Call me a traditionalist, but I believe Valentine’s Day isn’t complete without a romantic dinner. There’s just something inexplicably magical about mood lighting, fancy wine and expertly prepared food. Over the years, I’ve found that this type of Valentine’s Day has waned in popularity to be replaced by movies in the park, glamping, and Netflix and chill.

To each their own, I suppose. But this one’s for the old-school romantics who still believe in the classical magic of a table for two. Here are four restaurant ideas to keep the flames of romance burning bright this Valentine’s Day.

1. KCC La Vie en Rose (Johannesburg)

Not to be confused with Édith Piaf’s hit ballad or the 2009 biopic starring Marion Cotillard, KCC La Vie en Rose is a contemporary restaurant situated at the Killarney Country Club in leafy Houghton. The romance of this establishment lies in the secret garden where patrons can enjoy alfresco dining under a canopy of lights. The restaurant is also a wedding venue, so you can get married where you and your partner first met. How’s that for poetry?

2. La Madeleine (Pretoria)

The first thing you are told at La Madeleine is that there is no written menu. Chef and co-owner Daniel Leusch visits each table and takes patrons through the day’s specials. The restaurant cuisine is classic French and Belgian so expect the likes of steak au poivre, coq au vin and crème brûlée. The attentive and bespoke service suits the cosy and rustic charm of the place. You and your date will feel like you wandered into an old friend’s kitchen where the food is always good and the atmosphere compels you to unwind.

3. Glenwood Bakery (Durban)

If you and your partner share a love for well-made bread, Glenwood Bakery is the ideal spot for a casual and budget-friendly Valentine’s Day. It has an artisanal simplicity that influences everything from the décor to the food. So for Valentine’s Day, you can take advantage of the pizza nights on their veranda. The best part is that you can bring your own drinks if you want something other than their pressed juices and coffee. Don’t forget to take home one of their wholesome hearth-baked loaves – they’re the talk of the town.

4. Kloof Street House (Cape Town)

There’s something enchanting about Kloof Street House, which makes it a great location for a night of romance. Imagine Alice in Wonderland with a bit of Marie Antoinette and accents of post-colonial flair. It bucks restaurant trends by not being too defined and is an adventure of a space with so many corners to retreat to for a private meal for two. The menu is seasonal but always full of fresh takes on old favourite dishes and the cocktails are unforgettable. Be sure to charge your phone because everything around you will be snap-worthy.

If you’d like to transform your restaurant into an intimate establishment deserving of this list, download our guide to Secret Ingredients for a Successful Restaurant for all the tips and restaurant ideas you won’t find anywhere else.

Author : Rudi Badenhorst