Whether it's for your first date or your 50th, you'll always need the perfect place to share a special moment with your loved one and Valentine's Day is the most special of them all.
Over the years we've gathered the most romantic restaurants in South Florida to help set the mood for you and your sweetheart. There was our first roundup in 2012, which highlighted places like Casa D'Angelo and Casablanca Cafe in Fort Lauderdale. Then, in 2014, we released our first top ten list of most romantic restaurants, with Dada in Delray Beach and Canyon Southwest Cafe in Fort Lauderdale making the cut. The following year, new favorites popped up on the radar, spots like Candela in Wilton Manors and Valentino in Fort Lauderdale.
This year, we're giving you even more romantic spots to check out, places that run the gamut from hip and cozy Brule Bistro in Delray Beach's Pineapple Grove, to quaint French Bistro 1902 that serves up heart-shaped desserts in downtown Hollywood.
12. 3030 Ocean
3030 Holiday Drive, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-765-3129, or visit 3030ocean.com.
In Broward and Palm Beach counties, the hotel restaurant has become a unique breed of establishment. It can run the gamut from hip and casual à la the Rusty Hook Tavern at the Sands Harbor Resort & Marina in Pompano Beach to the custom-built and cutting-edge, like the new Burlock Coast at Fort Lauderdale's Ritz-Carlton. But 3030 Ocean has stood the test of time. It opened at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in 1999 under the watchful eye of Dean James Max, a chef with a laundry list of accomplishments, from multiple James Beard nominations for best chef to being crowned King of American Seafood at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in 2010. Today, newly renovated and with a fresh, chef-driven menu by Adrienne Grenier, it is one of the more tastefully romantic hotel restaurants to take your beloved for a nice night out.
11. La Brochette Bistro
2635 N Hiatus Rd., Cooper City. Call 954-435-9090, or visit labrochettebistro.com.
Located in a nondescript Cooper City strip mall that also houses a Winn-Dixie is this charming eatery offering French-inspired seafood, and what could very well be one of the best fish dishes you'll find in Broward County. The dim lit restaurant — which opened in 1993 — is small enough to have a cozy neighborhood feel without feeling stuffy or haughty. Here, patrons come for seafood and French-inspired fare compliments of chef-owner Aboud Kobaitri, whose food is influenced by not only his Middle Eastern and Lebanese heritage, but also schooling in Paris and Oslo. Over the last decade or so, the menu has grown from basic brasserie-style offerings to include a number of creatively-crafted seafood dishes. The chef, who is known for sourcing exotic fish and preparing them fresh daily, will go in search of the freshest catch each day, meaning a return visit is never the same. Feeling romantic? If you're envisioning something extra special and unique for your night out on the town, La Brochette may be able to accommodate specific requests for special dishes with advance notice.
10. The Cook and The Cork
9890 W Sample Rd., Coral Springs. Call 954-227-2665, or visit thecookandthecork.com.
Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They live happily ever after. At the Cook & the Cork in Coral Springs, the tale goes a little differently. Chef meets event planner. They build a successful catering empire. They open a restaurant. Parkland Catering owners Keith Blauschild and Dena Lowell are partners in life as well as business. While managing staff, shuffling dishes, and filing invoices seven days a week might ruin the magic for some couples, for these two, the food business only seems to fuel their passion. Both agree that their businesses — and the food they create — wouldn't exist without their union. It makes for a blissful night out for lovebirds of all ages, their cozy dining room and intimately plated dishes perfectly sized for sharing. Lobster macaroni and cheese we've seen — but here it arrives plated like lobster thermidor, elbow noodles and plump shreds of meat stuffed into a lobster's bright-red tail. It's an appealing presentation, but digging noodles from the sharp shell makes for an awkward and frustrating experience. The tarragon-spiced white cheddar sauce makes up for all the trouble, though, walking the line between decadent and indulgent.
9. Kaluz Restaurant
3300 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-772-2209, or visit kaluzrestaurant.com.
This 200-seat waterfront eatery opened quietly in early 2013 and was immediately popular with Fort Lauderdale's mature and professional crowd. The menu, similar to that of American chain restaurants like Season's 52, offers fried appetizers, salads, burgers and flatbreads, plus more substantial entrees like seared diver scallops. The restaurant runs with stunning efficiency — fast service by teams of servers; precise execution of dishes by cooks in matching orange coats — thanks in large part to Demirjian's partner David Baldwin, who spent is early career working for Houston's and Hillstone, a company known for its rigorous training program. Kaluz is not the place to find soulful, personal food, but it is good for a solid meal and a stunning view of the Intracoastal Waterway at dusk — just what you need to set the mood.
319 Belvedere Rd., West Palm Beach. Call 561-249-2281, or visit kitchenpb.com.
There is eating, and there is dining: At Kitchen, husband and wife team Aliza and Matthew Byrne aim to show you the difference. It begins with the reservation. You won't get into Kitchen without one. During the winter months the modern American brasserie located in the city's El Cid neighborhood is often booked, groups of patrons arriving in timed waves. Next, it's the service, an all-female staff that will guide you through multiple courses and help you select the perfect bottle of wine for the evening. There will be plenty of quiet conversation and staring into your beloved's eyes; there are no TVs in this dim-lit, cozy bistro perfumed by the scent of lavender candles. The menu at Kitchen will change — although not entirely — every few months. Some dishes have stood the test of time, regulars refusing to let them swap out their favorite plate for a more new-fangled creation. Others appear according to what's available and fresh, while still more are created on a whim. After a few dishes have come and gone you can't leave without sampling one of Byrne's homemade desserts, especially the from-scratch lemon coconut cake, a dense vanilla cake married with a mildly sweet, coconut-encrusted lemon curd icing.
7. Grille 66 & Bar
2301 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-728-3500, or visit grille66andbar.com.
When it comes to setting a romantic tone to the evening with a slightly upmarket vibe, visit Grille 66 & Bar. This waterfront restaurant has been known to draw Broward's recession-proof crowd, located on the Intracoastal Waterway adjacent to Pier 66 and the Hyatt hotel, the eatery boasts outdoor balcony dining, white tablecloths, and a lovely view of yachts floating by. Also available for the boaters: a convenient 400-foot dock to park your floating Ferrari. The award-winning menu offers popular appetizers like filet mignon carpaccio, while mains include lobster, crab cakes, veal, and lamb chops. Of course, it's the strip steak, porterhouse, or filet mignon that helps to make Grill 66 & Bar one of the best steakhouses in Fort Lauderdale.