APPETITE in Alexandria

APPETITE in Alexandria

3 Eateries to Tempt Your Valentine

Ah, Valentine’s Day, the celebration of love and romance that can often be fraught with indecision. Where to go? What to do? What gift to buy? And – perhaps most importantly – where to eat? We can’t help you with the gift-giving, but we can point you in the direction of some restaurants that are sure to warm your heart.

Sisters Thai, 503 Montgomery St.

When it comes to ambiance, Sisters ticks all the boxes – it’s fun and festive with plenty of eye candy. But stick around for the food and you’ll see there is also plenty of form underneath all that fashion. If you’re in the spirit, order up a cocktail from Sisters’ extensive list of fun offerings and then dig into the food menu. From garden rolls to chive dumplings to curry puffs and bikini shrimp, it would be easy to make a feast of just the appetizers, but persevere and don’t overdo it – you don’t want to miss the main event! Pad Thai, drunken noodles, a plethora of curries – all your favorites are there. As are some soon-to-be mainstays in your life, including kana moo grob (Chinese broccoli with crispy pork belly), crispy duck Kaprow and spicy eggplant in a chili black bean sauce. Don’t skip out on dessert, even if you’re stuffed full: The Thai toasts, crepes and cakes from the Magnolia Dessert Bar are well worth your time (and your calories).

Trattoria da Franco, 305 S. Washington St.

A longtime staple for romantic meals year-round, the original Trattoria da Franco is back in fine form in its original location. Come for the classic Italian food from the trattoria’s original menu (don’t see what you want? The kitchen is happy to help concoct what you’re looking for), stay for the opera nights and traditional ambiance. And speaking of opera, the entertainment doesn’t stop there: Flamenco nights, cabaret nights and weekend pianists are also on the docket. Finish up your date night with a house-made dessert, wash it all down with a full glass of Italian wine, and toast to the future.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, 102 S. Patrick St.

After a perfectly romantic date, why not sweeten things up even further with a scoop (or more) from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams? Pile your cone high with the likes of salty caramel, Texas sheet cake, maple-soaked pancake or banana cream pudding and let the decadence carry the day. Whether you’ve selected a standard flavor or a dairy-free variety, the richness of the ice cream will be the perfect after-dinner treat. 

Hope Nelson is the author of “Classic Restaurants of Alexandria” and owns the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at Email her any time at