It doesn’t matter whether one is a Valentine’s Day ninja or seriously challenged in the date-planning department—it never hurts to pick up a cheat-sheet for inspiration. Here at Metro, La Fondue in Saratoga, The GrandView Restaurant in San Jose and Manresa in Los Gatos regularly take the top three spots on our Best of Silicon Valley reader survey in the “Best Romantic Restaurant” category.

However, considering the big day is this Friday, they are likely all booked. So we dug a bit deeper into the results from last year’s ballot. Here are a few of the other restaurants our in-love readers love—plus three that come highly recommended from yours truly.


Forbes Mill
206 N Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
Named for the industrial hub around which the Town of Los Gatos was founded, Forbes Mill Steakhouse is beloved by locals: it has landed in the top-three on the Best of Silicon Valley survey for a decade running. The restaurant currently offers a cut of 28-day dry-aged certified prime Angus beef and even a Tajima black wagyu—which is revered for its high fat marbling and its melt-in-your-mouth texture.

La Forêt
21747 Bertram Rd, San Jose
After breathing new life into The Grandview, Osteria and San Benito House, the Carruba brothers set their sights on this quaint French bistro in New Almaden, at the edge of Quicksilver Park. La Forêt, a historic two-story hotel built in 1848, was the first of its kind in California. The original chefs of the French restaurant, now in its 41st year, were retained after the Carrubbas’ purchase, as was most of the menu—including their famous Grand Marnier Soufflé. The wild game found on its tasting menu also sets La Forêt apart. This is easily the most unique location on this list. Plus, it’s French—which automatically qualifies it as c’est très romantique. Pro Tip: Local Costcos are currently selling discounted gift cards to both La Forêt and The GrandView.

Chez TJ
938 Villa St, Mountain View
Chez TJ offers a one-of-a-kind experience, which makes diners feel more like guests at a friend’s beautiful Victorian home than patrons of a Michelin-starred restaurant. With an ever-changing tasting menu that can take up to three-hours to complete, be prepared for an expertly curated tour of tastes traversing both land and sea before plunging head-first into a heavenly realm of sugar, flour and cream.

17500 Depot St #180, Morgan Hill
Without a doubt, Odeum is the hidden gem on this list. Situated in the often (and criminally) overlooked downtown Morgan Hill, Odeum boasts a menu of farm-to-table local, organic produce and grass-fed beef—all at a reasonable price point, and all prepared by Michelin-starred Chef Salvatore Calisi. Calisi’s modern takes on classic Italian and Greek cuisine are all delicious, and his playful take on chicken and waffles elevates comfort food to a higher plane with a black-kalamata-olive waffle.


242 State St, Los Altos
57 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd, Los Gatos
ASA is the baby of Andrew Welch—founding chef of The Basin fame in Saratoga—and it’s a two-fer, as both the original Los Altos location and newly-opened Los Gatos outpost are certainly worth mentioning. ASA’s dimly-lit ambiance and haute, yet unpretentious, upscale American cuisine make for an ideal date night—especially when coupled with ASA’s excellent signature craft cocktails. Try the duck confit and see just how amazing the most basic of cocktails can be when mixed by an adept barkeep: their take on the classic gin & tonic features top-shelf gin and tonic, plus edible flowers, grapefruit and juniper berries.

Trattoria 360
360 E Campbell Ave, Campbell
Formerly known as Pino’s Trattoria, this spot closed way back in 2017 for some seismic retrofitting. It has since re-opened with a modified moniker, updated décor and revamped menu, but the longtime chef and owner, Pino Spanu, still runs the place. This new rendition of the Trattoria has already garnered some online acclaim—landing at No. 70 on the recently released Yelp’s list of the best 100 American restaurants. With daily housemade pasta, sauces and sausage it’s plain to see why this place is quickly becoming a new hot-spot in downtown Campbell. There is just one caveat: despite a larger footprint after the remodel, it still only seats 49 guests, so reservations are highly recommended. The squid-ink pasta with lobster tails is one of Trattoria’s more popular dishes, but I recently tried their special—osso bucco with creamy polenta. It was simple, classic, beautifully prepared Italian comfort food. Their panna cottas are also a must for anyone with a sweet tooth. I recommend the pistachio; it’s smooth and creamy and has a bold, nutty flavor. They also have an extensive Italian-wine list to complete any meal.

Meso Modern Mediterranean
Santana Row, San Jose
James Beard Award–winner Roland Passot’s newest Santana Row restaurant might be the best value on this entire list when one considers that their two top chefs are alumni of the three-Michelin-starred French Laundry and that their entrées hover in the $25–$40 range. The roasted chicken and branzino are two musts, as both are expertly cooked, with crisp skin and juicy flesh. Their chic and modern Middle Eastern–inspired décor features a spacious interior and huge patio, making this one of the more comfortable places to dine in the South Bay. The craft cocktail menu is excellent. The “Mezcal + Melon” teeters between sweet and spicy. It’s like drinking a sweet, liquid jalapeño.