Sweetheart specials: Where to go for Valentine's Day dining — and drinking

Even if you're flying solo, there's a handful of destinations to consider.

click to enlarge Caviale e zeppole is a part of the holiday tasting menu planned for FarmTable Cucina. - Courtesy of FarmTable Cucina
Courtesy of FarmTable Cucina
Caviale e zeppole is a part of the holiday tasting menu planned for FarmTable Cucina.

Champagne, specially created dishes and dessert are what Valentine's Day is all about. Well, that and your date, of course. But even if you're flying solo for the upcoming holiday, there's a handful of destinations to consider within this working guide to V-Day dining — and drinking.

Call ahead for restaurant reservations, because these books will fill up.

All meals take place on Feb. 14 unless otherwise noted.

Beach Bar & Restaurant Executive chef Joe Garcia spearheads this holiday meal for couples, who are set to share an appetizer, salad, two entrees and dessert, while taking in the waterfront views of the Godfrey Hotel & Cabanas, fka Bay Harbor Hotel. $69.95. 7700 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa, 813-281-8900, beachtampa.com.

Brio Tuscan Grille This Italian restaurant chain at International Plaza starts the celebrating early with a one-off menu during lunch and dinner. Begin with a martini or a glass of bubbly before moving to apps like antipasti bruschetta. Mains include bistecca Brio — thinly pounded beef tenderloin with tomatoes, chimichurri, creamy horseradish and arugula, while dessert brings a molten chocolate cake. Feb. 9-18. 2223 N. Westshore Blvd., Tampa, 813-877-3939, brioitalian.com.

Brū Florida Growler Bar Bring your person to Brū. You'll score two pints of beer for the price of one. 2-9 p.m. 8729 Gunn Highway, Odessa, 813-328-4721, brufl.com.

click to enlarge Bulla's chocolate-covered cherry cocktail. - Courtesy of Bulla Gastrobar
Courtesy of Bulla Gastrobar
Bulla's chocolate-covered cherry cocktail.

Bulla Gastrobar Here, a free glass of sangria for groups of four or more ladies is the Galentine special. The $12 chocolate-covered cherry cocktail (Russian Standard Vodka, Lustau Pedro Ximenez sherry, dark chocolate, cherry bitters) — made with the same chocolate sauce that accompanies Bulla's decadent churros — is available all week long, too. Feb. 13. 930 S. Howard Ave., Tampa, 813-773-8626, bullagastrobar.com.

click to enlarge Datz's crème brûlée French toast. - Courtesy of Datz
Courtesy of Datz
Datz's crème brûlée French toast.

Datz/Roux The South Tampa eateries team up for Galentine's Day, ensuring a complimentary passion fruit frozen cocktail goes to every lass that stops in. In addition to the freebie, Datz serves up a breakfast items such as crème brûlée French toast and short rib biscuit Benedict; bananas Foster pancakes and Abita-battered crab beignets are among the brunch dishes that await at Roux. Datz: Feb. 13, 7-11 a.m. 2616 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa, 813-831-7000, datztampa.com. Roux: Feb. 17, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 4205 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa, 813-443-5255, rouxtampa.com.

Del Frisco's Grille In honor of V-Day, a mouth-watering entree that's not available on the regular menu: 12-ounce, bone-in wagyu steak topped with truffle butter. Two compatible wines, Portillo Malbec and Aquinas Cabernet Sauvignon, are also on hand. $58. Feb. 10-18. 4138 W. Boy Scout Blvd., Tampa, 813-878-6890, delfriscosgrille.com.

Eddie V's The upscale chain offers limited-time pairings of Champagne and oysters (as well as its everyday lineup of seafood). Couples choose from half a dozen oysters — including Pink Moon and Thatch Island varieties — matching them with half a bottle of sommelier-selected bubbles. Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, Moët Rosé Impérial or Krug Grande Cuvée are the options. 4400 W. Boy Scout Blvd., Tampa, 813-877-7290, eddiev.com.

Élevage A four-course tasting menu from executive chef Chad Johnson that consists of endive and apple salad, preserved lemon falafel, and filet mignon with Gruyère and potato perogi — alongside other crowd-pleasing selections for any palate. For dessert, an artisanal cheese plate, dark chocolate semifreddo and strawberry shortcake are planned. $65, $100 with wine pairing. 5:30-10 p.m. 1207 S. Howard Ave., Tampa, 813-999-8700, epicureanhotel.com.

FarmTable Cucina A decadent starter, caviale e zeppole with osetra caviar, is a fine intro to the five-course tasting menu. Shareable plates like salt-roasted baby beets and house-made lobster ravioli follow. Match 'em with Italian wines if you're so inclined. Made online or by phone, reservations are accepted till Feb. 12. $84, $124 with wine pairing. 179 Second Ave. N., St. Petersburg, 727-523-6297, farmtablecucina.com.

The Hall on Franklin Seven "taste architects" make up this European-style foodporium where eaters are invited to curate their own dining experiences — even on Valentine's Day. The Hall is taking reservations for two, which doesn't usually happen. DJ Blenda provides the tunes from 6 to 10 p.m. 1701 N. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-405-4008, thehallonfranklin.com.

Hawthorne Bottle Shoppe A heavenly combo comes together during this tasting of five 5-ounce cider pours paired with Brooklyn South cheese and chocolate from Pinellas Chocolate Company. 7-9 p.m. 2927 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-800-2810, hbsforlife.com.

Infusion Brewing Co. The Trinity-area brewery matches four 5-ounce tasters of beer with decadent Ghirardelli chocolate squares. 6-8:30 p.m. 7813 Mitchell Blvd., New Port Richey, 727-312-4512.

Krystal This mini burger franchise spotlights a straightforward meal deal — six Krystals, two small fries and two Red Hot Slushies (a mix of cola and the Red Hots cinnamon candy) — for signifs who want to keep it low-key. $6.99. Feb. 9-20.1916 E. Fletcher Ave., Tampa, 813-631-1995, krystal.com.

Marchand's Bar & Grill Treat your person to a mini getaway. The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Gulf Club's elegant eatery has small bites, cocktails and a romantic three-course, prix-fixe dinner in store, not to mention what's called the "escape package" for couples who stay the night. 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg, 727-894-1000, marriott.com/tpasr.

Maritana Grille This fine-dining restaurant at The Don CeSar showcases holiday specialties like sous vide pork belly, pan-seared halibut, crusted pork tenderloin and raspberry panna cotta. $16-$37. 3400 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 727-360-1882, maritanagrille.com.

click to enlarge Sautéed Chilean sea bass from Ocean Prime. - Courtesy of Ocean Prime
Courtesy of Ocean Prime
Sautéed Chilean sea bass from Ocean Prime.

Ocean Prime Kick off the evening with Napa Valley Caymus Cabernet, then go for the International Plaza steak-and-seafood chain's main course of sautéed Chilean sea bass or 10-ounce wagyu New York strip steak. End with the salted caramel brown torte — which highlights vanilla mousse and bourbon caramel — to satisfy your sweet tooth. $12-$85. 2205 N. Westshore Blvd., 813-490-5288, ocean-prime.com.

The Oyster Bar Is do-goodery part of your love language? Stop by for $1 oysters, $5 martinis, a selection of love-themed cocktails and raffle prizes from local businesses to benefit CASA. 5-10 p.m. 249 Central Ave., St Petersburg, 727-897-9728, oysterbarstpete.com.

Palm Court Italian Grill The TradeWinds Island Grand's three-course feast includes artisan greens, espresso-chocolate-dusted lamb loin and chocolate hazelnut crème brûlée. $50. 5500 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 727-363-2358, tradewindsresort.com.

Portillo's In partnership with the American Red Cross, this beloved Chicago-style chain's limited-time dessert — heart-shaped chocolate cake (yup, the same chocolate cake recipe that Portillo's regulars go nuts for) — returns once again. Proceeds, up to $25,000, go to the charity. Order the cake online, or in person with you and your sweetheart's V-Day meal. Feb. 9-18. $19.49. 1748 W. Brandon Blvd., Brandon, 813-210-8190, portillos.com.

The Rez Grill A quintet of prix-fixe courses curated by the American grill's creative culinary director, Frank Anderson, at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Expect beef tartare, heirloom tomato-cucumber salad, ribeye cap, and snapper fillet, to name a few. One glass of Champagne is on the house. $75. 5 p.m. 5223 N. Orient Road, Tampa, 813-627-8120, seminolehardrocktampa.com.

Rooster & the Till This four-course, prix-fixe lineup gets real dreamy with dishes like sweet potato vichyssoise, steak tartare, pork belly and coconut marzipan custard. $55, 85 with wine pairing. 6500 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-374-8940, roosterandthetill.com.

Sea Porch Cafe/Rowe Bar For lunch and dinner, plates of surf and turf — built upon 5 ounces of both filet and lobster tail — as well as warm chocolate truffle cake. $16-$42. 3400 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 727-360-1881, doncesar.com.

Sip In a relaxed and refined setting, the wine bar presents a one-off bill of sushi fare. This is a prepaid shindig, and seating is limited. Here's how to book a spot. Feb. 11, 7 & 8:45 p.m. 6231 Grand Boulevard, New Port Richey, 727-203-8107, sipitgood.wixsite.com.

click to enlarge Throughout February, raspberry chocolate chip is among the limited-time Sprinkles flavors. - Courtesy of Sprinkles
Courtesy of Sprinkles
Throughout February, raspberry chocolate chip is among the limited-time Sprinkles flavors.

Sprinkles Ditch that box of chocolates and head to Hyde Park Village after chowing down for the bakery chain's "I <3 U" sampler, featuring three mini cupcakes that fit the V-Day theme. There's the "XOX Box," too, which comes with 12 full-size morsels. 717 S. Dakota Ave., Tampa, 813- 304-1848, sprinkles.com.

Tampa Beer Works Four-beer valentine flights with chocolate-dipped strawberries. Added bonus: Growlers are $2 off on Wednesdays. $10. 4-11 p.m. 333 Falkenburg Road N. #D-407, Tampa, 813-685-1909, tampabeerworks.com.

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