With the Hallmark Holiday of Love just around the corner, I've taken it upon myself to rack my brain and tap in to memories past to present to you my official TOP-Ten list of Pittsburgh's most romantic culinary destinations. Some I've reviewed on this site, others are favorites I recall from b.t.o.p (before Taste of Pittsburgh). All are worthy of your reservation.
Keep reading after my suggestions for your chance to WIN a romantic Valentine's Day dinner date, courtesy of Taste of Pittsburgh and Walnut Grill
#10 --If you're single and already considering clicking the big red X at the top right of your screen...DON'T! The Naked Grape in Sewickly will pop your cork. This Thursday, February 10, you can celebrate being single with a selection of special "Single" Vineyard Wines, "Single Servings" and, of course, a game of "Single Trivia," all while mixing and mingling with other singles! Any place whose wine menu exceeds the length of it's food menu is a place I would suggest.
#9 -- OK, ok -- so it's not a Pittsburgh proprietary, but I have to tell you I've been to quite a few different Morton's across the country and if we're talking romantic atmosphere, I CANNOT neglect to put this place on the list. The ambiance at Morton's Pittsburgh makes you expect that Frank Sinatra will be joining your party at any given moment. The scent of red wine and a good char fill the air as candlelit tables are scarcely accompanied by dim overhead lighting. With out-of-this-world Oysters Rockefeller that would make John D. himself sing praises from the beyond and a chocolate lava cake that will melt even the coldest of hearts, the food will certainly not fall short in the romance department either. Make your reservations today, because Valentine's Day is one of their busiest of the year! A V-day special will get you a three course dinner for two for only $109.99.
#8 -- Who could forget about Mount Washignton on a day like Valentine's Day? While I have to give props to Georgetowne Inn, and of course to Monterey Bay for being my runner's up in the romance category, I have to say that, though it's been a while since I've eaten there, Isabela on Grandview will forever be etched in my mind as the loveliest of all Mt. Washington restaurants I've had the pleasure of experiencing. Voted by Pittsburgh Magazine readers as Pittsburgh's most romantic restaurant, I can confidently suggest it knowing I've got some trusted voices confirming my opinion.
#7 -- For a date night OR a group of 14 excitable women on a night out on the town, SOBA on Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside certainly did a fine job of setting the mood. The multi-level restaurant is absolutely gorgeous and with a diverse menu of Asian and American cuisine, it will be sure to satisfy both you and your sweetheart.
#6 -- Shadyside is my home away from home, and so I must take you on the tour from Ellsworth to Walnut and suggest Walnut Grill which just happens to be one of my long time favorites, especially if you're in the mood for a delicious pasta or hand-tossed pizza. **UPDATE - Walnut Grill has closed and is in process of being replaced by a new joint (sure to please) called "Up." I'll be sure to keep you "Up"dated!
#5 -- While I typically would only send you here in the summertime when their back patio is open for business, if you're looking for a quiet, intimate dining experience this Valentine's Day, be sure to check out the cafe I go crazy for: Cafe du Jour. With a quaint dining room adjacent to the kitchen, you can be sure to share delicious food and audible conversation with your date. Be sure to ask them what off-menu specials they're offering. I've found their best dishes that way.
#4 -- One of the my favorite destinations just happens to be in my neck of the woods. Bistro 19 on Washington Rd. in Mount Lebanon was a place that took my breath away. With a plethora of options in every food group, this place will be sure to please.
#3 -- I find it only appropriate that Eleven would make my TOP-ten. With it's uniquely delicious seasonally changing American cuisine, never fails to impress. Congrats to the Big Burrito Restaurant group for making the TOP-ten twice!
#2 -- I have to tell you a short story, the number two most romantic restaurant on my list is a huge part of the reason I began and kept up with this blog in the first place. I had never heard of Willow (thank you, Groupon) and after spending an evening amongst the crackling fire, intoxicating aromas, mouthwatering flavors and extremely friendly waitstaff, I knew I had to tell the rest of the town about the secret in the woods. If you haven't yet taken a date to Willow, you're seriously missing out. If you're just starting out in a relationship, seal the deal by suggesting a Valentine's Day dinner here.
#1 -- So far, in my mind, Spoon in East Liberty has yet to be beat. Neither PID nor I could think of a single negative thing to say about our evening here. The Tuna Two Ways was, to me, one of the greatest culinary accomplishments I've ever tasted -- and it was only the appetizer! If you read my review, you'll begin to understand why. Give it a try, once you do you'll understand my utter fascination.
Every one of these restaurants earn my stamp of approval for your V-Day date. Bon Appetite!