Roundup: Valentine's Day dinner ideas

Nicholas Dekker

It's not too late to make reservations for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner! Skip the standard roses, chocolates and Hallmark cards, and take your date to one of these local dining spots.

The Osteria at Camelot Cellars Winery

901 Oak St., Olde Towne East

When the much-lauded Leone's Pizza on the North Side closed last fall, fans were disappointed they could no longer enjoy Ryan LaRose's dough-slinging antics and delicious pizzas. Fortunately, LaRose popped up in the kitchen of The Osteria, the in-house dining arm of Camelot Cellars. Make a reservation to enjoy a glass or two of wine paired with LaRose's expanded menu of pastas and small plates, plus his signature pizzas.

Alqueria Farmhouse Kitchen

247 King Ave., Victorian Village

Early buzz around Alqueria, a farm-to-table eatery opened by Jacob Hough and Patrick Marker, former chefs at Barcelona, has been very positive. The duo took over the former Angry Baker cafe in Victorian Village and has begun pumping out elevated comfort classics like charcuterie plates, cassoulet, burgers, buttermilk fried chicken and pan-roasted walleye.


677 Parsons Ave., South Side

Comune on Parsons Avenue is dimly light and cozy, and accompanied by fun and pop-oriented music. With a vegetable-centric menu, the new-ish eatery is the perfect place for herbivores, but the meat-eater will discover a lot to love on the menu, as well. Order cocktails and then start with a plate of pickled vegetables, share the tempura cauliflower and togarashi fries, and then end with the crispy fried rice, roasted acorn squash and grilled trumpet mushrooms. For an added bonus, sneak next door to the also-new Parsons North Brewing Company for an after-dinner pint.

Basi Italia

811 Highland St., Victorian Village

The very definition of a hidden gem, Basi lies down a brick side alley in Victorian Village. It's a lovely spot for a romantic dinner of wine, cocktails and scratch-made Italian favorites. Let Chef John Dornback and his team indulge you with crispy oysters and arancine, baked ricotta gnocchi and prosciutto-wrapped scallops. Order up a house-made cocktail, too, and don't leave without a cannoli or salted caramel creme brulee.

Alpine Restaurant & Bar

525 S. Fourth St., German Village

If you're in the mood for a hearty yet composed Valentine's Day dinner, turn to the new Alpine Restaurant & Bar in German Village. Start your meal with sauerkraut balls or kartoffenpuffer (potato pancakes seared in a skillet), and then feast on schnitzel, leberkase (meatloaf with an over easy egg) or a selection of house-made sausages. Add a little theatricality to your dinner by ordering the decadent raclette, a half-wheel of cheese with a melted top presented tableside.Bonus: Don't forget Alpine's companion eatery, the Spanish-themed El Lugar, next door.