Table For Two

by Kathryn Brooks, Michael Powers and Lisa Turner

This Valentine’s Day, why not share a delicious dinner served in a beautiful setting with your special someone and see where the night takes you? Here are eight romantic Valley restaurants that top our list.
The House Brasserie

Chef Matt Carter, known for The Mission, Fat Ox and Zinc Bistro restaurants, can add The House Brasserie to his list of culinary successes. Set in a charming, yet sophisticated, little ‘20s bungalow in Old Town Scottsdale, the restaurant evokes a bygone era. The vibe is vintage-chic and the menu of modern American fare allows guests to be a part of cutting-edge world cuisine.

Offering a Valentine’s Day three-course menu, entrée selections include Stonington Bay Scallops, Roasted Quail and Akaushi New York Strip Steak. Romantics can either enjoy their meals inside on a red leather banquette under sparkling chandeliers, or outside on a sprawling patio complete with white picket fence and brick fireplace by an impressive tree. https://thehousebrasserie.com

Mora Italian

Home to Scott Conant’s seasonal menu of modern osteria fare, Mora Italian is an ideal spot for Valentine’s Day dinner. The atmosphere is comfy, the service friendly and the food delicious.

Start your meal with one of the eclectic cocktails inspired by Italian aperitifs or a glass from the well-curated wine list that spans both old and new-world styles. A hearty table-side bread cart, daily handmade pasta, wood-fired pizza Napoletana and a collection of satisfying mains and antipasti set the stage for a remarkable meal.

Ask to be seated at a cozy red-leather banquette or, if you prefer, outside on the patio. The pasta is a must and, if you and your significant other are into chocolate, the warm chocolate cake serve with hazelnut gelato, spiced nutella and hazelnut brittle is an absolute must. https://www.moraitalian.com

Cafe Monarch

Whether you prefer a late morning breakfast on a sun-drenched patio, or a candlelit dinner under the stars, Cafe Monarch in Old Town Scottsdale delivers. Begin your Valentine’s Day evening with one of the signature cocktails such as a Strawberry Negroni or a Monarch Gin Fizz.

Then settle in to this ultra-romantic setting by selecting the seasonal, four-course prix fixe menu. The chef-inspired high-end fare leans toward classic fine dining where filet mignon and foie gras are mainstays.

End the meal on a sweet note with choices such as Banana Foster Beignets with crème Anglaise, vanilla bean gelato and caramel sauce or Chocolate Flourless Cake topped with macerated strawberries, raspberry coulis and Chantilly crème. https://www.cafemonarch.com

House of Tricks

With its sun-dappled patio, tree-covered bar and two historic bungalows, it’s no wonder Robert and Robin Trick’s cozy dining oasis in the heart of Tempe remains as popular as ever 30 years into the game.

Tuck into a candlelit table on the outdoor patio or around the vintage stone fireplace indoors and enjoy a rustic, seasonal farm-inspired menu, which mixes French and Southwest flavors into elegant plates of grilled meats and fish in delicate sauces. The menu, which  changes frequently, may include specialties such as duck confit with sweet onion purée and grilled salmon with honey-parsnip purée and five-spice sauce.

The patio, filled with flowers, shade trees and a fireplace, has an outdoor bar that’s built around a tree – a great place to linger for an after-dinner nightcap. www.houseoftricks.com

Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn

One eyeful of the surroundings at this fine-dining establishment at The Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley, and it’s easy to see what may once have inspired the restaurant’s namesake, legendary artist Lon Megargee, to call it home in the ‘30s.

An enchanting patio and an indoor setting of old Arizona charm — think wood-beamed ceilings, beehive fireplaces, and wrought-iron chandeliers — are perfect spots to enjoy chef Jeremy Pacheco’s artful American cuisine and drinks made with Lon’s private label whiskey from Del Bac.

Begin the three-course Valentine’s Day menu with a grilled asparagus salad dressed with honey-quark dressing, shaved beets and arugula. Entrées include beef, fowl, pork and fish dishes. Choose vanilla bean panna cotta or the decadent five layer chocolate cake to complete the meal. https://www.hermosainn.com/lons

Talavera

Talavera delivers exquisite cuisine, well-considered wine pairings and truly spectacular views of the high Sonoran desert. If you’d like to enjoy your meal with a backdrop of the sun setting over Pinnacle Peak, time your reservation and book a table on the outdoor patio.

While the menu is partially comprised of upscale New American fare, juicy, well-prepared steaks, game, and seafood also find a welcome place. There are some fun touches within the sophisticated service, such as tableside preparation of appetizers to desserts, and an offering of “his” and “her” steak knives. For a true indulgence, try the five-course wine-paired tasting menu with dishes selected by the chef. www.talaverarestaurant.com

Quiessence Restaurant & Wine Bar

This farmhouse turned eatery, nestled in the historic and pastoral Farm at South Mountain, exudes romance both in setting and cuisine. The formal dining area, framed by mulberry trees strung with tiny lights, offers views of the surrounding working produce farm.

Chef Dustin Christofolo’s American cuisine includes an array of the season’s freshest ingredients, pulled straight from the farm’s organic garden. Hearth breads are baked on premises in an outdoor wood oven, and the menu features vegetarian dishes as well as meat and fish and homemade pastas in a refined-casual ambience.

Guests are invited to stroll through the flower gardens before or after dinner. For a more romantic encounter, cozy up near the fireplace or enjoy a relaxed wine-and-cheese pairing on a patio. https://www.thefarmatsouthmountain.com/quiessence-restaurant/

elements

No selection of local restaurants offering five-star cuisine, stylish décor and breathtaking views would be complete without including elements. Located in Paradise Valley at the posh Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain Resort, this spot gets an A+ for romance. Be sure to time your evening meal just right to ensure a stunning sunset backdrop.

The Food Network veteran and local legend Executive Chef Beau MacMillan continues to create exceptional dishes crafted from local organic produce, sustainable seafood and hormone-free meats for an Asian-inspired menu.

His four-course prix fixe Valentine’s Day menu includes specialities such as Bacon-Wrapped Filet of Beef served with gratin potatoes, savoy spinach in a foie gras emulsion and Seared Diver Scallops with lobster risotto, asparagus and sweet corn enhanced with poblano vinaigrette. https://www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com/dining/elements/