Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Best Restaurants in NOVA for Valentine's Day

Oh, hello there! Do you know what tomorrow is? Well, it's Friday, February 5th, and it's also the day that I officially reach "full term" in pregnancy. Can someone please explain how we got here so quickly?!? And, excuse me, when is someone going to give me the manual on how to be a parent? Still waiting on that.

Let's move on and talk about one of my favorite subjects: food. On Tuesday, I shared my Galentine's Gift Guide, and this year, I'm going to recommend something different than a material good for a Valentine's gift: a fancy dinner.

Matt and I have become increasingly obsessed with food, and I attribute that to living in Northern Virginia and having access to so many amazing restaurants. Sure, flowers and fine chocolates and gifts are great, but why not switch it up this year with a memorable evening of some of the most delicious food you've ever tasted?

Before we get started, here are a few tips for arranging your fancy dinner:

- Do your research! If you don't like weird, fusion stuff then go traditional with a fancy steakhouse like Morton's or Ruth's Chris--make sure that you like the menu items in advance, and that you're okay with the prices.

- Book now! Obviously, you need to get on your reservations immediately. However, since this is a year of being "blessed" with a weekend Valentine's Day, then you could have your fancy dinner on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night.

- Ask for specials! This is one of those holidays where lots of restaurants may offer specials, like pre-fixe menus or complimentary glasses of champagne.

- Enjoy! Seriously--eat light that day so you arrive hungry! This dinner is all about treating yourself, so order that appetizer and dessert, and if the server suggests an after-dinner cordial or fancy coffee, say yes!

Now, let's get to some of my favorite recommendations! (Note: a few of these are chain restaurants, so you may be able to find them in your city.)

In no particular order...

- The Palm
We love going to the Palm, and it is one of our go-tos for special occasions. The food never disappoints, and we have a dream of one day having our very own caricatures painted on the wall.
The Palm
Obviously, a fancy outfit is a must for a fancy restaurant. 
- L'Auberge Chez Francois
This is the creme de la creme of fancy restaurants in NOVA! First of all, the setting just pulls you in--you really do feel like you're stepping into a quaint, cozy restaurant in a small, French village. Next, you basically end up with like five courses: a bread (with an amazing chive spread, I might add), an apertif (like the most adorable glass of split pea soup), an appetizer, a salad, a main course, and dessert. This place falls on the pricier side, but I promise it is worth it.

Hello there, Chateaubriand! 
- Lightfoot
This is one of two five star restaurants in Loudoun County--it's set in historic, downtown Leesburg, in what used to be a bank, so you've already got a unique and beautiful setting. We ate here for our 6 month anniversary, and just recently for our 3rd anniversary, and the food is always incredible. The pork and cheese grits literally changed my life.

Lightfoot Restaurant Leesburg Virginia
Our amazing courses at Lightfoot during our Chef's Table experience
- DC Prime/Morton's
I put these two together because they are quite similar, and you can't go wrong with either one--I also prefer both of them to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. If you aren't super adventurous but still love food, I recommend one of these steakhouses. You know it's fancy when you have to order sides separate, but they are big enough for sharing and both menus offer some heavenly mac n cheese.

triple chocolate cake
And some heavenly chocolate cake!
- Tuscarora Mill/Magnolia's at the Mill
Known by us locals as "Tuskie's" and "Maggie's," these two restaurants are under the same ownership, serve the best ciabbata bread, and use lots of locally sourced ingredients. Tuskie's also happens to be Leesburg's other five star restaurant. You can't go wrong either way, but my personal preference is Maggie's, just because I feel like the menu is a little bit more varied.

tomato soup grilled cheese
That's how delicious a grilled cheese looks at Maggie's--so imagine when they kick things up for dinner!
That's it, dear readers! These only scratch the surface of what's available in this area, and for Valentine's purposes, I listed the most fancy restaurants I know.

What is your favorite, high class restaurant? Let us know in the comments, because this Power Couple loves to travel and stuff our faces!

linking up with Virginia Bloggers for Friday Favorites

All Love,

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