Newport Food Scene: Want to take your Valentine out for dinner? Check out these options

Here’s your early warning: Valentine’s Day is coming.

It’s less than two weeks away. You may not need to know that or you may not even care. But if you do care, a little heads-up might be in order. You’re seeing signs that Valentine’s Day is approaching. The candy, flowers and cards are on display at the grocery and drug stores. The promoted Valentine’s ads are popping up on your social feeds. Your inbox is cluttered with Valentine’s promotion emails from your favorite online shops. The message is out there for you to take notice. Celebrate Valentine’s Day however you like, but if your plan is to head out for a special dinner, now is the time to take action. Local restaurants have some special nights planned to help you and your Valentine celebrate, but if you want to enjoy, you need to make that plan early.

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In some ways, we are lucky this year because Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday. That means we get a few more days to enjoy. If a restaurant is running a Valentine’s special, they will most likely offer their specials throughout the weekend. Going out for dinner on a Tuesday just doesn’t work for a lot of people, so restauranteurs give you extra days to celebrate. However, somebody threw a Super Bowl Sunday in the middle of that weekend, so there’s one less day to celebrate (unless your idea of romance involves watching Patrick Mahomes being chased by the Eagles). Super Bowl aside, you have a whole weekend to plan for a nice night out with your Valentine. That’s why you should make your reservations now.

If you are looking for a special night out in a uniquely Newport location, look towards the water. The Safari Room at OceanCliff Hotel will be offering a special 5-course Valentine’s menu for $95 per person on Tuesday the 14th through Thursday the 16th and will feature such favorites as Truffle in Paradise Pasta and Parmesan Nut Crusted Salmon. Around the corner, enjoy a romantic dinner at the Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn. They are offering a 4-course dinner for $135 per person highlighted by a first course of native oysters, Siberian caviar and sunchokes and a third course of Domestic “Wagyu” Beef. If your Valentine is an epicurean at heart, you can’t go wrong at Cara at The Chanler Hotel. They will be offering an Eight-Course Chef-Selected Degustation Menu for $225 per person and a very special Périgord Truffle Degustation Menu for $325 per person. A candlelight dinner with a backdrop of stunning views makes any dinner at Cara one that won’t soon be forgotten.

Cara in The Chanler on Cliff Walk was named one of the Four Diamond restaurants. The Chanler also made the Four Diamond lodging list. [THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL]
Cara in The Chanler on Cliff Walk was named one of the Four Diamond restaurants. The Chanler also made the Four Diamond lodging list. [THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL]

The Vanderbilt Hotel is spicing up the romance too. They will be offering a prix fixe Valentine’s Day dinner for $85 per person. Start with Oysters and Caviar, move on to Scallops and Grilled Beef Tenderloin, and then finish with a Pavlova Sundae and Chocolate Truffles. To add some more romance to the night, a special jazz trio led by Providence-based guitarist Gene Rosati will be featured in their Dining Room so you can enjoy the notes of love as you sip your favorite cocktail. At Stoneacre Brasserie, they are featuring a special Valentine’s menu with unique offerings like Lobster Risotto with Peas and Black Truffles and Chateaubriand for two with Cauliflower Gratin & Swiss Chard. Chateaubriand for two is one of those meals that fall in the unforgettable category. If Newport is not in your plan, try the 3-course $55 Valentine’s menu being offered at 15 Point Road Restaurant in Portsmouth. A romantic view of the Sakonnet River awaits while you enjoy their Sweetheart Napoleon (puff pastry with scallops, shrimp, mushrooms and asparagus over a pink beurre blanc) and some Slow Roasted Prime Rib with garlic & thyme au jus.

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The most unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Newport is by cozying up inside one of the heated igloos featured at a few spots in town. The Reef, Diego’s Newport and the Newport Harbor Island Resort all feature these unique spots where you can sip on your favorite cocktail, dine on tasty morsels, and take in the beauty of a starry, Newport night sky. You’ll never want to leave your igloo.

Don’t forget too that Valentine’s falls on a Taco Tuesday this year, so you have the opportunity to combine your most beloved things (tacos and your Valentine) for one celebratory night. Order up some Bulgogi-Style Beef tacos at La Vecina Taqueria or get the Chorizo and Potato tacos at Perro Salado. Even an order of Tacos El Pastor from Leo’s Market is the way to any taco-lover’s heart. Who needs roses when you’ve got tacos?

Dan Lederer
Dan Lederer

If Valentine’s Day is not your cup of tea, there are still lots of reasons to go out for great food and fun in Newport. Sign up at Bellevue Boards for their Galentine's Board Styling Class where you can craft a Galentine’s Day-themed arrangement to share with all your friends. Or in true, Galentine’s Day style, head to Annie’s for a breakfast or lunch of some of the best waffles in town. That would be a celebration that would make Leslie Knope, the patron saint of Galentine’s Day, beam with pride. Maybe you would rather take a chance at finding new love this Valentine’s Day? Sign up for a night of Speed Dating at Copper Club upstairs at Wally’s Wieners. You never know what magic awaits at Wally’s and this year, it might just be love. Or maybe it’s just some Chili-Cheese fries.

No matter how you celebrate Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to make a plan early. Don’t put it off. You don’t want to be scrambling around on the 14th looking for a place that isn’t booked. Think about it now and make the reservation. Cupid will meet you there.

Dan Lederer is a Middletown resident with 30 years experience in the food service industry throughout New England. He continues to work locally behind the scenes within the industry and remains a devoted fan of all things restaurant and hospitality related. His column appears on and Thursdays in The Daily News. Cheers!

This article originally appeared on Newport Daily News: Valentine dining options in Newport from multiple courses to tacos