Cupid will be busy at southern Maine restaurants Thursday, when couples descend on local dining rooms to spoon with each other and sample the special dishes chefs have prepared for this romantic night. Here’s a sampling of what restaurants have in store. All dinners will be held on Thursday, unless otherwise noted.
The Good Table, 527 Ocean House Road, will have a new a la carte menu. Start with special cocktails, including blood orange and hibiscus margaritas. For appetizers, the choices will include fried oysters on yucca chips with habanero honey aioli and pico d’gallo, and beef carpaccio with fried goat cheese and arugula. Entree choices will include herb- and mustard-crusted rack of lamb with cherry demi, grilled diver scallops with Champagne vanilla butter sauce, a grilled filet, and a pistachio-crusted salmon with raspberry sauce and stacked potatoes. For dessert, there will be baked alaska, Guinness Stout chocolate cake, maple pudding cake and panna cotta with a blood orange soup. For reservations, call 799-4663.
Sea Glass at Inn by the Sea, 40 Bowery Beach Road, will have a four-course menu for $65. After starting with oysters served with a rose Champagne mignonette, dishes will include a crispy goat cheese croquette, pan-roasted scallops, braised lamb bourguignon and, for dessert, chocolate and raspberry marjolaine. For reservations, call 799-3134.
The Damariscotta River Grill, 155 Main St., will offer both a prix fixe menu as well as a la carte choices. There will be five or six starters, five entrees (including macadamia nut-crusted haddock) and a dessert trio. The regular menu will also be available. For reservations, call 563-2992.
Ricetta’s Brick Oven Ristorante, 240 U.S. Route 1, will offer dinner for two with an appetizer, entree or pizza and dessert for $29.95. There will also be wine specials available.
DiSanto’s Restaurant, 322 West Gray Road, will serve three special courses for Valentine’s Day, starting with a seafood-stuffed portabello for $10, followed by blushing vodka tomato scallops served with sauteed baby spinach and linguine for $24. Finish with red velvet cheesecake — red velvet cake layered with vanilla bean cheesecake and cream cheese frosting — for $6. Call 428-4300 for reservations.
Academe Brasserie, 45 Main St., will offer a three-course tasting menu for $45, which includes a complimentary intermezzo. Choose from five appetizers, seven entrees and a “couple’s dessert.” Call 985-3351 for reservations. View the menu online at:
On the Marsh Bistro, 46 Western Ave., will offer an a la carte menu of appetizers and entrees. Start with fresh Maine lobster toast or Damariscotta River oysters on the half shell, then choose from an array of appetizers ranging from grilled center-cut beef tenderloin to Cajun fried sole or pan-seared scallops and lobster. Call 967-2299 for reservations. View the entire menu at:
Bar Lola, 100 Congress St., will serve a five-course prix fixe dinner for $55 per person. There will be three choices per course, including a vegetarian option. Seating is limited; call 775-5652 or reserve online at barlola.net.
Cantino El Rayo, 85 York St., is taking Valentine’s reservations for the first time. The restaurant will be serving a three-course menu of aphrodisiacs for $35. There will be rose petals on the floor to add to the romance in the dining room.
Five Fifty-Five, 555 Congress St., is offering a chef’s tasting menu for $88 per person, with wine pairings an additional $35 or $55. Start with peekytoe crab bisque, and move on to your choice of dishes such as vadouvan curried shrimp, beef tenderloin, organic Scottish salmon and pine nut-crusted rack of American lamb served with rosemary-scented white beans and caramelized branch brussel sprouts. Call 761-0555 for reservations.
Grace, 15 Chestnut St., will have an amuse for every table and an extensive specials menu. Guests choose their own reservation time and style of eating. Call 828-4422.
Hugo’s, 88 Middle St., will offer a new menu of seven courses priced at $80 per person, with wine pairings an additional $55, from 5 to 10 p.m. Call 774-8538 for reservations.
Inn on Peaks Island will be taking Valentine’s Day reservations for 6 and 7:30 p.m. The restaurant will be serving four courses for $60 per couple, including a glass of Champagne. The choice of entrees includes beef Wellington, seared scallops or pork roulade. For reservations, call 766-5100.
Maria’s, 337 Cumberland Ave., will offer a three-course dinner for $38 per person that includes appetizers such as Maine shrimp cakes with garlic aoli, Florentine-style meatballs and Caesar salad for two. Entrees will be homemade lobster ravioli amore, breast of free-range chicken saltimbocca, and lump crab-stuffed haddock Milanese. Desserts include homemade cannoli and pistachio gelato. 772-9232; mariasrestaurant.com
Petite Jacqueline, 190 State St., will offer a three-course tasting menu for $55 per person. Additional supplements, wine pairings and Champagne flights will be available. Reservations are recommended. Call 553-7044.
The Salt Exchange, 245 Commercial St., will be running its Valentine’s Day menu all weekend, from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The theme is “Midnight in Paris,” and guests are encouraged to come dressed accordingly. The menu will include starters such as grilled local oysters with lemon sorbet, and fish and meat courses such as poached Maine lobster, grilled swordfish, duck three ways and brined pork loin. Dessert choices will include chocolate-dipped strawberries and red velvet cake. All six courses cost $65 per person.
Sonny’s, 83 Exchange St., is welcoming both couples and singles with music for the evening. From 5 to 8 p.m., Portland’s newest string quartet, the Amarantos Quartet, will play a mixed set of romantic classical music. That will be followed at 10 p.m. with the soulful Zach Jones & Friends performing some original music from the album “Things Were Better.” No cover charge.
Spread Restaurant & Bar, 100 Commercial St., will be offering a four-course “Spread the Love” dinner that includes four courses for $50. Doors open at 4 p.m.
Zapoteca, 505 Fore St., will be featuring a special Valentine’s menu celebrating the love of Asian-influenced Mexican cuisine. The menu will include spice-rubbed tuna with jalapeno-miso sauce, soy nopales and wasabi caviar. The cost is $50 for four courses and includes a cava toast.
SeaGrass Bistro, 305 U.S. Route 1, Yarmouth, will serve a three-course menu for $55. The dinner includes a choice of three appetizers, two salads and three entrees. Entrees will include a choice of roasted loin of venison with gooseberry reduction; butternut squash souffle and asparagus; grilled tenderloin of beef, port wine reduction and truffled potato en croute; and Northeast cod loin with Maine lobster, house-smoked tomato reduction and chanterelles. The dessert menu will be a la carte, and desserts will be $8 each. Call 846-3885 for reservations.
Stones Cafe & Bakery, 424 Walnut Hill Road, North Yarmouth, will hold its Valentine’s Day dinner Saturday. The four-course, candlelight dinner will include a choice of entree served with homemade rolls, fresh vegetables and choice of leek and Parmesan risotto or roasted garlic mashed potatoes. The entrees will include roast pork loin with winter fruit; prime rib au jus, herbed vegetable napolean; and seared scallops and citrus. The dinner is $65 per couple or $35 per person. Call 829-4640 for reservations.
Cape Neddick Inn, 1273 U.S. Route 1, will have a special menu on Thursday, with many items carrying over Friday and Saturday, as well. Starters include Bangs Island mussels served with applewood bacon, garlic and shallots tossed in a blue cheese cream sauce, and crusty bread. Entree options include pan-seared halibut with a horseradish pesto topping and garlic-herb potato cakes, and Pernod scallops served over a bed of baby spinach and sun-dried tomato mascarpone raviolis. For reservations, call 351-1145 or go to:
– Compiled by Meredith Goad