Valentine's Day events often book out far in advance, but don't panic - there are still plenty of ways to celebrate, even if you've left your plans to the last minute. Conveniently, the big romantic day falls on Sunday this year, so there are many lunch and dinner events to go around. So, regardless of whether you are wrapped up in a relationship or single and ready to mingle, we've got a list of all the best available dinners and events happening in Sydney.
At Bennelong, you can treat your date to the best view of Sydney harbour (from the iconic Opera House, no less), plus four just-as-commanding courses from executive chef Peter Gilmore. You'll be greeted by cocktails and a menu that includes including ox heart tomatoes and XO scallops, Fraser Island spanner crab or roasted lamb for mains and the signature pavlova that evokes the Opera House sails. $200 per person.
Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney, 02 9240 8000, bennelong.com.au
Take your date to York Street's newest addition. There'll be no shortage of bubbly, thanks to the Champagne Aperitivo kicking off at 1.30pm. $59 will not only get your glass topped up with free-flowing champers, but there'll also be Italian delights like truffle arancini and fresh oysters. If you feel like making a day of it, book in for the seven-course dinner, champagne on arrival, roses for the ladies and live performances from Opera Australia's Julie Lea Goodwin. $120 per person, or an extra $80 for matching wines.
18-20 York Street, Sydney CBD, 02 9279 3555, lot1sydney.com.au
Channel some of the romance of Europe at Felix next weekend. The charming bistro and bar, which sits between Ivy and Angel Place, is offering a four-course Italian menu with a flute of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, for $150 per person. Other Merivale venues such as est., Uccello, Bistrode CBD and Sushi E, will be offering similar romantic themed dinners.
2 Ash Street, Sydney, 02 9240 3000, merivale.com.au
Black by Ezard
Dark and sleek, the black and gold interior of this harbourside establishment sets the mood. Dinner starts with scallop sashimi in sea urchin custard with wakame, edamame puree and honey yuzu dressing, before moving onto delicate toothfish and signature wagyu mbs 9+ flat iron steak. And what's for dessert? A warm couverture ganache with hazelnut, cherry and mascarpone ice cream. The five-course dinner is $150 per person, plus matching wines. Sittings are 5:30pm-8pm and 8:15pm. Bookings are essential.
Level G, Harbourside, The Star, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont, 02 9657 9109, blackbyezard.com.au
Osteria Balla Manfredi
Italy, the home of romantic dinners, strikes again as Stefano Manfredi serves a five-course menu in The Star's Osteria Balla Manfredi. Your appetite might be seduced by zucchini flowers with ricotta and truffle and a decadent dolce of chocolate profiteroles with raspberry cream. Dinner is $134 per person or $190 for matching wines. The Star will also have a Valentine's Day special at Sky Terrace. Venture up to the roof of the venue to watch the city lights come alive, all while indulging in chocolate fondue and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne for $120. Open 3pm to 10pm.
Level G, Harbourside, The Star, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont, 1800 700 700, star.com.au
Head to the beach for a postcard view over the ocean as you dine on a five-course meal designed by head chef Monty Koludrovic. For $150 per person, there's a Cupid-aiding menu of freshly shucked oysters, rib eye steaks, and blue eye trevallas. There are two sittings at 6.30pm and 8.30pm. Some reservations are still available, but get in quick.
1 Notts Ave, Bondi Beach, 02 9365 9000, idrbevents.com
Devon by Night
You can celebrate Valentine's Day all weekend at this popular eatery. On February 13 and 14, eight courses of signature Asian eats will be on offer, such as king salmon tartare and roasted sesame, a Malay-inspired mixed charcoal grill, and Tropicana coconut sago dessert with mango sorbet and galangal ice. It's $70 per person, and pre-booking is essential.
2 Danks St Waterloo, 02 9698 7795, devoncafe.com.au/reservations
Parks and Picnics
If you'd prefer to lounge on some grass with your date ( or a bunch of definitely platonic friends), then whip out your tartan blanket because Sydney is full of beautiful parks, just waiting for your Valentine's Day presence.
Wendy's Secret Garden, Lavender Bay
Over two decades, Wendy Whiteley has created a beautiful garden in the heart of Sydney, turning what once was an overgrown and disused area, into a lush garden for public enjoyment. The garden is filled with narrow paths that wind through the vegetation and grass patches to set up your picnic rug.
Right next to the Harbour Bridge, this little park has fantastic views of the water - which stretches out to sunsets over Parramatta River. Lush grass, huge Morton Bay fig trees and benches provide the perfect picnic landscape. Walk in from Clarence Street if you want to avoid a bit of a trek from other directions. Once you're up on Observatory Hill, though, a stroll down to Barangaroo is not a bad idea.
Nibble on pink and red macarons adorned with hand-drawn heart designs, wrapped up in a box complete with floral bouquet, card and ribbon. Flavours include raspberry, strawberries and cream, rose and rhubarb, as well as strawberry, rose and almond praline. Available for delivery or pickup from February 12-14 only and you can pre-order from February 5. Six or twelve macarons with flowers is $40 and $65 respectively.
601 King Street, Newtown, 02 8095 0045, shop.makmak.com.au
What better treat than fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth macarons on Valentine's Day? Ladurée special-edition box ($38) is patterned with love hearts, contains six macarons - and plays a surprise 'I love you' message when you take off the lid. Mix and match the Valentine's Day specialty cherry almond flavour with classics like salted caramel, rose petal and pistachio.
Available from Ladurée patisseries in Pitt Street Mall and Woollahra, laduree.com
Single ladies (and gentlemen)
If you're single, never fear, we've got the goods in Sydney for you, too.
The Dove & Olive, Surry Hills
Stuff romantics, get down to the Dove & Olive because it's officially 'Valentinnies Day'. For the first time, tinnies will compete in the venue's monthly Craft Beer Fight Club, where four breweries present their best beers to win the Golden Growler trophy and go on tap at the Dove & Olive for a month. The Heavyweight Beer Nerd ticket ($30) gets you one of each of the beers to taste, debate and rate on the day. Kick Cupid in the face and down a beer, then chow your way through a special menu with an emphasis on servings for one - messy food that requires unattractiveness while being eaten. Barbecue pork ribs, slow roasted garlic beef ribettes, smoked maple lamb ribs and buttermilk drummer sticks. These meals will also be offered at the Dove's sister venues, The Dog in Randwick and Keg & Brew in Surry Hills.
156 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, 02 9699 6001, doveandolive.com.au/craft-beer-fight-club
Catch Breakfast at Tiffany's at Centennial Park - or skip the Valentine's Day crowds and get out with the girls on Saturday before the big day and see Sisters under the stars. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are the dream team on the big screen for all you single ladies out there. Tickets are $19, gates open at 7pm and screenings start at sundown, approximately 8.30pm.
Belvedere Amphitheatre, Centennial Park (on the corner of Carrington Drive and Broome Avenue) Paddington. Nearest gates at Woollahra Gates on Oxford Street, moonlight.com.au/sydney
Flour and Stone pop up at Williams-Sonoma, Chatswood
Also on Saturday, Nadine Ingram of Flour and Stone will be lending her skills to the public with a pop-up stall at Williams-Sonoma Chatswood from 10am to 2pm. There will be a selection of Flour and Stone's signature pastries and Nadine will share baking tips and a demonstration of her chocolate, raspberry and buttermilk cake between 11.30am. Get your baking-whiz friends out of the kitchen for this one.
Williams-Sonoma, Chatswood Chase Shopping Centre, Level 1, 345 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood, 02 8046 3400, williams-sonoma.com.au
Lunar Markets, Pyrmont
Catch the last day of this pop-up food festival for Chinese New Year. Entry is free and there are endless food options to choose from. Lanterns and luminescent sculptures will light the night, and there is a fantastic view of the city. This is also a great option for singles if you don't want to be seated with lovey dovey couples at a dinner venue.
Pyrmont Bay Park, Pyrmont, 02 9265 9333, whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au
The Darling Spa
90 minutes of pampering is sure to make you feel warm and fuzzy with no help from Cupid. Available all of February, the Valentine's Day special gets you a glass of Chandon Brut on arrival plus a sweet treat. The Spa offers skincare and body treatments, facials and massages.
80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont, 1800 800 830, thedarling.com.au/thespa.