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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.

Cafe Izmir

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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.

Cane Rosso

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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.

El Ranchito

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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?

Mama Mia's Pizza

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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.

Maple & Motor

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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.
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.

Olivella's

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Olivella's is tiny, dark, rustic and cozy, with a small but solid wine list and great Neapolitan-style pizza.

Peak & Elm

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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.

Royal China

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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.

Royal Thai

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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.
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?

S & D Oyster Company

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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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Cafe Izmir

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

Cane Rosso

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.

El Ranchito

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?

Mama Mia's Pizza

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.

Maple & Motor

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.

Nova

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.

Olivella's

Olivella's is tiny, dark, rustic and cozy, with a small but solid wine list and great Neapolitan-style pizza.

Peak & Elm

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.

Royal China

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.

Royal Thai

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.

Sakhuu

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?

S & D Oyster Company

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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