R5 Romantic Restaurants for Valentine's Day

February’s here, and with it comes the pressure to find the perfect romantic restaurant.  After all, cold, dark nights beckon for warm, cozy evenings where the world outside melts away—at least until the check arrives, the babysitter calls, or you get an urgent text from the office. In Westchester, places that would please Cupid run the gamut from stylish bistros to historic inns, with bonus points for roaring fireplaces and extensive  wine lists. Here, our suggestions for those looking to launch a new relationship or keep an old flame alive. Just be sure to make a reservation.

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If being transported to a bustling, charming, Parisian bistro (minus the expensive airfare) is your idea of romance, head to Buffet de la Gare (155 Southside Ave, Hastings-on-Hudson 914-478-1671; buffetdelagareny.com), a stunning little restaurant where almost every patron seems to be conversing in French, and where the food is designed to please even the most jaded Francophiles—as well as those who date them.

Crabtree’s Kittle House (11 Kittle Rd, Chappaqua 914-666-8044; kittlehouse.com) fits any and all romantic requirements. It has the comfortable atmosphere of a historic country inn; the appealing, reliably executed menu of a sophisticated chef; the ideal spacing between tables (the better for hushed conversations); and the good sense to allow you to linger over gorgeously poured glasses of award-winning wine. Ask for a table in the Tap Room, where the crackling fireplace forms the perfect backdrop.

Get in the amorous spirit and order the 40-ounce porterhouse for two at Croton Creek Steakhouse & Wine Bar (4 W Cross St, Croton Falls 914-276-0437; crotoncreek.com), where sharing is encouraged (the cheese fondue is another winner), and the vibe is casually elegant. We love that the white paper overlays on the tables have designs and quotations stamped on them. You can proclaim your affection between courses—all without saying a word.

Photo by Rana Faure

Crabtree’s Kittle House’s award-winning wine list makes it easy to share a bottle.

You can get a cozy spot by a fireplace at Equus.

Nothing says true love like a glass (or glasses) of wine and a fromage plate piled high with artisan cheeses and fruits, followed by a locally sourced entrée and house-made desserts where chocolate takes center stage. Which is why we love the narrow and dimly lit Chiboust (14 Main St, Tarrytown 914-703-6550; chiboust.com), where chef/owner Jill Rose, who has long been known for her out-of-this-world pastries—she was the sous pastry chef at Lespinasse and La Caravelle in Manhattan—is now in charge of the kitchen.

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Your fairytale castle setting awaits at Equus at Castle on the Hudson (400 Benedict Ave, Tarrytown 914-631-3646; castleonthehudson.com), one of Westchester’s most special settings. Each of the three dining rooms—there’s the Tapestry Room, the Oak Room, and the Garden Room—offers the glorious sophistication of a European palace. For the ultimate in royal treatment, ask for a seat in either the Tapestry Room or the Oak Room, where a roaring fire ups the appeal.

Fig & Olive (696 White Plains Rd, Scarsdale 914-725-2900; figandolive.com) fits in the “casual but romantic” category, making it ideal for both everyday meals as well as special occasions. The airy space, in which its famous olive oils are on display, offers something for everyone—little nibbles in the form of crostini, hearty entrées, or a mix-and-match of appetizers—all at affordable prices. What better way to enjoy Manhattan sophistication without the City schlep?

The expertly edited wine selection at The Gnarly Vine (501 E Main St, New Rochelle 914-355-2541; thegnarlyvine.com) makes impressing your date—whether it’s your first or your 1,001st—a slam-dunk. Sure, we love the vino—more than 25 varieties by the glass and at least 100 bottle offerings—but it’s the sharable small plates (which are actually large enough to qualify as entrées), along with the candle-lit space and pure adult ambience that seal the deal, making this hidden gem among our favorites.

Leave room for dessert, such as this platter of sweets from Zitoune.

It’s easy to fuel the passion at Kraft Bistro (104 Kraft Ave, Bronxville 914-337-4545; kraftbistro.com), where the “Sundown” menu of often-Afghan-accented options, shimmery décor, and dozens of glowing candles set the mood for a memorable meal. It’s particularly gorgeous at night, the ideal surrounding to enjoy a sweet Valentine’s dinner together.

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If you really want to dazzle your date, look no further than La Crémaillère (46 Bedford-Banksville Rd, Bedford 914-234-9647; cremaillere.com), a cozy hidden jewel oozing with French country charm. The structure itself dates to 1750, giving new meaning to “if these walls could talk.” Aside from the simple elegance, we love that the menu emphasizes fresh ingredients and changes on a daily, weekly, and seasonal basis. We also love (and know you will, too!) its 14,000-bottle wine list, which makes choosing a perfect wine with which to reconnect so delightful.

When you think l’amour, think La Panetière (530 Milton Rd, Rye 914-967-8140; lapanetiere.com), an elegant Provençal farmhouse offering classic French cuisine. True, it’s a bit formal, but you can’t beat the traditional setting, the stellar wine list, and the fact that you’re always made to feel special.

In the mood for charming? Taste Restaurant and Lounge (265 Tate Ave, Buchanan 914-930-7864) beckons from the street with a warm, fuzzy feeling that is only intensified when you step inside its rose-hued dining room. Taste is run by husband-and-wife team Alyssa Presta-Campararo and Ronald Campanaro, who live above the restaurant, and you can almost feel the love in everything especially when you’re diving into your thin-crust margherita pizzette or pan-roasted chicken breast.
Zitoune (1127 W Boston Post Rd, Mamaroneck 914-835-8350; zitounerestaurant. com) turns up the heat with its exotic Moroccan atmosphere. Here, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can enjoy a traditional meal à deux at a low-slung table at floor level. (May we recommend the magic love potion of couscous with an aromatic broth, seven different vegetables, and various meats the way the dish is enjoyed in Marrakech?) There’s also the very special, very-out-of-the-way table No. 101, located in its own little alcove, because, sometimes, dialing in the romance requires a little seclusion.

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