S.F.'s Most Romantic Restaurants, Straight From Our Top Local Chefs!

A date night. A secret tryst. An intimate celebration. They all call for super-romantic settings and dreamy meals. Luckily, the Bay Area's got its fair share of extra-ambient restaurants. So many, in fact, that it's a bit hard to narrow them down. That's why we built this handy, Valentine's Day-appropriate guide on dining for lovers...straight from top local chefs who are actually in love! From homemade spaghetti to the farm-to-table romance of Manresa (both favorites of Saison's Joshua Skenes) to pairings that double as aphrodisiacs and sage advice from Dominique Crenn that "Valentine's Day should be every day," we've got all the inspiration you need to wine and dine your sweetheart. Want to made sure you order right? Click through — you need to have what they're are having.
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Dominique Crenn, Chef and Owner at Atelier Crenn

Where to Romance: Quince
“It is a sexy restaurant, with a sense of privacy, where I feel I can wine and dine for hours.”

What to Seduce with: Chocolate
"It has magical powers. Atelier Crenn has a very romantic chocolate, raspberry, and almond dessert on the current tasting menu."

Last-minute Valentine’s Day Advice: Spoil your Valentine.
"Book a spa day at Kabuki, and finish the evening with an incredible meal. And remember...Valentine's Day should be every day."

Photos: (Left to right) Courtesy of Molly DeCoudreaux; Via Facebook/Quince; Via Facebook/Quince.
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Nick Balla, Chef, and Cortney Burns, Pickling Specialist, both at Bar Tartine

Where to Romance: A long hike along Lands End Trail
“We start at Sutro Baths, walk all along the beaches and hill sides, and always seem to find our way back to Clement Street to scour the Eastern European markets for loads of pickles, smoked fish, sausage, and cheese. From there, we like to find a park to picnic in, rest our legs, and enjoy some of our favorite flavors.”

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Advice: Make a meal together.
“Nothing makes us happier. We have a very organic, shoot-from-the-hip sort of approach to collaborating in the kitchen. We see what’s inside the refrigerator, and from there, one of us gets an idea; we brainstorm, and then run with it."
"We like to cook flavors from our childhoods and cultural backgrounds. We usually find ourselves with stews, soups, salads, or Japanese food. The first thing we ever made together was an enormous chicory salad with anchovy dressing, and to this day it is a dish we never tire of.”

Photos: (Left to right) Courtesy of Nick Balla and Cortney Burns; Via Facebook/Sutro Baths; Via Facebook/Bar Tartine.
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Joshua Skenes, Chef, Saison

Where to Romance: Manresa
“A quality old standard. You just know you don't have to worry about anything, and are going to be taken care of.”

Where Else to Romance: Saison
“Every table is rather private and every dinner is a unique experience.“

What to Seduce with: Bite-size nibbles
“Overusing your utensils is not so sexy. We have a dish called cru on Saison’s menu that diners should eat with their hands. It makes for a sensual experience to feel the different textures of our vegetables.”

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Advice: Pack your own picnic in the park.
“I love being in nature. I also love it when my fiancée Amanda cooks for me. I remember for my birthday she made spaghetti, and it really made my day. You know when someone cooks for you, and you don't know exactly how they made it taste so good, but if you eat it somewhere else it just doesn't taste the same? That's Amanda's cooking. No one can do what she does.”

Photos: (Left to right) Via Facebook/Manresa; Courtesy of Saison; Courtesy of Mark Lee.
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Kevin Best, Chef and Co-owner, B Bar San Francisco and B Restaurant & Bar Oakland

Where to Romance: Café Jacqueline
“Start with the endive with Roquefort cheese, follow with a chanterelle mushroom soufflé, and finish with a chocolate souffle. It’s the perfect dinner, followed by a stroll around Washington Square.”

Where Else to Romance: Perbacco
“Call in sick, and go for a two-hour lunch. Amazing how a few Negronis and a bottle of champagne during the middle of the day can create some great conversation and an even better late afternoon.”

What to Seduce with: Bottle of champagne with two dozen oysters
“Eaten at sunset.”

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Advice: Call B Bar
“We have a four-course chocolate menu at B Restaurant in Oakland. There are a couple tables still open.”

Photos: (Left to right) Courtesy of B Bar; Via B Bar; Via Facebook/Perbacco.
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Adam Keough, Executive Chef, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar

Where to Romance: Coi
“Sit in the lounge area. The room is dark, warm, and service is top notch. Dishes are creative and delicious. And, don’t forget a bottle of champagne.”

What to Seduce with: Oysters
“There is something about slurping a raw chilled oyster that is sexy. Maybe because it naturally wakes up your palate.”

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Advice: RSVP with the Mina Group.
“Try RN74, Bourbon Steak, or Michael Mina.”

Photos: (Left to right) Via Bourbon Steak; Via RN74; Courtesy of Absinthe.
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Lori Baker, Pastry Chef and Co-Owner (with husband Jeff Banker) of Baker & Banker

Where to Romance: Aziza and Fleur de Lys
"Aziza has intimate booths. It's dark. The menu gives you the main ingredients, but you don't know the preparation. The dishes always come out more extravagant and beautiful that you imagine. I always order the duck, and it’s always delicious."

What to Seduce with: XXX Chocolate Cake
“At Baker & Banker, we make a delectable XXX Chocolate Cake, a triple dark chocolate cake that is sure to please.”

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Advice: Celebrate early or late.
“We are sold out on Valentine’s Day, but we're including a few holiday dishes on our menu during the weekend.”

Photos: (Left to right) Via Fleur de Lys; Courtesy of Baker & Baker; Via Facebook/Aziza.
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