It’s that time again: Flutes of Champagne, flickering candles and prix-fixe menus, maybe set against a soundtrack of Sade or Sinatra. While Valentine’s Day dining rituals certainly have their place, sometimes you and your sweetie might crave an adventure.
Fortunately, some new restaurants opened on Long Island in 2017 that combine ambience, warm service and excellent food in alluring ways.
Here are our critics’ top picks for where you can rev up the romance this Valentine’s Day.
Il Giardino Restaurant by John Gambino
Il Giardino Restaurant by John Gambino (739 Main Rd., Aquebogue): This charming, country house earned a two-star rating. The building dates to 1830. It's in the former site of Petulant Wino and Comtesse Therese Bistro, and includes two cozy dining rooms. The kitchen emphasizes southern Italian and Italian-American favorites with care and flair. More info: 631-779-3900, ilgiardinoaquebogue.com
North Fork paccheri with zucchini, arugula and goat cheese is served at Il Giardino Restaurant by John Gambino in Aquebogue.
Coral (215 Atlantic Ave., East Moriches): Coral grows in a hideaway setting at the aptly named Windswept Marina, which complements the vibrant cuisine with pretty sunsets and a view to match them. It's a destination for tapas, seafood and steak. And you'll feel as if you've narrowed the distance between Suffolk and Spain. More info: 631-703-3479, coraleastmoriches.com
Chicken-chorizo croquettes are served at Coral in East Moriches.
2 Spring (2 Spring St., Oyster Bay): The latest high-octane restaurant to join Oyster Bay's booming dining scene is also its sexiest. The two-story space, which opened last month, is decked out in style with bold woods, brick and creative chandeliers. The kitchen is manned by Iron Chef champion Jesse Schenker, who has conceived an of-the-moment bistro menu that includes dishes like a fisherman's pot, codfish fritters with lamb ragu, lobster with harissa, and bread pudding with carrot sauce. With 46 seats and a lot of buzz, you'll need to grab a reservation quickly, but don't discount the bar or lunch as sensuous options. More info: 526-624-2411, 2springstreet.com
The Clover Club, a cocktail made with gin, egg whites, raspberry puree and lemon, is served with the special Valentine's day menu on offer at 2 Spring in Oyster Bay.
Lulu Kitchen & Bar
Lulu Kitchen & Bar (126 Main St., Sag Harbor): This charming string of dining rooms has an Art Deco feel and a wood-burning fire at its heart, where chef Philippe Corbet grills octopus, branzino, steaks and pizza. Local oysters, flutes of sparkling wine and sultry lighting add to the sexy vibe. More info: 631-725-0900, lulusagharbor.com
Chocolate caramel molten cake is served with chocolate dirt and salted caramel ice cream at Lulu Kitchen & Bar in Sag Harbor.
The Halyard (58775 Rte. 48, Greenport): Located in the aptly named Sound View hotel, The Halyard is situated on the gentle curve of a seductive beachfront. Water views abound, and sunsets are dramatic. The dining room is a glass-enclosed perch decorated in suitably beachy hues. The cuisine matches American classics with local ingredients and an emphasis on seafood. More info: 631-477-0666, thehalyardgreenport.com
Oysters Rockefeller with spinach, parmesan, bacon and ritz cracker crumble is served at The Halyard at the Sound View in Greenport.
Vienna of Roslyn
Vienna of Roslyn (1 Railroad Ave., Roslyn): From a stone-lined tavern downstairs to a flickering gas fire upstairs, this bilevel lounge and event space has atmosphere in spades -- plus small plates from chef Frank Falgiano, such as grilled lamb rib chops and silky Mediterranean dips, that impress without being too fussy. More info: 516-621-7975,viennaofroslyn.com
Peppery lamb chop "lollipops" come with asparagus and new potatoes at Vienna of Roslyn.
Cardoon Mediterranean Grill
Cardoon Mediterranean Grill (2479 Adler Ct., Seaford): Part of Cardoon's allure is simply finding the place: A series of turns delivers you to a tucked-away restaurant nestled along a canal. Though February might not be high time for dining al fresco on the patio, Cardoon's cozy dining room and imaginative Mediterranean-influenced plates will charm from start to finish. Don't miss the crispy shrimp kataifi. More info: 516-785-2390, cardoonny.com
Smoked trout taramasalata with grilled pita bread, raw oysters and halibut crudo are served at Cardoon Mediterranean Grill in Seaford.
One North Mediterranean Soul
One North Mediterranean Soul (4 Old Jericho Tpke., Jericho): One North takes dramatic dining to new levels, from its theatrically lit facade and soaring interior to sumptuous seafood dishes -- with plentiful grilled fish -- delivered tableside atop rolling carts. There's nothing quite like it on Long Island, so don't be surprised if you see a suitor get down on one knee. More info: 516-605-1400, onenorthrestaurant.com
Kataifi pastry topped with whipped Greek yogurt, fresh berries, candied almond brittle and wildflower honey at One North Mediterranean Soul in Jericho.
Lost at Sea
Lost at Sea (888 W. Beech St., Long Beach): Tucked along a booming stretch of West Long Beach, this subdued new restaurant has a dim-lit setting, a speakeasy-like vibe and a well-versed staff. Valentine's or not, the owners plan to stick to their no reservations policy. Don't let it dissuade you. Grab one of the 46 seats and dig into the seafood-heavy shared plates menu with a rotating list of oysters, perfectly bronzed scallops and a lovely dry-aged steak frites for the seafood averse. Don't brush off the cocktail menu. More info: 516-632-5263,
Cod arrives topped with breadcrumbs, seated in a lemon sauce at Lost at Sea in Long Beach.
Cove Hollow Tavern
Cove Hollow Tavern (85 Montauk Hwy., East Hampton): This stylish new restaurant resides in a 19th-century barn, and is full of nooks and crannies for a languorous meal with your sweetie. Cove Hollow is run by a couple, to boot: Chef Terry Harwood cooks savory (escargot-topped pasta and grilled steaks) and Lisa Murphy Harwood prepares sweets, and the bar's cocktails and wine list are on point. More info: 631-527-7131, covehollowtavern.com
Local peach gazpacho is served at Cove Hollow Tavern in East Hampton.
Aria Melanie on the Lake
Aria Melanie on the Lake (240 W. Main St., Bay Shore): The charming location on the shores of Bay Shore's little Lawrence Lake, the former home of The Lake House, is one of Long Island's most romantic, and never more so than in its latest incarnation, Aria Melanie. Chef Fabrizio Perinelli, an Italian native, is cooking a winning blend of Italian and New American. For Valentine's Day this year there will be a $50 prix-fixe menu with some enticing items. Antipasti include imported truffle burrata, secondi feature a bacon-wrapped filet mignon ($8 supplement), and dessert choices include a classic tiramisu. More info: 631-500-9045, ariamelanie.com
Snapper en papillote, served in parchment paper with mussels and clams, at Aria Melanie on the Lake in Bay Shore.
Gatsby's Landing (1362 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn): If you, like Jay Gatsby, are pulling out all stops for your one true love, make a reservation at Glenn and Danai Falcone's Gatsby's Landing. The cozy, intimate dining room, painted royal blue and shimmering with help from a few elegant chandeliers, is full of North Shore glamour. The restaurant, which tips its hat to the legendary F. Scott Fitzgerald masterpiece, is offering some Valentine's Day chef specials along with its a la carte menu: shellfish ricotta ravioli with saffron and bottarga, tomahawk steak for two, and Long Island fluke with lemongrass broth and miso bok choy. More info: 516-277-2318, gatsbyslanding.com
Burrata with black plum compote, mint and ale bread crostini at Gatsby's Landing in Roslyn.
La Coquille (1669 Northern Blvd., Manhasset): For considerably less than the cost of airfare, La Coquille in Manhasset will transport you and a date to Paris for the evening. The Long Island mainstay is serving an $88 fixed-price menu with a starter, main course and dessert. Classic French dishes on offer will include baked escargot, lobster Champagne seafood crepe, and escalope of veal with black truffle. For dessert, there will be a classic Napoleon, floating island, chocolate mousse and more. More info: 516-365-8422, lacoquilleny.com
Poached artichoke gratin at La Coquille in Manhasset.
Autentico (124 South St., Oyster Bay): If a romantic trip to Italy isn't in the cards this Valentine's Day, book a table at Autentico. Each table at Oyster Bay's singular Italian restaurant is named for a region of Italy -- and is identified with a framed, calligraphed place card. The decor mixes whimsy with warmth. The menu, from Sicilian-born chef Francesco Pecoraro, ranges all over the boot and changes weekly but always features an impressive platter of cheeses and cured meats with mostarda di Cremona. Also recommended (if available): panelle, or chickpea fritters, with scrambled egg and Grana Padano cheese; anellini pasta baked with eggplant, sausage and Gorgonzola; spaghetti with tuna sauce and capers. More info: 516-922-2212, autenticooysterbay.com
Stracchino cheese mousse is one of the desserts served at Autentico in Oyster Bay.
Barto (1024 Northern Blvd., Roslyn): If ever there were a restaurant designed with Valentine's Day in mind, it's Barto. Donald and Anne Finley spent roughly 10 years converting this former Ground Round, outfitting the 140-seat space in reds and purples, including a grand ruby red Venetian chandelier that gives the room an aura of naughtiness. A special Valentine's Day menu is in the works. More info: 516-277-2828, ilovebarto.com
Grilled skirt steak comes with roasted kale, truffle-Parmesan fries, and chimichurri sauce at Barto in Roslyn.
Tavern 227 (227 Sea Cliff Ave., Sea Cliff): Every detail of this Sea Cliff jewel is camera-ready for romance, from the pressed-tin ceiling to the weathered brick walls to the wood floors. Soft, flattering light emanates from antique chandeliers, wall sconces, votive candles and backlit bottles of liquor shelved behind the marble bar that dominates the room. The palette is warm -- the brightest color is the soft burgundy of the upholstered banquettes, and the jazz soundtrack is cool. A place this pretty could get by on looks alone, but Tavern 227 goes many extra miles, with an appealing menu that splits the difference between pub and trattoria. Highlights include the warm octopus starter, a fine burger and house-made pappardelle with lamb bolognese. More info: 516-200-9179, tavern227.com
Gnocchi with pomodoro sauce is served at Tavern 227 in Sea Cliff.
Topping Rose House
Topping Rose House (1 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Tpke., Bridgehampton): Turn a dinner reservation at Topping Rose House into a day trip to the scenic Bridgehampton property for Valentine's Day. Celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten once again is offering a four-course fixed-price menu at $85. If dinner goes well, spend the night in one of the luxury inn's 22 rooms ($395 to $995 a night). More info: 631-537-0870, toppingrosehouse.com/restaurant
Lamb chops with Aleppo pepper sauce at Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton.
North Fork Table and Inn
North Fork Table and Inn (57225 Main Rd., Southold): Long Island's groundbreaking farm-to-table restaurant is also one of its most romantic. Set among the farms and vineyards of the North Fork, the restaurant epitomizes rustic elegance. Chef Stephan Bogardus' menu draws on luxurious ingredients from near (Oyster Ponds oysters), far (Perigord truffles) and near-ish (Hudson Valley foie gras). Six-course ($125) and 3-course ($75) tasting menus are available as well as an a la carte selection. Seal the deal with one of Claudia Fleming's justly famous desserts. More info: 631-765-0177, northforktableandinn.com
Crudo of black sea bass is served with crisp ginger, ruby grapefruit and cilantro at The North Fork Table and Inn in Southold.
Scarpetta Beach (290 Old Montauk Hwy., Montauk): Situated in Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, this spot offers contemporary and traditional Italian food with an ocean view. More info: 631-668-1771, gurneysmontauk.com
Tagliatelle with lobster is served at Scarpetta Beach in Montauk.
Polo Steakhouse (45 Seventh St., Garden City): There's a terrific steakhouse hiding in Garden City. Tucked inside the landmark Garden City Hotel, Polo is turning out porterhouses, rib-eyes and strips that are the equal of any on Long Island. With its stout crimson armchairs, paneled walls and massive, hunting-lodge-style chandelier, the hushed dining room whispers classic opulence and comfort. More info: 516-877-9385, gardencityhotel.com
Four-layer chocolate cake is served at Polo Steakhouse in the Garden City Hotel.
Almond (1 Ocean Rd., Bridgehampton): French and New American cooking come together with flair at Almond. More info: 631-537-5665, almondrestaurant.com
Shaved Baby Artichoke Salad is served at Almond in Bridgehampton.
La Tavola (183 W. Main St., Sayville): This warm, country trattoria offers full-flavored, affordably priced food. More info: 631-750-6900, latavolasayville.com
Gnocchi Bolognese is served at La Tavola in Sayville.
Sandbar (55 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor): Guy Reuge, who established Mirabelle first in St. James and then in Stony Brook, is executive chef at this seafood-centric restaurant, which rises on the former site of Wyland's Country Kitchen. The menu offers American favorites and more in a setting buoyant with local history and artwork. More info: 631-498-6188
Seared Scallops with butternut squash risotto, pepitas and sage is served at Sandbar in Cold Spring Harbor.
Copperhill (234 Hillside Ave., Williston Park): You'll find New American cuisine at this Williston Park spot. More info: 516-746-1243, copperhillny.com
Hudson Valley duck breast with beets, turnips and orange is typical of the creative, New American dishes served at Copperhill in Williston Park.
Orto (90 North Country Rd., Miller Place): This eatery offers rustic Italian cooking. More info: 631-862-0151, restaurantorto.com
Pork with sunchokes, onions and bacon jus is served at Orto in Miller Place.
La Plage (131 Creek Rd., Wading River): This eatery, across from the beach, is a very good choice for New American and continental dishes. More info: 631-744-9200, laplagewadingriver.com
Strawberry-rhubarb bread pudding, topped with buttermilk ice cream, is a seasonal treat at La Plage in Wading River.
The Palm Court
The Palm Court (Eisenhower Park, East Meadow): This upscale restaurant within Eisenhower Park serves contemporary American food. For Valentine's Day, there will be 4-course, $95 prix fixe. Starters include grilled oysters with lemon and herbs, salads include one with greens, avocado, mango and passion fruit vinaigrette. For a main course, you might have a classic surf-and-turf featuring grilled filet mignon and lobster. Dessert is a Sweetheart Chocolate Delight. More info: 516-542-0700
A seafood platter for two is served at The Palm Court in East Meadow.
Stone Creek Inn
Stone Creek Inn (405 Montauk Hwy., East Quogue): Since 1996, the Stone Creek Inn has been a handsome and reliable destination for New American and Mediterranean fare. More info: 631-653-6770, stonecreekinn.com
Butter Poached Lobster with mushrooms, summer squash, fingerling potatoes, roasted tomatoes and coconut lime ginger broth is served at Stone Creek Inn in East Quogue.
View (3 Consuelo Pl., Oakdale): This seafood eatery offers sweeping nautical views of the Great South Bay from indoors. More info: 631-589-2694
Yellowfin tuna tartare with a sesame-ginger vinaigrette and avocado puree is served at View in Oakdale.
Kyma (1446 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn): This spot offers an airy, pretty setting. Whole grilled fish and shellfish are among the specialties. More info: 516-621-3700, kymarestaurants.com
The Lavraki, or whole branzini, is a specialty at Kyma in Roslyn.
18 Bay (23 N. Ferry Rd., Shelter Island): This eatery features Italian-inspired cuisine. More info: 631-749-0053, 18bayrestaurant.com
Sauteed Montauk striped bass is served with wax beans, snap peas and corn vinaigrette at 18 Bay on Shelter Island.
The 1770 House
1770 House (143 Main St., East Hampton): What started as a home is now a landmark. The seamless service and sensibility behind The 1770 House is what separates it from so many high-end Hamptonian restaurants. Dishes are carefully selected and almost everything served here is sumptuous -- any meal will be a winner. For Valentine's Day, Chef Michael Rozzi is offering a signature tasting menu, $85 for four courses. Selections include many dishes made with deluxe ingredients: Start with a crisp North Fork oyster with caviar, follow with foie gras with pineapple, sea scallops in truffle broth, and a choice of desserts. Wines specially recommended by wine director Michael Cohen will be available for a supplement. More info: 631-324-1770, 1770house.com
Tres leches cake is served at The 1770 House in East Hampton.
George Martin’s Strip Steak
George Martin's Strip Steak (60 River Rd., Great River): This handsome spot, with polished wood and a blazing fireplace, beefs up dining out at the end of the Southern State Parkway and the edge of Heckscher State Park. More info: 631-650-6777, georgemartingroup.com
A Berkshire pork chop is served at George Martin's Strip Steak in Great River.
Maroni Cuisine (18 Woodbine Ave., Northport): This spot typically offers a tasting menu of 20-plus courses, which unfold in the compact space like a series of special effects. More info: 631-757-4500, maronicuisine.com
Shell pasta with smoky pork ragu is served at Maroni Cuisine in Northport.
Le Soir (825 Montauk Hwy., Bayport): Le Soir has long evoked Old France and sometimes New American. More info: 631-472-9090, lesoirbayport.com
Roast duck with orange sauce is a mainstay on the menu at Le Soir in Bayport.
The Lake House
The Lake House (135 Maple Ave., Bay Shore): In a spacious waterfront location overlooking the Great South Bay, the Lake House offers excellent, seasonal New American cuisine. More info: 631-666-0995, thelakehouserest.com
Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas
Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas (1002 Old Country Rd., Garden City): This dining spot offers small plates and interesting wine selections. More info: 516-228-5400, spuntinowinebar.com
The Butcher’s Bar & Grill
The Butcher's Bar & Grill (75A Hillside Ave., Williston Park): This eatery comfortably fills a niche for seafood as well as steaks, friendly service and modern style. More info: 516-213-0019, tbbgny.com
Tres Palms (16 East Ct., Babylon): This seafood eatery looks onto Great South Bay. More info: 631-482-1465, trespalms.com