Five Restaurants with Views for Last-Minute Lovers on Valentine’s Day

The view from Chevy's in Emeryville. (@lawruh__/Instagram)

At some point in history, an alliance was forged between Valentine’s Day and candlelit dinners. Then came prix-fixes menus, where lovers only have to choose each other—and not from a long list of entrées. In the Bay Area’s much-hyped fine dining scene, eating out on Valentine’s Day can be a sort of nightmare between securing reservations and the unimaginative ways that love is forced down our throats in pink and red colorways. 

For those looking to expand their definitions of a romantic dining experience—and find a place for a Valentine’s Day meal without extraordinary wait times—here are a few restaurants that are conducting business as usual with spectacular views to boot.

Chevy’s in Emeryville
It makes no sense that Chevy’s sits as one of the handful of East Bay restaurants with a sweeping view of the bay from Marin to San Francisco. With a food and drinks happy hour that last eight of the twelve hours the restaurant is open, Chevy’s by the sea, as I refer to it, is the perfect place to let go of the pretense around Valentine’s Day.

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Taco Bell in Pacifica
Perhaps the most famous Taco Bell in the state of California, the Pacifica outpost of the chain features a deck that opens right up to the ocean. After a remodel last year, the eatery was reborn as a Taco Bell Cantina with a menu that includes alcoholic beverages. But the view, it appears, has remained the same one that diners enjoy.

Louis’ in San Francisco
This Sutro District diner opened on Valentine’s Day in 1937, so each February 14 is an anniversary for Louis’. Perched on a hill along the city’s coast, it offers a hearty menu of greasy spoon classics like steaks, burgers, and fish and chips. Beer and wine are also served, as is a full breakfast menu. If you snag a corner booth, you’ll get the perfect view to pretend you’re aboard a ship while you enjoy your meal.

The Tides in Bodega Bay
Famously featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, this seafood restaurant overlooks Bodega Bay with lights twinkling off the waves. Though The Tides will have a prix-fixe menu for Valentine’s Day, they’ll also have their regular menu where you may choose appetizers, entrées and desserts in compositions that please you. With windows covering almost every inch of the walls, a sweeping view of the bay is always on the menu.

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Casino in Bodega
If your idea of a romantic Valentine’s Day is a longneck ale and a game of pool in a 80-year-old saloon—but with excellent, locally sourced food—Casino is the spot. Chef Mark Malicki’s menu changes daily based on what’s available at markets and farms, and he brings a cosmopolitan sensibility (he’s from New York) to this decidedly rural, no-frills roadhouse. The view, a hop and a skip away, is ideal for a post dinner drive.

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