If you're one-half of a couple, then you already know you have T-minus 10 days to plan the most amazing Valentine's Day meal/gift/spa day/proposal of all time, or you could be flying solo for the rest of 2013. A nice dinner that shows you put in a little effort should keep you in your loved one's good graces for at least a couple of weeks. Below, find five restaurants where you should make reservations right now. (This post has been updated.)
For 20-something couples dating a few months:
First, at 6:30, dip into the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown's s'mores happy hour. Then, go ice-skating at Washington Harbour in Georgetown, then dip into Farmers Fishers Bakers to share a flaming scorpion bowl cocktail, pretzels and other bites. There are still reservations, including a 9:45 p.m. slot that's perfect for a post-skating bite and dessert.
Adams Morgan's popular Little Fountain Cafe has just a few spots left for its Valentine's Day price-fixed dinner, which includes rice wine-braised short ribs, roasted Cornish hen and, for dessert, dulce de leche doughnuts. (In a nod to couples who want to celebrate on a Friday night, the menu is also being offered on Feb. 15.)
You're celebrating your long-termness, and money's no object
Snag one of the last few late reservations at Bourbon Steak in Georgetown, where a three-course menu includes beef tenderloin
with black truffle gnocchi. Get there around 8:30 for cocktails, then glide to your table around 9:45.
You fully believe that Valentine's is a time to splurge...calorically
For truffled cheese and pasta carbonara in a tasteful deco environment, there's nothing quite like Ardeo + Bardeo, which also hits it out of the park when it comes to wine. The spot is perfect for mature couples who could do without pumping techno music and a bar mobbed with 20-somethings; make a reservation here.
Steakhouses are a go-to on Valentine's Day. In Maryland, you can still snag a reservation at Ray's The Classics in Silver Spring, where the white-tablecloth vibe might be absent, but the steaks are sublime. Reservations remain, including a handful around 8:30, a far more reasonable time to dine than 10 p.m. on a Thursday night.
You want dinner with a view
Bunglow Lakehouse opened late last year as a splashy $7 million compound right on the water in Sterling, with a chef spirited from Central Michel Richard in Washington. There are plenty of reservations remaining.