9 restaurants to wow your sweetheart

Bacchus of Lebanon, in downtown Bethesda, is a popular destination for Valentine’s Day couples looking to save money.
Photo courtesy of Zaid Barsoom

If you’ve scheduled a romantic dinner this week but haven’t picked a destination, may we offer a few suggestions? The following nine restaurants are in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia. And you’ll find something for you and your sweetie, whether you are budget conscious, music lovers or really,
really romantic.

For the budget conscious
Bacchus of Lebanon: The downtown Bethesda restaurant has been in business for 40 years and is a popular destination for dates looking to save money, said owner Zaid Barsoom. For $28, each person can make a meal out of four to five appetizers, which includes items such as stuffed cabbage, falafel and shawarma. And an accompanying glass of wine is $8 to $10.

“What we suggest mainly for first-timers is to try everything,” he said.

Bacchus of Lebanon also features white table cloth dining complemented by dim lights and a waterfall to help set the mood.
5:30 to 10 p.m.; Bacchus of  Lebanon, 7945 Norfolk Ave., Bethesda; information at bacchusoflebanon.com.


Cheesetique: Wine and cheese dates don’t have to be expensive. This Northern Virginia eatery, which has locations in Alexandria, Arlington and Shirlington, features menu items made from 200 types of cheeses that come in the form of fondue, grilled cheese and macaroni among others.

Scott Freestone, the front-of-house manager for the Alexandria location, suggests couples start by sharing a cheeseboard (five cheeses for $25). From there you can purchase an entrée for $15 and add a glass of wine for another $10. Freestone said Cheesetique is a popular Valentine’s Day destination, but is not a suit-and-tie type place.
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends; Cheesetique, 2411 Mt. Vernon Ave, Alexandria; information at  cheesetique.com.

Co Co. Sala: Located in the heart of Washington’s Penn Quarter neighborhood, this upscale establishment is known mainly as a chocolate-and-cocktail bar. But a couple can also enjoy a dinner there for a reasonable price.

Entrees such as the asparagus risotto and ravioli go for $20. For dessert, couples can split a
plate of churros for $12, and it comes with chocolate and caramel dipping sauces. For another $12, each person can have a cocktail, one of which includes chocolate ice cubes.
5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Sunday brunch available from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Co Co. Sala, 929 F St. NW, Washington; information at cocosala.com.

For music lovers
Blues Alley: This Georgetown institution has hosted Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and area native Eva Cassidy. And its Creole-inspired menu is no slouch either.

For Valentine’s Day, Blues Alley has prepared a dinner and a show package sure to impress your
valentine. The show features saxophonist Marion Meadows with a dinner of filet mignon or other tasty entrees.
7 p.m. or 10 p.m.; Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington; $90/person; tickets at bluesalley.com

JV’s Restaurant: A Falls Church landmark — owned by the same family since 1947 — JV’s Restaurant is known for its support of local musicians and classic American fare. If you want Valentine’s Day to take you back to your days of young love (or your parents’ days of young love) take a walk down memory lane with a Motown revue.

Hear the classics, eat the classics and have a classic Valentine’s Day.
Show starts at 8 p.m.; JV’s Restaurant, 6666 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church;  no music cover; information at  jvsrestaurant.com.

Ram’s Head Tavern: Want a Valentine’s Day getaway without having to travel very far? Annapolis is not only the capital of Maryland, but a charming and happening nearby locale. Ram’s Head Tavern is a local live music favorite and Valentine’s Day dinner specials include a range of pricey to reasonable.

After dinner, stick around for the musical stylings of indie-folk-soul band Amber North.
Dinner specials start at 4 p.m.; Ram’s Head Tavern, 33 West St., Annapolis; no music cover; information at ramsheadtavern.com.

For romantic types
Compass Rose: This U Street tavern is all about traveling the world with your taste buds. It takes the best food from all over and brings it under one roof.

But for Valentine’s Day, forget the world and enjoy a fixed price, two-hour, three-course dinner (and dessert) inspired by Spanish cuisine, including a glass of amber Spanish wine. Look out for special foods like pan con tomate (a Catalan dish similar to bruschetta) and striped bass as part of your cozy dinner. But decide soon — these reservations book up quickly.
Reservations starting 5 p.m.; Compass Rose, 1346 T St. NW, Washington; $55/person; reservations at compassrosedc.com.

Bastille: Paris is the epitome of romance and Bastille, a French brasserie and bar in Alexandria, is ready to bring the Parisian food to you and your beau with a Valentine’s Day three-course dinner menu. An extra dose of romance: This Old Town Alexandria restaurant is owned by married chefs.

Enjoy a dinner of sirloin, Icelandic cod or ricotta gnudi bookended by additionally delicious
appetizers and desserts. If you’re going all in — in true French fashion — wine pairings are also available.
Reservations starting 5 p.m.; Bastille, 606 N. Fayette St.,  Alexandria; $69/person; reservations at

The Comus Inn: Located slightly outside the busy Maryland suburbs, this Dickinson restaurant has been around since 2002. Diners eat inside a preserved historic building that overlooks Sugarloaf Mountain and is the essence of fancy, gourmet dining.

The Valentine’s Day menu, available from Feb. 14 – 18, offers four courses. You start with an appetizer, such as Ahi Tuna salad, then move to an entrée such as lemon and thyme chicken. Dessert is the third course, and options include molten chocolate cake and crème brulee. And if that wasn’t enough, a helping of chocolate-dipped strawberries rounds out the evening.
Reservations starting 5 p.m.; The Comus Inn, 23900 Old Hundred Road, Dickerson; $65/person; reservations at thecomusinn.com

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