Ember patio – night

We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort’s Ember. (Submitted photo)

By Claire Spinner

Valentine’s Day in 2021 offers the chance to give couples a much-needed night of relaxation and romance after an exhausting 2020 that was marked by lockdowns and calamity. New restrictions will paint a more unorthodox picture of the holiday within bars and restaurants that are looking to bring in new and repeat customers for what is usually one of the busiest days of the year for the food industry.

Specialty and prix-fixe menus will be staples of many eateries, while some offer to-go meals for those looking to celebrate a calm evening at home. Though there is no shortage of romance to be found in Phoenix. Here are just a few restaurants guaranteed to make Valentine’s Day special, because everyone could use some love right now.

Adero Scottsdale

In the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Adero Scottsdale is the perfect romantic weekend getaway, as it’s in a Dark Sky community. For those looking for a nice dinner, Adero is offering a four-course prix-fixe meal for $79 a person at the resort restaurant, Cielo. You can sit under the night sky and enjoy a choice of starter, salad, entree and dessert. Some of the various menu items include a jumbo crab cake, lobster tail stuffed tenderloin and miso-glazed Chilean sea bass. Other packages offered by Adero include its spa package—a 50-minute ($295) or 80-minute ($375) couple’s massages, followed by lunch for two at Cielo and a complimentary glass of champagne per person. For those looking for solo relaxation, Adero has a luscious chocolate dripped body treatment for $129. The treatment includes a sweet cream sugar exfoliation, a warm dark-chocolate softening mask, and a whipped shea butter moisturizer to lock in the treatment. Finally, those looking for a couple’s stay have the option between two packages—the “Paramour Escape Valentine’s Package” or the “Paramour Luxe Retreat Valentine’s Package,” both of which include a complimentary bottle of wine and brunch and dinner for two at Cielo. The Luxe package also includes a couple’s massage. Reservations can be made through its website but save a table on OpenTable.

13225 N. Eagle Ridge Drive, Scottsdale, 480-333-1900, aderoscottsdale.com

Brio Italian Grille

In SanTan Village, Brio Italian Grille starts its Valentine’s celebration on Friday, Feb. 12. Known for its Tuscan-style meals and drinks, Brio is offering two different prix-fixe meals. Each of them ring in at $30 per person. The meal choices include a Romano-crusted Chilean sea bass served with roasted fingerlings, spinach, tomatoes and lobster butter sauce, or beef medallions with shrimp and a black pepper cream sauce, served with mashed potatoes and asparagus. A complimentary caramel mascarpone cheesecake will be provided for dessert. All of the items on the prix-fixe menu are also available to-go. Reservations can be made through Brio Italian Grille’s website.

2150 E. Williams Field Road, Suite 118, Gilbert, 480-917-9177, brioitalian.com

Chart House

At Scottsdale’s Chart House, guests can pamper themselves with a meal by the water. Featuring stunning views of Camelback Mountain and Camelback Lake, there is no shortage of photo opportunities at Chart House. This Valentine’s Day, Chart House is providing customers with a three-course prix-fixe meal. The special will run from Feb. 11 to Feb. 15, giving everyone a chance to come check out the menu. A meal for two is $140 and includes classic dishes like lobster bisque, filet mignon and twin petite lobster tails, Chilean sea bass with lump crab and shrimp and a red velvet hot chocolate lava cake. Guests can also choose to pair their dinner with one of Chart House’s signature bottles of wine for an additional $65. Wines include Patz & Hall Dutton Ranch chardonnay and Goldeneye pinot noir. For those looking to wine-and-dine in the comfort of their homes, Chart House is offering a $100 to-go package, which includes a three-course meal for two with strawberry salad, lobster trio and chocolate molten cake. The same wines offered for dine-in are also available to be purchased to-go. Reservations can be made through the Chart House website or OpenTable.

7255 E. McCormick Parkway, Scottsdale, 480-951-2550, chart-house.com 

Keeler’s Neighborhood Steakhouse

Located in Carefree, Keeler’s has a chic inside dining section and a sprawling patio with views of the nearby mountain range. For Valentine’s Day, a special menu will be offered on Feb. 14 only, with jumbo bacon-wrapped prawns ($24), lobster bisque ($14) and a winter salad ($10). The main courses include a Chilean sea bass ($46), prime rib and lobster tail ($52) or a 40-ounce prime tomahawk for two ($140). The special dessert item is a red velvet cake, smartly themed for Valentine’s Day. Reservations can be made through Keeler’s website or OpenTable.

7212 Ho Hum Drive, Carefree, 602-374-4784, keelerssteakhouse.com

Marcellino Ristorante

Marcellino Ristorante was designed with romance and charm in mind. Chef Marcellino Verzino and his wife, Sima, upgraded their private dining room. A special menu is only being offered on Feb. 14, with the exception of a special panna cotta dessert, a chef’s favorite, which will run from Feb. 12 to Feb. 14. Marcellino is not offering its meals as prix-fixe specials, hoping to individualize everyone’s experience this holiday. Additionally, for those looking for a special day at home, Marcellino is offering a variety of to-go “baskets of amore” for $95, which include a three-course Italian meal based on your preference—between pasta, fowl, meat or fish lover. Reservations can be made through Marcellino Ristorante’s website or OpenTable.

7114 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale, 480-990-9500, marcellinoristorante.com

Phoenix City Grille

For those looking to dine in the city, try Phoenix City Grille. Only 10 minutes from Downtown Phoenix, City Grille has one of the coziest environments in Phoenix. After a long day of prowling the town, guests can relax at City Grille and enjoy the large selection of food and beverages available. For Valentine’s Day, City Grill includes starters, entrees and one dessert option. For soup lovers, the New England clam chowder will be served for $7 per cup or $13 per bowl. Smoked prime rib ($39), filet and lobster ($49) and a pan-seared Chula seafood sea bass ($34) are the menu items. Their Valentine’s Day dessert is a red velvet cheesecake for $10. Also, couples will also receive a complimentary chocolate-covered strawberry to get the night started. Reservations can be made through Phoenix City Grille’s website or OpenTable.

5816 N. 16th Street, Phoenix, 602-266-3001, phoenixcitygrille.com

Rusconi’s American Kitchen

Rusconi’s American Kitchen is a hip spot for anyone looking for the trendiest dishes. Having won numerous awards for atmosphere, food and wine, Rusconi’s will likely impress. Rusconi’s is offering its “sweetheart menu” on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13. The $62 a person prix-fixe menu features a first course of either lobster bisque or baby field green salad with Sonoma goat cheese fritters. For the second, main course, roasted rack of lamb with garlic and herb crust, San Joaquin gold with Meyer lemon scented herb risotto and 21-day aged filet of beef tenderloin are available. For dessert, the two delicious options are the “yin and yang” crème brûlée or “the Elvis,” which is a banana, peanut butter and chocolate parfait. For those looking to dine on Valentine’s Day, a second larger menu will be available, with the option of taking a three-course meal to go ($82 per meal.) The larger menu includes items from the sweetheart menu with new additions, such as mild chili-seared ahi tuna with cured tomato and maple leaf duck enchiladas for the first course. The second and third courses also include meals from the sweetheart menu, with the addition of grilled natural chicken breast and pan-roasted Florida grouper with blue crab and citrus emulsion for course two, and a strawberry and wild blueberry cheesecake for dessert. Reservations can be made through OpenTable on Rusconi’s website.

10637 N. Tatum Boulevard, Phoenix, 480-483-0009, rusconiskitchen.com

Cook’s at Royal Palms Resort and Spa

Located inside of the Royal Palms Resort and Spa, T. Cook’s is the perfect restaurant for those looking for luxury. T. Cook’s hosts an annual celebration for Valentine’s Day, with a new menu every year, making it a great choice for some post-Old Town dining. From Feb. 13 to Feb. 14, guests can choose between several options for a $135 five-course meal. Diners will first receive an hors d’œuvre of bacon-wrapped dates with goat cheese. Following the appetizer, guests can choose between arugula, octopus, farrow and chicken veloute for their first course. In between the first and second course, an “intermezzo” of strawberry sorbet will be provided. The second course features Scottish salmon, beef tenderloin, tofu paella, rack of lamb and East Coast scallops. For dessert, guests can choose between a rich chocolate brownie and a New York-style cheesecake. Reservations can be made through the Royal Palms Resort and Spa website, under the “eat and drink” section or through OpenTable.

5200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, 602-808-0766, royalpalmshotel.com/tcooks

Tommy Bahama 

For those looking for a tropical getaway while staying in Arizona, Tommy Bahama is the place to be. Its Valentine’s deal is $125 per couple and will run from Feb. 11 through Feb. 14. The first course options are an island shrimp and crab cocktail, roasted beef salad or its coconut shrimp. Once starters are finished, the second course is prix-fixed and includes a ribeye filet for two, a twice-baked potato, grilled asparagus and marinated king trumpet mushrooms. For dessert, couples will receive a delectable triple chocolate cake. In addition to its prix-fixe meal, Tommy Bahama is also offering a special pink “Valentine’s blush cocktail,” made with Hendricks gin, ruby red grapefruit juice and St. Germain. Reservations can be made through OpenTable on Tommy Bahama’s website.

15205 N. Kierland Boulevard, Scottsdale, 480-505-3668, tommybahama.com 

Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen and Bar 

For Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen is offering three-course meals with several dish options for $60 per person. In the heart of Downtown Scottsdale, Tommy V’s is expansive, having four or more options per course. For the first course, guests can choose between a classic lobster bisque, strawberry greens salad, Caesar salad, mozzarella caprese, shrimp and tunas wheat ceviche, short ribs, eggplant torta or wild mushroom risotto. For the main course, guests are able to choose shrimps and scallops, chicken Milanese, lobster ravioli or salmon Genovese. Last, but not least, dessert options include fresh berries and cream, chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate cake, tiramisu and salted caramel gelato. Reservations can be made through Tommy V’s website or OpenTable.

7303 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale, 480-427-2264, tommyvscottsdale.com

We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort

We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort’s upscale restaurant, Ember, will host a special Valentine’s five-course meal. The extravagant meal is $150 per couple, with a champagne toast for two. The prix-fixe menu includes elegant and ornate traditional French dishes, with a first course of amuse bouche of an asparagus pot de crème. The second course includes a poulpe espagnol grille (octopus), a salade d’endives et de cresson de Belgique and terrine de foie gras et anguille Japonaise. For the intermezzo between the second and fourth course, guests will receive a red pepper sorbet. For course four, guests have more options, including a filet en croute de moelle osseuse, longe d’agneau farci, flétan Norvégien rôti and poule de bois champignons. For dessert, there are two delicious options, a cheesecake and a chocolate almond ice cream. Reservations can be made through Ember’s page on the We-Ko-Pa website under the “dine and drink section.”

10438 WeKoPa Way, Fort McDowell, 480-789-5324, wekopacasinoresort.com