Italian Restaurants for Valentine's Day
Photo by MAURO/Fotolia
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, nothing could be more romantic than a dinner by candlelight with a beautiful pile of pasta and a glass of wine to clink—even the Lady and the Tramp agree. Here’s an assortment of Italian places around the Twin Cities for you and a loved one to venture to this Valentine’s Day.
Known for its romantic atmosphere, Al Vento is one of the few Italian restaurants with a unique Valentine’s Day menu. For $38 per person, “Taste the Love” offers three courses of their uniquely southern Italian cooking. If you’re not going on Valentine’s Day specifically, Al Vento also has a rotating tasting menu if you’re in an adventurous mood.
If you’re on or near the University of Minnesota campus, Loring Bar & Restaurant in Dinkytown is within walking distance. Loring’s two stories of eclectic design result from its previous alias as a campus pharmacy. Since then, it has been transformed into a beautiful venue with an open kitchen, a stage for live music and sparkling lights. It even doubles as a romantic venue for weddings and other events, including salsa dancing on Fridays. Loring’s menu includes a classic “Spaghetti and Meatball,” where a single giant meatball sits atop a bed of pasta. If that doesn’t intrigue you, Loring serves other pasta dishes, pizza and entrees such as grilled salmon and flat iron steak, in addition to wine, beer and cocktails.
If you’re looking for an unconventional option this V-Day, Cossetta is the spot for you. Part eatery, part marketplace and part pasticceria, it's a good thing the restaurant has room for 300. After dining on their pasta and pizza options, explore their authentic Italian pastries, dessert and gelato to satisfy a sweet tooth or shop the market and bring home Italian ingredients like fresh bread, cold cuts and pasta to cook a dish at home.
For those who spend more time in St. Paul, DeGidio’s is another option in addition to Cossetta. DeGidio’s serves any Italian entrees but pizza, including spaghetti, Italian meatball dip, arancini, pizza fries and lobster ravioli—plus, of course, a drink menu.
Mix and match entrees at The Old Spaghetti Factory to make your own three-course meal, finishing with spumoni ice cream. If you’d rather go a little nostalgic for dessert, the restaurant serves classic milkshakes for your liking. Don’t forget about the Italian cream sodas—you can even keep the bottle when you’re done.
Rinata’s cozy space makes for a more intimate dinner for you and a loved one—just make sure to book a reservation for the quickest seating. Although Valentine’s Day is on a Wednesday this year, Rinata has specials six days a week, so if you decide to celebrate a few days early or late, you’ll still find the perfect meal for your dollar. On Sundays, Rinata offers four courses for just $25 per person for “Date Night,” and during select times throughout the week, Renata offers half-price bottles of wine.
With one of the most extensive Italian menus in the Twin Cities, Bar La Grassa has to be a contender for your Italian escapades. An all-encompassing wine menu, even including dessert wine, is perfect for any wine connoisseur. Bruschetta has its own category, offering nine different selections compared to the usual one or two, in addition to other appetizers. While the menu offers proteins such as Arctic char, it's difficult to say no to more than two dozen dry, fresh or filled pasta dishes. Night owls can stay at Bar La Grassa until midnight on weekdays and until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays—plenty of time to linger over one of the restaurant's signature desserts.