In case you've somehow missed the ubiquitous bombardment of red-and-pink marketing, yes, Valentine's Day is this very Saturday. It's one of the worst nights of the year to go out to eat thanks to overpriced, cheesy prix fixe menus full of purported aphrodisiacs, but if you absolutely must make a reservation for two and you haven't yet done so, you're in luck — there are plenty of possibilities left. Here are some of the best bets (or scan OpenTable for all the remaining options.)
- Atasca (5:30, 5:45, 9:00, 9:15) — Portuguese in Kendall Square. The restaurant hasn't announced any special Valentine's Day plans. Try the arroz de mariscos a valenciana, a Portuguese-style paelha for two.
- Clio (9:15, 9:30) — Elegant French in Back Bay. No word on a specific Valentine's Day menu, but a standard Clio experience generally involves a five-course ($79) or nine-course ($124) tasting menu (or a number of a la carte options). Supplements include jamon iberico, black truffles, and black lime-basted abalone.
- Commonwealth (9:30) — Hearty farm-to-table fare in Kendall Square. In addition to the regular menu, three special menus will be available on Valentine's Day: (1) The Aphrodisiac ($75/person) — oysters, charcuterie, a sundae to share, and more; (2) Warm & Fuzzy ($75/person) — baked brie, lobster fusilli, and more; and (3) Comfort Food 101 ($60/person) — mussels, chicken pot pie, and more. And through February 15, you can go to Commonwealth's market and make a custom label for a pint of ice cream. There are also "dirty sweetheart cookies" available in the market through the 15th ($3/each).
- Daddy Jones (6:30, 6:45, 7:00, 7:15, 7:30) — Casual coziness in Magoun Square, featuring Greek cuisine and fun cocktails on a backdrop of nostalgic television and music. It'll be business as usual on Valentine's Day (plus a few specials).
- East Coast Grill (6:00, 6:15, 8:30, 8:45) — Barbecue and seafood in a bright and lively Inman Square space. There's a special a la carte menu for the night (also available on Friday, February 13), offering items like a raw bar platter for two, lobster bisque, crispy Thai-style quail, braised lamb shank, and a dark chocolate dessert.
- Foundry on Elm (6:00, 6:15, 7:00, 7:15, 7:30) — Upscale comfort food in Davis Square. Serving a three-course prix fixe for $50/person with options like chorizo sweet potato skins, grilled filet mignon, and blood orange panna cotta. The regular menu will not be available.
- The Glenville Stops (5:30, 5:45, 9:00, 9:15) — A unique gastropub hidden on a quiet Allston side street. No word on whether a special Valentine's Day menu will be offered. If the regular menu is available, why not try sweet potato dumplings, charred octopus, buffalo meatloaf, and some Valrhona chocolate cake?
- Grafton Street (5:30, 5:45, 8:45, 9:00) — A classy gastropub in the heart of Harvard Square. The full menu will be available, plus a few a la carte specials, like a surf and turf and a tres leches cake. Want to head out later? A late-night menu is available from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
- Gran Gusto (4:30, 5:00, 9:00, 9:30) — Some of the best pizza in the area, hidden deep within a quiet, residential part of Cambridge. Pasta and other Italian specialties, too.
- The Haven (6:00, 6:15, 8:15, 8:30) — Scottish food in a lively Jamaica Plain spot (and the only Scottish food in town). Haggis, anyone?
- La Brasa (5:00, 9:30) — Wood-fired heaven in East Somerville. There are always surprises brewing at La Brasa, from a yakitori brunch on New Year's Day to blizzard pizza parties. Who knows what they'll come up with for Valentine's Day? Take a chance and find out.
- Lala Rokh (5:15, 5:30, 9:00, 9:15) — Persian food in Beacon Hill. The 20-year-old restaurant debuts a big revamp and brand new menu this week. The art-filled space is perfect for a romantic night out.
- Merrill & Co. (6:30, 6:45, 8:45, 9:00) — Upbeat comfort food in the South End. Start with some oysters, and then get the ____ & chips of your dreams (haddock, chicken, or chicken-fried steak).
- Taranta (4:30, 5:00, 9:30) — Peru meets Italy in the North End. The regular menu will not be available on Valentine's Day; instead, there's a special three-course prix fixe for $85/person including options like pan-seared scallops with giant Peruvian corn and pancetta; beet gnocchi with a sage walnut butter sauce; the restaurant's signature paiche, an Amazonian fish; and chocolate souffle.
- Tavern Road (6:15, 6:30, 9:30) — Creative contemporary American cuisine in the bustling Fort Point neighborhood. Offering a special Valentine's Day prix fixe for $58/person with optional wine pairings and supplements, including oysters and charcuterie.