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Romantic Cocktails

February 08, 2001|JESSICA STRAND

Where to woo your Valentine over a special drink and nosh:

* Casa del Mar: This hotel with splendid views of pounding surf looks like a Mediterranean palace. Snuggle up on one of the opulent sofas, order Key lime martinis and split an order of calamari with delicate honey sauce. (Key lime martini, $10.50; fried calamari, $10.) Casa del Mar, 1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica, (310) 581-5533.

* Bel-Air Hotel: Relax on an overstuffed couch in the bar at this venerable hideaway and order green-apple martinis. To go with them, grilled barbecue shrimp and spicy slaw, a lobster-and-truffle cheese quesadilla with fingerling potatoes or smoked salmon with potato pancakes and caviar. (Apple martini, $9; shrimp $15; quesadilla, $20; salmon, $18.) Bel-Air Hotel, 701 Stone Canyon Road, L.A., (310) 472-1211.

* Bar Marmont: At this stylish bar with a 1920s interior, have a Butterfly's Kiss (vanilla vodka and Frangelico with a cinnamon stick) or a Marmont Cosmo (raspberry vodka, triple sec and lime) and share a salmon tartare with fried wontons or a deep-fried salmon roll. (Butterfly's Kiss or Marmont Cosmo, $9; Salmon tartare $9; salmon roll, $9.) Bar Marmont, Sunset, Los Angeles, (323) 650-0575.

* Yamashiro: The views are breathtaking in this Hollywood Hills replica of a Kyoto palace. Toast each other with a Cupid (coconut and strawberry juice, Galliano and rum) and have spicy tuna roll, a shrimp tempura roll or an order of yellowtail sushi (they do come in pairs). (Cupid, $7.50; spicy tuna roll, $5; shrimp tempura roll, $7; yellowtail sushi, $5.50.) Yamashiro, 1999 N. Sycamore St., Hollywood, (323) 466-5125.

* Pinot Hollywood: In the lounge full of vintage photographs and casually chic furniture, share a split of Champagne and a tower of tuna tartare in slightly spicy horseradish sauce. (Veuve Clicquot, $38; tuna tartare, $8.95.) Pinot Hollywood, 1448 N. Gower St., Hollywood, (323) 461-8800.

* Splashes: Looking out over the beach in Laguna, have a lemonade made with Absolut, triple sec and sweet and sour, served in a martini glass with a sugared rim, and share an order of steamed mussels and clams in garlic white wine broth. (Splashes lemonade, $6.50; steamed mussels and clams $11.) Splashes, Surf & Sand Hotel, 1555 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, (949) 497-4477.

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