Valentine's Day – love it or hate it, it's here to stay. Regardless of where you stand, getting all dolled up and going out for a nice meal is pretty much a universal pleasure, especially when restaurants go all out on the special occasion bells and whistles. These are the restaurants going the extra mile on February 14 this year, so if you're looking to impress or simply down for an epic feed, here's where to head.
Prefer to dine out on any other night of the year? Here's Sydney's 56 best restaurants to work your way through. And if your purse strings are tight, one of the 70 best cheap eats in Sydney should more than do the trick.
Where to dine with your Valentine
Hint: click the restaurant's name to check out our review.
For the big day, celebrate 'Dia del Amor y la Amistad' with eight courses of regional Mexican eats at this hidden CBD eatery. You'll start with smoked octopus tostadas, and beef tartare before moving onto wood fired chicken with smoked wagyu fat kipfler potatoes before finishing with a poached pear with tequila and lime sorbet. The menu is $145 per person. Book here.
Be swept away this Valentine's Day with a specially curated Latin American share style menu at Tequlia Mockingbird. Enjoy an apple and strawberry margarita on arrival before getting romantic over a four course banquet. The menu includes yellowfin tuna aji panca ceviche tostada, grilled Skull Island prawns with dashi butter and finishes with tres leches cake with queso helado. The menu is $135 per person. Book here.
Head chef Alessandro Morabito has you covered this Valentine's Day, with a specially curated Italian four-course degustation dinner in the intimate dining room. The menu includes kingfish carpaccio with salsa verde and toasted almonds, red snapper with pesto alla trapanese and prosecco reduction, and Mille Fogile with passionfruit custard, fresh berries and Martini coulis. For $145 per person, you can dine in a most romantic style. Book here.
The Old Fitzroy Hotel
At this Woolloomooloo favourite, chef Anna Ugarte-Carral is doing things a little differently and taking the pressure off a one night extravaganza. She has done scrambling couples a real solid by serving up a romantic set menu from Feb 11-14, so don't panic if you haven't made your booking yet. A $75 per person menu of Spanish snacks with an optional $55 wine pairing is the laid back but elegant Valentine's Day treat we've been looking for. Book here.
If you want to step back in time for the ultimate '80s romance, the cherubs at Shell House are hosting a lobster and chablis night for Valentine's Day. From 6pm you'll have your choice of either an 11 or 12 course menu, each built around a wild caught lobster dish. The lobster and chablis menu is $195 per person, while the premium will set you back $295 per person. Book here.
Bar One at Pier One Sydney Harbour
If you want views as breathtaking as your loved one, head to Bar One at Pier One Sydney Harbour for all of your Valentine's needs. The team are extending their dinner sittings on the big day with a romantic six-course set menu, including starters of yellowfin crudo, crab with yolk emulsion and lemon, wagyu rump cap and much more for $120 per person. You can really make a night of it with an overnight stay with the suite-hearts packages, picnic hampers for a sunset feast and Valentine's getaway packages which include a romantic morning after breakfast. Book here.
Cho Cho San
This classy but fun Potts Point izakaya joint is offering a special Valentine’s Day menu, alongside its regular offerings. Much-loved menu items like pork steam buns and crab fried rice make way for special dishes like hibachi duck breast and lobster with kombu butter. $95 per person. Book here.
Salt Meats Cheese
You can attempt pasta kisses à la Lady and the Tramp with the three-course set menu at this popular Italian eatery. You’ll get a drink on arrival, antipasto to share, a choice of main and a semifreddo to wrap it all up. Only available at the Circular Quay, Dee Why and Drummoyne. $49 per person. Book here.
Market City Japanese eatery Fugetsu is getting in the mood for love with adorable heart-shaped sushi. This isn’t part of a set menu, but when you visit during February you can order a delicate trio of sushi hearts with fresh salmon and avocado or curvaceous California rolls. Don’t worry about the uneven split conundrum – each heart can be split in two. Fugetsu is also serving up saké, which is traditionally served with rituals at Shinto-style weddings. Find out more about Fugetsu here.
The finest restaurant in Sydney for vegetarian and vegan dining is preparing a five-course special feast with snacks to accompany it. You'll chow down on lionsmane mushrooms, fairytale eggplant and a blackberry and chocolate tart for dessert. $150 per person, with the option to add matching wines for $80 per person. Book here.
At this Middle Eastern fine diner, executive chef Paul Farag is putting on a specially curated set menu for dinner featuring carob glazed lamb shoulder and line caught baby snapper. $129 per person. Book here.
This Surry Hills favourite is putting on a special menu with romance in mind. You can also choose to add optional caviar, oysters and petit fours to take the experience to the next level. From $155 per person. Book here.
Parramatta’s modern Asian diner is putting on a special ten-course set menu designed for pairing with a bottle of Champagne or their specialty cocktails. Dishes include kingfish and coconut ceviche with white sweet potato and sea grapes; charcoal wagyu beef skewers; mizuna leaf salad; scampi tail curry; and young coconut and pineapple sorbet. $110 per person. Book here.
Bentley Restaurant and Bar
One of the city’s longest standing fine diners is dishing up a seven-course degustation (plus snacks) packed with seafood, including Sydney rock oysters, spanner crab, coral trout and Skull Island prawn. There’s an optional wine pairing and additions like a cheese selection. From $250 per person plus wine matchings from $110 per person. Book here.
Hit peak Sydney with seaside seafood from Cirrus, Barangaroo’s upscale fish joint from a couple of the city’s culinary kingpins. The exclusive Valentine’s menu features raw yellowfin tuna with preserved lemon, nectarine and kombu. Yum. There are optional matching wines, naturally. From $220 per person with matching wines at $100 per person. Book here.
The CBD's all-grunge izakaya is getting romantic this year with a multi-course set menu experience, designed to share in the true spirit of romance. You'll even get a glass of sparkling upon arrival to toast to your love. Dishes include salmon nigiri, chicken tsukune, and scotch fillet for just $85 per person. Spreqad over two nights, you can book for either February 13 or 14. Book here.