(Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group) Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group. The dish: The menu may look like your typical wings-fries-burgers brewpub at first glance. But crispy, tender Green Curry Chicken Wings ($10) are coated in a mild, silky curry sauce. Buttery seared salmon ($18) is beautifully plated, with watermelon radishes and glistening cipollini onions.
Winter weather and the post-holiday blues inevitably turn January into a chilly, drizzly gray haze. No wonder then that our thoughts turn to happier prospects — from sweet pink Valentines to heart-shaped boxes and a lovely evening out. Also, chocolate. Always chocolate. But there’s no need to wait for Feb. 14 to think about date night. Here are 14 fabulous new restaurants — romantic bistros; sleek, chic eateries and casual hot spots guaranteed to sweep your sweetheart off his or her respective feet, not just on Valentine’s Day but for months to come.
1 Bellota, San Francisco The vibe: in the city’s SoMa neighborhood presents classic Spanish cuisine as a feast for the senses. The dining room surrounding the large open kitchen is light, bright and stunningly beautiful with Moroccan tiles and white laser-cut panels.
With so many dishes made for sharing, it’s a great place for a double-date night, too. Request one of the cozy booths so you can chat more easily above the din of the ever-present crowd. Bellota’s pincho cart brims with spiced almonds, marinated olives and cheeses. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group) Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group The dish: Double date? Start with a pitcher of sangria ($40) and a charcuterie platter ($40) that includes Spain’s famous acorn-fed jamon Iberico.
The puffy Spanish Tortilla ($14), an omelet made with layers of thinly sliced potato and topped with chorizo aioli, is a must. And with four varieties of paella to choose from, it’s a tough call whether to go with chicken and chorizo ($40) or pork shoulder and persimmon ($45). So go for the Dividida ($55), which nestles two paellas in one pan.
The details: Open for lunch weekdays and dinner Monday-Saturday at 888 Brannan St., San Francisco; . For more food and drink coverage 2 EMC Seafood & Raw Bar, San Jose The vibe: Shucking oysters and sipping sparkling rosé together until midnight? Yes, please. Santana Row’s and bar is surprisingly romantic. Maybe it’s all the post-shopping couples huddled beneath heat lamps at the curbside tables or the plethora of perfectly shareable plates, including sushi, carpaccio and piled-high noodles.
Grab a table at this hip hot spot for some serious people-watching, not to mention the aphrodisiac appeal of oysters. EMC Seafood’s raw bar menu features several oyster varieties daily.
The dish: Everyone goes bonkers for the creamy Uni Pasta ($26) with fish roe and dried seaweed. Share that and one of the fabulous sushi rolls, like the Santana Roll ($21) with baked lobster, langostino, crab, avocado, chive and spicy mayo.
Or, since lobster is such a date night dish, splurge on Whole Main Lobster ($59), steamed or charbroiled with cilantro lime juice. The details: Open daily for lunch and dinner at 378 Santana Row, Suite 1100, San Jose; 3 Shinmai, Oakland The vibe: If you relish date nights at Ramen Shop, check out . Shinmai has a cool, masculine interior, with minimalist black and steel decor and an impressive whisky program. The California-inspired menu is concise and accessible, with a handful of robata-grilled items, appetizers and three unforgettable noodle soups.
A geisha mural adorns a dining room at Shinmai. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group) The dish: Tonkotsu Ramen ($16) for both of you, of course.
Shinmai’s chefs cook their broth overnight in a pressure cooker and the result is a creamy, aromatic base for delicious pork chashu, shoyu egg, wood ear mushrooms, slippery onions and bamboo. You’ll also want to share an order of Chicken Karaage ($13) slathered in ginger-Worcestershire and topped with lemon and herbs.
The details: Open for dinner Wednesday-Monday at 1825-3 San Pablo Ave., Oakland; 4 Rooh, San Francisco The vibe: Impress your date with this on-trend located in SoMa, where you’ll tuck into silk-pillowed, indigo blue banquettes set against turmeric yellow walls, sip craft cocktails based on ancient Ayurveda practices and feast on gourmet interpretations of Indian street food by a 2016 Times of India chef of the year. Plates both small and large are artistic, appetizing and totally modern.
Rooh’s sensational cocktails include this gin-based Banaras Sour. Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group The dish: Start with Tuna Bel ($15), a modern take on bhel puri, the savory Indian street snack made of puffed rice, vegetables and tamarind sauce. Here, it is puffed black rice, radish slivers, avocado and dollops of tamarind gel that cool the spicy togarashi.
Butter Chicken Pave ($26), a sophisticated reimagining of the mom-and-pop classic is made with fenugreek, red chile pepper and butter powder, so it’s not oily or creamy, but rich and delicious. The details: Open for dinner Monday-Saturday at 333 Brannan St., Suite 150, San Francisco; 5 Vina Enoteca, Palo Alto The vibe: Steal away with your sweetheart to , tucked behind the Stanford Shopping Center, for a magnificent modern Italian meal. Housed in an historic brick winery with soaring wood-beamed ceilings, Rocco Scordella’s airy, sophisticated space showcases artfully made pastas and meticulously designed drinks from bar manager Massimo Stronati.
If you go for lunch and the weather’s nice, grab a spot outside and bask in your love on the sun-drenched patio. The sleek modern dining area at Vina Enoteca offers a serene setting for dinner. Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Grou The dish: Indulge in exquisitely shaped pasta, such as the Rooster’s Comb ‘Cresta di Gallo’ with Pesto ($19) or perhaps the luxuriously ruffled, long Reginette ($24) swirled with a duck ragu.
Opt for the Hot, Sweet, Hot pizza option ($18) with smoky scamorza, spicy nduja and pear, and you’ll experience amoré at first bite. For those who want to sink their teeth into the plant-based Impossible Burger ($16), they’ve got that, too. The details: Open daily for lunch and dinner, with brunch on Sunday at 700 Welch Road Suite 110, Palo Alto; .
6 Limon Rotisserie, Walnut Creek Peruvian food has taken the Bay Area by storm — and all we can say is, yesssss. With three restaurants under his executive-chef belt already, executive chef Martin Castillo near the Lesher Center last summer in a location tailor-made for date-night perfection. Whether you dine before or after the show, just make sure you have reservations. This place is hotter than hot. Empanadas and other Peruvian small plates are offered at Limon Rotisserie.
(Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group) The dish: Everything here is delicious, but the tender, slow-roasted Pollo A La Brasa ($12.95 and up) should be your first stop on the menu. It comes with a traditional aji amarillo huacatay, but you’ll want to order the spicy, intense rocoto molido and zesty chimichurri ($2 each), too. Don’t miss the colorful Ensalada Rusa ($10.95), which tosses earthy beets, Yukon Gold potatoes and large-kerneled Peruvian corn with a sweet dressing.
The details: Open daily for lunch and dinner at 1524 Locust St., Walnut Creek; 7 Alta MSP, San Francisco The vibe: If your sweetheart craves inventive, plant-based dishes, Champagne cocktails and elevated homey desserts, then is the spot for your next date. Located inside the Minnesota Street Project, an artist’s enclave in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, Alta is modern, intimate and every bit as arty as its fellow tenants.
Reserve one of the corner tables via Reserve.com or scoot your stools together at the dramatic walnut bar. Daniel Patterson’s Alta MSP is part of an artists’ enclave in San Francisco’s Dogpatch district. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group The dish: Nibble on light-as-air Brown Rice Puffs ($8) sprinkled with chile pepper powder and served with a delicate, creamy avocado dip while you wait for your entree, the impossibly-juicy Roasted Chicken Breast ($27), served with seasonal sides; right now that includes new potatoes, allium, buttermilk and dill.
Finish off with the Chocolate Banana Sundae ($6) — and two spoons. The sundae is made with banana bread, smoked peanuts, dulce de leche and chocolate ice cream. Yes, sharing is caring. The details: Open for lunch Tuesday-Friday and dinner Tuesday-Saturday at 1275 Minnesota St., San Francisco; 8 La Rinconada Bar at The Catamount, Los Gatos The vibe: Sleek and sexy.
The bar at is topped with Carrara marble and everywhere you look there are chic bronze accents, from the overhead lights to the tiny tables nestled along the glass wall and the gray-blue rattan chairs. The California-inspired bar menu offers an impressive array of proteins and nibbles that qualify as dinner, and the comprehensive cocktail program (low proof, barrel-aged, signature and classic) will keep you sipping into the night.
The dish: The upscale Ahi Tuna Poke ($17) is a lovely take on the fast-casual trend, with its delicate dressing of citrus and sesame. Get one of those, along with Spiced Lamb Meatballs ($11) with fresh, minted yogurt and the generous Parmesan Truffle Fries ($9). Hitting a movie? Time your date night to La Rinconada’s Social Hour (4-6 p.m.) and those fries will only cost you $5. The details: Open for drinks and bar bites Tuesday-Saturday at 50 University Ave., Los Gatos; 9 The Wolf, Oakland For 40 years, Bay Wolf was the grand dame — or perhaps the grand monsieur — of Oakland’s dining, serving fresh, seasonal dishes in the Chez Panisse vein.
The place was known for its California-French cuisine and especially for its duck dishes. Now restaurateurs (and Bay Wolf fans) Rebekah and Rich Wood have remodeled the century-old Craftsman house and . We’re in love all over again, and you will be, too. Chef Yang Peng plates a Pommes Dauphine dish at The Wolf on Piedmont Avenue. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group) The dish: Life should be this ducky. Start with the decadent Duck Liver Pâté ($12) served with grilled Acme bread, followed by the moist, juicy Maple Leaf Duck Breast ($33) served with polenta and a bright, citrus-sage sauce.
The Wolf’s twist on the Baked Alaska ($9) theme — a beautiful, housemade orange-vanilla ice cream with sponge cake and browned meringue — finishes sweetly. The details: Open for dinner daily and lunch on weekdays at 3853 Piedmont Ave., Oakland; .
10 Doppio Zero, Cupertino The vibe: There’s pizza — and then there’s mouthwatering, thin-crust Vero Pizza Napoletana-certified pizza, made by Italian-trained master pizzaiolos.
A bar anchors one end of this sleek, chic, , with an open kitchen and enormous wheel lights hanging from the open ceiling. Chef Alessandro Ciaccia handles the Southern Italian non-pizza fare, while master pizzaiolos Alberto Sannino and Alfonso Liccione man the wood-fired pizza oven— imported from Naples, of course.
Co-owner Angelo Sannino serves a white pizza at Doppio Zero. (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group) Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group The dish: Start with the potato-Gruyere Croquettes ($9), which are crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside and downright decadent dipped in a rich truffle cheese sauce.
Follow that up with a Doppio Zero White Pizza ($19). Topped with creamy burrata, salty prosciutto di Parma and peppery arugula, this is one romantic pizza. The details: Open for lunch and dinner daily at 10088 N.
Wolfe Road, Cupertino; . 11 Barranco Cocina Peruana, Lafayette The from chef Carlos Altamirano (La Costanera, Parada, Mochica) fairly sizzles with energy.
Wood-topped tables are tucked tightly together in the sleek, arty dining room, where glass, wood and high ceilings bounce sound here, there and everywhere. It’s a great first-date spot — the food is incredible, the ambience exciting and the noise levels guarantee no awkward silences. Barranco is the seventh Peruvian restaurant from chef Carlos Altamirano. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group) Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group The dish: It’s tempting to fill up on sensational sangria or a Lime Chilcano ($13) — think Pisco Mule — and the tasty starters.
(Don’t miss the cebiche sampler, $28.) But the must-have dish here is the Adobo ($23), Snake River Farms pork shoulder braised to a state of melting tenderness in a Cusqueña-aji panca base and served over a potato gratin. Swoon. The details: Open for dinner Tuesday-Sunday, brunch Friday-Sunday, at 3596 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette; 12 Finn Town, San Francisco The vibe: If you’re the couple that frequents buzzy restaurants after shows, nibbling late-night eats, then this is the perfect spot for you.
And the upscale comfort-food menu is in very capable hands although “Top Chef” alum and opening chef Ryan Scott parted ways with the owners back in May.
Steve Dustin, the former culinary operations director for Big Night Restaurant Group, took over as executive chef in June, and added tasty spins to the already solid menu. Even something as simple as a burger goes upscale at San Francisco’s Finn Town. (Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Group) Patrick Tehan/Bay Area News Grou The dish: You’ll still find the double-stack Finn Town Burger ($18) with housemade pickles and popular weekly specials, like Monday’s totally decadent Duck Confit Pot Pie ($25) — perfect for two.
But you may want your own order of Crispy Brussels Sprouts ($6) studded with pistachios, pear and aleppo pepper ($6), not to mention pastry chef Cheryl Storms’ Apple Strudel ($12), served with bourbon anglaise, rosemary ice cream and balsamic caramel. You can carry each other home. The details: Open daily for dinner at 2251 Market St., San Francisco; 13 Luna Mexican Kitchen, San Jose The vibe: You can practically taste the love in the handmade tortillas, which is one of many reasons diners line up down the block at this Rose Garden neighborhood hot spot.
Husband-and-wife team John Lopez and Jo Lerma-Lopez have turned a tired, decades-old building into that’s as colorful, fresh and vibrant as the food on the plates. While this buzzy Mexican bistro may not ooze romance, it’s ideal for a relaxed date night — or an evening with your best pals.
Luna Mexican Kitchen emits a hip hacienda vibe. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group) The dish: Start with the succulent Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp ($12) or the crispy Tacos Dorados de Papas ($7) filled with creamy, chile-spiked potato. Pair them with one of the many tequila-based cocktails or seasonal aguas frescas ($3.50).
If you’re into sharing, the mixed grill (starting at $44) offers a variety of meats, including steak, pork, chicken, seafood and a delightful spicy-sweet jalapeño sausage. The details: Open daily for lunch and dinner at 1495 The Alameda, San Jose; 14 Lokanta Mediterranean Grill & Bar, Walnut Creek The vibe: When Dogan Ozdogan and Muhammet Culha of this popular Pleasanton bistro, they did so right downtown in a narrow but airy location with brick walls, wood accents and Lokanta’s signature California-meets-Mediterranean fare.
The results are laid back but sleek, a perfect spot for a Friday night date. Related Articles • • • • • The dish: Ignited with brandy, the Flaming Halloumi ($12) starts things off with suitable drama and heat.
Follow that up with the Braised Short Ribs ($26), served with a velvety porcini demi-glace and creamy polenta. And be sure to finish on a sweet note with an irresistible Kunefe ($9), cheese wrapped in shredded, crispy-crunchy filo and soaked through with sweet syrup. (And no, that is not too much cheese.
It is just the right amount.) The details: Open for lunch and dinner daily, plus weekend brunch, at 1520 Locust St., Walnut Creek; . For more food and drink coverage Jessica Yadegaran is a writer and editor for the Bay Area News Group's Eat Drink Play section, which is devoted to all things food, wine, cocktails, and travel.
She also spent two years in the Pacific Northwest as the food and dining editor for Seattle magazine. Yadegaran has a degree in journalism from San Diego State University and has been with the Bay Area News Group for more than 10 years. Daniel Jimenez is a digital producer who writes the daily Morning Report newsletter for the Bay Area News Group. He began working for the Alameda Newspaper Group in 2006, copy editing and designing pages for the Oakland Tribune and other daily papers.
He moved to the breaking news team in 2013, reporting in Richmond and other communities. He moved to the digital production team in 2015, and also contributes dining items to the features section.
best first date bay area - The Absolute Best First Date Bars and Restaurants in NYC
When it comes to first dates, deciding on the perfect activity and locale can be daunting. Do you go with the traditional dinner and a show or do you step outside the box and take a risk? First, consider your new love interest. Is he or she the adventurous type or more of a homebody? Where and how you met might be a good indication of their interests, so start from there. In the North Bay, there are tons of places to take your date for a good first impression; you just have to know where to look.
From romantic dining to carefree activities, here are the best spots to take a first date and turn it into a promise for a second. If all goes well, this may just be your very last “first date.” Photo Credit: Thinkstock.com Willi’s Wine Bar 4404 Old Redwood Highway (near River Road) Santa Rosa, CA 95403 (707) 526-3096 Off old Redwood Highway in Santa Rosa is a classic roadhouse that will take your new honey’s breath away. Willi’s Wine Bar boasts a menu featuring 30 international small plates, which change by the season, and may include gourmet dishes like Moroccan lamb chops, filet mignon sliders, crab tacos, Fuji apples and mint and truffled French fries.
All food is paired with a wide variety of wines, which are available in 2-ounce tasters, as well as by the glass or bottle. A date here says you’re casual, yet sophisticated, and is perfect if you’re looking for a low pressure environment. El Paseo House of Chops 17 Throckmorton St. (near East Blithedale) Mill Valley, CA 94941 (415) 388-0741 Turn this unique restaurant’s past into the starting point of your and your date’s future relationship. El Paseo House of Chops is not your run-of-the-mill diner in Mill Valley.
This restaurant, with all its charm and history, is reminiscent of a fairy tale destination and has operated continuously since 1948. Taken over two years ago by celebrity chef Tyler Florence and rocker Sammy Hagar, El Paseo is beautiful and bursting with a rich, telling of its history of days gone by.
The two owners have personally planned and directed the complete restoration of the interior and exterior of this magnificent space, bringing this local institution back to its former glory. Photo Credit: Nappa Valley Wine Train via Facebook Napa Valley Wine Train 1275 McKinstry St. Napa, CA 94559 (800) 427-4124 If you’re not sure whether to do a traditional date or an adventurous getaway, why not do a mix of both? The Napa Valley Wine Train combines the convention of getting to know one another over dinner and the excitement of trying something new together.
Mix in the romance of wine and sunsets and you have all the makings of a perfect first date. The dinner train has two packages to choose from. While both provide three hour rides in a romantic, antique train, the Vista Dome package chugs you along in a 1953 rail car with domed ceilings and includes a multi-course menu and complimentary sparkling wine from one of California’s own vineyards. The gourmet package takes you through sweeping views of the valley in a 1915 Pullman Car and includes a freshly prepared meal by Chef Kelly Macdonald.
Or go for one of the many , complete with tastings and a gourmet meal. Photo Credit: River Run Casino’s via Facebook River Run Casino’s Quail Run Buffet 3250 Highway 128 Geyserville, CA 95441 (877) 883-7777 First dates mean taking a chance on love, so why not throw a little gambling into the evening? River Rock Casino is a quick 20 minute trip from Santa Rosa and happens to have a restaurant with amazing panoramic views of the Alexander Valley and surrounding wineries.
Hit up a few tables or try your luck at the slots and then settle in for dinner at the Quail Run Buffet for a full course meal with a view. Not sure what your date likes to eat? Not a problem—the buffet has everything from Asian to Italian to Mexican fare. Related: Photo Credit: osteriadivino.com Osteria Divino 37 Caledonia St.
Sausalito, CA 94965 (415) 331-9355 Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in the romantic city of Sausalito lies Osteria Divino. This Caledonia Street venue is just a few blocks from the harbor and serves up delicious Florentine fare made with local and organic ingredients.
Dishes like shrimp risotti and galetto roasted game hen are only highlighted by the amazing live music Divino hosts. You and your date will be serenaded by live piano, jazz and blues while you get to know one another in this classy yet timeless restaurant. Related: Kelly Gullo is a freelance writer in San Francisco, CA. Kellys topics are about music and nightlife. Kelly has also written a variety of articles on health and dieting and topics related to the environment.
Kelly has a degree in journalism and public relations from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI. Her work can be found at .
Everyone knows dating in San Francisco is hard. The difficulty of finding someone who is looking for the same thing as you is probably one of the main reasons our town has originated tons of dating apps. For those looking for something a little more serious, once you get into the dating-app game or when you (gasp) meet someone IRL, what are the chances you can make that connection into something more?
Dating app recently surveyed more than 1,000 of their SF users to understand exactly what makes that first date successful. 'Tis the season for presents and credit card debt! But fear not, we have a gift for every budget! And as always, we've scoured the Bay Area to bring you a curation of the very finest, coolest, tastiest, funnest presents from local artisans, designers, and makers.
This is the only guide you'll need to make all your people jolly...pumpkin spiced lattes not included. True love can be found on Tinder. No, really! Noel Walton and Jhony Bonilla found each other on a dating app. And after some courting, dating, and bonding, Bonilla popped the question at Walton's favorite sushi restaurant—and then the wedding-planning Pinterest boards began.
Walton looked at "hundreds" of inspiration shots before selecting her look: a classy, off-the-shoulder ivory gown. When you find yourself lamenting the value of San Francisco real estate—tiny multimillion-dollar boxes on a hillside—navigate your Redfin search over to East Bay where you may shocked at what you'll find.
This week's gem is a veritable palace in Upper Rockridge, where a couple mil will buy you 2,500 square feet swathed in Grecian-style carving and sculptures. Do you want those classical embellishments? Probably not, but focus: There is ample room, light, closet space—and views! Indeed, it's the most wonderful time of the year.
Along with brilliant holiday kicks and dreamy dresses, colorful homewares await at GlobeIn's first-ever retail store in Noe Valley—ICYMI, this subscription-box biz is all about helping artisans in developing countries and providing you with unique products. Photographer Daniel Triassi logged over 80,000 steps ("I need to borrow a bike next time!") as he traversed the city in a quest for the most marvelous holiday decor.
What he found came to his surprise: San Francisco, it seems, isn't much in the holiday spirit this year. "One wreath is pretty much the standard in this city!" he said, decrying the town once known for over-the-top-ness to have become so...plain. But in his wanderings there were moments of magic, too. The common theme?
It's a classic Christmas in SF. Newton Vineyard's secret mountaintop garden is like Napa Valley's mini version of the Gardens of Versailles, yet somehow, most people don't even know it exists.
Planted over 35 years ago on the roof of the vineyard's underground cave, this classic French garden is a perfectly geometric maze of planter beds, intricately-cut hedges, shrubs, and spiraled trees. Surrounded by stunning vistas on all sides, it feels on top of the world. The holidays are here and you're probably shopping for presents. Imagine if you could step back in time to shop San Francisco's chicest department stores 20, 50, or even 100 years ago. Here, take our time machine to tour through four fabulous shopping meccas that were once the jewels of Union Square.
Seafood restaurants can be pretty predictable—basic AF crab cakes, uninspiring pairings of protein and vegetables, and over-sauced pastas with clams or shrimp. But now San Francisco foodies with a taste for fresh fish can head to Hotel G, where new restaurant Ayala is ready to save us from sad seafood woes with some innovative tweaks on crustaceans and bivalves. The mild snowfall and warmer temperatures of recent winters have occasionally left snowsport enthusiasts near the High Sierra either scrambling to get up to the powder before it melts off or forced to drive further to find conditions more ideal for snowshoeing.
With this winter shaping up to be a lot better in terms of snowfall, snowshoers will have many more options for winter treks of all distances and difficulty levels. The love story of Kittie Buck and Justin Martin is a tale as old as time.
As teenagers, the lovebirds dated for just a short stint, and then they then became friends in college. But just friends. It was when they reconnected a third time as adults, that sparks began to fly. But it wasn't until a trip to the happiest place on earth—one of their favorite getaways—that Martin got down on one knee in front of Disney castle and presented his princess with a custom-made ring with a diamond and sapphires.
We love a good road trip. The only thing better: hitting the open California road with our furry best friends. But as much as we love our pups, they can make trip planning a challenge. Sure, there's always Airbnb, but sometimes we want just a little more luxury. Luckily more and more hotels are recognizing four-legged family members as beloved guests. We've rounded up the ultimate dog-friendly stays down the coast, from Mendocino to San Diego, only selecting the properties where our pups will get the royal treatment as soon as their paws strut through the lobby.
Save this list for your next adventure—and don't forget to pack the treats. Need to stay closer to home? We've updated this list with San Francisco staycation spots that welcome the whole furry family.
First Date Ideas-Amazing First Romantic Date Ideas to Wow your Date