Good news, food fans in love or in like. Or, for that matter, in a dear friendship.
This year Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday. But lucky for us, many restaurants that are usually closed on Monday will stay open to offer a special Valentine’s Day meal.
The following restaurants, normally dark on Monday, are serving special dinners this Love Day. And, even better news: They are not your only options. Restaurants regularly opened on Monday are offering special menus for the holiday, too. We list them, as well.
But hurry, make reservations now. Valentine’s Day is the second-most popular day to dine out in America. (Mother’s Day is No. 1.)
Common Lot, Millburn
Chef/owner Ehren Ryan runs what is one of the best fine-dine restaurants in North Jersey. Common Lot is an airy two-level BYOB with an open kitchen. Ryan is offering a four-course dinner. Highly recommended: a nice bottle of wine from home.
Menu: Appetizer choices include whipped truffle goat’s cheese with pickled fennel and Wagyu beef tartar with seaweed aioli. Followed by perhaps lobster cavatelli with lobster bisque cream or truffle risotto with fresh black truffle. Entrée options include duck breast with charcoal-grilled cabbage; seared plaice with confit fingerling potato, and breaded paneer with jasmine rice. For dessert, there’s sticky date pudding; chocolate and brown butter ganache ; and Comte cheese “butter” with toasted pita.
Go: 27 Main St., Millburn; 973-467-0494, commonlot.com.
LT Bar & Grill, Hackensack
This ultra-modern American restaurant is headed by Michelin-starred chef Laurent Tourondel. On Valentine’s Day, the restaurant will provide live music by a jazz trio. The Valentine’s Day menu — each course priced individually — is served from Thursday, Feb. 10 to Monday, Feb. 14. The restaurant’s a la carte menu will also be available.
Menu: “Love at First Spice,” spicy tuna roll with avocado and kewpie-sriracha ($18) or poached Maine lobster with asparagus($28); Black Angus filet with smoked mashed potato ($59); and Sweet-Heart White Chocolate Mousse with raspberry coulis ($17).
Cost: Each dish is individually priced.
Go: 390 Hackensack Ave., Hackensack; 551-287-6333, ltbarandgrill.com.
Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, Morristown
Christopher Cannon, owner of Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, a stunning four-restaurant complex, admits he didn’t know what to do about Valentine’s Day. The restaurant is closed on Monday but open Sunday. Perhaps celebrate on Sunday. Then he realized Superbowl is on Sunday. Oops. Yet: “It means it will be a busy Valentine’s,” he said. “All the guys who blew off their girls to watch football will be forced to take them out.” At JHBK, they’ll be treated to an elegant four-course meal with, Cannon said, plenty of vegetarian choices.
Menu: About 60% of the dishes on the Valentine’s Day menu have never been on any JHBK menu, including smoked beef tartar with quail egg yolk; scallop crudo with local yuzu; Meyer lemon ricotta ravioli; braised short ribs with rye spaetzle; and red velvet cake. As for drinks: Cannon, a consummate oenophile, said he’ll offer Champagne by the glass and may open an oversized 1995 bottle of Chianti sitting in his mammoth wine cellar.
Go: 110 South St., Morristown; 973-644-3180, jockeyhollowbarandkitchen.com.
James Beard-award nominee Robbie Felice, chef/owner of this rustic Italian restaurant, is offering a special three-course menu on Sunday and Monday, Feb. 13 and 14. Viaggio, Felice’s first restaurant (he also has Osteria Crescendo in Westwood and by-invite-only Pasta Ramen, which changes locations) is a BYOB. Don’t forget to bring wine or beer, along with a hearty appetite.
Menu: Antipasti choices include calamari fritti, yellowtail crudo, arugula salad or chef’s selection of house-cured salumi. Entree choices include tagliatelle Bolognese, duck breast with cabbage, prosciutto-wrapped monkfish and 14-ounce bone-in NY strip. Among your dessert choices: hot chocolate budino and affogato with eggnog gelato.
Cost: $79/person. Three two-hour seatings at 4, 6 and 8 p.m.
Go: 1055 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne; 973-706-7277, viaggioristorante.com.
Saddle River Inn, Saddle River
Bring your best bottle of wine and dine at this superb contemporary French restaurant housed in a quaint red barn, helmed by celebrated chef-owner Jamie Knott. It’s almost impossible to get anything that’s not delicious. If you’d like, you can order a fresh floral arrangement to surprise your honey with. This is a BYOB.
Menu: The a la carte menu will be available. On it: Barnegat sea scallop risotto, South African lobster tails, Alaskan halibut with lobster mashed potatoes; cranberry and lime cheesecake; and banana pudding profiteroles. Also available, specials such as smoked salmon and caviar hash brown; scallop crudo; and wagyu and nduja meatballs with lemon ricotta and porcini pomodoro.
Cost: A la carte.
Go: 2 Barnstable Court, Saddle River; 201-825-4016, saddleriverinn.com.
Latham House, Jersey City
“WE WILL OPEN ON A MONDAY,” Latham House, a family-run American food and drink establishment popular for its brunch, announced on Instagram. The reason? To serve a special three-course dinner for Valentine’s Day.
Menu: From duck rillettes with fig jam to rack of lamb with potato gratin and raspberry linzer torte, there are a fair number of American eats to choose from on Latham House’s prix-fixe menu. Its a la carte menu will be offered too. So, if you’re in the mood for its popular cast-iron mac n’ cheese, chicken pot pie, burger with applewood-smoked bacon and Asian chicken salad, go for it.
Cost: Prix-fixe menu is $60, plus tax and gratuity.
Go: 299 Marin Blvd., Jersey City; 201-479-8432, lathamhousejc.com.
This newcomer, a 4,000-square foot American gastropub, just a block from the Hudson River in Weehawken’s Port Imperial neighborhood, has already garnered a reputation for its great cocktails, nice apps and scrumptious desserts.
Menu: No special menu but additional specials will be offered that are still to be determined. If you’re not sure, may I recommend the Spanish octopus with black olive crumble and one of the wood-fired pizzas.
Cost: A la carte.
Go: 1100 Ave. at Port Imperial, Weehawken; 201-430-8415, porterportimperial.com.
Roma Ristorante, North Arlington
The name of this longstanding restaurant gives it away: It’s Italian, of course. Chef Charles Biondolillo has been trained by his father Pietro, an Italian-born chef.
Menu and cost: TBD.
Go: 33 Crystal St., North Arlington; 201-991-2550, romaristorantenj.com.
This contemporary Italian restaurant with a lively bar launched by acclaimed chef Anthony Bucco is now headed by Flavia Amaral, the former executive chef of Let’s Meat Steakhouse in River Vale. She is offering a five-course prix-fixe dinner for the special day.
Menu: Among the offerings are oysters Rockefeller and raw oysters; beet salad with pistachio crumble; wild boar ragu; grilled pork chop; roasted whole branzino; and chocolate mousse tart.
Go: 18 Prospect St., Ridgewood; 551-276-5454, felinarestaurant.com.
Bodegon, Cliffside Park
This small corner Spanish restaurant declares on its website that it is “inspired by Galicia, made in New Jersey.” The food is prepared by owner Alex Piñeiro, who worked at some of New York City’s top Spanish spots including Ernesto’s. For Valentine’s Day, he’ll be serving a six-course meal. There’s a full bar.
Menu: Hokkaido scallop crudo with winter salsa; shrimp salad toast with Maine uni; octopus on the plancha ; trumpet mushrooms with pickled pepper butter; lobster two ways with roasted parsnip; and dark chocolate mousse.
Cost: $85/person with option $35 wine pairings. One seating only at 7:30 p.m.
Go: 631 Anderson Ave, Cliffside Park; 856-521-9135, bodegonnj.com.
Stern & Bow, Closter
Craft cocktails, a raw bar, wood-fired pizza and eclectic New Orleans-ish dishes await at this upscale restaurant on Schraalenburgh Road. For Valentine’s Day, it is offering a three-course meal.
Menu: First course options include raw oysters, foie gras terrine and fried-green tomatoes. Second course choices: beef osso bucco, pasta primavera, filet mignon and blackened smoked pork chop. And for dessert? White-wine poached pear or chocolate brownie.
Cost: $85 plus tip and gratuity. Served from 4 to 10 p.m.
Go: 171 Schraalenburgh Road, Closter; 201-750-3350, sternandbowrestaurant.com.
Stone Water, Lake Hopatcong
You can get to this lakeside American restaurant by boat or car. But don’t go on Monday when it’s closed. Except on Valentine’s Day, chef Domenick Torlucci will be in the kitchen, hoping that you’ll be in the dining room enjoying the breathtaking views and his special culinary treats.
Menu: The full a la carte menu will be available with a good number of specials including lobster mac n’ cheese and Australian Wagyu rib-eye with mushroom confit and caramelized onions.
Cost: A la carte.
Go: 125 Route 181, Lake Hopatcong; 973-810-3858, stonewaternj.com.
Bistro d’Azur, South Orange
Take a quick trip to Provence by way of Bistro d’Azur, a charming fine-dine restaurant in South Orange. The bistro will offer its special four-course dinner on Feb. 13 and 14. If you’d rather take the meal home, there’s also curbside pickup.
Menu: First course choices include oysters mignonette, beef carpaccio; and lobster crepe. Among the second course selections: roasted beet salad and raw yellowfin tuna with osetra caviar. Entree choices include day-boat black bass with fingerling potatoes and roasted lamb rip chop with pearl couscous.
Cost: $109/person plus 22% gratuity and tax, with a complimentary glass of champagne.
Go: 14 Academy St., South Orange; 973-327-9725, bistrodazur.com.
The Circle, Fredon
Valentine’s Day will be the first Monday service and first Love Day for The Circle, the best restaurant to open in the past year North Jersey, if not all of New Jersey. Co-chef/co-owner Brennan Ullman said that the restaurant will offer its regular a la carte and its prix-fixe menu on the holiday. Don’t forget a bottle of wine; The Circle is a BYOB.
Menu: The Circle’s prix-fixe menu includes such heady dishes as raw Duxbury gem oysters; butternut squash-stuffed ravioli; tender Long Island duck ; and velvety flourless chocolate cake with espresso coffee ice cream. Its a la carte menu includes those items plus others, like foie gras with honey crisp apples, cavatelli with broccoli rabe, and roasted lobster with roasted escarole.
Cost: Prix-fixe is $100/person, plus tip and gratuity.
Go: 310 Route 94, Fredon; 973-862-6410, thecirclerestaurant.com.
Minka’s Japanese Kitchen, Cliffside Park
Minka means “people’s home” in Japanese. And Minka Japanese Kitchen, a fairly new restaurant in Cliffside Park, is determined to serve dishes you’d find in people’s homes in Japan — not in Japanese restaurants. For Valentine’s Day, you’ll find a lavish five-course meal that I’m not sure you’d fine in typical Japanese homes — it’s quite upscale — but sometimes you’ve just got to live it up. Minka is a BYOB.
Menu: Five-course meal includes oysters with seared foie gras; truffle tuna tataki with black truffle; uni and ikura chawanmushi (soft egg custard); Wagyu steak and potatoes; and chocolate ganache mousse and strawberry compote.
Go: 364 Lawton Ave., Cliffside Park; 201-574-9231, minkajapanese.com.
Regina Vitti, co-owner of Italian restaurant Cenzino, said she will be opening the restaurant Monday for Valentine’s Day but closing it Sunday so her staff can enjoy the Superbowl. “My staff begged,” she said, “and they are correct.”
Menu: Its special la carte menu includes dishes such as jumbo crab meat cocktail; veal chop on the bone with goat cheese; filet mignon in a peppercorn wine sauce; and apple crumble.
Cost: Each dish is priced individually.
Go: 589 Ramapo Valley Road, Oakland; 201-337-6693, cenzinos.com.
Cafe Panache, Ramsey
One of the finest fine-dine restaurants in North Jersey. Founded by beloved chef Kevin Kohler, who died early last year, Cafe Panache is now run by Kohler’s family and its kitchen by Michael Matonti, a Kohler protege and a talented chef in his own right.
Menu: It’s a la carte and includes such haute dishes as seared foie gras with caramelized pear; Lucky Lime oysters with wasabi caviar cream; crispy confit duck with wild rice; roasted baby poussin with rosemary potato ; and braised short ribs with polenta.
Cost: A la carte. Seatings at 5 or 5:30 p.m. and 7 or 7:30 p.m. Reservations are a must.
Go: 30 E. Main St., Ramsey; 201-934-0030, cafepanachenj.com.
Bloom, Verona. French- and Korean-inspired New American cuisine served in a modern, sleek restaurant. Menu not yet available; call restaurant for details. 648 Bloomfield Ave., Verona; 973-433-7256, bloomverona.com.
Liberty House, Jersey City. This swanky restaurant and wedding venue is offering a four-course dinner for $95. On the menu: langoustine carpaccio, squid ink cavatelli, crab fazzoletti, local Amish chicken and olive oil cake. Cost: $95/person. 76 Audrey Zapp Dr., Jersey City; 201-395-0300, libertyhouserestaurant.com.
Andre’s Lakeside Dining, Sparta. Chef/owner Andre d’ Waal has been on vacation for the month of January. But he plans on offering a Valentine’s Day dinner on both Feb. 13 ($125) and Feb. 14 ($89). The menu is not yet available; check with the restaurant. 112 Tomahawk Trail, Sparta; 973-726-6000, andreslakeside.com.
St. Eve’s, Ho-Ho-Kus. A longtime New American restaurant, St. Eve’s will keep open its doors for the holiday so that celebrants can enjoy CIA-trained chef/owner Steven Christianson’s cuisine. What’s on the menu? Call the BYOB for details. 611 North Maple Avenue, Ho-Ho-Kus; 201-857-4717, stevesnj.com.
The Walpack Inn, Layton. Dine looking out at the wildlife that surrounds this inn in “the middle of nowhere,” the heart of the Delaware Water Gap.For the holiday, the menu will be made up of favorites — prime rib, teriyaki steak, filet mignon and fresh seafood dishes. The restaurant will also be offering a special menu, including shareable entrées for two. 7 National Park Service Road, 615, Layton; 973-948-3890, walpackinn.com.
Cafe Chameleon, Bloomfield. Chameleon, a New American restaurant with a full bar, will offer specials as well as its regular menu. Specials include seafood cocktail for two, surf and turf, pasta tartufo, steak au poivre and lava cake a la mode. 60 Main St., Bloomingdale; 973-850-6969, cafe-chameleon.com.
Let’s Meat Steakhouse, River Vale. A steakhouse and an Italian restaurant, Let’s Meat will be offering its a la carte menu as well as specials. And, perhaps a box of chocolates for the ladies. 625 Rivervale Road, River Vale, 201-660-7960; letsmeatsteakhouse.com.
Cafe Anello, Westwood. Chef and owner John Vitale is offering a four-course dinner for $95/person that begins with seared scallops and ends with a trio of desserts. . 11 Madison Ave., Westwood; 201-786-8137, caffeanello.com.
Restaurants usually open on Monday with special menus
Rockin Roots, Hillsdale. This primarily plant-based restaurant, headed by award-winning chef Michael Merida, is offering two Valentine’s Day menus: vegeterian (jackfruit poke bowl, eggplant with tomato jam, ricotta gnocchi and dark chocolate cake with chocolate mousse) and non-veg ((ahi tuna poke, sauteed branzino with lobster ricotta, beef tenderloin with potato puree and dark chocolate cake). Cost: $100/per person, plus tax and gratuity. BYOB. 434 Hillsdale Ave., Hillsdale, 201-497-6137, rockinrootsjuice.com.
The Brookdale, Bloomfield. This fairly new restaurant in Bloomfield is offering a four-course prix-fixe meal for $68/person. Its a la carte menu is also available as well as a “Galentine’s” dessert menu from Ladyfingers for pick-up. 1099 Broad St, Bloomfield; 973-323-1680, thebrookdale.com.
Lefkes, Englewood Cliifs. This bustling modern Greek restaurant with a great big bar is offering a multi-course winner with a half-bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut for $196/couple. You can begin your meal with a half dozen oysters for an additional $23 or a lobster cocktail for an additional $30. Start with a roasted beet soup or lobster bisque, segue to an appetizer (perhaps moussaka croquettes with feta mousse or Madagascar tiger prawn in a tomatosauce); followed by an entree of bone-in filet mignon with truffle mashed potatoes; day-boat scallops with smoked pancetta; or poached Maine lobster with cuttlefish ink fettuccine. End with chocolate truffles Valentine’s Day cake. 495 Sylvan Ave., Englewood Cliffs; 201-408-4444, lefkesnj.com.
Blue Morel, Morristown. Bryan Gregg, formerly withCafe Chameleon in Bloomfield, now heads the kitchen in this hotel restaurant. For Valentine’s Day, he’s offering a three-course dinner for $82 with such choices as lobster chowder, crab cake ($10 extra), and tuna crudo. Second course: Parisian gnocchi, beef loin and short rib, grilled trout with green onion soubise, and chocolate semifreddo, warm cider donut with a bourbon glaze, or artisan cheese with candied nuts. 2 Whippany Road, Morristown; 973-451-2619, bluemorel.com.
Vesta Wood Fired, East Rutherford. Acclaimed chef Christine Nunn, who wowed Bergen County with her restaurant Picnic in Fair Lawn, today heads the kitchen at Vesta Wood Fired, an Italian/pizza spot. Nunn is offering a four-course prix-fixe for $65 that includes your choice of lobster bisque or pear and parsnip soup with pomegranate; an appetizer of smoked salmon Napolean, beef carpaccio or beet salad with candied walnuts; main course of filet mignon au poivre, pecan-crusted halibut, colossal shrimp over linguine or Parisian gnocchi with wild mushrooms; and either poached pear or hearth-baked brownie for dessert. 64 Hoboken Road, East Rutherford; 201-939-6012, vestawoodfired.com.
Shannon Rose, Ramsey. A rollicking Irish pub that is offering a four-course meal for $60/person. The meal includesshrimp scampi rostini, orpotato leek soup; roasted chicken with spinach herb risotto; salmon with sun-dried tomatoes; and Irish soda bread pudding. Shannon Rose has an extensive list of craft beer, draft beer and cocktails, as well as tequila, whiskey and bourbon. 1200 Route 17, Ramsey; 201-962-7602, theshannonrose.com.
Steve’s Burgers, Garfield and North Bergen. There are endless ways to say I love you, and food is one of them. Not only fancy shmancy food but good-old, all-American eats like a two-fisted burger. Which brings us to Steve’s Burgers. On Valentine’s Day, with Steve’s award-winning hamburgers, every “lady” will get a red rose. That should melt your sweetheart’s heart faster than even the American cheese on Steve’s bestselling cheeseburger. As for the price? Owner Stephen Chrisomalis said, “All you can eat for $20, any couple.” 506 Route 46, Garfield. 68 Passaic St., Garfield; 973-955-2882. 7409 Broadway, North Bergen; 201-430-6661, facebook.com/Steves-Burgers-108686152507598.
Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas, Clifton. Small plates and Italian wines are the focus of this popular restaurant. To give you and your sweetie lots of chances to celebrate your love, Spuntino is offering a Valentine’s Day menu from Feb. 9 to 15. The tasting menu for two costs $70 with an optional wine pairing for $30. 70 Kingsland Road, Clifton; 973-661-2435, spuntinowinebar.com.
Park West Tavern, Ridgewood. An expansive American restaurant with a big bar, Park West Tavern will offer its regular menu as well as a host of specials, including salt-roasted beets with truffle goat cheese and hazelnuts; scallop crudo; and 45-day dry aged sirloin. 30 Oak St., Ridgewood; 201-445-5400, parkwesttavern.com.
Mama Dag’s, West Orange.Owner Anthony D’Agostino originally planned to have a big soiree to celebrate Love Day, but due to COVID, he decided it’s best to offer a prix-fixe, four-course dinner with three seatings: 5, 6:30 and 8 p.m. $50/person. 410 St. Cloud Ave., West Orange; 862-233-7557, mamadags.com.
Esther Davidowitz is the food editor for NorthJersey.com. For more on where to dine and drink, please subscribe today and sign up for our North Jersey Eats newsletter.
Email: [email protected]