Restaurants

Inexpensive Valentine’s Day restaurants in Boston for every need

You’re cheap and delicious, and your Valentine’s Day should be, too. And so, here’s where to dine on that most fateful and hyped of holidays, depending upon your romantic needs. We’ve skipped restaurants offering things like $40 “love pillows of ravioli stuffed with aphrodisiac-spiked ricotta” in favor of the real deals. Each pick is affordable and legitimately tasty.

1. You don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea
You do like this person, but you’d rather keep things light and frisky. Go to Kendall Square’s Belly Wine Bar for a screening of lovers’ classic "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" paired with $14 fondue. Reservations are required; wine pairings are extra. The movie plays on a loop, all night long; let your imagination run wild as Tim Curry prances.
[Photo: Aram Boghosian for the Boston Globe]
2. You’re in love with a carnivore and can’t afford a swank steakhouse
Unless you’re wooing a trust-fund cougar (and who could blame you?), go to Bronwyn in Union Square. Tim Wiechmann’s sausage emporium does a $55, four-course “Valentinstag” menu. Wiechmann is known for his generous prix fixe portions, so you won’t feel swindled: Choose from delicacies like a two-pound, beer-braised, shareable pork shank and smoked duck sausage.
[Photo: Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe]
3. You’re having an affair
For shame! Lucky for you, one of Boston’s best Szechuan restaurants is hidden on the Cambridge-Belmont line, where nobody but your conscience will find you. Golden Garden does a brisk takeout business, but the dining room is quiet and dimly lit. Better yet, the food is cheap, authentic, and delicious. Wash that guilt away with garlicky beef tendon, or punish yourself with gut-stripping spicy pork intestines.
4. You are sophisticated, adventurous, and thrifty
Eschew the set menus and go to exotic Brookline tapas parlor Taberno de Haro. Order anything off its shockingly cheap (under $10 cheap) 45-dish menu, plus shareable plates of lusty specials like beef heart canapés and olive oil cake with sugared rose petals. They also have more than 330 Spanish wines, so cheers.
[Photo: Mark Wilson/Globe Staff]
5. You are single and sad
The North End will embrace you. Here, you have two choices: Go to Ducali pizzeria and watch reruns of classic Bruins games while feasting on $13 “broken artichoke heart pie,” or go to Pauli’s and begin a hasty progression toward coronary disease with its “double burger for the loveless,” a value at $15.99. It comes with crispy bacon, fried mozzarella, cheddar, and creamy ranch chipotle sauce, plus fries, so you probably won’t live to see another Valentine’s Day.
6. You and several friends are plotting revenge on a demon ex
You were offloaded and are teetering on the brink of insanity. You want to languish in victim mode while carbo-loading. Kendall Square’s Area Four has a hostile-sounding menu on Friday and Saturday nights complete with “jerked chicken and irate rice,” “skewered lamb neck” paired with pungent garlic beans, and “angry” arrabbiata pizza. Dishes are $18-$25; a morose accompanying soundtrack and menus adorned with breakup poems are priceless.
[Photo: Kayana Szymczak for the Boston Globe]
7. You want to propose
If you’re not creative enough to pick another day, at least go to Coppa. Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer’s South End enoteca, a moody cave of offal and charcuterie, does a $55 menu that overlooks gimmicky dishes named for sex positions in favor of quirkier fare. Calm your nervous stomach with pork belly with black tahini, poached fried eggs coated in caviar crème fraiche, and pig’s foot baked beans. Hide the ring in tempura-fried lobster for extra crunch! Life with you will be full of excitement, and possibly cholesterol problems.
[Photo: John Blanding/Globe Staff]

Posted to Boston, Restaurants