Yesterday, I was talking to one of our Laguna chefs about Valentine’s Day. Oddly … reservations for Valentine’s Day tend to occur well in advance, while Mother’s Day reservations tend to happen at the last minute. Imagine that.

If you’re still putting your plan together for next Friday, Valentine’s Day, here’s a quick round-up from many of our local restaurants. More details are still rolling in from chefs, so be sure to check my blog at for latest details. Note: Keep in mind that prix fixe menu pricing below does not include tax and tip. Please show some love to your servers wherever you choose to roost. 

The First Required Stop

Thank the gods that De Francis is still at it with her sliver of a store, The Chocolate Soldier in the short alley across from Sapphire Pantry. No matter how quickly she crafts these heavenly treats, the shop will be practically stripped bare by Valentine Day’s dawning. Stop by early next week for best selections, including traditional Valentine hearts you can fill yourself or chocolate boxes that can hold any number of Valentine gifts.   

Fly Me to the Moon With These McLain Cellar Flights

Jason and Sofia McLain are celebrating the anniversary of their first date (Feb 13th) with Pre-Valentine’s Day wine tastings at their Canyon-based McLain Cellars from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Wines will be paired with cheese, charcuterie and chocolate. Then, on Feb 14th, a different tasting event occurs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Reserve either day here: McClain Cellars

Restaurants With Specially-Created Valentine’s Day Menus

First, if Friday Night Just Doesn’t Seem Right …
Sometimes, the end of the work week is a tough time to romantically rally. I believe the only restaurant offering a special Valentine’s prix fixe menu on both Friday (Feb. 14th) and Saturday (Feb. 15th) is:

Royal Hawaiian Fire Grill 
Mixologist Sean Melia owns the first item on the menu, an “Our Love is Alive” cocktail consisting of vodka, hibiscus, lime and pineapple juices with a champagne float. Chef/Owner Maro Molteni take it from there with off-menu sublime such as Seared Tuna & Burrata, Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon, a Free Range Wood-Grilled Venison Loin and more. The regular dining menu will be available as well.
Reserve: or call (949) 715-1470.

Nirvana Grille
Always important to keep Chef Lindsay’s Nirvana on your list. This year’s Valentine menu offers up options such as Blackened Scallops, Coriander Crusted Swordfish, Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon and her awesome Lobster Bisque.
$89/person. Add Drew Barrymore Rosé for $9 a glass or Bottomless Jean Phillipe Champagne for $25 per person.
Reserve: or call (949) 497-0027.

Splashes at Surf & Sand
Chef Ron Fougeray’s Valentine treat this year offers appetizer options such as Smoked Albacore Tartare and Herb Stuffed Quail, with entrée options such as Petite Filet, Poached Brill and Scallops.
$150/person with $50 additional option for wine pairings.
Call (888) 281-3502.

Wine Gallery Laguna
One of my favorite (and somewhat undiscovered) chefs, Chef Josh Mason has crafted a 4-course dinner that brings back the best of Josh. Options include Crab Cake, Salmon en Croute and NY Strip Steak.
$75/person with $35 additional option for wine pairings. Some items from the regular menu will also be available.
Reserve: or call (949) 715-8744.

K’ya Bistro Bar
Chef Craig Connole never disappoints with his 4-course tapas-style menu. Share plates such as Grilled Vegetable Risotto, Braised Short Rib, Grilled Branzino and more.
$50/person or $99/couple.
Call (855) 990-0281.

Broadway by Amar Santana
Chef Amar (the new Papa!) has come up with the usual inventive menu that starts with a Smoked Sturgeon amuse bouche and shimmies into Pheasant, Wagyu Beef Tongue & Cheek and Tete de Moine. A la carte menu is also available.
$135/person. Credit card required at reservation.
Call (949) 715-8234.

Driftwood Kitchen
Chef Rainer Schwarz’ innovation this year begins with a champagne toast and moves into items such as Hamachi Tartare, Petite Filet with Braised Beef Short Rib, Pan Seared Arctic Char and more.
Call (949) 715-7700.

Always a believer in music + great food, Chef Braulio has created a menu that includes 10 entrée options featuring Chilean Sea Bass, Steak & Lobster, Cioppino and more. Live music on Valentine’s features Dallas & Doll in the Durban Room and the Springsteen Experience on the main stage.
Reserve: or call (949) 715-7777.

Studio, Montage Laguna Beach
You know you can’t go wrong for romance at the renowned Studio. The amuse bouche starts with Hamachi Crudo with additional items featuring Seared Arctic Char, Wagyu Flat Iron Steak and more.
$225/person, includes wine pairings.
Call (949) 715-6420.

The Loft, Laguna Beach
Chef Joosung Lee’s menu offers items such as Roasted Sunchoke Bisque, Coffee-Braised Wagyu Zabuton, Prime Filet Mignon, Pan-Roasted Branzino and more.
$135/person, includes a half bottle of Veuve Clicquot per couple. Regular menu is also available.
Call (949) 715-6420.

Valentine Featured Items Served With Regular Menu

These restaurants are featuring specials along with the nightly regular menu:

Settled in and loving it, Chef Greg Daniels is just into his second year now. He will be offering a number of off-menu specials throughout the weekend.
Reserve: Harley Laguna  or call (949) 715-1530.

Always a local favorite, Owner Cary Redfearn has drummed up new specials. Sorry, mum’s the word on this.
Reserve:  or call (949) 715-3900.

230 Forest
Chef Marc is offering up a number of specials along with the regular menu on both Friday and Saturday.
Reserve: or call (949) 494-2545.

At his other popular restaurant, just a block from his initial 230 Forest restaurant, Chef Marc has also organized a number of specials true to Watermarc’s cuisine. Also available both Friday and Saturday.
Reserve: or call (949) 376-6272.

Sapphire Laguna
Chef Azmin has come up with specialty featured items such as Pan-Seared Barramundi & Shrimp Raviolini, Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Butter-Poached Lobster.
Pricing ranges from $71-$95/person.
Call: (949) 715-9888.

Chef Sanchez is offering off-menu specials as well, including Pecan Crusted Mahi, Three Cheese Ravioli, Roasted Vegetable Quinoa and more.
Call: (949) 940-3010.

Starfish Laguna
And the last entry to hit my desk before publication, Starfish will be featuring Valentine’s Day dishes and libations through the holiday weekend. I hope this means that Mixologist Neil is doing an encore of his Love Potion No. 9. I need some of that!

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

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