February 14th can seem like it’s all about couple time and canoodling. But what happens when you’re flying solo for Cupid’s big blowout? These restaurants for solo dining on Valentine’s Day have got you covered from the onslaught of hearts ‘n’ greeting card slogans. Not near any of these picks? Find a table near you on OpenTable.com.
The Kennison, Chicago, Illinois
Available February 14-16, the special Young Love menu is a nostalgic trip in the way back machine to the comforts of childhood. Choices include grilled cheese and tomato soup, SpaghettiOs, meatloaf, and strawberries and cream soda. All that’s missing is your mom telling you that everything is going to be alright. Make a reservation at The Kennison.
American Social, Miami, Florida
Tune out your heartache by tuning in for their top-level comfort food. Top choices for eating your feelings include the cider-beer braised beef short ribs, the house burger with bacon and hickory smoked pimento cheese, and three-cheese mac ‘n’ cheese amped by black truffles. Bonus: there are plenty of televisions to watch, so you don’t have to keep checking your phone to see if your ex posted about their Valentine’s Day celebrations. Make a reservation at American Social.
Meat On Ocean, Santa Monica, California
You don’t need to compromise by hunkering down at the bar, because the full menu is available. Slice into a steak, while knocking back a couple of craft cocktails. There are televisions throughout so you can watch the game instead of fixating on your love life. Make a reservation at Meat On Ocean.
St. Lawrence, Vancouver, Canada
Singletons should aim to snag a seat at the six-spot kitchen counter to watch executive chef Jean-Christophe Poirier conjuring cuisine that artfully combines a Quebecoise sensibility and French traditionalism. Expect dishes like deep-fried pork rinds lavished with maple syrup and Montreal steak spice served in a maple syrup can, truffled tartare with slender waffle cut fries, and rice pudding touched up with salted caramel, candied pecans, and dainty palmier-like cookies, a specialty of Quebec known as pets de soeur. Make a reservation at St. Lawrence.
Zuma, New York, New York
For some luxe-y self-care, score a seat at one of the chef counters. Then indulge in some signature dishes, like seared tuna with chili daikon and ponzu sauce, and sliced sea bass sashimi with truffle and salmon roe. Bonus: you choose between a rose or a box of housemade chocolates as you leave. Make a reservation at Zuma.
1909 Kitchen, Tofino, Vancouver Island
Sit next to the windows overlooking the marina for a winning view that will you’re your mind off your troubles. Executive chef Paul Moran crafts creative small plates that benefit from the bounty of the island and its surrounding waters. Think local snap peas lavished with soy sake dressing and topped with threads of dried seaweed, steamed clams, and mussels seasoned with herbs harvested from tidal pools, and an indulgent white pizza featuring golden chanterelles from the forests nearby. Make a reservation at 1909 Kitchen.
Bakan, Miami, Florida
Not feeling the couple-y vibes this Valentine’s Day? Go on a date with your choice of over 500 mezcals instead. Savor them at the outdoor bar, where it’s easy to escape the lovebirds. Make a reservation at Bakan.
Acadia, Chicago, Illinois
These are no ordinary bar snacks. Chef Ryan McCaskey offers up a bar-inspired tasting menu of seven or eight miniature dishes. A decadent, yet affordable, way to treat yourself for Valentine’s Day. Make a reservation at Acadia.
Dirt Candy, New York, New York
It’s Solo Diners Week from February 12-16. There’s a seven-course menu ($80) designed for those eating alone. Options include Korean fried broccoli, carrot sliders, and broccoli dogs. Make a reservation at Dirt Candy.
Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette, Marina, California
Feeling introverted? Take a seat at the bar surrounding the kitchen. Feeling social? Head outside to grab a spot at one of the fire pits that overlook the Pacific Ocean. Make a reservation at Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette.
Aviary, Portland, Oregon
There are plenty of perches for those flying solo on Valentine’s Day with the best roosts being at the counter and the bar. Feeling peckish? Indulge with foie gras packed bao buns and sea scallop crudo fired up with gochujang. Make a reservation at Aviary.
Shaker + Spear, Seattle, Washington
Singletons should request a seat at the chef’s counter. There’s an unfettered view of the open kitchen and the opportunity to chat up the crew. Nosh on an array of small plates, like salt cod beignets, Dungeness crab and sunchoke dip, and grilled prawns with chorizo aioli, while reveling in the fact that you don’t have to share. Make a reservation at Shaker + Spear.
Pidgin, Vancouver, British Columbia
Want to drown your sorrows? Take advantage of the huge selection of sake and whiskey. Pad your stomach with comforting fare from executive chef Wesley Young, who blends French techniques and Asian influences. Think a rice bowl with unagi glazed foie gras and best-in-town gochujang glazed wings. Make a reservation at Pidgin.
What are your picks for restaurants for solo dining on Valentine’s Day? Let us know here or over on Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: Hugo Galdones (The Kennison); Anthony Tahlier (Acadia); John Valls (Aviary).