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13 Valentine's Day dinners that you don't have to make yourself

Cooking for your sweetie is a very romantic gesture, but if you want to take a night off this Valentine’s Day and treat him or her to a special night out, we’ve got some ideas. Love is certainly in the air at these Southern restaurants.

Photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

Maraella Winery

Dinner and Wine Pairing at Maraella Winery in Hokes Bluff, Alabama

You’ll have three different chances to experience Maraella Winery’s sixth annual Valentine’s dinner and wine pairing, which will be served Feb. 11 through 14. This year, Chef Jamie Hughes of Local Joe’s barbecue in Cave Spring, Georgia has created a four-course feast to pair with the wine. On the menu is everything from burrata with heirloom tomato, basil and lime caviar to roasted quail with cranberry tarragon stuffing. For a sweet treat to finish, diners will enjoy a dark chocolate and blood orange mousse cake.

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Photo credit: Brenda Bryant Facebook

Palme d

Valentine’s Dinner at Palme d’Or in the Biltmore Miami Coral Gables in Coral Gables, Florida

Specializing in authentic French cuisine, the Palme d’Or in the Biltmore Miami hotel is one of the best restaurants in Florida. The five-star experience continues on Valentine’s Day with a six-course dinner created by Michelin-starred chef Gregory Pugin. The romantic meal will begin with Alaskan king crab, Golden oscietra caviar and seared scallops before moving on to prime beef tenderloin, a Valrhona chocolate tasting and more.

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Photo credit: Eddie Hernandez Facebook

Atlas Buckhead

Sweetest Time of Year at Atlas in Atlanta, Georgia

At Atlanta's Atlas restaurant, you can celebrate with friends or your sweetheart. There, Executive Chef Christopher Grossman has created a $150 four-course prix fixe menu showcasing seasonal flavors and ingredients. Diners have two wine pairing options (the Classic for $75 and the Legendary for $150) that have been hand-picked from Atlas’ collection to go with its Valentine’s Day meal, the highlight of which is Pastry Chef Christian Castillo’s “All You Need is Love” dessert — chocolate cremeux, passion fruit coulis, passion fruit ganache, raspberry sable and pistachio sponge cake. 

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Photo credit: Lauren Klopfenstein (Caren West PR)

TWO urban licks

Cozy Valentine’s Day dinner at TWO urban licks in Atlanta, Georgia

At TWO urban licks, lovebirds can share items from a seasonal a la carte menu created by Executive Chef Michael Bertozzi, along with other seasonal specials. With great views of the Atlanta skyline and live music from Little G Weevil, this Valentine’s Day dinner can be enjoyed by couples or groups of friends. 

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Photo credit: Lauren Klopfenstein (Caren West PR)


Romantic dinner at Canoe in Atlanta, Georgia

Situated on the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta is Canoe  one of the most romantic restaurants in the country and the perfect setting for a Valentine’s dinner. The three-course dinner menu, created by Chef Matthew Basford, has something for everyone. Diners can choose from Rhode Island calamari, lobster and clam chowder, oven roasted filet mignon, cocoa-crusted New Zealand venison and Georgia white shrimp carbonara. 

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Photo credit: Canoe Restaurant Facebook


Three-course Valentine’s Day dinner at Dudley’s on Short in Lexington, Kentucky

Since 1981, Dudley’s on Short has been a favorite in downtown Lexington. Known for its creative American cuisine and beautiful setting, Southern Living named it the most romantic restaurant in Kentucky. What better place to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Chef Mark Richardson has created a three-course menu specifically for the holiday, and it will make you swoon. Diners can choose between East Coast oysters or scallop crudo to begin the meal. For the main course, there are six different options including branzino, tenderloin and bone-in rib eye. And for dessert, the meal ends with red velvet cheesecake, pavlova or princess cake. 

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Photo credit: Dudley's On Short Facebook

Estelle Wine Bar and Bistro

Valentine’s Day at Estelle Wine Bar and Bistro in Jackson, Mississippi

Located in downtown Jackson, Estelle is a modern wine bar and bistro offering bold flavors and innovative cocktails. For Valentine’s Day, Chef Matthew Kajdan has created a lovely menu for couples out celebrating their love. The menu also includes wine pairings for each item. 

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Photo credit: Estelle Wine & Bistro Facebook

Childress Vineyards

Valentine’s Day dinner in the Bistro at Childress Vineyards in Lexington, North Carolina

Couples dining in the Bistro at Childress Vineyards are in for a treat on Valentine’s Day. There, they will be able to choose from an exclusive a la carte menu of savory dishes and sweet treats to celebrate their love. Some of the options include oysters, petite beef filet, sesame ahi tuna, chocolate fondue and raspberry cheesecake. Or if you’re looking for a more extravagant Valentine’s Day celebration, Childress Vineyards is throwing a Valentine’s Dinner and Dance on Feb. 10. After enjoying a gourmet four-course dinner, lovebirds can dance the night away. 

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Photo credit: Childress Vineyards Facebook

The Southern

Three-course Valentine’s Day dinner at The Southern Steak & Oyster in Nashville, Tennessee

If you’re looking for Southern food with a twist this Valentine’s Day, head to The Southern in downtown Nashville. The Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu is $65 per person and consists of three different courses. Menu options include smoked brisket, wood-fired filet and pan-roasted salmon. For dessert, diners can choose between an almond and apricot tart or a chocolate mousse cake. 

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Photo credit: The Southern Steak & Oyster Facebook

Oliver Royale

Four-course Valentine’s Day dinner at Oliver Royale in Knoxville, Tennessee

Situated in downtown Knoxville, Oliver Royale uses fresh ingredients from local purveyors to create a menu of both classic and new dishes. Executive Chef Jonathan Gatlin has created a four-course dinner menu just for Valentine’s Day. Some of the dishes he’s created include a citrus and seaweed salad, grilled halibut and beef tenderloin. 

If you don’t feel like dealing with crowds, you can head to Oliver Royale for a pre-Valentine’s day celebration. This four-course meal will be paired with wines from Diora and Black Stallion, but it's okay if you’re not a “wine” person — Ross Macarthur from Delicato Family Vineyards will be there to help.

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Photo credit: Oliver Royale Facebook

Backstreet Café

Valentine’s Day dinner at Backstreet Café in Houston, Texas

For 35 years, Backstreet Café has been a place to celebrate and enjoy a menu of seasonal American cuisine. Chef Hugo Ortega has created two menus for Valentine’s Day, one for couples and another for larger groups of friends. Both menus consist of four courses, and the larger menu gives guests two or three options for each course.

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Photo credit: Backstreet Cafe Facebook


¡Feliz Dia de San Valentin! at Caracol in Houston, Texas

Inspired by Mexican cuisine, Caracol’s menu is full of fresh seafood and small plates. To celebrate ¡Feliz Dia de San Valentin!, chef Hugo Ortega has created a four-course Valentine’s Day menu that is unlike any dinner you’ve had before. Celebrate this Valentine’s Day with friends or your sweetheart. 

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Photo credit: Caracol Facebook

La Table

Four-course dinner at La Table in Houston, Texas

You might feel like you’ve been transported to France this Valentine’s Day if you dine at La Table in Houston. The restaurant offers authentic French dishes in an elegant setting. If you choose to dine at La Table for Valentine’s Day, you will have two different dining experiences from which to choose. If you want an elegant and formal Valentine’s Day celebration, make a reservation at Château. If you’re looking for a more casual, but still romantic celebration, you should dine at Marché. Both dining experiences include a four-course meal, but at two different price points.

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Photo credit: La Table Houston Facebook

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Rachel Taylor is a staff writer at Southern Kitchen. She moved to Atlanta earlier this year after graduating college in Maryland, and has been a digital audience specialist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politically Georgia, as well as a freelance writer for publications such as USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She has lived in France and Italy, and loves to travel.