By Adrian Schramm

Valentine’s Day. Some call it a “Hallmark holiday,” full of unnecessary pressure and unrealistic standards of romance. Others find it to be a necessary expression of companionship. February 14th is, at it’s core, a day of celebration. One of the greatest parts of humanity is our ability to love, to find another human being with whom every moment is magic. And that deserves at least one day of recognition. Celebrate Valentine’s Day at one of these local restaurants and show your loved one how truly special they are.

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112 Eatery
112 3rd St. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 343-7696

A little more casual than some of the restaurants we dicuss next, 112 is where you go when you want perfection without pretense. Unconventional for Valentine’s Day maybe, but hear us out: The low lighting, exposed brick, and beautiful presentation of food and drink make it actually a very romantic setting. The menu is full of items begging to be shared; so many small plates you can feed to your loved one or they to you, and so much variety that you won’t have to worry whether he/she will be able to find something they like. Plus, service is impeccable and they’re open until 1am so you don’t have to stress about finding that perfect 7:30 dinner slot. See? Perfection.

410 St. Peter St.
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 222-5676

Elegance and quality meet for a romantic evening in downtown St. Paul. Over the years, Meritage’s has emerged as one of the best French restaurants and places for fresh seafood (the selection of oysters is always wonderful), making it one of the best dining experiences the Twin Cities’ have to offer. And the setting matches the quality of the food; you’ll take a trip to Paris without leaving Minnesota. With the palatial Landmark center, and soaring St. Paul Hotel just outside, it is truly the perfect location for you and your loved one.

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Restaurant Alma
528 University Ave. S.E.
>Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 379-4909

Quietly one of the best restaurants in the state, Alma is, and always will be, the best choice for date night. A recent expansion has added a more casual cafe next door, and a hotel above, but the stars still shine brightest at dinnertime. Along with the expansion came a remodel of the dining room, making it an even more comfortable and pleasant dining experience. The prixe fix menu showcases the region’s best offerings to create a locavore’s wet dream, but dining a la carte is available as well.

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786 Randolph Ave.
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 330-2245

A warm and cozy restaurant takes you far from the cold February winds outside. This is Italian done right. And while slurping pasta may not sound like the elegance that Valentine’s Day requires, Italians know a thing or two about romance. With a bottle of wine on the table, a plate of gnocci to share, and some of the state’s best spaghetti, everything seems just right. Mucci’s is a blend of casual and sophisticated; you don’t have to dine on white tablecloths to have an incredible dinner experience. Plus, if you’re date is in for a little fun, head to The Spot (established 1885) for a nightcap after you’re finished eating.

St. Genevieve
5003 Bryant Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55419
(612) 353-4843

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Two French restaurants on the list? Well, Paris is a city of romance. But this isn’t Meritage; you can’t find another experience like this in Minnesota. First of all, St. Genevieve specializes in Champagne. Before you say, well I’ve had plenty of Champagne in my life, let us say that you haven’t had Champagne quite like this. It’s the perfect toast to your loved wine, the perfect end to a meal of small plates served with impeccable precision, tartines and tartare, and other French classics with a twist from chef Steven Brown. It’s the perfect setting; the embodiment of that feeling you get inside when you’re with the person you love.

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