It’s every man’s favorite time of the year. Valentine’s Day is approaching. Trying to find the perfect balance between a romantic date night spot and not breaking the bank can be tough, but we have you covered with these three spots:
You can’t go wrong with spending Valentine’s Day in the North End. The streets are lined with romantic restaurants, but not all experiences are created equal. Strega checks all of the boxes needed for an authentic North End experience.
Their host, and master of the Parm cheese wheel pasta, is as Italian as they come, and welcomes you into the restaurant like he is welcoming you into his own dining room. We judge the drink menu in the North End by how good their espresso martinis are. Strega passes this test with flying colors. There is a rich chocolate taste, followed up with a bite from the espresso.
If you have seen the videos of pasta thrown into a giant cheese wheel that is then lit on fire by a blowtorch (and have always wondered where you could experience that live), then look no further. Strega’s speciality is a spicy vodka sauce prepared table-side in the cheese wheel. Some might say it is a gimmick, but the pasta is fresh and homemade, plus the spicy vodka sauce is banging.
Don’t sleep on Eastie. It is filled with hole-in-the-wall spots and hidden gems. One of these not-so-hidden gems is ReelHouse. On the waterfront with beautiful visibility of the Boston skyline, you will be paying up for the views, but it is 100% worth it. True to its name, ReelHouse specializes in seafood. The menu is simple, but they crush every dish they do.
The calamari is a staple on the menu, lightly fried with a red sauce. It is a classic take that is well done. For entrees, they are constantly changing the featured fish, but whatever it is, you know it is going to be fresh.
The cocktail list features fruity, summery drinks that will take you back to warmer times. For mule fans, the Reel mule has everything you love in a traditional mule with the added flavors of blueberry and grapefruit. Finally, the ReelHouse painkiller is a vacation in a glass. Have enough of these and you might try to take a dip in the harbor. They are strong.
Last but not least, this spot is a vibe. From the high vaulted ceilings and eclectic artwork on the walls, to the flaming daiquiri towers and pitchers full of mojito, you are stimulated at every turn. Mariel is tapas-style, which we love since you can sample of a bunch of the menu without feeling like a total fatty.
For us, the octopus pinarenos is a must get. It is the best of both worlds– the melt in your mouth fatty pork belly with tender octopus tossed in an orange mojo sauce. The steak churrasco is the crowd pleaser (unless you are a vegetarian). The skirt steak is cooked to a juicy medium rare, and the tangy aioli on top deserves a chef kiss. The blackened shrimp rounds off Mariel’s dishes, bringing a balance of heat and sweet.
The drinks here are an art form. Whether you are just getting a mojito, or their $50 drink towers, you can see the care they put into each one. Our personal favorite is the flaming daiquiri tower. Hanging like branches on a tree, instead of leaves there are glasses of daiquiri and limes with flames coming from them. We are simple people– and a flaming tower of alcohol make us happy.