When the birds are singing and heart-shaped emojis are consistently in the recently used section of your iPhone, it can only mean one thing: the season of love has arrived. The commercialized celebration of romance is historically huge for big business, but keep in mind that some of San Antonio's local gems need love, too.
From sexy staples to completely off-the-grid eateries, these are the best restaurants to celebrate Valentine's Day in San Antonio.
Arirang is more than just an inviting Korean restaurant, it’s an experience featuring delicious, out-of-this-world Korean cuisine. This establishment may appear to be understated on the outside, however that’s part of its charm. The staff could best be described as hospitable, because it really does feel like walking into a humble home. Expect a friendly chat from your server and enjoy the best culinary representations of this glorious culture.
2154 Austin Hwy.
Candlelight Wine & Coffee Bar
True to its name, Candlelight Restaurant and Wine Bar will instantly beguile newbies with its atmospheric lighting, hip clientele, and cozy seating areas. Its menu of classic American fare is top-notch and the restaurant's vast wine selection is just what the love doctor ordered. Make sweet memories while enjoying live music by local singer/songwriters like Laura Marie and Lesti Huff. Candlelight is the supreme backdrop for that moment when the Cupid’s arrow inevitably strikes.
3011 N. St. Mary’s St.
The food at Ida Claire is so good that if your date were to suddenly storm off for some unexplained reason, you'd be inclined to finish your meal before running after them. Expect a relaxing-yet-adventurous, Southern-inspired supper served by what seems to be an intentionally attractive waitstaff.
7300 Jones Maltsberger Rd.
La Frite Belgian Bistro
If I were asked to identify a local establishment that feels most akin to a small Western European cafe, it would certainly be La Frite Belgian Bistro in Southtown. Exquisite dishes, fine wine, and again, superb lighting (on the Feast of St. Valentine, that’s definitely a thing) will duly impress your date. Splurge on mussels and feed your lover like the Belgian god or goddess they are. After a few glasses of Rombauer Merlot, you won’t mind if others are watching.
728 S. Alamo St.
La Marginal Puerto Rican Restaurant
Amidst all the Mexican food establishments in San Antonio, it's easy to overlook other facets of Latin American cuisine. La Marginal Puerto Rican Restaurant is the closest one can get to the Island of Enchantment without actually being there. Expect an excellent presentation by la buena gente who are always more than happy to explain the delicious deets of mouth-watering Puerto Rican fare.
2447 Nacogdoches Rd.
Louie Italian Restaurant
Looking for a classic, unpretentious date locale? Look no further than Louie Italian Restaurant. Louie is big on taste so matter what you order, it feels like it was made especially for you by an Italian nonna. This lovely restaurant is so mom-and-pop it even has a celebrity wall gallery. (We meet again, Jesse Borrego...) Oh, and don’t make the mistake of bringing different first dates to Louie, because not only will the waitstaff remember your name, they'll remember what you ordered last time and who you were dining with. That was kind of awkward, but the food was definitely worth it.
4979 Northwest Loop 410.
For those fans of the Netflix series You, this is the kind of alluring eatery that Joe Goldberg would take you to to get you to fall in love with him faster. Quiet, sexy, and completely off-the-grid, Moroccan Cuisine sets the bar high for outrageously authentic cuisine. It’s open late on the weekends, so let the good and/or romantic times roll.
7959 Fredericksburg Rd.
If Catherine the Great's Winter Palace was in, say, Albuquerque, it would probably look a lot like Ocho, one of San Antonio’s best-kept secrets according to those who are good at keeping them. Nestled on the side of Hotel Havana, a boutique hotel that everyone should experience at least once, the turquoise and glass conservatory is a perfect spot for craft cocktails, Pan-Latin cuisine, or whatever else the evening spontaneously dictates. Although the breathtaking atmosphere is easily a selling point, nothing beats Ocho's scrumptious brunch followed by a romantic stroll along the historic River Walk. On February 14, the venue will present Moon River, a special menu from Ocho and Desert Door Texas Sotol featuring Ranch Water and a three-course meal.
1015 Navarro St.
The Purple Garlic Italian Cafe
Perfect for a date night any time of the year, The Purple Garlic Italian Cafe in Hollywood Park takes its cuisine very seriously, meaning that no matter what you order, the rich taste of Italy will be the star of your Valentine's celebration.
15909 San Pedro Ave.
Rehoboth Eritrean-Ethiopian Cuisine
The most intimate suggestion on this list is a dinner date at Rehoboth Eritrean-Ethiopian Cuisine, a place that serves portions family-style. Also, Ethiopian food is eaten by hand, so no utensils are required. (What says "together forever" more than that?) The meal is eaten with injera, which is like a big tortilla, but spongier, like a pancake. Located near the Medical Center, Rehoboth definitely has an under-the-radar vibe in the event that your ex is the Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction type. Although meat dishes are on the menu, this cuisine is also heavy on vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free items.
1721 Babcock Rd.