Liz Clayman, photo editor
In our house, Valentine’s Day is a night to stay in. My man always picks up a nice bottle of something sparkling to put in our retro snakeskin wine bucket. He also stops at Campbell Cheese near our home in Williamsburg for tons of snacks for a proper picnic on top of the bed! No phones, no screens—it’s just cava and Comté. This is a nice one-to-four participant activity.
Victoria Marin, social media editor
For me, Valentine’s Day is all about the little demonstrations of love we share with ourselves and each other, so I’m not into getting dressed up and going out for a fancy dinner to celebrate. My ideal Valentine’s would be a daylong celebration of indulgences, beginning with a rose petal donut (or two) from Doughnut Plant, followed by a lunchtime stroll-and-sample through one of the many local food halls nearby, then a dinner of soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai before finally wrapping things up with a bubbly nightcap at Air’s Champagne Parlor.
Ariel Lauren Wilson, editor
Valentine’s Day or not, my ideal date night is effortless. There might still be a plan involved—like buying ingredients for a special dinner, say, or dressing up to go out—but it doesn’t distract me from enjoying my partner’s company. I’ve found that some of our best moments include us doing what we want right then, whether that’s having a 3 a.m. bodega sandwich picnic on my bedroom floor or splurging on Gramercy Tavern’s very worth-it tasting menu. It’s no surprise then that we haven’t solidified our Valentine’s plans, but I can imagine us doing anything from watching Heathers in our pajamas to indulging in a night out. If the latter’s more your speed, we recently tried the Standard East Village’s seasonal fondue-in-a-yurt pop-up and I’d recommend it for a cozy double date (photos above). The $65 per person price tag makes it a special occasion that’s worth the expense if you’re a fondue fanatic (hi). The nutmeg-heavy Gruyère and Emmental mix sticks close to the Alpine original and comes with a large dipping spread of sausages, potatoes, apples, pears, cornichons, squash and Romanesco. Since you’re there, might as well go all the way and also order the dark hot chocolate pitcher (spiking optional) topped with made-to-order whipped cream.
Anna Jolliffe, social media editor, Food Loves Tech and The Collective
Showman’s Jazz Lounge is a very romantic spot to hit up any time of the year. Harlem’s longest running jazz club has hosted legends like Eartha Kitt and Duke Ellington and today features local jazz artists every week. Head uptown with a loved one to sip on some Old-Fashioneds and listen to Harlem’s own croon some standards.
Bridget Shirvell, digital strategy editor
My husband and I aren’t really Valentine’s Day people. Ours tend to be a bit of a disaster, but we are very fond of sneaking away to dinner on a random weeknight, trying a new place. One of our recent discoveries was Fiaschetteria “Pistoia” in the East Village. This is a fun, quirky Italian restaurant where owner Emmanuel Bugiani shares his delicious family recipes paired with a great wine list. Plan to get a bottle.
Carrington Morris, managing editor
If a secluded candlelit corner is not for you, consider Williamsburg’s Casino Clam Bar for an intimate sharing of seafood small plates. The u-shape bar seating lends itself to rubbing elbows with your fellow diners, and the dishes do not disappoint. The shrimp cocktail arrives beautifully grilled and seasoned with a bright, zesty cocktail sauce that should take home awards, while the white clam chowder lightly smoked with bacon will soothe and warm the heart. All the dishes here seem charmed with loving preparation, from the housemade bread and butter to the clams casino to the uni pasta. Couples or just good friends can enjoy a steamer pot for two or go all out with caviar and sparkling wine.