Planning ahead can be key to a memorable Valentine’s 

For lovers and foodies alike, Valentine’s Day can be one of the most stressful times of the year.

“It’s the busiest night for restaurants all year long, and the most miserable night for waiters,” said Kevin Blum, the creator and editor of the San Francisco-based website The City Dish.

“Seating is not easy,” food publicist Eleanor Bertino said. “Most people want tables for two, but restaurants also have tables for four and six people together.”

The holiday is not so great for procrastinators, either.

“I’ve had hysterical male friends call me at the last minute trying to get reservations. If you’ve left it late, you have to be flexible with time,” Bertino said. “Have an early dinner. It’s not the end of the world because you can continue the romance elsewhere.”

If going out is so stressful, why not stay home?

“I don’t know. There’s so much great takeout in this city,” said Bertino, offering a suggestion: “I’d go to Boulette’s Larder, order takeout, buy a nice bottle of Champagne and take it back to the hotel room.”

San Francisco is a food-obsessed town so it is no wonder there are often creative options available for the holiday. 

“It’s become more elaborate,” Bertino said. “I think that food is such a huge part of the culture in San Francisco that it makes sense that food is a celebratory moment. It has an extra resonance here, and people spend a lot of their expendable income on food in a way that they don’t in other places.”

For the last-minute planner, options are still available. Today at the Ferry Building, a reasonably priced food, wine and chocolate tasting called “Food From the Heart” is a benefit for Slow Food San Francisco. 

Jardinière still has openings Monday for its Valentine’s Day prix-fixe menu, at $125 per person, plus a “Truffle Lovers” five-course tasting menu offered today through Sunday for $135. 

Foreign Cinema caters to the multitasker, projecting a romantic film in the courtyard to accompany a three-course meal for $75 a person.

Thermidor, a romantic retro spot serving sophisticated continental fare, offers a three-course Valentine’s Day dinner featuring a variation on its signature dish, lobster thermidor, for $75 a head.

Special night

Reservation website OpenTable results from its Valentine’s Day dining survey.

39 percent Will celebrate at a restaurant
70 percent Will spend more than $100
4 percent Will dine today
39 percent Will dine Saturday
15 percent Will dine Sunday
39 percent Will dine Monday
12 percent Will dine out on more than one day


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