Where to celebrate that special evening
By Jim Walker
If you’re still trying to make up for a blown Valentine’s Day, or have a relationship-celebratory event coming up, such as an important anniversary, you’re quite likely considering sharing a romantic dinner, at a romantic restaurant.
But what makes a restaurant romantic? Only you, or more importantly, your partner, will know exactly what this means, but the most-recognized aspects are an establishment that offers a casually-elegant ambiance, with enough comfort and intimacy so that you can share close conversation and not be distracted by the rest of the clientele. There should probably be muted lighting, and music that subtly sets the mood, without intruding. Of course, there must be delicious food, often including sharable dishes, and the staff should be knowledgeable and professional, and offer you just the right balance between being there and not being there. The last thing you want is to be rushed through (or forgotten), or to feel like you had dinner with the waiter and not your partner. And, if at all possible, you might add in a beautiful view of something better than a parking lot. That last can really narrow things down, but we’re talking ideal here, right?
If you’re a longtime SCV resident, you probably already have your favorite romantic restaurant locked in. But, don’t forget, newer establishments arise, and, sadly, sometimes old favorites lose their luster. Study websites, check online reviews and “lists,” and ask around. Maybe stop in for a drink and “test drive” a location before your big day. Pick your best table and make a reservation for it, if you can. Considering all the above “romantic” criteria, and with the understanding that few restaurants can check off every box, here are just a few of the top romantic restaurants in the SCV.
With a secluded, historic location set among natural oak trees, overlooking beautiful gardens, and offering delicious French cuisine and fine wines, Le Chene (“the oak”) – at 12625 Sierra Highway, Santa Clarita, CA 91390, (661) 251-4315; https://lechene.com/ – just might come the closest to having it all, romantically. And the peaceful highway drive there (27 minutes from the WV Town Center) will make your experience all the more special through anticipation.
Owner and chef Juan Alonso emphasized a few well-known, but spot-on notes about his creation, which has been serving romantics since 1980: “There is no need to travel to France to dine in a country inn by the side of the road. Here, food is the star, and we have one of the greatest wine lists in California – all at reasonable prices.”
Salt Creek Grille
Salt Creek Grille – 24415 Town Center Drive, #115, Valencia, CA 91355,
(661) 222-9999; https://saltcreekgrille.com/valencia/ – has been a go-to for fine, fun, and romantic dining since 1999. With a warm interior design, many romantic booths, plus an expansive covered patio with fire pit, the featured mesquite-grilled menu items will suit any palate or occasion.
Jennifer Chadwick, director of sales and marketing, said, “We are the perfect location for date nights, and many people celebrate anniversaries with us. Our half-moon booths are just right for romantic couples, our lighting is mellow, with candles on the tables, we have an extensive wine list, and there is live music in the bar on Friday and Saturday nights. Why not try a great cab with filet mignon, followed by our incredible chocolate soufflé?”
Reyes Winery on Main
Reyes Winery on Main – 24329 Main Street, Santa Clarita 91321, (661) 621-7777; https://reyeswineryonmain.com/ – offers top-shelf wines, of course, but also fine dining in a romantic atmosphere downstairs, or tapas, tastings and a view on the roof. And you could do both, enjoying your romantic dinner downstairs, followed by more wine and more romance and dessert upstairs overlooking the SCV.
Owner Robert Reyes said, “We have tables and booths, subdued lighting and romantic music downstairs. And though our private room is normally for six or more, it could be reserved for a couple for a special occasion. The rooftop is very romantic, and a number of people have proposed up there. We call the area in front of the elevator ‘Lovers Corners.’”
Bella Cucina – 27911 Seco Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91350, (661) 263-1414; https://www.bellacucinascv.com/ – has become a favorite of SCV residents for authentic Italian cuisine in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The family-owned restaurant is cozy inside, or you can dine on the sheltered patio. The intimate ambiance is casually elegant, and fine wines and craft cocktails await.
Owner Jay Hamzei said, “Bella Cucina offers great ambiance, romantic atmosphere, great opera music and a phenomenally-rich menu by Chef Luca Toumadi. You will feel like you are in Italy, with the warmest friendship and great hospitality.”