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Originally published February 10, 2010 at 12:55 PM | Page modified February 11, 2010 at 3:52 PM

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Valentine's Day Guide

Seattle Valentine's Day entertainment covers everything from a "pity party" to a table for two with a view. Whether you're looking for an offbeat singles event or a traditional romantic date, here's your guide to the best V-Day happenings.

Below you'll find local restaurants and venues featured by Seattle Times staff. Visit the related links on the right for reviews and previews as well as some of our favorite Valentine's Day movies and books.

Already have Feb. 14 plans? Looking back on a memorable Valentine's Day? Share your favorite romantic eateries, movies, books and events on our Valentine's Day Guide comment thread.

Kabul Afghan Cuisine

Modest yet stylish corner storefront, where the air is heavily scented with cumin and cardamom. Carnivores show up for grilled marinated meats over basmati rice. Neighborhood vegetarians hanker for eggplant borani and delicate, ravioli-like ashak.

2301 N. 45th St.
Seattle, WA 98103
206-545-9000

http://www.kabulrestaurant.com

Tamarind Tree

Tamarind Tree, while embracing all comers, clearly has its landsmen at heart. They come to sip lemongrass martinis or sweet and salty sodas and bask in the papaya-colored glow of great food at bargain prices. The long, annotated menu stars such familiar dishes as pho and salad rolls along with the more exotic: pickled bon bon salad and turmeric coconut rice cake, dill-strewn Thang Long yellow fish and housemade padania-leaf ice cream. Bo 7 mon is a carnivore's dream: seven courses of beef priced at less than $20 for two. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

1036 S. Jackson St., Suite A
Seattle, WA 98104
206-860-1404

Habesha

Habesha captivates with its attractive room adorned with native art and basketry, intriguing food, intoxicating smells and gracious service. All contribute to a sensual, satisfying dining experience. Open for lunch and dinner.

1809 Minor Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101
206-624-0801

http://www.habeshaseattle.com

Kasbah Moroccan

Send your five senses on a trip to Tangier, minus the jet lag and the hefty price tag. Diners sit on sofas and hassocks at low brass tables in a room that feels like a plush, upholstered tent. A la carte entrees range from $12.50 for couscous to $16 for a salmon tagine or feast on a five-course meal for just $25 each. Start with vibrant salads or b'stilla, delicate phyllo pastry stuffed with chicken, almonds and egg and dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Notable entrees include lamb with prunes, Cornish hen with preserved lemon and olives, and chicken with apricots. Do as the Moroccans do and scoop up morsels of food with your fingers and bread, or ask for a fork. Quaff mint tea or a bottle of Moroccan wine. Belly dancers entertain Thursdays through Saturdays. Reviewed 7/15/05. Open for dinner.

1471 N.W. 85th St.
Seattle, WA 98117
206-788-0777

http://www.kasbahmoroccanrestaurant.com

Bai Pai Fine Thai Cuisine & Lounge

A cozy bar and lounge, private-dining suite and jazz soundtrack help bring to mind a neighborhood bistro. Expect fine-dining touches like linen napery, elegant tableware, top-shelf booze and a temperature-controlled wine room, as well as specialties like Bai Pai Noodles, tea-smoked salmon and Mussaman curry lamb chops. Open for lunch and dinner.

2316 N.E. 65th St.
Suite 101
Seattle, WA 98115
206-527-4800

http://www.baipairestaurant.com

Spinasse

The food at this rustic trattoria woos -- and wows -- with straightforward charm. Bracing antipasti are followed by handmade pastas moistened with broth, butter or simple meat ragus. Roasted vegetables, meat and game are unencumbered by heavy sauces. Piedmont wines are a perfect match. Communal tables foster a convivial atmosphere. Open for dinner daily.

1531 14th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122
206-251-7673

http://www.spinasse.com

3131 Western Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121
206-632-4602

http://www.boatstreetcafe.com

Shorty's Coney Island

I double-dog-dare you to kick back at this Belltown funhouse, where you can belly up to the bar for a dog snack and some suds, joining the plethora of punk rockers and pinball wizards who know a great hangout when they hang there. Named to honor owner Martha Manwaring's wiener dog, Shorty, and her favorite hometown hot dog, the Coney, Shorty's Coney Island never comes up short in the good-times department. Order at the diner-style counter, then grab a booth whose tabletop is a vintage pinball machine. The hard-core grab a pint of Pabst ($2), then retreat to the dark recesses of Pinball Cove. Shorty's proudly sells organic frozen entrees microwaved for your pleasure ($3.25-$6.75), but I suggest letting your appetite go to the dogs. Particularly if it's a Chili Cheese Bigtop ($4), a snappy tube of Vienna Beef whose chili wins big for its heat-and-meat quotient. The Chicago-style dog ($3) is a serviceable selection, but my paws-down winner is the Spicy Pepper Cheese Dog ($3.25), the cheese-steak lover's answer to a hot dog (thanks to a hefty hit of Mama Lil's peppers and a full complement of melted "cheese dribble").

2222 Second Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121-2017
206-441-5449

http://www.shortydog.com

Nell's

Fine-dining aficionados tired of loud, trendy hipster haunts should revisit Philip Mihalski's gracious Green Lake restaurant. The setting is gracious, the staff fluent in their roles, and Mihalski's tantalizing contemporary American menu offers food — from venison to calf's liver to wild arctic char — prepared with nuance and verve.

6804 E. Green Lake Way N.
Seattle, WA 98115
206-524-4044

http://www.nellsrestaurant.com

Bis on Main

Swashbuckling comfort food draws a well-dressed clientele to this elegant, art-filled dining room and lounge. Wild mushrooms fill pastry and flavor fresh pasta; osso buco is made with pork shank; halibut is sauced with pesto; and crispy garlic chicken is a perennial fave. Lunch served weekdays; dinner daily. Bar menu available.

10213 Main St.
Bellevue, WA 98004
425-455-2033

http://www.bisonmain.com

Crawfish King

The honky-tonk seaside setting sets just the right mood for the sassy Cajun seafood boils that are the specialty here. Heaps of crawdads, shrimp, lobster or crab come slathered in a fragrant red stew of herbs and spices. Gumbo, jambalaya and fried seafood platters are also worth a try.

725 S. Lane St.
Seattle, WA 98104
206-623-3622

http://www.seattlecrawfishking.com/

Plum Bistro

The best of the upscale vegan dishes -- the tempeh burger, collard greens, fried okra and Mama Africa salad -- deftly combine smoke, heat and sassy Cajun/Jamaican spice. Candles, flowers and elegant glassware (for vegan wine and beer) soften the setting.

1429 12th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122-3905
206-838-5333

http://www.plumbistroseattle.com

Osteria La Spiga

La Spiga's new digs make it less an osteria than an Oh!-steria. Once a homey little hangout known for piadina, fresh pasta and other specialties of Emilia-Romagna, it now resembles a chic chalet at a hip ski resort, with a patio, a view of Seattle's cityscape and some big-time bar action. Treat yourself to pasta fresca (gnocchi, tortelli, lasagna, tagliatelle), wild boar, ripe formaggi and vino from a vast library of Italian labels.

1429 12th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122
206-323-8881

http://www.laspiga.com

Frank's Oyster House & Champagne Parlor

Felix and Sarah Penn, the talented pair behind Pair, dish up respectful riffs on American classics at this romantic homage to East Coast oyster houses of yore. Standouts include deviled eggs, oysters Rockefeller, lobster rolls, steaks, pasta and a terrific pork chop.

2616 N.E. 55th St.
Seattle, WA 98105
206-525-0220

http://www.franksoysterhouse.com

2400 Queen Anne Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109
206-328-3663
http://www.eatlocalonline.com

Bistro Baffi

The Italian repertoire is familiar, but regulars are drawn just as much by the romantic setting, the ministrations of an engaging staff and the sheer force of the owner's personality. Sharing a salad and pasta will keep the price down, but spaghetti pescatore and bistecca Romana are splurge-worthy. End with terrific tiramisu. Open for dinner; closed Sunday.

15217 21st Ave. S.W.
Seattle, WA 98166
206-244-0737

http://www.bistrobaffi.com

Cupcake Royale (and Vérité Coffee)

You may have already tried Cupcake Royale's colorful cupcakes, but their retail cafes in Madrona and Ballard also serve superb panini sandwiches, like an exemplary turkey with pesto, Swiss cheese, Mama Lil's peppers and lightly wilted spinach. The irresistible cupcakes come in chocolate and vanilla with a variety of frostings (the chocolate with mint frosting is a winner), and seasonal cupcakes are introduced regularly. Good loose-leaf tea service, too.

1101 34th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122
206-709-4497

http://www.cupcakeroyale.com

1815 N. 45th St., Ste. 209
Wallingford Center
Seattle, WA 98103
206-632-7020
http://www.trophycupcakes.com

Toulouse Petit

This Big Easy-inspired brasserie tilts toward excess: seven different eggs Benedict at breakfast plus crawfish étouffée, beignets and pain perdu; po'boys and other sandwiches at lunch augment a roster that includes most of the soups, salads, charcuterie, meats and seafood served at dinner when prime steaks are also featured. Breakfast, lunch, dinner daily.

601 Queen Anne Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109-4013
206-432-9069

Perché No Pasta & Vino

Chain restaurants everywhere attempt to remind us why we loved those Old Scuola spaghetti houses. But now, thanks to Perché, we have something so much better. This is the happy home of housemade pastas (from gnocchi to gemelli, capellini to squid-ink fettucine), deliciously and judiciously sauced, plus a wide world of wines: 300 by the bottle, 50 by the glass. Bargain hunters take heed. When you find yourself considering a second visit in a week, there's only one answer: "Perché no?" (Why not?) Open for lunch and dinner.

1319 N. 49th St
Seattle, WA 98103
206-547-0222

http://www.percenopastaandvino.com/

6301 24th Ave. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98107
206-706-3292
http://www.thecoppergate.com/

2301 140th Ave N.E.
Bellevue, WA 98005
425-458-4707
http://www.bellevueskateking.com/

301 N.E. 103rd Street
Seattle, WA 98125
800-326-3264

5500 Phinney Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98103
206-548-2500

http://www.zoo.org/

1300 First Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101
206-654-3100
http://www.seattleartmuseum.org

100 W. Roy St.
Seattle, WA 98119
206-217-9888

http://www.ontheboards.org/

1428 Post Alley
Seattle, WA 98101
206-587-2414

http://www.unexpectedproductions.org

216 Union St.
Seattle, WA 98101
206-838-4333
http://www.thetripledoor.net

915 E. Pine St.
Second Floor
Seattle, WA 98122
206-324-7263

http://www.centuryballroom.com

Benaroya Hall

Recital hall seats 540.

200 University St.
Seattle, WA 98111
206-215-4747

http://www.seattlesymphony.org

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