Cupid’s arrow must have been dipped in chocolate because on February 14 each year, many sweethearts celebrate Valentine’s Day at a romantic restaurant where chocolate inevitably makes its way onto the dessert menu. Connecticut’s restaurants serve up special types of delicacies and aphrodisiacs on this holiday made for lovers. Here is a listing of five great Connecticut-based restaurants where the chefs not only wear their hearts on their sleeves, but also on their special menus. These five samples are only a few of the restaurants that rate high on the romance-o-meter.
Brasserie Pip’s at the Copper Beech Inn
46 Main St.
Ivoryton, CT 06442
Chef Noel Jones goes all out for Valentine’s Day at the Copper Beech Inn featuring Brasserie Pip’s Restaurant. “We usually offer complimentary wine or champagne on that day. I also create a special menu. Because I know that people usually like to splurge on this special day, I often include lobster, caviar and oysters along with all the other fine choices on our menu,” said Jones. When it comes to a specialty, Jones doesn’t have one. “I love everything that I cook, from the finest fish to the best filet mignon,” he adds. Cooking since he was 14 years old, his menu represents fine European cuisine. And yes, there will be chocolate on the menu. So romantic is this restaurant that many a marriage proposal has taken place here. Maybe you’re next.
185 Asylum St.
Hartford, CT 06103
Chef Adam Gabriele says without hesitation that “it’s always a special occasion at Max Downtown,” where he serves up some fabulous fare. “Whether it’s champagne or a delicious entrée, sweethearts won’t be disappointed on Valentine’s Day here. It’s one of our busiest days,” said Gabriele, adding that in addition to an irresistible menu, Max’s is a great spot for couples. “We have the most romantic tables, especially our corner tables and soft lighting. We have also had proposals of marriage here. One time I served an engagement ring on crushed ice,” he said. A popular trendsetting restaurant, this also rates high on the romance-o-meter.
1032 Chapel St.
New Haven, CT 06510
What could be more romantic on a cold New England February night than the warmth of a welcoming fireplace, the smell of delicious food and a toast with bubbling champagne? That’s just what you’ll find at the Union League Café, which is owned by chef Jean Pierre Vuillermet.
Every Valentine’s Day, this restaurant prepares a special menu designed to stir the taste buds with the same passion found in the chef’s French-inspired cuisine. A treat for all, including those with a penchant for all things gastronomical, this restaurant has witnessed many cozy couples.
36 Main St.
Essex, CT 06426
When it comes to having a long history of celebrating special occasions like Valentine’s Day, look to The Griswold Inn, which began cooking up tasty fare in that most important and patriotic year, 1776. As scenic as it is historic, The Griswold Inn is located on the Connecticut River where the scene changes as quickly and beautifully as the Connecticut weather. What does not change is the Inn’s reputation for fine dining and exquisite wines. A touch of old-world ambiance tempered with today’s finest cuisine and seasonal wines, The Griswold Inn proves that romance never goes out of style.
20 West Lane/Route 35
Ridgefield, CT 06877
When it comes to marriage proposals, Bernard’s manager Marco Albarracin can count the ways lovers have declared their love. “We have had many marriage proposals here,” said Albarracin. “We will do whatever we can to assist in the presentation of the ring. Many have asked us to hide the ring in the dessert and one person even asked us to hide the ring in the soup.” There are so many reasons why marriage proposals happen at this high-end, upscale restaurant so often. For starters, chef/owner Bernard Bouissou consistently prepares the finest French fare. With Bernard’s specialty of the house, “Hudson Valley foie gras trio, smoked with green tomato and Hatch chile compote, sautéed with apples, cider reduction, torchon with assorted salts and riesling aspic” as an appetizer, it’s easy to see how the entrees and desserts that follow are simply foods of the gods. As for chocolate on Valentine’s Day, “Of course we have chocolate on Valentine’s Day. One must have that on the menu,” said Albarracin.