This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday which can be viewed as both a blessing and a curse in the restaurant world. It’s time to get those plans solidified so you can enjoy dining out on some delicious (prix fixe) food with your S.O. What else is the holiday about? Here’s where to celebrate Valentine’s Day in New Jersey. Reservations strongly encouraged.
For farm-to-table with an Italian twist…
Felina in Ridgewood
When I first visited Felina in Ridgewood, Chef Anthony Bucco certainly did not disappoint. The restaurant is his first foray into acting as both the head chef and co-owner, and his passion for the industry is more than evident. The food and atmosphere feel special, yet approachable—which is what makes Felina an ideal destination to spend your Valentine’s Day in New Jersey. From Italian-inspired pastas to locally-sourced proteins, there’s nothing on the menu we didn’t like.
For a fancy night out…
Jockey Hollow in Morristown
The mansion that is Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen is all about the ambiance. The historic estate, which includes three floors and four separate dining spaces, offers a unique experience for each one of its guests. We suggest starting off drinks at The Vail Bar, perhaps moving onto oysters and then ending with dinner in the main dining room. First-timers can expect locally-sourced ingredients, beautiful plating and exceptional service.
For contemporary Italian on the waterfront…
Battello in Jersey City
Romance is never not in the air at Battello—a popular North Jersey wedding venue for many years. For Valentine’s Day, you can dine on Chef Ryan DePersio’s three-course prix fixe menu at $95 per person, with an optional wine pairing for an additional $30 per person; $50 for reserve. (The waterfront views are complimentary.)
For phenomenal house-made pastas….
Viaggio in Wayne
I think pasta has become the unofficial poster child for Valentine’s Day across the board. If you’re feeling decadent, Viaggio in Wayne will be serving a four-course menu at $79 per person on the 14th and 15th. It will, of course, include an array of their famous house-made pastas. Make sure to save room for the 45-day dry-aged NY strip, if you choose.
For an intimate outing headed by a celebrity chef…
Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge
It’s almost like you get to stay at home—except celebrity chef David Viana will be doing the cooking. If you haven’t been to Heirloom Kitchen, it doubles as a cooking school during the week and Thursday-Saturday, it transforms into a fully functioning restaurant with a comfy vibe, headed by a former “Top Chef” contestant. This Valentine’s Day, book yourself a table and enjoy a three-course meal that’s sure to excite your eyes and stomach.
For a seafood-focused menu overlooking Manhattan…
Halifax in Hoboken
Valentine’s Day in New Jersey can arguably be best spent gazing out at the New York City skyline. At Halifax, inside the W Hoboken, there’s shortage of views to accompany a four-course Valentine’s Day tasting menu crafted by Chef Seadon Shouse. At $84 per person, with an optional wine pairing for $34, guests can dig into local and sustainable seafood-forward dishes such as a warm custard with king crab and caviar to start, and a black sea bass entrée with Maine mussels cream.
For a modern take on old-world Italian…
Osteria Crescendo in Westwood (main image)
This Valentine’s Day will be a first for Osteria Crescendo, and Chef Robbie Felice wants couples to come and celebrate with a special four-course Italian-themed dinner on both Friday and Saturday night. At $79 per person, you can start with any of their antipasti offerings and then move onto house-made pastas, protein-forward mains and finish off with dessert. Their cocktails aren’t to be missed, either.
For upscale comfort food…
South + Pine in Morristown
If you and your S.O. are looking for something more low-key, South + Pine is a refreshing reprieve to spend Valentine’s Day in New Jersey. Meaning no white tablecloths or champagne flutes. What you will get, however, at Chef Leia Gaccione’s restaurant is a rustic-style design scheme and an inspired take on familiar American dishes. (Think crispy fried chicken with polenta waffles and Calabrian chile hot honey.)
For dinner before the movie…
City Perch in Fort Lee
My perfect date is always dinner and a movie—Valentine’s Day being no exception. City Perch has become a quick favorite not only for its delicious food from Chef Sherry Yard, but also its close proximity to iPic theaters at Hudson Lights. They’re literally connected. City Perch will be serving up a three-course prix fixe menu all weekend long from February 14-16th at $90 per couple. I imagine the deep, dark chocolate donut will be hard to pass up.