By CJ Juntereal
Let’s set the stage for romance. A quiet table for two, elegant surroundings, a view of the starry night sky, delectable food. Here’s a list of some of the best places to spend a romantic evening.
Mireio at the Raffles
Mireio’s large floor-to-interiors windows offer a lovely view of the city. During the day, the restaurant reflects the warm, light-filled countryside of Provence. At night, dine amid the glow of city lights. The linens are crisp, and the tables set just far enough apart to be conducive to intimate conversations. On Valentine’s Day, dine on a five-course French menu with dishes like home-cured salmon with vodka pomelo foam, and a dessert of coconut curd, fresh raspberries, and buko sorbet. The most requested tables for two are those by the window, so that couples can enjoy the view.
Valentine’s Dinner is P5,910 per person. Ladies will be gifted with a special set of L’Occitane products. Upgrade to a wine pairing with an additional P1,350. Call (02) 795 1840 for reservations.
Restaurant Verbena at Discovery Country Suites Tagaytay
It’s a small restaurant in a charming little luxury inn that looks like your rich grandmother’s country house. During the day it has a view of Taal Volcano and, on chilly nights, there’s a fireplace to gather around. For Valentine’s Day they have a His and Hers four-course menu at just P1,745+ for two people, which is a terrific deal. Add to that, Restaurant Verbena only has a few tables, so it will be quiet and intimate. Some of the items on the special menu are Kale Caesar Salad, Sous Vide Octopus, Roasted Mahi Mahi, and Roasted Tomato Soup.
For inquiries and reservations call (02) 529 8172.
With its charming décor, intimate floral banquette seating, signature crystal palm trees, and tasseled ceiling fixtures that reflect Old World Manila’s American Colonial past, the Manila Hotel’s Champagne Room is said to average three marriage proposals a week. It isn’t surprising, given the attentive waiters dressed in coat and tails, the old-school luxuries on the menu, and the undoubtedly romantic vibe the restaurant wears proudly.
For Valentine’s, it offers a special seven-course “Pink Menu” degustation on Feb. 12, 14, and 15. Among pink inspired dishes are Scallops on Pink Taglioni, Tender Pink Lamb Loin in Herb Crust, Velvet Pink Salmon in Cream Soup, and Lobster Pomelo Salad. For the most romantic (and possibly luckiest) table, request the one in the little alcove with the best view of the pianist. The staff will know which one you mean, because it’s the most requested for proposals.
The Pink Menu is P4,500 per person. Call (02) 527 0011 for reservations.
Top of the Citi
High up on the 34th floor of Citibank Tower in Salcedo Village, Chef Jessie’s Top of the Citi has an almost unimpeded view of the city skyline. Her reputation for excellent classic French, traditional Filipino, and scrumptious desserts is echoed in the restaurant’s menu. Reserve a table by the window, or in a quiet corner of the al fresco dining area if you’d like to feel the breeze.
For a romantic dinner, you can’t go wrong with classics like her signature Smoked Salmon and Caviar Pie, Beef Carpaccio, the ingenious Alugbati Salad with Crunchy Prosciutto and Micro Arugula, a traditional Caesar Salad, the old-school Tournedos Rossini, Duck a l’Orange, or her famous Crepe Samurai. Chef Jessie is also one of the few chefs who make excellent savory and dessert soufflés, that should not be missed.
Call (02) 750 5810 for reservations.
Single-Single Double-Double Valentine’s Dinner by Aleth’s Kitchen
Aleth Ocampo is known for the French and Mediterranean inspired dishes that she serves at private dinners in her home, as well as the beautiful “tablescapes” she puts together with her artist’s eye. On Feb. 13 and 14 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., she opens her home to just 14 lucky people per night for a five-course meal. The menu will consist of her most requested dishes with the main courses—Chicken with 40 Cloves Garlic, Herbs de Provence and Pinke Peppercorns, Sole Fillets in Salsa Verde, and My Mom’s Osso Buco with Gremolata—served buffet style. Best of all, guests may bring their own wine, corkage-free. This is the place to be if you’d like to escape the crowds.
Tickets at P3,300 per person available through www.ticket2me.net. Address will be given once the ticket is purchased
Chateau 1771 has moved. Its new location on the second floor of One Bonifacio High Street has a breezy al fresco area with a garden view and a sunny indoor dining area with several cozy corners for two. The food is the same no borders cuisine with attention to detail that is the trademark of Chef Vicky Pacheco. The specialties include Chateau 1771 classics like Potence (steak flambéed with brandy), a traditional Scallops au Gratin, the delicious Pasta with chorizo and Gruyere cheese that set the trend for using chorizo in pasta, Chateau Osso Buco, a deceptively simple Coffee Pie that has never been equaled, and a light and crisp Lemon Meringue Torte. Many of the dishes can be shared—for a truly romantic dinner for two. And make sure to end with Irish coffee, which is prepared with impeccable tableside service.
Call (+639) 17 862 6467 for reservations.
Flame at Discovery Primea
The 16th floor restaurant offers a panoramic view of the city’s skyline. This year’s Valentine’s Day menu is a five-course set menu featuring modern Asian cuisine that is executive chef Luis Chikiamco’s forte. Among the intriguing dishes are Crab Salad with Pickled Cucumber, Red Radish, Sriracha-Honey, and Honeydew Sorbet, Pan-Seared Foie Gras with Teriyaki Eggplant, Asian Pears and Tempura Crunch, and Soy-braised and Josper-grilled Beef “2 Ways.” Request a table by the window on the Urdaneta Wing so that you get a view of the city lights. If you’d like a more casual setting, Edge offers al fresco breezes and free-flowing prosecco cocktails plus a trio of tapas for P3,500++ from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Dinner at Flame is P3,500nett per person. Call (02) 955 8888 for reservations.
It feels like you’ve stepped back in time—high walls that cocoon you from the noise of traffic, a secluded inner courtyard, carved wooden arches, and capiz windows—and have become Maria Clara waiting for her Ibarra. It doesn’t get any more romantic than that. The food, however, is levels above Padre Salvi’s tsokolate ah. Ilustrado’s Valentine’s menu is a five-course meal that features dishes such as Jamon Serrano and Melon, Salmon Fille-Feuille, Roasted Tomato Soup with Chistorra, US Beef Tenderloin, and Australian Lamb Ribs with Couscous. The dessert is a darkly chocolate concoction made with Malagos chocolate.
The Valentine’s Menu is P2,200+ per person and is available from Feb. 11 to 17. Call (02) 527 3674 for inquiries and reservations.
Discovery Suites Ortigas
If you’re looking for a romantic, yet unusual, Valentine’s Day it doesn’t get much better than attending a speaking engagement by Dr. Margie Holmes on Feb. 13 or 15. The popular psychologist will revisit her book Life, Love, Lust and tackle relationships, intimacy, and anything in between.
Tickets are at P1,000 nett per person, inclusive of food and cocktails. And if you’re still hungry after that, 22 Prime, high up on top of the hotel with a great view of the city, offers a four-course menu featuring Oven Braised USDA Short Ribs and Chilean Sea Bass for just P6,500 nett for two people, inclusive of two glasses of wine and a flower hand bouquet. Book a Valentine’s Room Package while you’re at it, and go the distance.
For tickets or inquiries, call (02) 719 8888.
Old Manila at the Peninsula Manila
Old Manila is quiet, plush, with dimmed lighting and impeccable service. Its tables are pretty spread out and, if you choose the quiet one in the corner, romantic conversations come easily. Chef de cuisine Allan Briones promises a Feb. 14 dinner that will be a true sensory experience and set your taste buds a-tingling, as the Peninsula Strings play some love songs. And if excitement is a little more your style, Bituin Escalante performs live at The Lobby as part of a three-course dinner.
Valentine’s Day Dinner at Old Manila is P4,500 nett per person. Call (02) 887 2888 ext. 6694 for reservations.