You may be looking to make a dinner reservation for Valentine's Day or simply trying to step outside your usual, traditional box for a romantic meal for your sweetheart.
Here are our picks for the top romantic restaurants in Greater Cincinnati. Secure your reservations soon, though: It's bound to be a busy day.
Parkers Blue Ash Tavern: Fireplaces instantly create romance. Parkers, a gem in Blue Ash with dim (but not dark) lighting and cozy tables for two near its fireplace, makes for a romantic evening. Oh, and the food is great, too: Enjoy prime rib and chopped salad, and perhaps split strawberry cheesecake for dessert. 4200 Cooper Road, Blue Ash. parkersblueash.com
Scotti's: Something about Italian is always romantic, and this classic Cincinnati restaurant is no exception. Climb the stairs to its tiled room decorated with hanging, wax-dripped Chianti bottles. The extensive menu is classic '50s Italian, down to the vinegary slaw with dyed green and red cabbage (like the Italian flag, naturally). Try the excellent lasagna, pasta with vodka sauce or meatballs with spaghetti. You can hold hands and listen to Italian opera -- it's a unique, delicious experience. 919 Vine St., Downtown. scottiscincinnati.com
Bouquet: This intimate restaurant in Mainstrasse is perfect for a romantic dinner -- probably because the chef-owners are husband and wife. Start with a glass of bubbly at the bar, then move on to the house-cured charcuterie and cheese plate. Choose one of the delicious entrees, such as chicken risotto with cabbage, curry cauliflower, lemon, arugula and pecorino. 519 Main St., Covington. www.bouquetrestaurant.com
Tousey House Tavern: Dining at the gorgeous Tousey House is like taking a step back in time -- but don't worry, the menu is modern. Each room feels a bit like you're dining in someone's living room: intimate and homey. The food is Southern, but not heavy. Favorite dishes include fried green tomatoes, duck breast, and smoked chicken mac and cheese (with bacon panko crust, of course). 5963 N. Jefferson St., Burlington. www.touseyhouse.com
Celestial Steakhouse: The Celestial, with its lovely view of Cincinnati, has long been a favorite destination for couples on Valentine's Day or for other special occasions. Steak tartare, roasted wild boar and classic steak preparations such as steak Oscar and simply grilled highlight the menu. Stay for the jazz, the Celestial's signature, and dance with your sweetie. 1071 Celestial St., Mount Adams. www.thecelestial.com
Sotto: It's Italian as well, but the polar opposite of Scotti's. It's dark with round booths perfect for hushed conversations with your significant other and an array of modern Italian dishes sure to please anyone. Honey and goat cheese bruschetta is a sweet start. Splurge on tajarin con tartufo, with a cascade of black truffles on top, or split a kilo (35.3 ounces) of bistecca fiorentina, a Porterhouse with a selection of sides. For dessert? Ricotta doughnuts and three dipping sauces; I'm partial to the pistachio. 118 E. Sixth St., Downtown. sottocincinnati.com
Abigail Street: Senate's elegant, ladylike neighbor features an extensive on-tap wine list, plenty of Champagne and a menu made for sharing. Order a few dishes from the tapas-inspired menu: gnocchi, beets with lebna and toasted hazelnuts, mussels Charmoula and batata. Make sure to save room for rich Turkish coffee and baklava. 1214 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine. abigailstreet.com
20 Brix: This Milford institution (though it has been around only since 2008) is the perfect place for a low-key Valentine's Day dinner. Split crab cakes, a chicken and waffle with braised greens, or shrimp and grits with a selection from the extensive wine list. You also can pick up a bottle from the restaurant's wine store to go. 101 Main St., Milford. www.20brix.com
Have an excellent Valentine's Day -- and let me know where you're eating on Twitter @winemedineme!