Its Valentine’s Day week and if you are among the many wondering where to dine with your Valentine, wonder no longer! Many Charlotte, NC area restaurants are planning special Valentine’s Day eve and Valentine’s Week menus, and I’ve tried to help make your efforts a bit easier by listing several here in addition to the six restaurants that were my focus on a Valentine’s Restaurant RoundUp segment I did last week on WCNCs morning show, Charlotte Today.
As you think about where you might want to eat, also remember to make reservations as places book up fast – and as Feb 14 falls midweek this week, know that is not just about the day, but the person you with whom you are “Valentining”, so dinner out with your sweetie can take place any day of the week and for that matter any month of the year.
On my list of recommendations for today – six sensational spots you’ll want to consider for Valentines’ Day dining and more. These restaurants are all chef driven, feature local products and are each doing a tremendous job bringing their A games to your table – you’ll want to put each and every one on your must visit soon list.
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But before the pictorial and written lists, I’d like to share the video from the Valentine’s Day Dining segment I did for Charlotte Today. Each of the chefs at these six featured restaurants trusted me to recreate their plates for the show, giving me all the ingredients in separate containers and then drawing up diagrams for how the ensemble of flavors needed to be plated for presentation… LOVE what I do, and always proud to share all the Charlotte culinary horizon has to offer.
And now here’s the recap of the video with a few corrections and additions here since the segment first ran… lets start with
Halcyon Flavors of the Earth, In the Mint Museum Uptown,
500 S Tryon St, Charlotte, NC, 704.910.0865
Halcyon is the restaurant in the Mint Museum in Uptown Charlotte. Parking is convenient in the museum deck – just take the elevator from the parking garage up to the museum entrance level of the building. Plan to arrive a bit before your reservations as you might want to plan a little extra time to stroll through the Mint Museum Gift Shop on the first floor before you head up for dinner. Then, plan to be wowed. Halcyon is offering their regular a la carte menu offerings the week of and for Valentine’s Day Eve as well, but look for specials here and there.
If you have a love for seafood then the Salmon Koulibiac which I showcased in the televised segment is for you. Salmon with a spinach stuffing, surrounded by perfectly cooked local rice grits all wrapped up in a puff pastry crust is a stunning example of the creativity in the kitchen here -all under the guidance of chef Jim Stouffer who features local farms and local product at every turn. As you dine, the view is of the Charlotte kkyline and in seasonable weather there is patio seating as well. Halcyon has been named one of the top ten museum restaurants in the country – yet another reason to put this charming spot on your dining out radar. Visit halcyonflavors.com for more info
Aqua e Vino, 4219 Providence Rd, Charlotte, NC
No matter which night you go to eat at this small chef owned Italian-inspired restaurant you’ll find the romance of a small European cafe. Be sure to make a reservation as the dining room is very small. Lots of regular weekly specials including a Wednesday night Pasta night when the table may order 3 different pasta dishes to share; or check out the Tuesday night three courses for $40 per person special. Also interesting to note that about 80% of the menu at Aqua e Vino is gluten free!
We recently enjoyed a delightful dinner for two at Aqua e Vino. We started with first plates of pasta and salad and the enjoyed a fish dish and this seasonal braised rabbit dish, made with local NC rabbit, sauced and served with roasted carrots over creamy polenta – delicious. For more details, visit aquaevino.com for more info.
Bonterra Dining & Wine Room, 1829 Cleveland Ave, Charlotte, NC, 704.333.9463
When you are looking for a romantic place at which to dine, sometimes its the atmosphere, sometimes its the food and sometimes its because the place has special meaning for you and your Valentine. In the case of me and my sweetheart – this next restaurant fulfills all three categories. Tom and I met at a private event – the wedding of mutual friends – at Bonterra Dining & Wine Room in 2003. In 2006 we were married in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass but then came back to Charlotte and had our wedding reception at Bonterra as well. We love eating dinner at the bar at Bonterra, but its also a fun place to start your evening before you move to a more private table.
Bonterra boasts an extensive wine menu and if you are not ordering a bottle to share, you may each enjoy a different glass of wine ( there are over 100 by-the-glass selections on the list) and share sips of each varietal as you go. Sharing always make the evening more romantic, so you may want to start your evening with a cheese and charcuterie platter for two featuring local NC Wayne County Cheshire Sliced Ham, pickled veggies, crisp toasts, mustard and candied NC peanuts. For Valentine’s Day, Bonterra is offering a special menu of four courses priced at 125 per couple. Visit bonterradining.com ( scroll down to the Valentine’s post) to see all the details .
The Fig Tree Restaurant, 1601 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC
One of the things I love about The Fig Tree Restaurant on 7th Street is the romance of dining in an old historic house. Its white table cloth service and the small intimate dining rooms really set the mood/ No special menu for Valentine’s Day dining ( despite what I said in the TV segment – whoops!), but pastry chef Sam Allen does have several special desserts to help celebrate the occasion, both pictured here without the accompanying home made ice cream!
The first a Bourbon Pear tart served at the restaurant with an innovative Peppadew ice cream, goat cheese caramel, roasted pistachios and a round of crispy phyllo. The second dessert special I am showcasing from The Fig Tree in this post is Chef Sam’s Double Fudge Chocolate cake served with a dark cherry coulis, a chocolate chili truffle, Parmesan Ice cream and feuilletines ( those are the crispy little chards of caramelized sugar) – delicious little melt-in-your-mouth morsels! For more info, visit charlottefigtree.com
Barrington’s Restaurant, 7822 Fairview Rd, Charlotte, NC
Long considered one of the Queen City’s top restaurants, Barrington’s was the first restaurant for Chef Bruce Moffett and I am proud to say I was the first Charlotte food writer to write about Moffett, the restaurant and the wonderful way he cooks. That was back in 2000 and Barrington’s has just kept getting better and better.The cuisine is seasonally driven and then menu features lots of local.Barrington’s is the flagship restaurant to the Moffett Restaurant Group which includes Good Food on Montford and Stagiones. Today this 45 seat restaurant fills up fast on special occasions such as Valentine’s Day and every other day of the week as well. If you’ve not been yet, you don’t know what you are missing.
On television, I featured a soup and salad combo from the Barrington Kitchen – on the left a fresh arugula salad and on the right a rich and creamy parsnip soup. A delicious nuance of flavor on each plate and in every bowl. For Valentine’s Day there is a set prix fixe menu at Barrington’s priced at $65 per person and Stagione is doing some special things as well. For more info visit barringtonsrestaurant.com
McNinch House Restaurant, 511 N Church St, Charlotte, NC
Our last romantic restaurant suggestion takes us to Uptown Charlotte to another historic home – perhaps one of the oldest homes in Charlotte, The McNinch House, now home to Proprietress and owner Ellen Davis. This is destination dining at its finest. Downstairs the home is divided into small dining areas with tables set for 2, 4 or more upon request and reservation. Edible flowers and antique china serve to highlight the wonderful fare prepared by chef Matthew Sheppard.
In this post I’ve featured the beef tenderloin entree from the McNinch House Valentine’s week menu served tonight through Feb 17. The fillet is the evenings fourth course and comes beautifully plated with Lobster and Mushroom Risotto, Port Braised Capollini Onions, Romanesco and a Cognac Bordelaise. Cost for the six course dinner with wine pairings is $175 per person. For more info and to make reservations, visit mcninchhouserestaurant.com
But wait, there’s more....If you are like me and subscribe to your favorite restaurant newsletters, then your inbox has been flooded this week with all that Charlotte area restaurants are offering for this week of hearts and flowers.
In case you have missed your favorites, here is a short list of other Valentine dining options you may want consider… Please note that prix fixe pricing does not include tax and gratuity.
At The Asbury in the Dunhill Hotel in Uptown Charlotte – a four course Valentine’s Tasting menu of farm to fork fare. $85 per person with wine pairings, info at theasbury.com
At Heirloom Restaurant – a six course Valentine’s menu of all Got To Be NC North Carolina goodness as only the award winning culinary team, led by chef and owner Clark Barlowe, can do. Prix Fixe cost is $70 per person; $100 with wine pairings. For more info visit heirloomrestaurantnc.com and click on the Valentine’s Menu tab.
At The Cellar at Duckworth’s also Uptown, they’re holding a special tapping for Valentine’s Day – Grab your sweetheart and join in for a special tapping of the very popular Foothills Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate! Cellar Series Tappings at The Cellar at Duckworth’s are first come, first served and reservations are strongly encouraged. For more info visit thecellaratduckworths.com.
At Parliament Espresso & Coffee Bar, located at 300 S. Tryon St., Ste. 400, celebrate with a special Valentine’s Day Bundle of Parliament’s signature Red Velvet Whoopie Pie and a Small Mocha for just $6, from February 12 to 17. Lovebirds looking to linger a bit longer can cozy into Parliament’s urban oasis and enjoy the signature coffees with breakfast or lunch. For more info visit www.parliamentespresso.com.
At Rocksalt located behind Park Road Shopping Center, look for a 5-Course seafood-centric Valentine’s menu with optional cocktail or wine pairings. $85 per person + $25 per person for wine pairings. For more info visit –rocksaltrestaurants.com
At Global Restaurant in Pineville, NC – enjoy a delicious Prix Fixe 4-Course Menu Tasting Price at $59 per person; with optional wine pairings for an additional $40 per person. For more information visit global-restaurant.com
At Mimosa Grill, Chef Thomas Marlow and his team and cooking up a three course Dinner for Two, prix fixe at $60 per person with an additional charge for wine pairings. For more info visit, harpersgroup.com
At Napa on Providence in Eastover, enjoy at three-course prix fixe dinner priced at $50 per person. The special menu will be available Feb 14- 18. For more info and menu details, visit napaonprovidence.com
At Luca Italian Kitchen, treat your Valentine to a three course San Valentino Menu with lots of choices for you and your sweetie, priced at $60 per person. For all the menu choices and to make your reservation, visit lucaitaliankitchen.com
And if you decide to entertain your Valentine in the privacy of your home, I won’t ask any questions but would like to offer a suggestion… you might want to bring along a little something for dessert, and if that’s the case, visit my friends at Potts Chocolate for the perfect artisan crafted sweet chocolate treat. Potts is located on Cedar Street directly behind the Panther’s Stadium and is extending their hours for the week of Valentine’s. Learn More at pottschocolate.com
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