Love is in the air! Food and romance have gone hand in hand for as long as most of us can remember, and there’s no better excuse to indulge in delicious food than Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re treating yo'self (self-love is the best love, y’all), your parents, your BFF(s) or your partner, these ten restaurants are sure to set you in the loving mood, trust us. After all, the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach.
Ok, so a Valentine’s Day vacay to Laos may be out of the question, but that doesn’t mean that Bida Manda can’t take your taste buds on a decadent trip to South Asia. The warm, intimate lighting exudes romance as you dine amongst images and relics from Laos and art from local artists.
Located in the old Melrose Knitting Mill, Mulino is one of those restaurants that you’ll find yourself in awe over when you first walk in. Despite its sprawling size, you soon feel as though you’re dining in the Italian countryside, and what’s more romantic than a plate of pasta and a bold glass of wine? I mean, have you seen Lady and the Tramp?
Tucked away in the historic Mordecai neighborhood sits this little gem, which has earned its accolades as a go-to spot for hyper-local, fresh and creative interpretation of Southern fare. Due to its focus on seasonality, the menu is often a surprise - but who doesn’t love a little surprise every so often?
You know those cozy neighborhood restaurants that seem to take the ordinary and elevate it to a new level? That’s what you should expect to walk into at Crawford and Son. Nestled amongst a quaint strip of hip shops and eateries on Person St., Crawford and Son is the kind of place that, through both ambiance and cuisine, makes you feel right at home.
Ah, l’amour. What better way to celebrate love than at a French eatery? The small and intimate setting at Royale is reminiscent of a traditional French bistro, but that’s about where the tradition ends. Expect contemporary twists on the French food you know and love, and don’t be surprised if that dish you loved a few months ago isn’t available anymore—Chef Jeff Seizer keeps things fresh with a menu that changes with the seasons and current local ingredient availability.
To say that Littler’s menu is different is an understatement. What the restaurant lacks in dining space (there’re only 30 seats in the Durham location) it makes up for in flavor. Stand out menu items include chicken fried duck tongue and savory beef heart tartare. If you’re not up for that much adventure, Littler’s also servin' up dishes like NC Red Drum and roasted Guinea hens.
There’s something inherently romantic about dining in an art museum, and Iris in NCMA’s west building is no exception. This is the place for the art buffs, the design geeks and the lovers of the kind of aesthetic that only a museum restaurant can convey. The dishes themselves are individual works of art so be sure to take a picture because they certainly won’t last long!
There’s a reason Nana’s has been a Triangle favorite since 1992. It’s a perfect balance of traditional fine dining and warm, familiar comfort - making it ideal spot to get your romance on in Durham. To get the full experience, we recommend the tasting menu, which, at $75 per person is definitely a splurge but we guarantee you’ll walk out knowing that it was well worth the indulgence.
If you’re looking to turn up the heat this Valentine’s day, look no further than Soca. Short for “South of the tropic of Cancer,” the restaurant’s extensive menu takes you on a treasure-filled journey through Central America, the Caribbean and down to South America. Whether you decide to stick to traditional preparations with the “Platos de la Gente” or are open to contemporary interpretations of favorite regional dishes, just make sure you save plenty of room for dessert!
As soon as you walk into this colorful Mediterranean eatery, you know that you’re in for a truly unique dining experience. Surreal art by Henryk Fantazos adorns the walls and ceiling, perfect for the Dalí lovers in your life!