By Joshua Palmes
The most romantic holiday of the year, Valentine’s Day, is nearly upon us. Couples from around the state will be celebrating by going out to dinner, and the state has several upscale restaurants that can set just the right mood. Serving outstanding food, wine and cocktails in a relaxing atmosphere, they can make for a magical date night. So gather up the one you love, get dressed in your finest clothes, and snag a reservation for one of these fine Connecticut establishments.
588 Franklin Ave.
Hartford, CT 06114
The elegant Carbone’s has been a cherished part of downtown Hartford for over 75 years. The decor and subtle lighting provide the perfect ambience for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. And the exquisite food will complete your experience – go for its carbonara, lobster risotto or veal cuscinetto. After your meal you can share one of its desserts flambeed tableside, including Bananas Foster and Bocce Balls with orange liqueur sauce. And if you decide to celebrate the holiday a day later Carbone’s offers some of its wines at 50 percent off every Wednesday night.
Union League Cafe
1032 Chapel St.
New Haven, CT 06510
If you’re treating your Valentine’s date to a show in New Haven’s theater district make sure to have dinner at the Union League Cafe. Owner and Executive Chef Jean Pierre Vuillermet has recreated the look and feel of a classic Parisian restaurant in the Elm City. You’ll fall in love with his French-inspired approach to lamb, beef tenderloin, lobster and risotto. If you want something lighter stick to appetizers such as foie gras, duck confit and Spanish octopus. Reservations are strongly recommended.
275 Old Post Road
Southport, CT 06890
Southport’s classy, intimate Artisan is a fine spot for couples to rekindle their romance. The restaurant’s chefs update the menu with the seasons, but fresh, locally-based dishes source from New England farms are the constant. You’ll find cheeses from Fairfield, sea scallops from Stonington, and a tempting selection of steaks and chops. Make room for the ricotta doughnuts or cheesecake for dessert. And when the weather gets warmer make sure to return and dine outside.
Related: Top Date Night Spots In Connecticut
Mill Street Bar And Table
230 Mill St.
Greenwich, CT 06830
Mill Street Bar in Greenwich’s Byram neighborhood is one of the state’s newest farm to table restaurants and already one of its best. In addition to an amazing raw bar, it boasts a panoply of creative flatbreads, roasted meats, seafood and pasta dishes. If one or both of you swears off meat, Mill Street Bar also has plenty of fresh organic vegetables sourced from Back 40 Farm in Washington, Connecticut. Before enjoying dinner you’ll want to cuddle up in the restaurant’s comfy lounge or even by the fire on its outdoor heated patio.
45 East Center St.
Manchester, CT 06040
Both French and Italian restaurants are popular date night destinations, and with Cavey’s you get both in one building. Head upstairs for savory pasta dishes and Northern Italian specialties. Stay on the first floor for an always-changing seasonal selection of French classics prepared by owner and Executive Chef Stephen Cavagnaro from ingredients grown on local farms. Cavey’s also carries thousands of Italian and French wines. Share a bottle over dinner or in the lounge.