanks, Jeanne!

  • Fenny Setiawan

    Lovely. I would love to try to all those resto that you recommend. My hubby said SF is a cozy city and nice for hanging out, plus good place for relaxing shopping :). I wish one day I can visit this amazing city.
    All the best for your prep to welcoming the second bundle of joy, Jeanne. You will an awesome mom.

  • http://www.planningpretty.com/ Camille Iman

    I am so excited I found this, my husband and I were just discussing what to do for our 1st (married) Valentines 

  • http://www.lydali.com/ Ali

    love this list! i thought i was pretty good at exploring sf restaurants, but there are lots on this list that i haven’t been to yet. excited to try them out!