Much like half price sushi (also see: discount parachutes) – I’d normally advise you to run away as fast as you can from a restaurant on Valentines Day. As one of the busiest days in a restaurant’s calendar, it’s unsurprising that both kitchen and service staff can be stretched thin – at times making for a less than perfect experience.
That said, there exist some fantastic exceptions to the rule – most notably, our Local Partners – a very special group of businesses. These represent some of the best of the best eateries in SLC. Here’s what a few have up their sleeves for this February the 14th:
Caffe Niche – A special five-course $50 Valentine’s tasting menu will be filled with local meats, seasonal produce and fresh seafood. Executive chef Ethan Lappé’s commented on his menu, “I wanted to create an intimate menu that reflects our close associations with local farms and ranches. It’s a great way for us to celebrate our love for our local producers in a meaningful way.” The cost is $50 per person and reservations are required. The full menu is as follows:
* Kennebec potato pancake, crème fraîche, chives, caviar
Soup or salad (choose one)
* Seared Hawaiian tuna salad, citrus segments, organic mixed greens, creamy herb vinaigrette, preserved lemons
* Tomato bisque, saffron crème fraîche, crispy shallots
Appetizer (choose one)
* Asparagus, poached farm fresh egg, pecorino cheese, white truffle vinaigrette
* Pancetta wrapped shrimp, tomato sauce, basil oil, braised fennel, local micro basil
Entree (choose one)
* Morgan Valley lamb osso buco, creamy polenta, haricots verts green beans
* Scallops, green pea cake, jumbo lump crab, bacon, lemon caper agrodolce
* House made pumpkin and ricotta filled ravioli, citrus brown butter beurre blanc, sage, roasted pumpkin seeds, house pickled jalapenos, roasted butternut squash
Desserts (choose one)
* Buttermilk panna cotta, toasted almond crunch, grapefruit segments, brown sugar citrus glaze
* Chocolate verrine, chocolate mousse, salted caramel, white chocolate pearls, crème fraîche
779 East Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT 84102
Faustina – Faustina are offering a special four course menu to tantalize the senses for Valentine’s Day. Cost for the meal is $50 and suggested wine pairings in 2 oz. flights are available for an additional cost of $20. Reservations are required. “Our culinary team has created a memorable menu for Valentine’s day,” said managing partner Tyler Jolley. “I really think we hit all the right notes with this menu and the ambiance at Faustina provides such a great place to celebrate with a love one.” Faustina’s menu is as follows:
* Pate a Choux with caviar, crème fraîche and chives
Soup or salad (choose one)
* Creamy tomato saffron soup: pureed tomato soup infused with saffron and cream, croutons
* Crab louie: “living” butter leaf lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, chopped egg, gribiche dressing
Appetizers (choose one)
* Oysters Rockefeller: creamed spinach, garlic and herbs
* Lobster stuffed piquillo peppers with béchamel and fresh herbs, balsamic reduction
Entrees (choose one)
* Grilled tenderloin with potatoes au gratin, confit heirloom carrots, brandy mushroom cream sauce
* Braised Morgan Valley lamb with polenta cakes, warm asparagus salad
* Sautéed scallops with green pea puree, jumbo lump crab, bacon, lemon caper sauce
* Caramelized white chocolate boudino with lemon curd, caramelized white chocolate crumb
(vegetarians available on request too, advanced notice recommended)
454 East 300 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Finca – Finca’s setup for the big day is best explained by owner Scott Evans:
“Valentine’s Day may get a reputation for being overblown at times, with pressure of Hallmark cards and boxes of chocolates and such. But at the root of it, it’s just a celebration of love, and we believe all kinds of love really should be celebrated. What better way to celebrate than over great food and drink? Even the ancient Romans considered February 14th “feast day.” So grab one (or many) of your loved ones – whether that’s your sister or your closest group of amigos or your special someone who still makes your heart skip a beat – and join us for a fun evening over food and drink at FINCA in our swanky new digs.
There will also be a lot of love in our food on Valentine’s as Executive Chef Phelix Gardner, Chef de Cuisine Dallas Olson, and their team are offering a special Valentine’s Day Tasting Menu with five courses for just $45 per person + gratuity, as well as a wine pairing or cocktail pairing option that makes expansive use of bubbly for $25-$30 per person. The regular FINCA menu will also be offered that evening.
The Tasting Menu starts off with a quick nibble from the chef, your choice of appetizer either brussels sprouts salad with Mahon cheese, pecans, and dried cranberry or confit and fried leeks with romesco and farm egg, followed by your choice of main either two tapas selection or one platos grandes selection – including tapas like classic fried Papas y Aioli potatoes with paprika and garlic aioli or a special preparation of Langostinos head-on prawn with Alzania, herbs and black sea salt or hearty Albondigas lamb & pork meatballs, tomato sauce and Manchego cheese, among other tapas choices, or your choice of one of our larger platos grandes options like Chuleta de Certo ancho-citrus brined pork chop, house mustard cider glaze, warm potato salad and watercress or Carne de Asador wood grilled hanger steak and chimichurri sauce. After the main courses, you’ll get a bite of Sorbetto de Citron citrus sorbet to cleanse your palate before your choice of dessert, either our special Goxua layered cake with cream, custard, chamomile caramel, candied almonds and blood orange pate fruit or classic Spanish favorite Spiced Churros with mezzo chocolate dipping sauce.”
327 West 200 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Frida Bistro – Make it a weekend of love and join Frida on both February 13th and 14th for two decadent dishes along with their regular nightly dinner menu – reservations are recommended. The two specials are:
Chuleta de Cordero
* Marinated lamb chops, pan seared and finished on the grill, served on a bed of beets and cauliflower purée. Topped with a fennel salad and truffle oil
Mar Tierra y Cielo
* Filet Mignon/Duck Leg Confit/Petite Lobster Tail on a mirror of creamy saffron sauce jalapeño cilantro mashed potatoes with a sprout mixed salad
545 West 700 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Log Haven – What better place to celebrate with that special someone than a restaurant named in the OpenTable Diners’ Choice Awards – as one of the top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in the United States for the sixth consecutive year. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in all 50 states.
“In my opinion, it is absolutely no surprise that we are consistently named one of the top 100 most romantic restaurants because we’re built on a history of romance,” comments Margo Provost, Log Haven Owner/Operator. “L.F. Rains built the original Log Haven as an anniversary present for his wife in 1920, and the couple spent every summer here. This building is imbued with love and romance and we’re honored to carry forward that tradition.”
Continuing its devotion to romance, Log Haven will host a “Long Romantic Weekend” in celebration of Valentine’s Day. From Thursday, February 12 through Sunday, February 15, Log Haven will feature specialty cocktails such as the Ginger Dream featuring domaine canton ginger liquer, mocktails such as Cranberry Kiss, plus seasonal culinary creations in addition to its regular winter menu. Dining specials include a grilled bone-in filet mignon, served with roasted baby beets, shallot marmalade, crème fraiche potatoes, and pink peppercorn sauce; lobster & crab cakes, accompanied by an avocado salad, grapefruit and butter sauce; and a Valrhona chocolate flourless cake. Live music, a crackling fire and stunning vistas round out the romantic offerings.
In addition to the regular menu, keep an eye out for these additional specials:
Appetizer: Lobster and crab cakes, avocado salad, grapefruit butter sauce
Soup: Wild mushroom soup, almond milk, shaved parmesan, Sanderman sherry
Entree: Grilled bone-in filet mignon, roasted baby beets, shallot marmalade, creme fraiche potatoes, pink peppercorn sauce
Dessert: Valrhona chocolate flourless cake, strawberry whipped cream, white chocolate mikado
6451 East Millcreek Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, UT 84109
“For many of us, food/love/wine/drink are a closely woven fabric that knits together different events and memories throughout our life – a holiday feast with family and friends eating and drinking and laughing and talking together late into the night, a trip abroad with your special someone eating dinner outside on a tiny restaurant patio overlooking the cobblestone street lit by lamp light, a celebratory toast after achieving an important work or personal goal in your life. At Pago, we enjoy contributing to this lovely tapestry for so many people during holidays or special events or seemingly ordinary days turned extraordinary. Join us this Valentine’s Day to celebrate with a loved one (or several loved ones) over an exquisite meal and drink.
Executive Chef Phelix Gardner, Chef de Cuisine Drew Fuller, and their team have crafted a fabulous Valentine’s Day menu to delight your senses from first to last taste for $70 per person plus 20% gratuity. After a Savory Beignet amuse-bouche, you’ll have the choice of starters – Citrus Pickled Oysters with bitter greens, or French Onion Soup with crostini and Gruyere or Rehydrated Root Vegetables with potatoes and house buttermilk, followed by an intermezzo of Beet Sorbetto, and then on to mains where you’ll choose between Veal Shank osso bucco, smoked celeriac puree and gremolata or Sous Vide Mary’s Duck Breast with faro “grits,” wild mushrooms, butternut and natural jus or Pan Seared Diver Scallops with celery, fennel and Satsuma butter. Dessert is a choice of Petit Tiramisu with Charming Beard espresso sabayon, mascarpone and lady fingers, or Molten Chocolate Lava Cake with Valrhona ganache, red wine reduction, buttermilk gelato and chocolate strawberries.
Sommelier Evan Lewandowski is also offering wine pairings for the Valentine’s Day menu for $35 per person. As always, he’s chosen a fun and eclectic selection of wines that will bring out the best flavor combinations in the meal.”
878 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84102
* Gastronomic SLC is a proud local partner of Caffe Niche, Finca, Frida Bistro, Faustina, Oasis Cafe and Log Haven.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by Uinta Cutthroat, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. I ate all the pies.