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Small Restaurants To Try If You Can’t Find A Reservation

Making a reservation on the Day of Love has to be one of the hardest things to do. Everyone plans to go out to dinner that day, and restaurants book up so quickly. In fact, people start planning dinner reservations weeks in advance for this special day, so you’re out of luck if you’re trying to schedule something last minute.

Valentine’s Day dinner is something I see as a simple yet heartwarming way to show the person you love how much you truly appreciate and love them. As many cannot afford to spoil their partners with presents, taking them to dinner will give them the most priceless gift: quality time.

With popular restaurants likely being your top choice this Valentine’s Day, I decided to list a few backup options that might be able to squeeze you in at the last minute. There are no guarantees these places have openings, but they are options to consider when thinking of this day/any other day:

Luna – Jersey City

A tiny spot in Downtown Jersey City that is worth going to. They have incredible appetizers including Caprese Salad, Calamari and Meatballs. Their cocktails are house curated and super delicious, including Blood Moon and Palomita. As far as entrees go, their Cacio E Pepe is to die for as well as the Chicken Milanese.

Ani Ramen – Montclair, Jersey City

Before discovering new places to eat, I used to eat here on a weekly basis. The appetizers, such as the Shrimp Bao Buns and the Edamame, are the most essential items to order. All of their ramen bowls are incredible, but my favorites are the Vegan Ramen and the Spicy Miso Ramen. If you’re not feeling the soup, you can get it brothless or you can order a “Don Buri Bowl,” which is a steamed rice bowl that can be ordered with a meat of your choice.

Kai Yang – Montclair

Located in Montclair, this restaurant is owned by the mother of Ani Ramen’s owner. While Ani specializes in Japanese cuisine, Kai Yang specializes in Thai cuisine. The appetizers I always try to grab are the Vegetarian Spring Rolls and the Chicken Satay. As far as entrees, the Pad Thai and Pad Se-Ew are my top choices. If you aren’t feeling noodles, the Chicken Thai Fried Rice and the Panang Curry are great as well.

Gelso and Grand – New York City

If you want to be super romantic and take a trip to New York City, you should definitely consider going to Gelso and Grand. I am a huge fan of Italian food, and I could say this is the best I’ve had thus far. For their appetizers, the Burrata Salad is to DIE FOR. I have been obsessed with it ever since the first time I tried it and have been trying to find recipes to recreate it at home. If dining for two (or more, but two can finish one), a pitcher of Sangria is worth it. It goes great with everything else you order and will help you feel the perfect “buzz” without being too drunk. As far as entrees go, the Cacio E Pepe is incredible (can you tell I’m a huge fan?) and also the Margherita Pizza. Last but not least, you can get the Classic Tiramisu or the Giant Cannoli, which is HUGE.

Allexea Desuyo

Montclair '23

Allexea is a senior undergraduate student majoring in Social Media and Public Relations at Montclair State University. Some of her passions include traveling, taking day trips to NYC, beauty/skincare, and luxury fashion. She hopes to work within the luxury fashion industry, start her own blog and/or as a writer for a fashion magazine. With her articles, she strives to use her knowledge and personal experiences to help others be the best version of themselves.
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