Celebrate Love

Special spots to share

Posted on February 1, 2018

San Diego is filled with romantic experiences sure to get hearts racing this Valentine’s Day, including decadent dinners, spa-cations, and an over-the-top hotel stay in a luxury suite — of course, just for two.

Room at the Top

For a lofty experience, book two nights in the tenth floor penthouse at La Jolla’s iconic La Valencia Hotel, with panoramic views of the Pacific and La Jolla Cove. Linger over breakfast in bed, and later, at a private dinner on an open-air patio. Soak in La V’s saltwater hot tub, take a dip in the pool, and explore the area’s many cultural offerings. Book the optional San Diego Sea Plane Safari for a birds’ eye view of San Diego’s beauty, and perhaps, a whale or two. Cap off your adventure with a hike to the top of Torrey Pines State Reserve with a catered Champagne picnic tucked in your backpack. 858.454.0771, lavalencia.com

Celebrate Love

La Valencia

Dinners a Deux

There are certain restaurants in San Diego synonymous with romance, including The Marine Room, the landmark oceanfront restaurant with incomparable views. On February 7, Executive Chef Bernard Guillas and Chef de Cuisine Ron Oliver are offering “Romance, Bubbles, Sweets,” a cooking class and three-course dinner with wine pairings. On Valentine’s Day, indulge in a candlelit four-course feast of blue crab timbale, entrees that include butter-basted lobster tail, and a signature dessert trilogy. 858.459.7222, marineroom.com

Celebrate Love

The Marine Room

One of the hautest reservations is V-Day dinner at Addison, Southern California’s only Five Star/Five Diamond Restaurant at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Relaix & Chateaux Grand Chef William Bradley presents a nine-course tasting menu that includes oysters and caviar. 858.314.1900, addisondelmar.com

Celebrate Love

Fairmont Grand Del Mar

Bertrand Hug’s Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe is offering a four-course Valentine’s Day menu, including a choice of veal pave and foie gras, beef filet au poivre, grilled salmon, or root vegetable ravioli gratin. The gustatory experience begins with a smoked eel potato cake with caviar and crème fraîche and ends with a hazelnut chocolate tart or crème brûlée courtesy of Pastry Chef Elisabeth Woesle, Executive Chef Martin Woesle’s wife. Good taste runs in the family. 858.756.3085, millefleurs.com

At the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa, sip Champagne while you watch the sunset in the elegant Park Lounge before heading to dinner at Vivace, known for amore. The prix fixe Valentine’s menu, created by Chef Kevin McCarthy, begins with antipasto of prime tenderloin tartare with black truffle, steelhead crudo, or woodfire-grilled octopus, followed by a pasta course that includes pumpkin ravioli or black linguini with frutti di mare. Choose from such entrees as seared snapper, jidori chicken, and porcini-crusted New York steak. Save room for Il Tesoro Mio (“my treasure” in Italian) — a decadent selection of desserts. 760.603.3773, vivace-restaurant.com

For a more casual atmosphere, sample Seasons Restaurant at the nearby Four Seasons Residence Club with Chef de Cuisine James Waters at the helm. On February 10, have a drink outside on the patio before tasting an amuse bouche of grilled oysters, main courses that include coq au vin and roasted rack of lamb, and for dessert, a sinful chocolate tart. The restaurant also offers a chef’s table, served family style, for special celebrations. For true foodies, pull up a seat for the five-course “kitchen counter” experience with wine pairings or craft beer. 760.814.8677, seasonsaviara.com

Take a culinary journey to one of the world’s most romantic cities, Paris, with Bleu Bohème’s prix fixe “Saint Valentin” dinner on February 14. Menu highlights include steak carpaccio made with house-smoked filet mignon, Maine lobster crepe, crab cakes with jicama remoulade, fresh King salmon with crab, New York steak au poivre, crème brulée, a flourless chocolate cake with Kirsch Chantilly cream, and much more. 619.255.4167, bleuboheme.com

Celebrate Love

Bleu Boheme’s Galette de Crabe

Coronado’s Primavera Ristorante is offering “Menu di San Valentino,” created by Executive Chef Ryan Moore, featuring such delectable dishes as baked oysters topped with bread crumbs, salad of roasted red and gold beets, shrimp-and-crab bisque, and lobster-stuffed ravioli topped with a tomato-vodka cream sauce. Just try to save room for dessert. 619.435.0454, primavera1st.com

Celebrate Love

Primavera Ristorante’s Ravioli di Aragosta

Cozy up with your loved one on Valentine’s evening when Solace & the Moonlight Lounge in Encinitas prepares a special Valentine’s Day menu. Selections include baked oysters, warm leek custard, Ruby Red trout, beef tenderloin, potato dauphine, handmade black pepper pappardelle, pumpkin seed pesto, dark chocolate pot de crème, and passion fruit-mascarpone tart. 760.753.2433, eatsolace.com

Your Valentine will be hooked on Decoy Dockside Dining with views of Lake San Marcos and wood-fired new American fare. The restaurant’s “Perfect Pair for Two” dinner includes a 12-ounce prime chateaubriand and a 14-ounce lobster tail with mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, appetizers and dessert. Or choose the three-course “Love Potion Aphrodisiac.” Special menus are available February 14-17. Treat your special someone to an overnight stay at Lakehouse Hotel & Resort. 760.653.3230, lakehousehotelandresort.com

Celebrate the romance of Greece in Downtown San Diego with a four-course dinner and optional wine pairings showcasing Greek wines at Mezé Greek Fusion in the Gaslamp Quarter. The dinner begins with a special amuse-bouche followed by a first course of beet spread, taramasalata, and tzatziki served with warm pita; cream of roasted beet soup and a Greek wedge salad; and entrée choices that include lamb chops, chicken souvlaki and fettuccini ala Greca. Finish the feast with flourless chocolate cake and loukamades with ice cream and raspberry sauce 619.550.1600, gaslampmeze.com

Little Italy is the perfect place to stroll the lively streets and dine at its many restaurants including the popular Juniper and Ivy, Civico 1845, Enoteca Style Wine Bar, Buon Appetito, and more. Put on the ritz at Born & Raised, a glitzy steakhouse and bar with a rooftop terrace that is creating major buzz (619.202.4577, bornandraisedsteak.com). After dinner, stop in for a specialty cocktail at Craft & Commerce or Kettner Exchange. End the evening on a sweet note at Extraordinary Desserts, iDessert or the brand new Salt & Straw. littleitalysd.com

At Point Loma’s Liberty Station, wine and dine at Solare Ristorante, whose Chef Accursio Lota recently took best chef honors at Barilla’s Pasta World Championship in Italy. At Officine Buona Forchetta, split a two-foot-long “pizza al metro.” Sample sweets at Chi Chocolat, an artisan chocolatier. libertystation.com

Explore the historic halls of Liberty Public Market for a spontaneous evening of delicious sips and bites. With a glass of wine, cocktail, or craft beer in hand, start off a free-spirited evening at Mess Hall Bar, then satisfy cravings — from salty to savory — at dozens of specialty food vendors. For indulgent desserts, head to Crafted Baked Goods, Le Parfait Paris, or Scooped. libertypublicmarket.com 

Spa-cations

The Spa at L’Auberge Del Mar is highlighting month-long specials to inspire romance and relaxation, including the “Chocolate Lover’s Escape,” a chocolate body mask followed by a massage with chocolate-scented oil. Or, you might prefer the “Full Body Wine Down,” an anti-oxidant body wrap filled with resveratrol, a phyto-nutrient found abundantly in red wine. 858.793.6493, laubergedelmar.com

The Spa at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar is featuring a “Romance Ritual” for couples all month long, including a mineral-rich bath and side-by-side wraps and massages, as well as manicures and pedicures at the resort’s Haim Salon (Champagne and sweets included). Show your feet a little love with a rose petal pedicure, a warm foot bath with a rose-infused scrub, massage and body butter. 858.314.2020, fairmont.com/san-diego

Rediscover romance at The Spa at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe alongside your Valentine for a day of pampering from head to toe. The “Sweetheart Special,” offered at the special rate of $180 per person (normally $275) includes an 80-minute couples aromatherapy massage, lavender foot scrub, warm orange oil scalp massage, Prosecco and truffles to follow, $20 off your next treatment, and access to The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe’s private pool, fitness center, and spa relaxation courtyard. Appointments must be booked before February 28, 2018. 858.381.8255

February at AquaVie Fitness + Wellness is all about “self love,” with customizable spa treatments centered on wellness. Whether you’re looking to pamper yourself or a loved one, the team has crafted three Valentine’s Day-inspired spa treatments — the Elemi and Rose Body Veil Massage, Himalayan Pink Salt and Rose Oil Pedicure, and Rose Quartz Facial — that include all-day access to the rooftop pool and Jacuzzi, relaxation room, steam room, and dry sauna. 619.557.3663, aquaviewellness.com

For a unique experience, have a massage with Himalayan pink salt stones while relaxing on a heated quartz sand table at Kona Kai Resort’s SpaTerre on Shelter Island. The table, topped with warm sand, soothes sore muscles, eases pain, and increases circulation. This month, the spa is also offering couples a post-massage half-price “serenity soak” in a rose-petal strewn tub. Stroll the resort’s private beach, lounge by the fire pits, or toast your sweetheart on the deck of Vessel Restaurant overlooking the 500-slip marina. 619.819.8154, resortkonakai.com

Celebrate Love

Kona Kai Resort’s SpaTerre

The Aviara Spa at the Park Hyatt is offering “Spark at The Park” in the exclusive couples’ suite with its own fireside lounge and a private patio with whirlpool. The experience includes massages, chocolate-covered strawberries, and a bit of bubbly. The spa recently launched a new menu of “nature meets nurture” treatments inspired by the resort’s coastal ambience. Carlsbad’s beaches are nearby, and the resort overlooks the beautiful Batiquitos Lagoon, a wildlife sanctuary with one of the few remaining tidal wetlands on the Southern California coast. In keeping with the Park Hyatt’s setting, try the “Carlsbad Sea Stone Massage,” a luxurious rub with scented oils and soothing stones to relax muscles and relieve stress. 760.603.6902, aviara.park.hyatt.com

A Legendary Celebration

The historic Hotel del Coronado is celebrating its 130th anniversary in 2018. During the month of love, consider the Icons + Masters Anniversary Gala on February 17, a black-tie celebration with five of the nation’s French Master Chefs. Xavier Salomon, Olivier Dubreiul, Steve Benjamin, Frederic Castan, and The Del’s own Patrick Ponsaty Stefan Peroutka will create a five-course dinner inspired by vintage menus of The Del, followed by dancing to the music of a multi-piece orchestra. 619.468.3533, hoteldel.com

Mountains and a Movie

For something more adventurous, gather your loved ones on February 10 for Valentines on Volcan, a hike sponsored by the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy. The moderate-to-strenuous trek north of Julian is well worth the effort, offering spectacular views of the Anza-Borrego Desert, Salton Sea, and Coronado Islands. Enjoy a picnic and wine tasting at the peak. 858.472.3075, valentinesonvolcan.eventbrite.com

In what is surely one of the more unusual ways to mark Valentine’s Day, consider an outdoor screening of the 50-year-old blockbuster Bonnie & Clyde, starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. The classic film, about a couple who robs banks back in the 1930s, is being screened in a place that couldn’t be more ironic: The Headquarters at Seaport, former home of the San Diego Police Department. Grab a blanket and chairs — and your “partner in crime” — for the free film at 6pm on February 14. 619.235.4013, theheadquarters.com

No Valentine? No Problem!

Prohibition, San Diego’s swanky speakeasy, will help singles celebrate breakups and romantic freedom with an “I Got The Blues” party complete with craft cocktails and live music on February 14. Beverage director and lead mixologist, Ryan Andrews, has created three cocktails for the party: “Old Fashioned Heartbreak” (made with Wild Turkey Rye 101, Cherry Heering, and R&D Cherry Apple Bitters, served with a package of Kleenex), “I Lost My Heart in Manhattan” (made with Russell’s Reserve Prohibition Single Barrel bourbon, Yzaguirre sweet vermouth, Bénédictine and R&D House Bitters, served with breath mints), and “You Were the Bee’s Knees” (made with Damrak gin, fresh lemon, honey and peach bitters, served with a blank stamped postcard). Guests who bring in a photo of their ex-lover to shred will receive a complimentary shot of whiskey. prohibitionsd.com

Celebrate Love

Prohibition

Prohibition: Photo by Kevin Daniels