Valentine's Day

A Classic Romantic Valentine’s Menu for Two

updated Feb 5, 2021
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steak dinner sits on a table with potatoes, salad, and wine
Credit: Photo: Kristin Teig; Food Styling: Catrine Kelty

There are plenty of clichés that surround Valentine’s Day, and eating a classic steak dinner is one of them. It’s one I really love subscribing too, however, because it’s just plain old fun to recreate a steakhouse experience at home and I am all about an excuse to do so. This menu is as classic as it gets, and it feels special and timeless. There’s juicy steak, cheesy potatoes, and a decadent chocolate dessert involved. That’s a guarantee that this Valentine’s Day is going to be great.

Kitchn’s Guide for a Classic Valentine’s Dinner for Two

We’re more than okay playing with stereotypes here and firmly believe the most classic, most romantic Valentine’s dinner for two should involve steak. Recreating that classic steakhouse meal at home is both fun and special. Since cooking steak actually doesn’t take much time at all, you can put a little more energy into the sides and even have time to pull off a show-stopping dessert. We’ve even assembled a timeline to provide an extra assist.

Credit: Tara Donne

To Drink & Snack On: French 75 + Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche Kettle Chips

Bubbles always feel celebratory and pair well with smoked salmon and crème fraîche kettle chips. A French 75 is a classic Champagne-based cocktail that often includes gin, but in chilly February we prefer swapping it in for cognac to warm us up a little. Swap over to a full-bodied red wine when it’s time for steak — Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec are two great choices.

Get the recipes: French 75 + Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraîche Kettle Chips

Credit: Lauren Volo

The Main Event: Steakhouse-Worthy Steak

Cooking a great steak at home may seem intimidating, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. The secret is to splurge on a good piece of meat (it will still set you back less than the one from the restaurant), season it well, and cook it hot and fast.

Get the recipe: Steakhouse-Worthy Steak

Credit: Lauren Volo

On the Side: Twice-Baked Potatoes + Creamed Spinach

There are a handful of classic sides that always work well with a steak dinner. Potatoes are a must — especially when they’re cheesy and twice-baked. To keep things balanced, it’s nice to have something green on the plate. Creamed spinach is a velvety, luscious tradition that’s hard to refuse.

Get the recipes: Twice-Baked Potatoes + Creamed Spinach

Credit: Lauren Volo

For Dessert: Dark Chocolate Pots de Crème

Valentine’s Day is definitely a good time to pull out all the stops. So why not give chocolate pot de crème a try? It’s basically a French version of American pudding that’s baked in a water bath rather than prepared on the stovetop and is a special, sweet way to end the meal. Serve the pot de crème topped with a nice dollop of that crème fraîche you used for the smoked salmon kettle chips.

Get the recipe: Dark Chocolate Pots de Crème

Your Classic Valentine’s Dinner Timeline

Making a few of the components ahead of time, such as the dessert and sides, means you can truly relax and enjoy your special dinner together.

Up to Four Days Before Valentine’s Day

  • Make a half recipe of the pots de crème. Once cool, cover and refrigerate the two ramekins.

The Day Before Valentine’s Day

  • Bake and fill the potatoes, then refrigerate them in an airtight container to be baked the second time on Valentine’s Day.
  • Make the creamed spinach. Once cool, press a piece of plastic wrap on its surface and refrigerate.
  • Make the simple syrup for the French 75 cocktails.

A Couple Hours Before Dinner

  • Shake up the cocktails and assemble the kettle chips, then sit down to enjoy both.

An Hour Before Dinner

  • Remove the steak from the refrigerator, pat it dry with paper towel, and let it rest at room temperature to take the chill off.
  • Heat the oven to 425°F and bake the potatoes a second time.
  • Cook the steak. While it rests, rewarm the creamed spinach on the stovetop.

After Dinner

  • Take the pots de crème out the refrigerator, then clean up, dollop the ramekins with crème fraîche, and head to the couch to enjoy dessert.