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HC’s Guide to Valentine’s Dining

For me, Valentine’s Day has always been about delicious dining. On the few occasions I officially celebrated it, I spent the evenings in candlelit restaurants with large glasses of wine and several courses of food. Even on the countless nights as a single lady, I spent my evenings eating cheese and chocolate based goods with all my fellow singleton friends. Let’s not lie to ourselves; Valentine’s Day is not about love, it’s about food. I fear that’s the spinster talking, but let’s face it, you know I’m right. So get your Valentine’s evening organised, whether it’s for your partner and yourself, or for a decadent night with the girls, just get a table booked.

Finding that perfect restaurant is always a bit of a nightmare. As a student I find myself idealistically in search of a restaurant with great quality food but without the price that burns a hole in your pocket. You’ll be glad to hear that Leeds has an abundance of restaurants on offer, ranging in price and cuisine to satisfy your taste buds this Valentine’s Day. After vigorous searching I have come up with a selection of restaurants, from the renowned and wonderful chain Café Rouge, to Leeds’ very own Brasserie Forty 4.

Bella Italia

The cheapest deal I found on offer is from Bella Italia, a well-known Italian chain boasting a two course menu and glass of Prosecco for £15.95 per person. The menu is undeniably quite select, but still offers a delicious variation of meals to appeal to differing tastes. The starters include delights from the classic bruschetta to smoked salmon and cream cheese ciabatta; and the mains from pasta dishes, to calzone and slow cooked beef stew. The Bella Italia Valentine’s deal comes in at great value, and there’s nothing stopping you purchasing a cheeky desert for an additional charge. And if he’s paying, then what’s stopping you?

Here’s the website where you can find details of the menu and contact details for reservations: http://www.bellaitalia.co.uk/

Café Rouge

Café Rouge has become a popular favourite over the years for its well priced menu and delicious food. They offer a three course Valentine menu at £17.95, £19.95 if the sirloin steak is chosen as a main, and they also charge an additional £6.95 with the option of two glasses of Crémant to accompany the meal. I actually opted for Café Rouge last year, and my partner and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I found the chicken liver pate was delicious, as was the slow cooked lamb shank and warm chocolate fondant, and overall the meal was great value for money. The atmosphere was romantic, with the French décor and flickering candles, perfect for that sweet Valentine’s feeling. I highly recommend Café Rouge to those who are searching for delicious food but on a tight budget.

Here is the website where you can find details of the menu and contact details for reservations:

Sous le Nez

Moving away from the franchises, I come to the restaurants which are slightly more original and quaint, but inevitably somewhat more expensive. I found that Leeds’ authentic French restaurant, Sous le Nez, had a lot of reviews online, so of course I had to check it out. The official Valentine’s Day set menu is indeed very expensive, coming in at £75 per person, but there is nothing stopping you getting the early bird menu which is offered at £24.95 per person. As long as you arrive between 5.30-7pm you can have three courses and half a bottle of wine per person for an amazing price. The menu boasts a large selection of classic French cuisine; from onion soup and seared pigeon breast, to confit of duck leg and crème brûlée. There will certainly be something to tickle your taste buds. So if you’re dealing with a slightly larger budget, then Sous le Nez is the restaurant for you.

Here is the website where you can find details of the menu and contact details for reservations:

Brasserie Forty 4

Another of Leeds’ finest restaurants is Brasserie Forty 4; situated in a beautifully stylish grain warehouse it offers a romantic dining experience overlooking the river Aire. Over the years it has become one of Leeds’ hidden gems boasting the finest in British and Mediterranean cuisine at a reasonable price. The Valentine’s dinner they offer comes in at £35.00 per person, including three courses and a glass of Bollicine Brut Rosé upon arrival. But with the higher price comes a selection of divine courses; starters include the crispy king prawns with spring onion salad and aioli; the mains include an 8oz Yorkshire steak and confit of duck leg; and the final course is an assiette of deserts, accompanied with coffee and chocolates. Yes, the price is strikingly more in comparison to Bella Italia and Café Rouge, but the dining experience is entirely different. For those who are being wined and dined, I feel you should push for a reservation at Brasserie Forty 4 – let him flash the cash.

Here is the website where you can find details of the menu and contact details for reservations:

There we have it, four of the best restaurants on the cards for this Valentine’s Day. I recommend you get your reservations in early to secure your booking and I hope you have a lovely evening. Now last but not least, all the restaurants listed are in prime central location, just minutes from Leeds’ legendary Call Lane. What better way to end a perfect night than to top it off with a cocktail or two?

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