Valentine’s Day in the Nation’s Capital

Where to enjoy the holiday dinner in Washington, D.C.


It’s that time of year again: Valentine’s Day, when husbands and boyfriends scramble to make reservations and singles avoid being seen in public after 7 p.m. In the hopes of helping alleviate this stress, we’ve done some legwork for you all. Below is a list of some of our favorite restaurants in Washington, D.C. and their Valentine’s Day offerings. We’ve left out those restaurants that are written up in all the "Top 10" restaurants in D.C. roundups because you know what they are and you may be too late to get reservations there anyway. The truth hurts.

Our list includes a little something for everyone: high-end and affordable, lively and intimate, casual and fancy, and the expected and unexpected. We’ve even located an option for those without a plus-one this year. That’s right; singles need not hide in their condos with the lights off and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s on Valentine’s Day. (That’s what everyone does, right?)

Bibiana offers excellent service and Italian food in an intimate dining room. For $85 per person, diners can choose one dish from each course:
Antipasti: Yellow fin tuna carpaccio, Salt-roasted heirloom beets salad, Artichoke soup, Beef tartare, 45 minute hen egg with mushroom purée and black truffle, Grilled octopus
Primi:  Lobster linguini ($5 supplement), Black spaghetti with jumbo lump crab "aglio, olio e pepperoncino," Carnaroli risotto with white chocolate and crispy sweetbread, Braised beef filled cannelloni, Parpardelle with duck ragù, Ravioli filled with cacio romano, marjoram, and tomato
Secondi:  Poached branzino with fennel, blood orange, and dill, Roasted scallops with salsify purée and brown butter, Baked Amberjack with potatoes, Grilled cauliflower "steak" with potato mousseline and black truffle, Braised veal cheeks, white polenta and roasted parsnips, Roasted lamb loin, heirloom carrots, and cipollini onions
Dolci:  Tasting dessert for two, Cheese plate, Tiramisu gelato, Moscato d’asti sorbet.

Bourbon Steak
If it’s good enough for the president and first lady’s anniversary dinner, it’s good enough for you. While the bar at Bourbon is always lively and full of great people-watching opportunities, the dining room is intimate and quiet. At $95 per person, the Valentine's Day menu is the most expensive on this list. The lobster pot pie is an additional $40, but it is sure to put any woman in a good mood. Keep in mind that the à la carte menu will not be available. Instead, diners can choose one dish from each the following:
First course: Ahi tuna tartare, Handmade spaghettini guanciale with poached egg, Winter market salad with fried Brussels sprout leaves, Wild mushroom barley soup with braised Wagyu short rib
Second course:  Seared diver scallops with potato samosa, Duck breast l’orange with seared foie gras, Beef tenderloin with black truffle gnocchi, Lobster pot pie ($40 supplement)
Third course: Chocolate Pavlova, Peanut butter soufflé tart, Crunchy profiteroles, Mandarin orange sherbet and olive oil cake

Ris is offering its Valentine's Day tasting menu from Feb. 14 to 17 and is another great option for those in the mood for a quiet, intimate dinner. For $80, diners can select one dish from each course below:
First course: Miso salmon tartare and cucumber yuzu slaw, Sea scallop and winter squash risotto
Second course:  Kabocha squash and ricotta ravioli, Endive, apple, and blue cheese salad
Third course: Honey-glazed duck breast with rye spaetzle, sauerkraut, and duck confit, Grilled quail, hominy grits, and bourbon cherry sauce
Fourth course: Braised veal cheek, risotto Milanese, Braised lamb neck, carrot cream with pomegranate, pine nuts, and yogurt
Dessert: Champagne and grapefruit parfait with oatmeal hazelnut crisps and citrus caramel, Warm chocolate bread pudding
Ris will also offer its usual à la carte menu, which will include some additional dishes just for Valentine's Day such as Oysters on the half-shell, lobster champagne risotto, braised beef short ribs, and Nutella and banana crepes with chocolate cream.

Ardeo + Bardeo
At $65 per person, Ardeo’s menu is a steal. The restaurant has a sultry vibe and a more relaxed atmosphere than the above options. Each diner receives the first and last courses plus one dish from the second and third course options:
First course: Amuse of lobster, brioche, and caviar
Second course: Spinach salad with crisp gnocchi, Rutabaga and apple soup, Baby red and golden beets, Shenandoah lamb belly, Rock shrimp risotto, Salt-cured foie gras
Third course: Duo of beef (rib-eye and Waygu beef), Seven-hour braised suckling pig,  Pan-roasted duck breast, Potato and black truffle agnolotti, Olive oil poached swordfish with chickpeas, chorizo, and lobster emulsion, Halibut with red bliss potatoes and sea beans
Dessert:  Yogurt pistachio crunch


We love the minimalist décor at Ripple. We also like that there’s just enough buzz in the dining room so we don’t have to use our library voice to avoid being overheard at the next table. For $75, each diner can enjoy a selection from each of the following:
First Course:  Sunchoke soup, Kale with Lynnhaven oysters
Second Course:  Caramelized pork belly, Roasted scallops
Third Course:  Fluke and shrimp, Pheasant and its egg, Smoked venison and crispy pig ear
Fourth Course:  Lavender éclairs, Frozen chocolate parfait with roasted white chocolate, hazelnut streusel
To top off the meal, there's a little something extra (shh, Ripple says it’s a surprise).