If you are partaking in a romantic relationship of sorts, you should be well aware that Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. If this is the first notice you’ve received of the impending holiday, you are probably in some sort of pickle. Maybe you did have a plan but thought the holiday was further down the road. Perhaps your original plans included an extravagantly romantic night, beginning with dinner at one of those elegant restaurants with the “prix fixe” menus and waiters who pull the seats out for you and offer detailed descriptions of the night’s specials. Maybe you would share a dessert as laughs and giggles pepper the conversation because, after all, you are the suave, witty individual to which all others are measured. Then, some barefoot slow dancing to acoustic French music, followed by a marathon of lovemaking. Of course. But you made one fatal error: You didn’t make a reservation. All of those restaurants for which you saved up are now all booked with middle-aged couples looking to reignite the flame of their relationship with expensive wine, candlelight and small portions. What is one to do? Well, we at the Clog have studiously searched Opentable for all the most romantic restaurants that still have open reservations on V-Day. We’ve compiled them for you, along with some suggestions if those stuffy places have way too many dollar signs on Yelp.
2327 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704
Open spots: 8:15, 8:30 p.m.
Ah, Venus. We’ve all walked past its windows and gazed nostalgically at its delicate, glimmering string lights. We don’t know why string lights seem to be equated with romance so deeply in our subconscious, but they just are. We’re sure your date will swoon when you bring him or her to the cozy and oh-so-seductive red brick building in which Venus is housed.
3343 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, CA 94610
Open spots: 9:15, 9:30 p.m.
“Oui, je t’aime … moi non plus,” croons Serge Gainsbourg. His song alone should convince you that the French are the most romantic and passionate of all. Thus, it would only be fitting for you and your date to honor St. Valentine by eating escargot at the Provencal restaurant Michel Bistro.
1888 Solano Ave., Berkeley, CA 94707
Open spots: 9 p.m.
Perhaps a French restaurant is too obvious a choice for you. You’re an “individual,” and you want to show your date that. Why not an Indian restaurant? Maybe the spicy masala will subtly point to your own potential spiciness.
BUILD Pizzeria Roma
2286 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704
Open spots: 6:30, 6:45, 7 p.m. and more
If you choose to partake in its three-course meal, you and your date could possibly win free movie tickets — so, pizza and “Fifty Shades of Grey.” We should hope this revolutionary combination will set the precedent for all your future Valentine’s Day plans.
1686 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709
Open spots: No reservations taken
Tiny, cozy and quaint. This is the place to take your vegetarian sweetheart, who happens to dearly miss sushi. He or she will start to fall for you once he takes a bite of Cha-Ya’s soba sushi.
5812 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618
Open spots: No reservations (a.k.a. a free for all)
It’s dimly lit and super hard to get into because it doesn’t take any reservations, thus making it an excellent choice to impress your sweetheart. How do you get in if it doesn’t take any reservations? Go super late. It’s open until midnight, so take your date at 10 or 11 p.m. and you will have an open table waiting for you.
Grand Lake Kitchen
576 Grand Ave., Oakland, CA 94610
Open spots: No reservations taken
If you want to save a little money, just grab a sandwich for you and your darling, and you can have a picnic by the lovely Lake Merritt. The string lights strike again here. They can bathe you in their glow while you munch on your avocado-hummus sandwich and cuddle underneath the warmth of a blanket.
New Parkway Theater
474 24th St., Oakland, CA 94612
Open spots: lots
The New Parkway Theater is having special Valentine’s Day showings of “Some Like it Hot” and “Dirty Dancing.” Couples can choose to have a four-course meal during the showing, two glasses of champagne and dessert — or just watch the movie. It also sells food outside the preset Valentine’s Day menu that is much better than your standard theater fare and includes burgers, macaroni and cheese, and pasta. The best part about this place is that instead of regular theater seats, it has an assortment of couches and coffee tables, so you won’t have to precariously balance your meal on your lap.
Image Sources:Sherwin Techico
Contact Nora Harhen at [email protected].