Don't let VDay railroad you into an overpriced prix fixe. Instead, make a reservation at one of these romantic restos offering a la carte menus on that one night a year that makes up for the other 364 of heady insensitivity.
Loftin's 1116 Ocean
1116 Ocean Dr, South Beach; 305.672.6604
The former Versace mansion now rocks Spanish colonial charm, with mosaic tiles, balcony, garden, and courtyard dining, and a New American menu sporting opulence like seared, brown-buttered sea scallops topped w/ caviar, and lobster w/ foie gras, black truffles, and chanterelle 'shrooms -- which'll make you hallucinate that you actually belong in a committed relationship.
Check out the grounds at CasaCasuarina.com
1458 Ocean Dr, South Beach; 305.695.4114
Massive wood block tables balanced against shadowy, bamboo-lined seating -- plus an easy walk to the beach -- make Table 8 prime for VDay, but the kicker's that the Hotel De Soleil's retaining an ordained minister "on call" to marry couples on the spot. So keep your head down, brother.
To suss out the surroundings go to Table8la.com
Lido Restaurant at The Standard
40 Island Ave, Miami Beach; 305.673.1717
Moonlight off Biscayne Bay ought to get you some mileage, as should the Alice In Wonderland-like garden, replete with hanging scoop chairs, semi-canopied love seats, a fire pit, and other couples necking in the bushes -- like summer camp, except hopefully the big kids won't corn-dog you the next morning.
For menus and a look at The Standard property go to StandardHotels.com
1427 West Ave, South Beach; 305.672.8881
Barton's shadowy garden manages to make the term "nooks & crannies" romantic. The menu runs the gamut from coconut crusted voodoo shrimp to "lobster Pop-Tarts" in filo, plus desserts like "Chocolate Fun-Do" and "Carnival Fun Cake" -- the perfect excuse to guess her weight!
For lots of pics and menu deets go to BartonG.com
Michael's Genuine Food & Drink
130 NE 40th St, Atlas Plaza, Miami; 305.573.5550
MG offers al fresco dining on a semi-canopied patio, plus the option to order small, medium, or large plates of whatever's freshest/ripest in S. Fla at the moment, from crispy sweet & spicy pork belly, to wood-roasted black grouper, to lemon pot de creme w/ blueberry conserve and hot dipping donuts -- perfect fodder for a "two donuts in the bathtub" joke, assuming you don't actually have a girlfriend.
See Michael's latest menu at MichaelsGenuine.com
432 41st St, Miami Beach; 305.538.8533
With its stained glass walls, high ceilings, intricate chandeliers, and gargantuan wine cellar, this continental steakhouse with plenty of caviar and seafood looks like a Czar's dining hall. Here's hoping you're not dating Catherine the Great.
For pics of The Forge set to swanky tunes (including jazz flute) go to TheForge.com
2257 SW 22nd St, Miami; 305.859.2228
Tiny Romeo's, which holds only 28 guests and has no set menu, prepares Northern Italian dishes customized to each couple, depending on what you tell them over the phone. They've got four seatings for VDay, but taking a different girl to each one would make you a pig, as you'd eat way too much food.
Understand Romeo's commitment at RomeosCafe.com
Red The Steakhouse
119 Washington Ave, South Beach; 305.534.3688
The carnivorously romantic Red sports cushy crimson booths, 20-foot tall wine racks, dramatic lighting, and food that makes you work together, like a massive bowl of frutti di mar with oysters, clams, shrimp, mussels and calamari; a 16-oz rack of New Zealand lamb; and a 24- or 48-oz porterhouse -- so you can finally work on the concept of sharing. Or not.
For a full menu go to RedTheSteakhouse.com