Last week I did a Top 10 list of romantic restaurants for the budget-minded on my blog, Dining@Large. Because I believe you'll have a better time with your sweetie celebrating at a restaurant before or after Valentine's Day when places aren't as crowded, I'm reprinting it here. Note that the list is in alphabetical order. (We also discussed where to go for the what-the-heck-she's-worth-it dinner, when money isn't a consideration.)
Annabel Lee Tavern in Canton. Dark and romantically mysterious setting. Good food and drink. Need I say more?
b Bistro in Bolton Hill. This appeared on my original romantic restaurants list, as the Most Romantic, Budget Edition, so I could hardly leave it off this list.
Cafe de Paris in Columbia. Romance with a French accent, mais oui. And the $30 prix fixe menu can't be beat.
Eden's Lounge in Mount Vernon. It's primarily a sophisticated, upscale lounge, but the Ethiopian food is excellent if not the main event, and the price is right.
Feast@4East in Mount Vernon. This quirky little place had some intriguing Valentine's Day specials like Velvety Lobster Bisque ($9), Sensuous Oysters Basque ($9), Buckwheat Blini with Cr?me Fra?che and Wild Salmon Roe ($10), and Melting Petite Filet Mignon ($18).
Helmand in Mount Vernon. You knew it was going to be here, but really, how could I leave it off? Sure, the tables are close together; but the candlelight, handsome surroundings and suave service put it on most people's romantic list - prices aside.
Indigma in Mount Vernon. The setting is so pretty, and the lights are low. Some of the menu is expensive, but Indian food gives you so many delicious vegetarian options, there's plenty to choose from if you're watching your pennies.
Meli in Fells Point. I have to say it: honey for your honey. (Sorry. Meli is the Greek word for honey.) The lounge downstairs is most intimate.
Orchard Market & Cafe in Towson. This pretty little restaurant serves good, moderately priced Persian food like poached chicken in an orange-mango-saffron sauce. A bonus, if you're on a budget: It's BYOB.
Tusk Lounge in Mount Vernon. Faithful readers of this blog know that the Brass Elephant's elegant bar served a tapas menu for those who weren't feeling romantic, while the couples ate downstairs. But I say if money is a consideration, take your sweetie there anyway. What are they going to do? Turn you away?
readers talk back
I was surprised to see b Bistro on this list. We love b, but somehow I don't think of it as a budget restaurant--we always seem to spend quite a lot there!
Posted by: Dahlink
I am surprised by Helmands...Sure the food is very good but the last time we were there it was too noisy to enjoy our dinner for four...we couldn't hear each other and it wasn't fun. And the time before that I sat in the hallway. I don't intend to return any time soon.
Posted by: Heather
Akbar is one of our favorite restaurants for occasions like Valentine's Day or after visiting the Craft Fair (coming up the end of the month.) Especially this time of year, it is a cozy, intimate place for dinner. The staff are always so nice to us and the food is delicious and not too expensive.
Posted by: Mary Roby
Ze Mean Bean is surprisingly romantic. Especially on Saturdays when they have live jazz playing and the food and drink is very affordable!
Posted by: CantonK