Romantic Interludes

What’s love got to do with it? Everything, especially in February.

Don’t limit romancing your honey to just Valentine’s Day.  Here are some  exceptional restaurants, getaways and ideas for showing them just how much you care.

STAY & PLAY

Many beach and downtown hotels offer special romance packages, some combining dinner and spa pampering. Check out the Don Cesar, The Vinoy, Hollander Hotel, Safety Harbor Resort & Spa, Innisbrook Resort & Spa, Hotel Indigo, Tradewinds Island Grand Resort and Opal Sands.

Just opened is the magnificent Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach where every contemporary guest room faces the ocean or Intracoastal Waterway featuring water-inspired décor and floor-to-ceiling windows with most offering balconies. Guests can dine and imbibe at Doc K’s, the pool bar and grill; eSKPades, the barista and lobby bar; or Ocean Hai, the resort’s signature dining experience and the only Asian Fusion restaurant in Clearwater Beach.

Additional services and amenities include an open-air lobby, a pool overlooking the beach, the full-service Spa Pallavi and a 24-hour fitness center.

TAKE HER AWAY

Orlando: “Romantic Retreat” at Bohemian Hotel Celebration. Available now through Feb. 19
(407) 566.6000  
www.celebrationhotel.com

  • One night in one of our luxurious rooms
  • Romantic turn-down service which includes a bottle of champagne, chocolates and rose petals
  • Breakfast for two to be used in the Lakeside Bar & Grill

St. Augustine: Casa Monica Resort & Spa. Available now through Feb. 19.
(904) 827-1888  www.casamonica.com

  • Luxurious room accommodations
  • Romantic carriage ride for two around the city’s colonial buildings, downtown parks and historic bayfront.
  • Gourmet breakfast for two in Costa Brava (up to $50)
  • Bottle of chilled champagne
  • Chocolate dipped strawberries
  • Beautiful in-room flower arrangement

DINING OUT

A romantic meal is half décor/ presentation (you eat with your eyes) and half unforgettable nibbles. Some like to start a meal with aphrodisiac classics (oysters) and end with decadent chocolate desires. Find exceptional raw or charbroiled oysters at The Island Grill & Raw Bar in Tierra Verde.

We love Chill’s and Madfish in St. Pete Beach, Middle grounds in Treasure Island and Salt Rock Grill in Indian Shores. If sushi is your thing, share a special roll at Osaka in Redington and Nori Thai in St. Pete Beach.  For steak and seafood, look no further than 1200 Chophouse and Maritana Grille at the Don CeSar. Go casual at RumFish Grill where a lobster tail dinner, crafted cocktails and the aquarium never fail to amaze.

Want more? Graze on this romantic rendezvous & make reservations NOW!

Aqua Prime: Whether you dine alfresco or in the restaurant, you can enjoy the Valentine’s Day special all week long Feb. 12-18, plus the regular menu. Entrée features include pan-seared wahoo with saffron beurre blanc sauce, ribeye or seared sea scallops and Prince Edward Isle mussels.

213 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach 717-330-7724  http://www.aquaprimeflorida.com

Castile Restaurant: The love celebration starts early at Castile, the stunning waterfront restaurant in St. Pete Beach, with a  special prix-fixe menu, available Feb. 10 & Feb. 11. Priced at $55 per person (exclusive of tax and gratuity), the special three-course menu, expertly crafted by Executive Chef Nicolas Lebas, will showcase the restaurant’s Mediterranean fare and regional freshest catches. Guests can nibble from a prix fixe or a la carte menu. Enjoy a delectable dinner by the water or inside the romantic dining room, featuring succulent dishes such as Lobster Cream with butter poached lobster medallion and Espelette pepper oil or Fresh Mediterranean Turbot with ovenroasted sunchokes, winter black truffle and Manchego foam.

Valentine’s Day menu items will also be available as specials.  Live Music: On Fri., Feb. 10, lovebirds and guests alike will be serenated by the vibrant sounds of Latin Jazz band A Deeper Shade of Soul. The band will also perform on Tuesday, Valentine’s Day.

360° Rooftop Lounge: Come dance the night away! The gorgeous rooftop lounge with unrivaled views of St. Pete Beach (Sunset Capital of Florida) and enviable sunsets will get the love party started on Saturday, February 11 with live music by the popular rock reggae band Offshore Riot. Love birds (and those looking for love) will also enjoy specialty cocktails.

FYI: Castile Restaurant 360° Rooftop Lounge, 3701 Gulf Blvd. in Kimpton Hotel Zamora in St. Pete Beach. 727-456-8660 www.castilerestaurant.com

Leverock’s: Still serving that amazing clam chowder and creamy dreamy key lime pie,  Leverock’s has been great since 1948. Best of show are the crab cakes, escargot, sashimi, fish spread, mahi mahi and shrimp.

840 Pasadena Ave. S., St. Petersburg 727- 367-4588

O’Bistro: Just about sweetest Sunday brunch in town, especially the eggs benedict and bananas foster crepes.  At dinner, the lump blue crab cakes, seafood crepes, flat iron steak, grilled king salmon and chicken or Greek salad delight.  

6661 Central Ave., St. Petersburg 727-381-1212 www.obistroonline.com

The Pearl: Chef Karim’s fine dining menu and friendly staff can’t be beat. With $12 Early Dinner Specials that includes soup or salad and entrée, $5 martini and house wine drink specials from 4 – 6 pm & Full Premium Bar. Experience the Sushi Tuesday (Bar only, 6 pm-8 suggest reservation) and more! Live Flamingo & Latin Music with Yvan Garcia on Friday & Saturday 7 pm.

163 107th Ave., Treasure Island 727-360-9151  http://www.thepearlfinedining.com

Selene: Selene is like dining in the Greek Islands.  Try the quail, branzino, rack of lamb, seared octopus, tuna. Full bar with Happy Hour (4 – 7pm) specials, $4 house wine, wells, craft beers & domestics $3. Gourmet appetizers a bargain at HH ($6-7). Daily specials. Live music on Friday and Saturday.

4945 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach 727-317-2064 or 317-2065 http://www.selenerestaurant.com

Verducci’s Trattoria & Sea Fire: Have you tried these restaurants for homemade sauces, elegant pasta dishes (best lasagna, clam linguine) and entrees such as the veal piccata, chicken marsala, sautéed seafood and homemade pastas? Even the desserts are made inhouse and the mimosa pizza is out of this world. (béchamel sauce, mozzarella, corn,  speck and goat cheese)  

7736 Blind Pass Rd., St. Pete Beach, 727-363-7900 http://www.verduccistpetebeach.com

Villa Gallaci: A classic Italian bistro helmed by the charming Luigi, the seafood, veal and gourmet pastas are to live for.  Fine dining at its best and some of the best Italian wines pair nicely with the delectable dishes.  

109 Gulf Blvd.,Indian Rocks Beach 727-596-0200    PN

By Nanette Wiser

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