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12 Low-Key Places to Dine on Valentine's Day

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Cupid's day of reckoning approaches, and for many of the city's restaurants that means multi-course, prix-fixe menus featuring cliched dishes like filet mignon, lobster, and the highly overexposed molten chocolate cake. Dining rooms across the city will be packed with two-tops of lovey-dovey couples overpaying for mediocre food; if you'd like to avoid the trappings of "amateur night", here's a map of a dozen different places around town to have a low-key dinner minus the cheese factor.


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cafe Izmir

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3711 Greenville Ave
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 826-7788
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Dark and cozy, with lots of twinkly lights and white tablecloths. They even offer "Date Night" hummus for a garlic-free experience.

2. Cane Rosso

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2612 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 741-1188
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Cane Rosso also happens to be celebrating its two-year anniversary on February 14 and will be refreshingly devoid of any heart-shaped pizzas or prix-fixe menus.

3. El Ranchito

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610 W Jefferson Blvd
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 946-4238
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Mariachi bands provide all the Valentine's Day entertainment you could ever want at this grand palace of Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine. Plus, what could be more romantic than feasting on a whole baby goat?

4. Mama Mia's Pizza

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2935 Elm St.
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 744-6262
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There's something inherently romantic about Italian food, in that Lady & The Tramp sort of way. Low-key, no-frills Mama Mia's in Deep Ellum is the antithesis of fancy -- solid American-style pies, a tasty Caesar salad, and killer garlic knots.

5. Maple & Motor

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4810 Maple Av
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 522-4400
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Depending on your date, this could either earn you points for originality or a kick in the balls. Just don't get all lovey-dovey, or you'll probably get kicked out.

6. Nova

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1417 W Davis St
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 484-7123
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This casual neighborhood spot does a brisk bar business, so you might prefer to grab a booth in the back -- either way, shareable plates like smoked salmon potato skins and great cocktails make for a fun and totally cheeseless date night.

7. Olivella's

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3406 McFarlin Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75205
(214) 528-7070
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Olivella's is tiny, dark, rustic and cozy, with a small but solid wine list and great Neapolitan-style pizza.

8. Peak & Elm

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132 Peak
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 826-7617
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This new Mexican restaurant on the outskirts of Deep Ellum doesn't open until February 8, but preview dinners show a casual, rustic atmosphere and refined food that foregoes the greasy heaviness of many of its competitors.

9. Royal China

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6025 Royal Ln Ste 201
Dallas, TX 75230
(214) 361-1771
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Hand-stretched noodles, soup dumplings, the best pork belly buns in town, and no molten chocolate cake in sight. The red interior may or may not inspire feelings of passion in your date.

10. Royal Thai

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5500 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 691-3555
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Royal Thai has plenty of die-hard fans who come back night after night for tom kha gai, curries, and pad thai; service is friendly but unobtrusive, and the dress code (no shorts or backward hats) ensures you won't be dining next to someone in track pants.

11. Sakhuu

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4801 Bryan St. #100
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 828-9300
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This tiny, unassuming Thai spot makes all their curry bases from scratch and serves up some damn fine stuffed chicken wings. BYOB -- may we suggest a nice bottle of bubbly?

12. S & D Oyster Company

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2701 McKinney Ave
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 880-0111
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The old New Orleans-ish vibe at S&D is charming in a totally non-cheesy way. The servers are top-notch professionals, and we'd take the barbecue shrimp over filet and lobster any day.

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1. Cafe Izmir

3711 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206
Dark and cozy, with lots of twinkly lights and white tablecloths. They even offer "Date Night" hummus for a garlic-free experience.
3711 Greenville Ave
Dallas, TX 75206

2. Cane Rosso

2612 Commerce St., Dallas, TX 75226
Cane Rosso also happens to be celebrating its two-year anniversary on February 14 and will be refreshingly devoid of any heart-shaped pizzas or prix-fixe menus.
2612 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75226

3. El Ranchito

610 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208
Mariachi bands provide all the Valentine's Day entertainment you could ever want at this grand palace of Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine. Plus, what could be more romantic than feasting on a whole baby goat?
610 W Jefferson Blvd
Dallas, TX 75208

4. Mama Mia's Pizza

2935 Elm St., Dallas, TX 75226
There's something inherently romantic about Italian food, in that Lady & The Tramp sort of way. Low-key, no-frills Mama Mia's in Deep Ellum is the antithesis of fancy -- solid American-style pies, a tasty Caesar salad, and killer garlic knots.
2935 Elm St.
Dallas, TX 75226

5. Maple & Motor

4810 Maple Av, Dallas, TX 75219
Depending on your date, this could either earn you points for originality or a kick in the balls. Just don't get all lovey-dovey, or you'll probably get kicked out.
4810 Maple Av
Dallas, TX 75219

6. Nova

1417 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75208
This casual neighborhood spot does a brisk bar business, so you might prefer to grab a booth in the back -- either way, shareable plates like smoked salmon potato skins and great cocktails make for a fun and totally cheeseless date night.
1417 W Davis St
Dallas, TX 75208

7. Olivella's

3406 McFarlin Blvd., Dallas, TX 75205
Olivella's is tiny, dark, rustic and cozy, with a small but solid wine list and great Neapolitan-style pizza.
3406 McFarlin Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75205

8. Peak & Elm

132 Peak, Dallas, TX 75226
This new Mexican restaurant on the outskirts of Deep Ellum doesn't open until February 8, but preview dinners show a casual, rustic atmosphere and refined food that foregoes the greasy heaviness of many of its competitors.
132 Peak
Dallas, TX 75226

9. Royal China

6025 Royal Ln Ste 201, Dallas, TX 75230
Hand-stretched noodles, soup dumplings, the best pork belly buns in town, and no molten chocolate cake in sight. The red interior may or may not inspire feelings of passion in your date.
6025 Royal Ln Ste 201
Dallas, TX 75230

10. Royal Thai

5500 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75206
Royal Thai has plenty of die-hard fans who come back night after night for tom kha gai, curries, and pad thai; service is friendly but unobtrusive, and the dress code (no shorts or backward hats) ensures you won't be dining next to someone in track pants.
5500 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206

11. Sakhuu

4801 Bryan St. #100, Dallas, TX 75204
This tiny, unassuming Thai spot makes all their curry bases from scratch and serves up some damn fine stuffed chicken wings. BYOB -- may we suggest a nice bottle of bubbly?
4801 Bryan St. #100
Dallas, TX 75204

12. S & D Oyster Company

2701 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75204
The old New Orleans-ish vibe at S&D is charming in a totally non-cheesy way. The servers are top-notch professionals, and we'd take the barbecue shrimp over filet and lobster any day.
2701 McKinney Ave
Dallas, TX 75204

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