You've got a dinner companion and two airfares to anywhere, where to splurge on Valentine's Day? Former Good Food Guide editors Janne Apelgren and Joanna Savill nominate some of the world's most romantic restaurants.
Le Jules Verne, Paris, France
The spectacular view from Le Jules Vernes, halfway up the Eiffel Tower. Photo: Alamy
Halfway up the Eiffel Tower, one of France's greatest chefs, Alain Ducasse, presides over this restaurant where Paris is glimpsed through the tower's lacy steel. The sense of occasion is as delicious as the contemporary, luxurious food. Expect lobster, caviar, and foie gras. Staff often overhear marriage proposals. Early bookers get priority for plum window seats.
Mikla, Istanbul, Turkey
The view from Istanbul's Mikla is hard to beat. Photo: Supplied
The view from Istanbul's Mikla is hard to beat.From the deck of Mikla, Istanbul unfurls far below, as if from a magic carpet, its ancient monuments golden-lit. Chef Mehmet Gurs takes the food of Turkey into the modern fine-dining era. Tables on the deck are a sweet spot – request them when booking via email.
Schloss Schauenstein, Switzerland
Lavish and charming: Schloss Schauenstein, in Switzerland. Photo: Supplied
Stay in a lavish tower room in an Alpine valley after a superb dinner at this three Michelin star castle. You may wait months for a table, but sitting in one of two dining rooms – one dimly lit with soft velvet chairs, the other a little brighter and more modern – is fine dining at its best. There is deep charm in the utter regionality of the menu.
Hutong, Hong Kong
Like old Beijing: Hutong, in Hong Kong. Photo: Benoit Mallein
When the private lift opens on the 28th floor of this sleek skyscraper, you'll feel like you've travelled to an old Beijing laneway. Red lanterns cast exotic shadows, there's a fabulous view of the harbour's nightly 8pm Symphony of Light show. The food's feisty at one end--fiery with chilli and Sichuan pepper in dishes like bang bang chicken - and delicate at the other, as in sliced abalone in spring onion oil.
Dining under the sails of the Opera House, at Bennelong. Photo: Brett Stevens
Try beating this view. Under the sails of Sydney Opera House, is this soaring concrete space, ribbed in ochre steel with warm lamps. Perch at the Cured and Cultured bar for champagne and finger food: just-opened oysters and the famous yabbie pikelets. Chef Peter Gilmore's passionfruit curd pav replicates the sails above.
Momofuku Ko, New York
Bond villain chic: Momofuku Ko, in New York. Photo: Gabriele Stabile
Chef David Chang's flagship East Village restaurant has the luxury and looks of an evil genius's house in a Bond movie. Diners sit at a U-shaped counter as chefs shave frozen foie gras, carve hunks of pork and load grills. The soundtrack bounces from INXS to The Who, but you can hear your dining partner talk. A heap of fun, and the kind of theatre that Broadway would kill for.
The garden room at Mozaic, in Bali. Photo: Phillippe Heurtault
In beautiful Ubud, amid the tropical jungles of Bali's mountainous hinterland, this low Balinese-but-luxury-modern house is splashed with Valentine red. Sip cocktails flavoured with pandan, kalamansi, coconut, kemangi leaf. Get up close with the amazing ingredients, laid out on a tray with each course.
The Lake House, Daylesford
Country-chic: The Lake House, Daylesford, Victoria. Photo: Supplied
There are those who've gone from date night to wedding night at this country-chic restaurant and boutique hotel. Settle into plump cushions on a banquette, and submit to a parade of some of central Victoria's best produce. And sleep over: the rooms are lovely, there's even a rock-star two-bedroom retreat.
The magnificent interior of Quadri, in Venice. Photo: Bob Noto
In a city where even the taxis are sexy (sleek, timber-decked speedboats), Quadri wows with both luxury and location. In a 1693 palazzo on St Mark's Square, its timber-panelled dining room's window tables are a favourite for popping the question. Chef Massimiliano (Max) Alajmo's Venetian-inspired menu draws on the fruits of the lagoon – baby clams and tendrils of cuttlefish with burrata ravioli.