In a year where large gatherings are clearly unsafe, a dinner for two seems like a pretty sweet idea. And let’s be honest: Valentine’s Day has been the ultimate “dinner for two” holiday since well before masks became an essential part of anyone’s eveningwear.
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But it’s more than just dinner. It’s a night to celebrate the connection between you and your partner – the person who rubs your back when you ask, the person who is there for you when you are down, the person who’s love and affection is just a notch sweeter than anyone else’s.
And with romance in the air, we bring you a list of some of our favorite local dining options that are sure to provide an experience that is as sweet as your sweetheart.
(Indoor dining restrictions mean lower capacity at restaurants, so we strongly suggest you make Valentine’s Day reservations in advance at any of the locations listed below.)
Hard Rock Hotel Atlantic City: Hard Rock comes out swinging with a trio of our favorite Valentine’s Day options this year. Kuro will offer a variety of Japanese specials themed to the holiday, including the Philly “Love” Sushi Roll with smoked salmon, cream cheese, pickled shallots and cucumber; as well as a grilled shrimp and soba noodle salad with strawberries, arugula and a yuzu vinaigrette; and a flash-seared tuna steak accompanied by miso shallot caramel and Belgian endive. Over at Council Oak Steaks & Seafood, an elegant and romantic Valentine’s Day awaits at this signature Hard Rock restaurant with mouth-watering specials such as a 10-ounce filet with foie butter, red wine demi and chives; a harissa-glazed sea bass with Puy lentils, bacon lardons and truffle vinaigrette; or a traditional surf and turf for two featuring a 45-day dry-aged ribeye, a 2-pound wood-fired lobster sauté, lobster broth and scallion. And what better way to end the evening than a trip to Sugar Factory? You can load up on treats from their candy store or split an order of Valentine’s fondue or grab two straws and go to town on their Hearts of Love Insane Milkshake. Those looking for a more potent pleasure can order their new Diamond Rose Goblet, made with Vanderpump Rose. Hard Rock is located at 1000 Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Go to HardRockHotelAtlanticCity.com.
Seaview: Without question, one of the most romantic spots around is the Seaview, with its old-school class and upscale charm providing the perfect setting for you and your Valentine. This year they will offer a special Valentine’s dinner 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13. Chef Rodolpho Correa’s menu features five courses and will include a crab ravioli amuse-bouche; lobster bisque; roasted beet salad; choice of entrées including grilled salmon, crispy roasted chicken, filet Oscar and penne alla vodka; and, to finish things off on an extra sweet note, guests can enjoy a heart-shaped chocolate pound cake paired with strawberry shortcake with chocolate covered strawberries. Cost is $60 per person. Seaview is located at 401 S. New York Road in Galloway. For reservations, call 609-748-7625.
Rhythm & Spirits: Rhythm & Spirits will offer two dining options for you and your sweetheart this weekend. The first is a dinner featuring a four-course tasting menu for $75 per person that will include some of Chef Kevin Cronin’s always amazing creations, such as baked orecchiette in a roasted red pepper sauce with parmesan or pan-seared sea scallops with a bacon and pistachio risotto. Dessert options include a flourless chocolate cake with salted caramel and vanilla gelato, as well as cinnamon orange bread pudding bites dipped in chocolate ganache and rolled in pistachios. The dinner will be offered Friday through Sunday, Feb. 12 to 14.
The second Valentine’s option at Rhythm & Spirits is their two-course brunch. This tasty cross between breakfast and lunch features complimentary sparkling wine and has something for everyone. Course one lets you choose between tasty starters like lobster toast, arugula salad, thick-cut sugar-glazed “OGIR” bacon and the truly unique Nuevo Iriche Nachos, which feature dirty bbq chips, goat cheese, curry gravy, corn beef, pickled chilis and two sunny eggs. Course two has guests selecting from breakfast favorites like bacon and eggs and pumpkin pancakes or more lunchable options like an open-faced pastrami on rye or a Southern fried chicken sandwich, just to name a few.
Brunch is $50 per person and will be served Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 13 and 14. Tickets to either brunch or dinner can be purchased at TennAveAC.com. Rhythm & Spirits is located at 129 S. Tennessee Ave. in Atlantic City.
Bar 32: Bar 32 is a chocolate and cocktails experience that will make its debut on Tennessee Avenue this weekend with an exclusive two-course menu devoted to chocolate, wine and cocktails. Guests will start with a taste of pure chocolate created from scratch using Tanzanian cacao and paired with a John Wade Cabernet Sauvignon. Next, they will choose from a variety of decadent options such as an oversized brown butter chocolate cookie or Mole Mole Smores prepared with charred fluff, cinnamon graham crackers and chili whipped ganache, which will be offered together with a selection from the cocktail menu. The cost is $32 per person, and tickets can be purchased at Bar32Chocolate.com. Bar 32 is located at 121 S. Tennessee Ave. in Atlantic City.
Pier House: Those looking for a beautiful view along with a beautiful meal would be wise to head to the Pier House in Cape May. Located within the gorgeous La Mer Beachfront Resort, the Pier House will offer a special Valentine’s Day pre-fixe dinner menu for $85 per person from Friday to Sunday, Feb. 12 to 14. Highlights include dual lamb chopettes, oysters Rockefeller, steak Diane and a vegetarian risotto. For dessert, our pick is the Sweetheart Cake, a heart-shaped, red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate covered strawberries that is sure to make you swoon. La Mer Beachfront Resort is located at 1317 Beachfront Ave. in Cape May. Go to CapeMayLaMer.com.
Gordon Ramsay Steak: At $175 per couple, the Valentine’s Day dinner at Gordon Ramsay Steak doesn’t come cheap, but it is all but guaranteed to please even the most discriminating foodies. The three-course V-Day menu includes fabulous options like a dry-aged Colorado lamb, crispy black bass or a 10-ounce bone-in filet with pickled mustard seed and a red wine veal jus. And, of course, all of that is before you get to the legendary sticky toffee pudding, which is easily one of the greatest desserts Ramsay has ever produced. If you haven’t had it, you need to change that immediately. Gordon Ramsay Steak is located inside Harrah’s Resort at 777 Harrah’s Blvd. in Atlantic City. Go to Caesars.com/harrahs-ac.
Smithville Inn: The cozy fireplace that greets you immediately upon entering the Smithville Inn sets the perfect tone for a lovely romantic dinner. And this Valentine’s Day they are offering one of the most extensive menus we have come across. Starters such as the whiskey maple-glazed slab bacon are not to be missed, and the same goes for the corn chowder, which walks a perfect line between sweet and savory. The entrees section alone features no less than 12 options, including pan-seared duck breast, veal Milanese, wasabi-crusted tuna and a Frenched pork chop topped with bourbon apples and pecans, braised red cabbage and roasted fingerling potatoes. They are even offering a sweet set of His and Hers cocktails – a cranberry mule for him and a cherry cosmo for her – sold as a pair for $20. The Smithville Inn is located at 1 N. New York Road in Smithville. Go to SmithvilleInn.com
Nero’s Italian Steakhouse: Longtime A.C. favorite Nero’s Italian Steakhouse will serve as a perfect backdrop for an enchanting Valentine’s Day as they offer a three-course dinner for $85 per person. The menu gives guests a choice of lobster bisque or Nero’s chopped salad; choice of three main course dishes, including a 14-ounce prime N.Y. strip steak, Dover sole Francaise with baby spinach, jumbo lump crab and tomato called the “Heart and Sole,” or and a fabulous surf and turf featuring an 8-ounce filet mignon with roasted lobster, baby carrots and aligot potatoes. For your sweet tooth, end the meal with either a red velvet soufflé or chocolate lava cake. Nero’s Italian Steakhouse is located inside Caesars Atlantic City at 2100 Pacific Ave. in Atlantic City. Go to Caesars.com.
Mickey & Minnie’s Inn: Mickey and Minnie’s Inn may have spent the last eight decades being best known for their German dishes, but this Valentine’s Day weekend they will offer a unique sweetheart dinner for two that features items you might not expect from them. For $75 per couple, you can choose from a broiled seafood combination or a N.Y. strip smothered in mushrooms and onions. Each meal comes with a potato and fresh vegetable and roll plus a Schwarzwalder Brownie for dessert and a bottle of house Cabernet or Chardonnay. The only catch: This dinner deal will only be offered Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12 and 13, as the restaurant is closed on Sunday, Feb. 14. Mickey & Minnie’s Inn is located at 733 W. White Horse Pike in Egg Harbor City. Go to MickeyAndMinniesInn.com.
Chart House: Lovers who are also seafood lovers will surely be tempted by the offerings at Chart House this Valentine’s Day. From Thursday through Monday, Feb. 11 to 15, Chart House will offer a three-course dinner for two for $140. A selection of incredible dishes such as Chilean sea bass with lump crab and shrimp, lobster bisque and a surf and turf with filet mignon and twin petite lobster tails highlight the menu, with a red velvet hot chocolate lava cake for dessert. Guests also have the option of pairing their meal with a bottle of one of Chart House’s featured wines for $65. Chart House is located inside Golden Nugget Atlantic City at 600 Huron Ave in Atlantic City. Go to GoldenNugget.com/atlantic-city.
Rainforest Café: If all the over-the-top prices and haughty atmosphere at the high-end restaurants is a turn off for you, why not leave all of that behind and spend this Valentine’s Day at the always-fun Rainforest Café? For just $65 per couple they offer a Valentine’s Day menu from Friday through Sunday, Feb. 12 to 14, which features a long list of dishes including corn chowder, a Paradise house salad, Aloha salmon, shrimp and more. And when you have seen every animatronic elephant and ape there is to see, you can wind down with a nice slice of key lime pie. It may not be traditional, but it sure will be a good time! Rainforest Café is located at 2201 Boardwalk in Atlantic City. Go to RainforestCafe.com.