Valentine's Day is right around the corner, so avoid the last minute rush and sidestep that prohibitive prix fixe by reserving at one of these romantic spots friendly to the a la carte, but mean to Dustin Diamond.
Tapeo Restaurant and Tapas Bar (268 Newbury St, btwn Fairfield and Gloucester; Back Bay; 617.267.4799) Step into Newbury's stone/Spanish-tiled oasis of love to feast on paella, grilled chorizo, and roasted duckling in a berry sauce, but not a Chuck Berry sauce, 'cause that goes better with Fish and Chips.
Rock out to music that may or may not sound like the Gypsy Kings at Tapeo.com
Sandrine's Bistro (8 Holyoke Street, btwn Harvard and Mt Auburn; Harvard Square; 617.497.5300) The sleek Harvard bistro du Gaul is a la carting Alsatian classics like a cumin & cardamom- seasoned rack of lamb w/ gratin dauphinois, a vanilla liqueur'd créme brulee, and from the bar, a gin, Dubonnet Rouge, and Grand Marnier-mixed Napoleon -- no doubt served in an extremely short glass.
Don't lose your table to some Harvard undergrad sporting Dad's credit card -- make your reservation today
Gaslight Brasserie du Coin (560 Harrison Ave, at Rollins; South End; 617.422.0224) The eclectic, darkly lit South End brasserie's serving up steamed mussels w/ Pernod, coriander, and frites, as well as spice crusted yellowfin tuna w/ chickpea hummus and eggplant that's been "Tunisian charred", presumably as a warning to any other eggplants trying to dissolve the plate's leadership committee.
Because you'll no doubt be picking your lady up (you are, aren't you?), take advantage of free parking at Gaslight560.com
Bin 26 Enoteca (26 Charles St, at Chestnut; Beacon Hill; 617.723.5939) Let the vino flow freely at the Hill's most romantic enoteca as you enjoy options like seared scallops in an arugula lime dressing, shrimp and pea risotto, or pappardelle with spicy sausage, leeks, and mixed mushrooms, which would be a great thing to get when running over a question mark in Mario Kart.
Seriously, try not to sound like an idiot when ordering the house red at Bin26.com
Ashmont Grill (555 Talbot Ave, at Dorchester; Dorchester; 617.825.4300) Casually nod to Casey Affleck at the Dot's best resto while digging into house aged 10oz sirloin w/ mashed taters and baby carrots, and baked mac 'n cheese w/ sun-dried tomatoes and a "moody bleu" smoked cheese, although those Knights in White Satin dudes really shouldn't be smoking anything, they're like 100.
Don't dash without trying Nanny Sheila's Big Ole' Carrot Cake, or paying the check, at AshmontGrill.com
Oleana (134 Hampshire St, at Elm; Inman Sq; 617.661.0505) Because Dr. Phil says sharing is sexy, order off their extensive small plate meze menu chocked full of arousing delights like tuna kibbeh (tartare) and Vermont quail w/ berries, then cap it off with pistachio ice cream laced w/ quince and spiced wine granite, which totally rocks.
Make the reservation first, find the date later
Basho Japanese Brasserie (1338 Boylston, btwn Kilmarnock and Jersey; Fenway; 617.262.1338) Tell her you'd marry her all over again at
Zales Fenway's mecca to Japanese delights where you can sip fresh crafted cocktails and eat fancified vittles like Foie Gras Teriyaki and Maine Lobster sashimi while soaking in the expansive minimalist vibe and cool glass-encased robata grill, not to be confused with the Mr. Roboto grill, which tends to Styx if you don't spray it with Pam.
Basho means a place where things happen, so you might want to get to it
Bacco Ristorante & Bar (107 Salem Street, at Parmenter; North End; 617.624.0454) Hit up the off-the-super-beaten-path North Ender for its cozy ambiance and modern Italian fare like basil & fontina arancini (risotto fritters), prosciutto w/ pears and Gorgonzola, and pan-seared salmon w/ roasted veggies and angel hair, presumably served fresh from the top of Tom Brady's handsome, handsome dome.
Sure, you could hang with the tourists, or you could be cool at BaccoNorthEnd.com