With Valentine’s Day swiftly approaching, I thought it would be fun to give you a run-down of the most romantic places to eat in Santa Clarita, California. Now, romance means something different to everyone (some want mood lighting and expensive food, others are okay with some great food and a friendly atmosphere) and Santa Clarita has never been known as the hub of romance. Still, when we do find ourselves with a night alone, there are quite a few fabulous restaurants around town.
Let me start by saying these are MY personal favorites. I know we have a very active Santa Clarita Foodies Facebook group that would either approve or tear these apart (I don’t want to find out which). I’ve lived in Santa Clarita for over 15 years so I’ve definitely seen restaurants come and go. These are my favorites right now (in no particular order).
1. Solita Tacos & Margaritas – Solita is my new favorite restaurant in town. They serve Baja-style Mexican food and have an incredible bar with lots of specialty drinks. This is the place to go for some amazing food and cocktails. They do have a front room with a cozy fireplace, but the restaurant can get busy… and it’s not exactly quiet. The food and service, however, make up for the lack of privacy. I highly recommend you make reservations.
2. Le Chene – Le Chene has been around forever and if you want an out-of-the-way restaurant, this is it. You have to travel up Sierra Highway for a while before you come to this little chalet amongst the forest. This is the place where they bring you a chalkboard with a handwritten menu. The food is French, but the people are as nice as can be. You would think this place would be more expensive than it is. It’s not inexpensive, but it’s less so than some of the steak restaurants in town. It’s not quite as old-world as the exterior of the building looks, but you will rarely find children and you’ll be able to hear your dinner partner. Try the stuffed mushrooms. Definitely make reservations.
3. Vines – This restaurant is inside the Hyatt Hotel on McBean Blvd, but don’t let that fool you. This is NO hotel coffee shop. This elegant restaurant has amazing lobster bisque and is a very cozy and quiet place to dine. The service is fantastic. It’s definitely on the pricier side, but it’s also worth it. Make reservations, they can fill up quickly.
4. Bella Cucina – This little neighborhood restaurant got it’s start on the Old Road and it definitely wasn’t the place for it. Since it’s moved locations to Seco Canyon Road in Saugus, it’s found a new life as the local Italian gem. From the fresh bread to the extensive menu selection, the service is top notch. This is a great place to have a quiet dinner for two or bring a group of friends and make a party out of it. Food is great and the prices very reasonable.
5. Piccola Trattoria – This is another neighborhood Italian restaurant that you might drive right on by if you didn’t realize it was there. Set back off the main Sierra Highway Road, Piccola Trattoria is a favorite of many locals. Old world Italian food, excellent service and a great atmosphere (both inside and out) make this a great place for a date night. Definitely make reservations because they can get pretty busy.
6. Pulchella Winery – I just adore this place. If you go in on a weekend night you might have a pretty large crowd… if you go during the week, it’s often very cozy and quiet. They also have a back patio which is fabulous when it’s warm out. Pulchella serves their own branded wine and they have a pretty good selection – mostly reds. You can get a wine flight of 5 of their most popular wines for only $10. The great thing about Pulchella is that you can bring in food from anywhere you choose. They don’t have a food menu, but they are very accommodating (even encouraging) when you want to bring in your own dinner. Newhall Refinery is right across the street and will gladly pack dinner (and dessert) to go. You can even call them from the winery when you are ready to eat. They might even bring the food to YOU if they aren’t busy.
7. Larsen’s Steakhouse – If you are craving a big, juicy steak… this is the place in Santa Clarita to be. If you are trying to impress, this is the place to be. Larsen’s has great food… typical steak-house fare, and it’s pricey. But… the atmosphere is great, service fabulous and you are pretty much guaranteed to have a great meal.
8. Karma – If you like Indian food, Karma won’t disappoint. I happen to like Royal Tandoor in the Vons Shopping Center on Bouquet Canyon better for a family dinner, but for a romantic atmosphere, Karma will do the trick. They have an extensive menu and large, comfortable booths.
9. Tea Gardens – Depending on your idea of “romantic”, I really love this little tea shop. They have great breakfasts and lunches, fabulous afternoon tea and a huge selection of teas from all over the world. Can’t get away for a romantic dinner? Try a romantic breakfast or afternoon tea.
So, you may be wondering why I only have 9 restaurants… well, because as hard as I thought about it, there just aren’t any other restaurants I know of that could fill the #10 spot. I’m sure my friends in Santa Clarita might have some other ideas… and I would love to hear them. Please leave me a comment if you have a favorite place I missed. And… if you live in another city (or state… or country) leave me a comment with YOUR favorite romantic restaurant.