Valentine’s Day on the Main Line

Maggie Mallon

Pink hearts and “Be Mine” candies. Hallmark cards and a plethora of red rose bouquets. Valentine’s Day brings with it a wave of gifts each February. Although the holiday is associated with the exchange of Valentines, a slew of other gifts are often expected as well. Valentine’s Day gifts have become more complicated – and expensive – since our elementary school days, when a simple cardboard cut-out of the latest cartoon character was enough. This year, instead of drowning your Valentine with roses, candies and an obnoxious musical card, sample some of the best restaurants and date spots in the area. The Main Line has plenty to offer when it comes to dining, and some of the best restaurants in the Philadelphia area neighbor the Villanova campus. Although the United Artists Theatre at King of Prussia is close by, stray away from the classic dinner and a movie date. There are plenty of spots along the Main Line and in Philadelphia for you and your special someone to spend a romantic Valentine’s Day.

Tango, Bryn Mawr

A favorite on the Main Line, and a perfect Valentine’s Day destination, is Tango. Tango offers fresh ingredients and delicious flavors but with an Italian twist. Decorated with deep reds, draperies and chandeliers, Tango epitomizes romantic dining. Many tables are set for two, some tucked away in private booths with thick fabric to flush out all other distractions. Offering a wide variety of dishes, over 10 different salads, nine different meats and poultry and seven different fish entrees, Tango has a meal for any sort of taste bud. Creamy pastas and Mexican specials are also options on the extensive menu.

Main Street Café, Berwyn

A romantic setting characterized by crackling fireplaces, gentle classical music playing in the background and heart décor for the holiday, the Main Street Café is great for a Valentine’s dinner. Ranging from the sophisticated to the casual, the menu offers entrees of meat, poultry, fish and pasta with appetizers like Buffalo wings and mini burgers. From Alaskan king crab legs to veal piccante, Asian filet kebabs to lobster bisque and pasta primavera to a variety of burgers, Main Street Café’s menu is not only varied but also inexpensive. For any craving, there is a solution on the menu.

Maia, Villanova

A trendy new restaurant right by campus, Maia prides itself on fresh ingredients and bold tastes. The dinner menu offers a wide variety of meat and fish, ranging from whole roasted lobster to roast Amish chicken, spiced grilled tuna to wild striped bass, and filet mignon to crab cakes, just to name a few. Maia also features an imaginative dessert selection. Instead of buying that Russell Stover heart-shaped box of chocolates, the tasty tarts, flavorful mousse and smooth sorbets are an original alternative and perfect for a Valentine’s date.

Nectar, Berwyn

If you’re craving Asian fusion, Nectar is the place to go on Valentine’s Day. Offering simple favorites like fried rice and lo mein, Nectar mixes the menu up with striped bass and crab cakes. An extensive sushi menu is also available. This French-Asian cuisine promises only the freshest of ingredients, priding itself on using “seafood that was swimming last night and produce that was picked this morning.” The restaurant is perfectly decorated for a Valentine’s date, and candles climb up the stone walls to the high ceiling as dim lights illuminate the rest of the main room. Frosted glass separates sections of the room while dark tones of autumn add to the intimate setting. There are plenty of tables for two with decorative hanging lights at each. Best of all, the smell of delicious food and exotic spices fills the entire restaurant.

Mediterranean Grille,

Bryn Mawr

For a warm setting and a taste of Persia, Mediterranean Grille is the place. This small restaurant tucked away on Lancaster Avenue is perfect for two. With oriental rugs warming the wood floor and splashes of color on each wall, this restaurant exemplifies cozy dining. Popular items on the menu are the lamb kebob and Soltani, a platter of thinly sliced filet mignon with a ground sirloin strip. Mediterranean Grille is a great date place with its untraditional entrees, all of which are characterized by strong flavors, fresh ingredients and a touch of the Mediterranean Grille, not to mention the reasonable prices.

South Street, Philadelphia

Spend the afternoon strolling down South Street in Philly and discover some of the best food and shopping the “City of Brotherly Love” has to offer. Browse through dozens of specialty boutiques and meander through the artwork adorned buildings in the Magic Gardens. If you and your Valentine get hungry, you can pick up a tasty treat at the Pink Rose Café. If your appetite is bigger, try Jim’s Steaks for some of the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. No matter what you’re in the mood for doing, you’ll find something along South Street that will interest both you and your date.

Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr

With its retro appeal, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute is a great alternative to the everyday multiplex and captures the quaintness of old movie theaters. Films playing on Valentine’s Day include “The Reader,” “Doubt” and “Revolutionary Road,” so you and your date can enjoy both a critically renowned movie and the charming vintage ambiance. General admission is $9.50, but be sure to bring your WildCard for a discount.

Color Me Mine, Wayne

Explore your creative side by painting your own pottery at Color Me Mine. A perfect place to spend the afternoon before a romantic dinner, you can choose from an array of heart-shaped pieces, included plates and boxes, and create your own Valentine-themed keepsake. Color Me Mine also offers a wide variety of classic pottery pieces that you can decorate if you want to create a piece that can be used throughout the year.

BlueCross RiverRink Sweetheart Skate, Penns Landing

You and your Valentine can enjoy the Sweetheart Skate at the RiverRink in Philadelphia. A new event for this year, the Sweetheart Skate will feature a DJ so you and your date can spend Valentine’s Day hand-in-hand, skating to your favorite songs. Tickets, must be purchased in advance, and a complimentary couple’s photograph is included. And if you forget the flowers, don’t worry. The Rink provides a complimentary rose for each couple.