Houston Is For Lovers: Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Great Dining Ideas

Bistro Provence

Ah, amour, that giddy feeling that sends hearts soaring! A kiss, a wink, the touch of hands holding—that feeling of sheer terror as you realize you should be out celebrating and you have no idea where to go.
Fear not. Here are our top picks of the Bayou City’s Valentine’s Day dining options. There’s something here for every personality and price range, from casual dining to fancy fare.

Bistro Menil, 1513 West Alabama: This Museum District restaurant has always been known for haute dishes inspired by chef Greg Martin’s European travels. See how that manifests with a four-course, pre-fixe dinner for $74 per person from February 10 to 12. Seatings begin at 4 p.m. Roasted sea bass with braised pork belly and mushroom reduction, oxtail and duck confit risotto, lemon-thyme sous vide chicken and raspberry Pavlova with dark chocolate sauce are on the menu.

Bistro Provence, 13616 Memorial: There’s a story to this Valentine’s dinner, and its chapters are “Seduction,” “Passion” and “Happily Ever After.” The $65 three-course, pre-fixe menu begins with a complementary glass of Crémant de Limoux rosé. Selections include lobster bisque, salmon and apple tartare, beef filet mignon, roasted duck breast, red berry Napoleon and aphrodisiac chocolate pot de crème.

Café Chino, 3285 Southwest Freeway: Special to the menu for Valentine’s Day are Maine lobster and whole fish, which symbolize longevity in Chinese culture. Adding to the unique experience: a Pacific Rim “street market” where chef May Chan will demonstrate how she makes chive and pork dumplings.

Couples can check out chef Hugo Ortega’s coastal Mexican-style fare at Caracol for Valentine’s Day. Photo by Julie Soefer

Caracol, 2200 Post Oak: A $110-per-couple, four-course dinner is available from February 10 to 13 at Tracy Vaught and chef Hugo Ortega’s home of coastal Mexican fare. Choose from (among other dishes) endive with poached lobster, cauliflower soup, red-tipped romaine salad with baby beets, braised beef cheek, sautéed shrimp, pan-seared jumbo scallops and slow-roasted pork. Pastry chef Ruben Ortega’s excellent desserts await as ending indulgences. This special Valentine’s Day menu is a terrific opportunity to sample the fare of one of Houston’s most lauded chefs.

Chez Nous, 217 South Avenue G, Humble: Reservations for Valentine’s Day are sold out, but Chef Stacy Crowe-Simonson added seatings on Monday, February 13 at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. The $85 per person three-course pre-fixe menu includes options such as brandied lobster bisque, escargot, veal scallopine, beef Wellington, and the restaurant’s once-a-year Coeur a la Crème, a confection of mascarpone, Tahitian vanilla and fresh berries. If you’ve never made it to this cozy, romantic spot, this is a perfect reason to go.

Ciao Bello, 5161 San Felipe: Tony Vallone’s casual Italian restaurant has three courses of Italian favorites available for $45 per person. Ciao Bello has always been upscale-comfortable, so expect dishes that will help you feel the love. A bottle of prosecco from the Italian region of Veneto will carry you through the meal in a festive way. Entreé selections include seared diver scallops with prosciutto, taleggio-pea risotto and charred tomato purée as well as Parmesan-crusted red snapper ravello enhanced with jumbo lump crab and Roma tomatoes.

Frosé at Upstairs at Hungry's
The Frozé (frozen rosé) cocktail at Upstairs at Hungry’s in Rice Village. Photo by Chuck Cook Photography

Hungry’s, 2356 Rice Blvd: If you want to start Valentine’s Day with excellent cocktails before moving on to  comfort food with a sophisticated kick, this is the place. Begin at swanky lounge Upstairs at Hungry’s with their “Sweetheart Specials” on wine, beer and cocktails. Signature drinks on special for only $5 from Friday, February 10 through Tuesday, February 14 include Kir Royale, Old Fashioned, Grapefruit Spritz, Just Beet It, Bellinis and Frozé (frozen rosé). Afterward, move downstairs for your dinner reservation. Share an appetizer and dessert with your sweetie, while each of you gets your own individual salad and entrée. The four-course Valentine’s Day dinner is $45 per person and available from Friday, February 10 until Tuesday, February 14. Choose from selections like baked goat cheese with French baguette, steak frites, herb Parmesan-crusted trout and chocolate lava cake.

La Table, 1800 Post Oak: This option is ideal for couples with young children (who don’t want to spring for a babysitter). The pre-Valentine’s Day Sunday brunch option is served family style, including pastries, scrambled eggs, fruit and the restaurant’s signature orange brioche French toast. There are also specialty stations for oysters, shrimp cocktail and seafood ceviche, cheese and charcuteries, salads, a carving station and decadent desserts. The cost is $59 per adult and $29 per child.

Prohibition Supperclub & Bar, 1008 Prairie: Bring sexy seduction to the table with the Moonlight Dolls’ “Beast” burlesque show the weekend before Valentine’s Day. The description of the show is, “French fashion and American euphoria collide in a dark fantasy in a fairytale forest.” A three-course dinner will be served during the performance for $65 per person and includes choices of the signature soup or salad of the day, surf and turn with short rib Bourguignon and a poached lobster tail, and a Third Coast Boil with poached lobster tail and head-on Gulf shrimp. End the meal with chocolate cheesecake and a dessert shot. If you’re wanting a little theatrical excitement with your Valentine’s Day celebration, this one is not to be missed. (Show tickets are sold separately).

Reserve 101 whiskey
On Valentine’s Day, enjoy Reserve 101’s whiskey paired with Cacao & Cardamom chocolates for a low-key celebration.
Photo by Phaedra Cook

Reserve 101, 1201 Caroline: If you want an experience that is low key but still feels fancy, Reserve 101 is hosting a whiskey and chocolate tasting at 7 p.m. Check out distillers’ editions of Oban, Lagavulin, Cragganmore and Dalwhinnie scotch paired with chocolates from Cacao & Cardamom. Seating is limited; reservations advised. The cost is $75 per couple.

Ritual, 602 Studewood: Ritual’s XO Piggy! Valentine’s Brunch gets the prize for most unique offering in town. On Saturday, February 11 and Sunday, February 12, from noon to 3:00 p.m., stop by the Piglet Kissing Booth and take a selfie with Jimmy Dean, a cute micro pig. Also on the brunch menu: 19 Champagnes paired with fresh-squeezed juices like blackberry, blood orange and mint, spiced apple and pear, and kiwi strawberry.

Roost, 1972 Fairview: Chef Kevin Naderi’s popular Montrose spot offers a three-course selection, complete with Champagne, for $60 per person. The food here is kicked-up home cuisine, and you can choose from selections such as endive salad with candied pecans, roasted Hudson Valley duck breast, smoked roast beef, and coffee and doughnut holes.

Rouge Wine Bar, 1400 Eldridge Parkway: Maybe a white tablecloth dinner isn’t for you. If so, here’s a better option. The Valentine’s Day option at Rouge Wine Bar (next to French restaurant Le Mistral) is simply a bottle of wine and any wood-oven pizza on the menu. Try the Farmer’s Pizza topped with pancetta, onions, brie and black olives or the Parma and Goat Cheese pizza with prosciutto, goat cheese and arugula salad. If the mood strikes and you want to get a little fancy after all, spring for bubbly Champagne or prosecco.

Sylvia's South of the Border Enchilada Sampler
Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen’s “South of the Border” enchilada sampler. Photo by Paula Murphy

Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen, 6401 Woodway and 1140 Eldridge Parkway: Feel some love and comfort with “Enchilada Queen” Sylvia Caesares’ Tex-Mex favorites in a three-course, $30 per person pre-fixe Valentine’s menu. Choose from ceviche, Mexican-style Caesar salad, carne asada, a tasting tray of four petite Tex-Mex enchiladas and chocolate tres leches.

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