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Vegan? Ketonian? Chocoholic? Here's a restaurant to hit for Valentine's Day

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette logoPittsburgh Post-Gazette 2/5/2020 By Rebecca Sodergren
a bowl of food on a plate © Provided by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Restaurants roll out the red carpet for Valentine’s Day, one of the busiest dining days of the year. Is your valentine on a special diet, or do they have a particular craving? Here are some specialized choices for your special night. Don’t forget to make reservations.

Vegetarian/pescatarian

Andora, Sewickley: The four-course menu is priced based on entree selection. Starter choices include tuna tataki, zucchini ribbons rolled with three cheeses over red pepper cream sauce and smoked salmon. Second-course choices are shrimp bisque, wedding soup, roasted beet salad, mixed greens salad or arugula with roasted pears. The 10 entree selections include several seafood options like orange-glazed salmon ($49), zoodles with seafood ($59), crab cakes ($65), lobster tails ($69) and Parmesan-crusted sole ($59). Dessert is lemon mascarpone cake, chocolate torte or cheesecake. 412-749-2452; andorarestaurant.com.

Eleven, Strip District: The vegetarian tasting menu includes roasted beets, Parmesan risotto, goat cheese anolini (a type of ravioli) and date cake. Available Feb. 14 and 15. $85; extra $50 for wine pairings. elevenck.com/news-item/vegetarian-valentines-day-chefs-tasting-menu.

Fl.2 at Fairmont Pittsburgh hotel, Downtown: Vegetarians and pescatarians (as well as carnivores) can find something to like on this prix fixe menu. First course offers a choice of beef tartare, Jerusalem artichoke soup or baby carrots. Choices for the second course are Maine lobster agnolotti, venison and vegetarian risotto. Dessert is dark chocolate strawberry roulade. Available Feb. 13-15. $50. fl2pgh.com; 412-773-8848.

Vegan

Siempre Algo, East Allegheny: Although the four-course menu is not strictly vegan, there are several vegan options. For the first course, vegans can order a beet salad without the yogurt or a Bibb salad with pickled apple. The second-course option is fritto misto, which includes leeks, mushrooms and vegan aioli. The vegan entree is socca crepe with roasted eggplant, tahini, olives, walnuts and cashew yogurt. The dessert course has yet to be announced. The menu is available Feb. 14 and 15 at $79 per person with an additional $40 for beverage pairings. siemprealgopgh.com/valentines-day.

Keto

Fogo de Chao, Downtown: It’s all about the meat at this Brazilian steakhouse, where you get continuous tableside service of fire-roasted meats like filet mignon, top sirloin, pork or beef ribs, pork sausage, rib-eye steak, lamb steak, bacon-wrapped steak and chicken if you order The Fogo Churrasco Experience ($49.95). The sides aren’t keto (cheese bread, polenta, mashed potatoes and caramelized bananas) and so you could pass on them, but there are keto options at the salad bar liked smoked salmon, cured meats and cheeses. If  you dine between Feb. 13 and 16, you can get a complimentary dining card that is redeemable through May 7 on Sundays through Thursdays. fogodechao.com/location/pittsburgh.

a white plate topped with food next to a glass of wine © Provided by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Halfback filet and lobster tail will be featured on the menu at Ditka's in Robinson.(Ditka's)

Meat lovers

Ditka’s, Robinson: The Valentine’s Dinner for Two ($100 per couple) includes soup or salad, entree course choices of Chilean sea bass, halfback filet mignon, paddle steak (extra $15) or halfback filet and lobster tail (extra $35) and choice of triple-layer chocolate cake or raspberry cheesecake to end the meal. Or you can order a la carte from a menu of Ditka Classics, which includes Manchego chicken ($23.95), Da Pork Chop ($34.95), smoked baby back ribs ($26.95) and a variety of steak cuts. Available Feb. 14 and 15. ditkasrestaurants.com/event/valentines-day-prix-fixe-2.

Gobal flavors

Piccolo Forno, Lawrenceville: The Italian feast features a five-course meal of cauliflower and crab soup, whipped ricotta and cherry specialty pizza for two, lobster ravioli, entree choice of beef short ribs or cauliflower steak and cereal milk crème brulee for dessert. Feb. 14. $65 per person; BYOB. piccolo-forno.com.

The Stable at Watson’s Choice, Uniontown: Chef Jeremy Critchfield of the Stone House Restaurant in Farmington serves a five-course dinner of Champagne, lobster bisque with a puff pastry top, sweetheart salad, shrimp scampi with Creole rice and tomato jam, strip loin with mushrooms and truffle potato puree and warm chocolate cake with strawberry jam and caramel cheesecake ice cream. 6:30 p.m. Feb. 14. $75. Reservations: 724-329-8876. (This is part of an international dinner series that will feature cuisine from Ireland on March 13, Greece on April 10, Spain on May 8, England on June 12, France on July 10, Italy on Aug. 14, Poland on Sept. 11 and Germany on Oct. 10. watsonschoice.com/international-dinner.)

a plate of food on a table © Provided by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

This carrot dish will be served at Persephone's pop-up dinner at Cellar on Penn.(Zeke Reed)

Eclectic palate

Cellar on Penn, Strip District: Persephone, a pop-up series run by Zeke Reed, serves a nine-course dinner designed for those who like to try a bit of everything. Courses include brioche, artichokes, oyster mushrooms with goat cheese, carrots with orange and hazelnut, salted cod with fennel, pasta with pecorino, beets with cold brew and white chocolate, chocolate cake with brown butter and pears, and pomegranate with Champagne and red wine. 5 to 10 p.m. Feb. 14. $100. facebook.com (search for “Persephone x R Wine Cellar”).

Terrene, Station Square: Valentine’s Redoux is an eight-course tapas dinner with wine pairings. Kimberley Ashlee Catering and chefs Jared Snodgrass and Joshua Horowitz will prepare beet carpaccio, salmon cream cheese bagel fritter, crab bisque, turkey kebab, scallop with mango puree, duck breast with cranberry gastrique, short rib with mashed potatoes and Neapolitan creme brulee. Seatings at 5:30 or 8 p.m. Feb. 14. $58. terrenepittsburgh.com (click “Events”).

Boozy

Cinderlands Foederhouse, Lawrenceville: Beer dinner with mushroom crostini, brandade au gratin, bay scallops with Parisian gnocchi and bone marrow butter, osso buco with polenta and cremini mushrooms, and dessert, all paired with Cinderlands beers. Seatings at 5:30 or 8:30 p.m. Feb. 14. $120 for a couple. eventbrite.com (search for “3rd Annual Valentine’s Day Beer Pairing Dinner”).

The Commoner at Kimpton Hotel Monaco, Downtown: The four-course dinner features interesting drink pairings. Smoked East Coast oysters are paired with a Champagne cocktail with gold leaf-wrapped demerara cube, orange-vanilla bitters, blood orange and bubbles. Cheese fondue is paired with Your Suburban Mother/Wife’s Favorite Sangria(ish) Thing, which is made with cognac, gingerroot, roasted pineapple, fermented winter berry juice, and pink peppercorns. Filet mignon Diane, wrapped in pancetta with crab hollandaise, is paired with an Italian wine. Dark chocolate mousse with passion fruit curd is paired with The Best Espresso Martini of All Time. 5 to 11 p.m. Feb. 14 and 15. $55; $95 with drink pairings. thecommonerpgh.com/pittsburgh-events.

Sweet tooth

Terrace Room, Omni William Penn, Downtown: A prix fixe menu features a soup or salad for the first course and entree choices of lamb, sea bass, shrimp and filet mignon. There are five choices for dessert — pomegranate tart with toasted meringue and dark chocolate, red velvet torte with mascarpone and vanilla ice cream, strawberries and cream scone with vanilla mousse, rose panna cotta with ruby chocolate and raspberry shortbread, and hazelnut creme brulee with a chocolate madeleine. Cost is $69 for adults, $37 for ages 6 to 12 and free for ages 5 and under. Seatings between 5:30 and 10 p.m. Feb. 14 and 15. 412-553-5235.

Chocoholic

Melting Pot, Station Square: The menu includes a starter, cheese fondue course, salad and entree. But let’s be honest, the real reason to eat here on Valentine’s Day is the chocolate fondue, which is served with strawberries, blondies, bananas, pineapple, marshmallows, pound cake and brownies for dipping. Available Feb. 14 and 15, it is $85 per person. There’s also a platinum package for $250 per couple, which includes the five-course meal plus a half dozen red roses, bottle of Champagne, two Champagne flutes, rose petals and candles on the table. meltingpot.com/pittsburgh-pa (click on “Events”).

Wigle Whiskey Tasting Room & Bottle Shop, Downtown: Just skip straight to dessert and drinks here especially because the “Wigle & Chocolate” event features a Wigle spirit flight paired with Edward Marc chocolates and choice of specialty cocktail from a Valentine’s Day menu. 4 to 8 p.m. Feb. 14. $25.

a doughnut sitting on top of a table © Provided by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Einstein Bros. is featuring heart-shaped bagels at participating locations from Feb. 10 through Valentine's Day.(Jessica Grenier Photography)

Heart-shaped foods

Threadbare Cider, Spring Garden: It’s pizza night for Valentine’s Day! The Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe Dinner for couples includes two glasses of Threadbare cider per person, a shared appetizer, two heart-shaped pizzas and a shared dessert. Seatings are at 5, 6:30 and 8 p.m. Feb. 14 and the cost is $80 for two. threadbarecider.com/event/couples-prix-fixe-valentine-dinner.

California Pizza Kitchen, Ross Park Mall: Order your favorite pizza on a heart-shaped thin crust at no additional charge. Available Feb. 12 through 16. cpk.com.

Einstein Bros., various locations: Heart-shaped plain, chocolate chip and cinnamon-raisin bagels will be available Feb. 10 through 14. To find the location nearest you: einsteinbros.com (“click on “Find a Store”).

Festivals

Art on Tap — LOVE: Gallery admission, live music, art scavenger hunt, light bites, drinks, specialty chocolate tastings and Champagne bar. 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 14 at Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg. $15. showclix.com/event/art-on-tap-love.

Good Wood Barrel-Aged Beer Fest: Two dozen local breweries share their barrel-aged brews, and Wigle and Threadbare offer spirits and cider samples. 2 to 5 p.m. Feb. 16 at Threadbare Cider, Spring Garden. $50; $15 for designated drivers; extra for food. threadbarecider.com/events.

Juicy Brews Valentine’s Day Craft Beer Festival: Food from local vendors, unlimited beer pours from more than 40 breweries and music. 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at Ace Hotel Pittsburgh, Downtown. $60; $20 for designated drivers. eventbrite.com (search for “Juicy Brews Valentine’s Day Craft Beer Festival”).

Pittsburgh’s Bloody Mary Festival: Bloody mary samples from 20 local bars and restaurants, voting for best sample, light brunch fare, music. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 15 and 16 at The Pennsylvanian, Downtown. $40; $20 for designated drivers. showclix.com/tickets/BloodyMaryFestival2020.

Eat.drink.PITTSBURGH: Food, wine, beer and liquor samples from local purveyors. 6 p.m. Feb. 20 at Rivers Casino Event Center, North Shore. $40. eventsplus.radio.com/pittsburgh/wbzz/e/eat-drink-pittsburgh-2-20-20.

Classes

Everyday Wines — Great Bottles at Affordable Prices: Wine educator Adam Knoerzer of ’Burghundy LLC teaches about high-quality yet affordable wines. 6 p.m. Feb. 18 at Sprezzatura Café, Millvale. $30; includes wine samples and snacks. eventbrite.com (search for “Everyday Wines”).

Rebecca Sodergren: pgfoodevents@hotmail.com; @pgfoodevents.

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