Where to eat on Valentine's Day
Love is in the fayre
Cupid’s arrow is notoriously capricious when couples vie for a romantic meal, but Barry Shelby has some on-target suggestions.
The night of 14 February is traditionally one where restaurants are overrun by couples on their lone dining foray of the year. Spare a thought not only for them (and the sustained periods of silence between courses) but also for the restaurant staff who preside over this well-intentioned (if often vain) annual stab at romance.
It doesn’t have to be an emotional disaster. To get you off to a good start, here are a few suggestions for trysting pairs seeking an intimate table for two.
12 Ashton Lane, West End
0141 334 5007, www.ubiquitouschip.co.uk
Since 1971, owner Ronnie Clydesdale has prided himself on his use of some of the finest fresh Scottish produce available and his kitchen’s ability to marry myriad flavours and textures. Thirty-six years on, the good work continues.
331 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre, 0141 332 0720,
This one is for fun. Kama Sutra has a wink-wink, nudge-nudge theme that extends to the menu. Starters are branded ‘foreplay’, while the curry classics are ‘old flames’.
1051 Great Western Road, West End, 0141 576 7576, www.luxstazione.co.uk
Lux is a haven of elegance where exquisitely dressed tables bear crisp napkins. The menu majors on Scottish fare with an international twist, while vegetarians get their own selection.
11 Exchange Place, City Centre, 0141 248 4055, www.rogano.co.uk
A bonafide institution. Waiters in white aprons maintain the atmosphere of old-fashioned glamour at Rogano. The menu emphasises classic seafood dishes, including platters of oysters and fresh shellfish.
162-164 Darnley Street, Southside, 0141 423 6694, www.romamia.co.uk
Named after the city of eternal love, Roma Mia has a calm atmosphere with subdued lighting. Quality ingredients are imported from all over Italy, though the menu does unassumingly point out a Roman speciality or two.
202 West George Street, City Centre, 0141 221 5004, www.rococoglasgow.com
This well-established, sophisticated city centre favourite is effortlessly classy: assured service allows meals in rather pampered luxury.
The Atholl Dining Room (pictured)
The Howard Hotel, 34 Great King Street, New Town, 0131 557 3500, www.thehoward.com
Previously reserved for residents of the stylish Howard Hotel, the dining space now flings open its giant oak doors to all. The menu is based on locally sourced, seasonal goodies. Ordering is assisted by a fully fledged butler.
Café Royal Oyster Bar
17a West Register Street, New Town, 0131 556 4124
Strikingly evocative, the Café Royal occupies a unique space that’s changed little since its heyday in the 1800s. Oysters are served by the half-dozen: if not raw then perhaps Rockefeller (baked with spinach) or Kilpatrick (wrapped in bacon).
11 South College Street, Old Town, 0131 667 1597
Saffrani restaurant is a snug, romantic and irresistibly alluring place. The sweet aroma of incense and gentle murmuring of Indian music conspire to create a tranquil atmosphere.
33 Castle Street, New Town
0131 226 7614, www.oloroso.co.uk
An excellent view has never harmed romance. The setting here is sublime, especially if you snare a table by the floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooking the castle and George Street.
The Scotsman Hotel, 20 North Bridge, Old Town
0131 556 5565, www.thescotsmanhotelgroup.co.uk
Descend the candle-lit marble staircase within the Scotsman Hotel to Vermilion’s small, discreet dining room. Here, hospitable staff make you feel every bit of the million dollars you could be about to spend on your top-notch dinner. A first date here will almost guarantee a second one to follow.
The Vaults, 87 Giles Street, Leith, 0131 554 6767, www.thevintnersrooms.com
Voted The List’s Edinburgh restaurant of the year, the superb setting is matched by quality cuisine and expert service.