When: Wed., Feb. 14, 6 p.m. 2018
Feb. 14 is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, which is why I always cook at home on Valentine’s Day. But if a lavish, multi-course dinner out in a beautiful space is your idea of a romantic time, then a number of East Bay spots are happy to abide. FIVE (2086 Allston Way, Berkeley, Five-Berkeley.com), has one of the most enduringly stylish dining rooms in the area, and its Valentine’s dinner looks befitting of a special occasion while remaining reasonably priced. For $39, you get three courses, with the mains being kumquat glazed duck confit or roasted tri-tip — and if you get there before 7 p.m. for happy hour, sparkling wine costs just $5. For something even more decadent, consider Copper Spoon (4031 Broadway, Oakland, CopperSpoonOakland.com), which is serving a five-course, $89 menu featuring lobster bisque, scallop crudo, and steak with shrimp. An additional $32 gets you four cocktails served punch-style to share. On the more casual end of the spectrum, Drip Line (1940 Union St., Ste. 21, Oakland, DripLineOakland.com) will offer a family-style feast for $65 per couple, which includes seven courses served on a banana leaf and a surprise dessert. Expect the dishes to meld Indonesian, Malaysian, and Singaporean flavors. And if you wind up deciding to stay in after all, Market Hall Bakery (5655 College Ave., Oakland, RockridgeMarketHall.com) will have a few special, in-theme desserts you can pre-order. The star is a flourless, heart-shaped chocolate mousse cake finished with a touch of brandy.