Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

O.C. Eats

Appetite for Romance

Lovers Have Plenty of Options for Dining Out on Valentine's Day

February 08, 2001|DANA GLAD FARRAR | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The way to a man's--or woman's--heart is through the stomach. Whether you're planning a midweek tryst on Valentine's Day or a more relaxing weekend celebration before or after the big love-in, be sure to make reservations early for what is always one of the most popular dining-out holidays of the year.

*

Where Lovebirds Flock

San Juan Capistrano is romantic for species other than swallows. Best of all, you can trade road rage for relaxation by taking the train to the center of its charming historic district. Cross the tracks behind you, turn right and you'll see an aqua farmhouse with a wraparound porch.

The Tea House at Los Rios has pink tablecloths and attractive mismatched china. Valentine's Day tea at noon and 2 p.m. includes champagne or cider, a scone, finger sandwiches, and fresh fruit with brown sugar and cream. Late hours will be kept for special-event dinners Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday between 5:45 and 7 p.m. You can feast on a $35 five-course prix-fixe meal of herb-roasted game hen or bacon-wrapped filet mignon, each served with garlic mashed potatoes.

For a few dollars more per person, add champagne and wine to your dinner. Or go for broke with the piece de resistance: a vase of a dozen red roses on the table when you arrive. Sounds like the perfect way to propose. 31731 Los Rios, San Juan Capistrano. (949) 443-3914.

Or if you're having trouble getting up your nerve, why not head around the corner to El Adobe? The cocktail lounge of this restaurant popular with the Nixons was once the Miguel Yorba Adobe, built in 1797. After a couple of margaritas, you can casually walk onto the brick patio out back and check out the restaurant's wedding chapel, complete with two stained-glass windows. 31891 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano. (949) 830-8620.

A little farther down Camino Capistrano is Cafe Mozart. If it's not too cold, dine on the picturesque outdoor patio, featuring a mural and trickling fountain. A holiday menu features continental fare such as filet mignon and lobster with bearnaise sauce, chicken Wellington, osso buco and bouillabaisse. 31952 Camino Capistrano, (949) 496-0212.

*

Love, Laguna Style

Turtledoves, a cozy fireplace, puffy pillows and opera music await at Ti Amo, whose name means "I love you." Valentine's Day tables are already hard to come by at this well-priced and disarmingly lovely Italian restaurant dressed up with trompe-l'oeil murals and twinkling lights, so you might have to plan on heading there before or after the big day. 31727 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. (949) 499-5350.

But with a little creativity and very little money, you can still enjoy some cuddling with Laguna as a backdrop. Stop by Las Brisas for a drink with a view of the South County coastline that's a favorite with painters. (361 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach. [949] 497-5434) Or head across the street to Diedrich Coffee, where for the price of a cappuccino you can gaze at the beach in warm comfort through a huge tinted window. There are even a few love seats. (180 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. [949] 497-7660) Afterward you can pick up a sweets by the piece at Candy Baron, (231 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach. [949] 497-7508) or grab ice cream cones or smoothies at Chantilly Ice Cream (202 Park Ave., Laguna Beach. [949] 494-7702) and enjoy them on a tiled bench for two near the beach-side playground.

*

Corona del Amour

Have a drink and some super-thin shoestring fries while basking in the glow of a roaring campfire in an Adirondack chair at the super stylish Cowboy Seafood. 850 Avocado Ave., Corona del Mar. (949) 718-0188. You can stick around for some ribs and roasted chicken or, if you're feeling more formal, head across the highway to Rothschild's. This romantic standard is strictly a white tablecloth and serious oil painting kind of place. A four-course dinner for $60 per person offers starters such as lobster bisque and entrees such as blackened lamb loin or grilled jumbo sea scallops. 2407 E. Coast Highway, Corona del Mar. (949) 673-3750.

*

Wild at Heart

Who says you can't find love, or at least food to love, in a mini-mall? Bask in the low light at the Wild Artichoke, with its tasteful green walls and funky artichoke painting. A three-course meal for two is $75 with two glasses of champagne. Light your fire with steak flambe with green peppercorn sauce, or try escolar with tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms and homemade basil gnocchi. 4973-A Yorba Ranch Road, Yorba Linda. (714) 777-9646.

You don't have to have a Harley to leave South County suburbia behind for a curvy highway and towering oaks of Trabuco Canyon. For a funky date, check out Trabuco Oaks, a cowboy-themed steakhouse with denim place mats and a jukebox. The 2-pound cowboy steak is perfect for sharing. 20782 Trabuco Oaks Road, Trabuco Canyon. (949) 586-0722.

*

Passion Plates

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|