Valentine's Day is shockingly less than a month away: book a table now at any of these restaurants, where you can choose to forgo a gouging fixed menu in favor of a more frugal a la carte -- then it's up to you to keep her from ordering the lobster.
Drago Centro 525 S Flower St, Downtown; 213.228.8998 The entrance to this new Italian spot's got a 16-foot-tower of wine, which, only because it's Valentine's Day, you should absolutely not fling a shopping cart into just to see what happens. The menu's at DragoCentro.com
BondSt 9360 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills; 310.601.2255 This Thompson Hotel sushi spot offers a couched lounge, as well as a more formal dining room -- probably better for proving to your date you'll go all fancy just for her, but much worse for eating dinner on couches. Zagat's got the menu here A Restaurant 3334 Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach; 949.650.6505 Classic American fare (grilled swordfish w/artichokes; pork osso-bucco w/herb dumplings, mushrooms, and roasted garlic) in a room with all-wood walls and ceilings, as well as a working fireplace -- necessary in LA to get the ambient temperature up to a romantic 137 degrees. Get cozy at ARestaurantNB.com
Dominick's 8715 Beverly Blvd, Mid-Wilshire; 310.652.2335 Once favored by the Rat Pack, this LA institution boasts an enormous, brick'd-up back patio and dishes like grilled diver scallops w/black truffle butter and frites -- hope you like those frites, Sammy Davis, Jr. Drool over the menu at DominicksRestaurant.com
Casa 350 S Grand Ave, Downtown; 213.621.2249 Just-opened and serving classed-up Mexican (grilled octopus w/ recado negro, fingerling potatoes, & citrus and herb salad), this downtown spot offers semi-private pod-shaped booths they call "casitas", each bestowed with its own nickname -- ask for the "Deal Closer" if you're trying to take the next step with that special someone, and that someone is Scott Boras. Pick your casita wisely at CasaDowntown.com Geisha House 6633 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood; 323.460.6300 Take your gal to this tabloid-fave designer sushi spot, where she'll enthusiastically talk about eating at the same table as Lauren and Heidi, and you'll enthusiastically pretend you don't know who she's talking about. The menu's right here Roof Garden at the Peninsula 9882 Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills; 310.551.2888 Cabanas are prix fixe only, but reserve a pooldeck table to order off the Peninsula's regular, mostly-organic menu -- so you're doing something good for the earth, while doing something not quite as good as ol' moneybags in the cabana for your girl. The menu rotates; a taste is here
Gyenari 9540 Culver Blvd, Culver City; 310.838.3131 Filet mignon, Wagyu beef, and fire scallops're among the proteins you can grill up at this high-class Korean bbq, which features smoke-sucking grills -- the envy of all restaurants with regular grills, and Lil' Jon. Grill'er up at Gyenari.com