The bad news is, this won’t be another normal Valentine’s Day. The good news? This won’t be another normal Valentine’s Day. You’re likely skipping dinner at a restaurant in favor of a night at home. Whether you’re ordering takeout or cooking, we think you should make the most of an evening in, by making it feel like a night out. Set the mood with a Prince vinyl, an arty body-shaped candle, and a good glass of wine or a cocktail. Consider some special add-ons like oysters, caviar, or even a smattering of fancy salts. Finish off with dessert on cool-looking plates or skip it entirely in favor of a good cup of coffee and a CBD joint.
For more ideas, from the one sauce you should be adding to your burger to the cookbook that’ll inspire plenty more dinners, read on for 29 Valentine’s Day gift ideas that’ll recreate the feeling of being at restaurant, albeit at home.
Order a Deep Dish Favorite
You can give a heart-shaped card this Valentine’s Day, or you can give a heart-shaped pizza. Once you’ve made the correct decision, order this pie from Lou Malnati’s, a mainstay of the Chicago deep-dish pizza scene. It’s available on Amazon, and it comes with an extra (round shaped) pizza.
Curate a Good Soundtrack
Set the mood with an album that’s filled with good songs. Start your night with “I Feel For You,” then slow dance to “With You,” as you whisper something along the lines of “I’m glad this Prince vinyl is here with us.”
Brew the Perfect Post Dinner Coffee
All good meals end with a cup of coffee. Consult our beans guide to find the right one and then use this kettle to brew it up.
Keep Your Wine Nicely Chilled All Night Long
Instead of an ice bucket that leaves water dripping everywhere, try this chiller that’ll keep your muscadet at the perfect temperature.
Upgrade Your Glassware
Nick & Nora glasses are the new coupe glasses. And coupe glasses were the new Martini glasses. So really, all you need for a romantic night in is a set of these things. Daiquiris, Martinis, Manhattans - they’re all perfect in a Nick & Nora.
Decorate with a Statement Candle
To quote Megan Thee Stallion, body-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody-ody. And to expand on that a bit, we’d like to point out that this candle from artist Bonam Kim will single-handedly create its own ambiance in your home.
Serve Your Food on Nice Plates
La Mercerie is a combination design shop and restaurant that we like a lot, where food is served on interesting bowls like these by Kaneko Kohyo. Depending on the size they can be used for anything from salads to dessert.
Enhance Your Meal with a Fancy Salt
Sprinkle the flaky one over whatever you’re cooking to give it a flavor boost, use the black lava one for visual contrast, or try the smoked version on the rim of your next Watermelon Margarita.
Add a Nice Vase and Some Flowers
There’s a decent chance you’ll be buying flowers this Valentine’s Day. Once you do, don’t just toss them in a 7-11 Big Gulp. Try one of the minimalist ceramic vases from Taye Decor instead. Even if all you’re doing is eating straight out of takeout containers, at least your table looks nice.
End Dinner With a Pleasant Smelling Candle
The downside of cooking at home is that smells will linger. Air things out with this special Valentine’s set from Harlem Candle Co. It’ll make your place smell like citrus, rose, and bergamot.
Turn Dinner Into a Luxe Activity
Sushi tastes best when it’s freshly made so try this DIY sushi kit from Blue Ribbon. You can build your own rolls and nigiri with tuna, salmon, hamachi, and more.
Spoon on This Secret Sauce
The best thing about the NYC bistro/institution Raoul’s is their burger au poivre. Make your own version at home this jar of poivre sauce, or just cook a big steak and ladle this stuff over the top.
Get a Steak From a New York Institution
There’s a reason why this place has been open since 1887, and it has something to do with their signature porterhouse. Add some thick-cut bacon for the full Luger experience.
Splurge on Some Caviar
Chances are, your home is not a highly acclaimed restaurant with multiple stars and an impeccable wine program. But you can make it feel like one with this golden osetra caviar from Regalis, which is known for supplying to lots of high-end restaurants.
Serve the Caviar Properly
You’ll need something to keep your sturgeon roe cold while you spoon it onto little blinis. That’s where this Russ & Daughters server comes in. (Caviar not included.)
Start Off With Oysters
We aren’t going to wade into the debate over East Coast vs. West Coast oysters but if you’re into the latter, order a dozen of these creamy, deep-cupped kumamotos shipped live from Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Then watch a few YouTube tutorials to hone your shucking technique and you have the perfect appetizer.
Make Espresso in Elegant Cups
Designed in Dakar as a tribute to Senegalese women, this set of two espresso cups is made in Limoges, France, which is home to some of the finest porcelain in the world. Use this to upgrade your after dinner coffee drinking experience.
Create a Hot Sauce Collection
You know that excitement you feel when you ask a restaurant for hot sauce and they give you a few to choose from that you’ve never seen before? Recreate that with this quarterly subscription that’ll keep you guessing.
Make a Charcuterie Platter
If kicking off dinner with oysters isn’t for you, try a cheese and meat plate instead. With this subscription from Olympia Provisions, you’ll get to try a new salami every month.
When in Doubt, Use a Cookbook
In Bibi’s Kitchen, from Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen is a celebration of stories and recipes from grandmothers across eight African nations. Use it to inspire the menu for your Valentine’s Day dinner and then whip it out time and time again because you want to cook everything in the book.
Try a Dessert Alternative
Rather end your meal with something non-alcoholic? Make yourself a small cup of coffee and then spark up this CBD joint that complements the flavors of the beans. The combo will give you just enough buzz to enjoy a post-dinner movie without falling asleep. Added bonus: This is definitely not something you can do in a traditional restaurant.
Serve Wine in a Nice Glass
Upgrade from those Ikea wine glasses with these hand blown Japanese stemless ones. They’re pricey but worth the splurge if you’re looking for really beautiful, well-made glassware.
Start With Some Bread and Olive Oil
This set comes with three different flavors, in UV-blocking bottles with labels from artists like Peter Som and Marleigh Culver. Pour some into a little dish, buy some crusty bread, and dip away.
Cook the Perfect Steak
Whether you like your porterhouse rare or medium, a sous vide machine will help you get the right temperature on the inside. Finish your piece of meat off by searing or broiling it in the oven.
End your night with a box of cookies. It’s what Saint Valentine would have wanted for you, and Philadelphia’s Famous 4th Street Cookie Co. will help you help you accomplish this in style. These are some seriously hefty cookies.
Get a (Virtual) Sommelier
Want someone to walk you through the world of pinot noir while you drink a Burgundy and snack on some almonds? Sign up for Charlie Bird’s Valentine’s Day Wine School. You’ll get some snacks, two bottles of wine, dessert, and a virtual wine lesson from Charlie Bird Wine Director Watson Brown. (Delivery is available in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.)
Try Fondue for Two
Cold weather calls for hearty foods like fondue. The Loyal in Greenwich Village is offering two different kinds for Valentine’s Day. You can do the classic cheese one or order a chocolate version for dessert. Each will come with plenty of things to swirl and dip, which makes for a fun dinner activity.
Make Cocktail Hour an Experience
Dante is well-loved for their cocktails and now you can feel as though you’re there with their V-Day set. It includes two custom drinks: The Rose, made with Lillet Rosé, and Heart of Gold, a chocolate and Rémy Martin VSOP concoction. To set the mood they’ll also include a playlist, a Negroni-scented candle, matches, and two gold-rimmed glasses.
Pour a Glass of Good Wine
If you’re looking for some wine to go along with your dinner, we’ll make it easy for you: order the Valentine’s 3-pack we curated along with our sommelier friends at wine shop Parcelle. It comes with a half bottle of a champagne we love to kick things off, as well as a bottle of white and a bottle of red. The white is a crisp Italian wine from the Campania region, which would go great with oysters or sushi, while the red is a natural wine from Beaujolais that’ll go well with pretty much anything.
We’re recommending these products because we actually use, and like, them. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.