Alfresco There may be a chill in the air, but alfresco dining at this time of the year can be a cosy affair when oversized heaters are provided. Gaia (Grand Millennium Plaza, 181Queen's Road Central, Sheung Wan, 21678200) complies accordingly. Its Valentine's menu is a five-course special which costs HK$698/person. Main course options include grilled blue fin tuna belly Tagliata style or slow oven roasted baby lamb. Other items on the menu range from savouries such as shrimp-filled baby calamari and risotto with porcini mushrooms to caramelised pineapple with mascarpone gelato and strawberries. Habitu The Garden (Shop308, Lee Gardens Two, 28Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, 28983919) has a cosy outdoor terrace, and a four-course menu (HK888/couple) for February 14. It kicks off with soup and antipasto, which is followed by the main course. Diners can choose one of four dishes: quail with risotto, grapes and black truffle; rack of lamb in bread crust with barbe di frate, tomato gratin and roasted artichoke; pan-fried seared Italian tuna with goose liver and a cabernet sauvignon wine reduction; and sea ball 'Al Cartoccio' with roasted vegetables. Chocolate fantasy with Italian pears completes the menu. On the South side of Hong Kong, Wildfire (2/FMurray House, Stanley, 28136161) provides an airy terrace with sea views. A four-course menu (HK$360/person) offers a choice of four main courses, including poached king prawn with arugula ravioli and truffle-dusted foie gras; roasted black pepper beef with veal cheeks and cepe cream; and barbecue butterfish with caramelised pearl onions and red pepper sofrito. Dessert is gateaux St Honore with praline cream. The restaurant's sister outlet in Tsim Sha Tsui (2 Knutsford Terrace, 36901598) also offers alfresco dining by way of a tented courtyard. The same menu will be available. Head deeper into Kowloon and you can find a spot for romantic, alfresco dining in the heart of Mong Kok. The Backyard (Langham Place Hotel, 555Shanghai Street, Mong Kok, 35523200) is without doubt the area's classiest outdoor dining spot. It specialises in barbecues and its Valentine's menu reflects that: a shared seafood platter, steaks, fish and shellfish are all on the menu (HK$988/couple), which ends with a chocolate fondue (right). Alternatively, the new DB Plaza at Discovery Bay is rife with alfresco options. Cafe de Paris (G01B, DB Plaza, 29878202) has a Valentine Lover's set dinner (HK$428/person). Suitably French dishes are on the menu, such as pan-fried foie gras, brioche, apple compote, celery salad and sweet wine jelly; roasted beef tenderloin with potato mousseline, salsify vegetable, braised beetroot and port wine reduction; and spiced chocolate, caramelised pear, pine nut and chocolate sherbet dessert. Dinner with a view With so many hotels dominating the harbour front, dining with a view often means eating at a hotel, but not always. Upmarket eatery Isola Bar + Grill (Level 3&4, IFC Mall, Central, 23838765) offers contemporary surroundings with waterfront views, particularly if you book an outdoor table. The restaurant is offering a Valentine's menu (HK$1,388/couple) with dishes such as goose liver two ways, handmade spaghetti with seafood, roasted king prawn with almond and pine nut roast, and for dessert, chocolate mousse with pistachio sabayon and white chocolate shavings. Every year on February14 The Peninsula hotel opens The Pool (23153170) to the public, and this year is no exception. A four-course set dinner (HK$2,488/couple) will be available at the Roman-style setting, which overlooks the harbour. Alternatively, Aqua Roma and Aqua Tokyo (29/F, One Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 34272288) offers spectacular views of the city. The Aqua duo will dish up a five-course medley (HK$888/person) of Japanese and Italian flavours, which starts with one of Aqua Tokyo's specialities, the grand sashimi (grilled otro maki, Wagyu beef roll, botan ebi sushi). That's followed by scampi tortellini on spinach and mint with grated bottarga. Diners can opt either for a Japanese or Italian main course (options include lobster and sea eel tempura with braised giant taro; and veal medallions wrapped in speck with porcini mushroom and roast pumpkin with amaretti and gremolata). Dessert is decidedly Italian - champagne and wild berry mousseline with fig and almond truffles and an orange blossom glaze. For more casual dining, check out Habitu The Pier (G63 and G64A, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, 31010901). Like its sister outlet in Causeway Bay, the restaurant will serve a four-course set dinner (HK$1,088/couple) on February 14, including soup and antipasto, plus a choice of four mains. Options include risotto Venere with scallops, baby lobster tail and aged Italian cheese; and deer loin sauteed in red wine sauce, deep-fried porcini, pumpkin puree and asiago cheese 'Timballo'. One floor below, the dark, dramatic setting of Hutong (28/F, One Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 34288342) against the backdrop of the harbour (left) makes for very chic Chinese dining. Its Valentine's menu is a seven-course feast (HK$988/person) with dishes to include fresh abalone with scallion and coriander, fresh river shrimps and green asparagus; crispy boned lamb ribs Hutong-style; and boiled Hashima with coconut soup. Cafe Costa (Shop 3025-26 / 3031-66, IFC Mall, Central, 21187600) shares similar views to Isola, but offers a cheaper dining option at HK$488/person. Mediterranean cuisine will be flavour of the day with dishes that will include beef tenderloin in port sauce, pan-fried marinated salmon on asparagus, and dark chocolate pudding with coffee sabayon and vanilla ice cream. Finally, for lovers who prefer a lighter snack, MBar (25/F, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, 5Connaught Road, Central, 28254002) offers a set of canapes together with a bottle of Krug Grande Cuvee (HK$1,688/couple). Guests can choose either caviar canapes (sevruga caviar with creme fraiche and buckwheat blinis, golden osceitra caviar with potato fondant and quail eggs, and beluga caviar with smoked salmon) or goose liver canapes (foie gras terrine with quince jam and toasted brioche, truffled foie gras mousse, smoked duck breast and candied pecan, and pan-seared foie gras, golden plum chutney and walnut bread). Hong Kong's best profile, though, is from the Kowloon side of the harbour (left). Angelini (Kowloon Shangri-La, 64Mody Road, Kowloon, 27338750) is a good spot for a romantic tete-a-tete with a harbour backdrop. On February 14, there will be a five-course menu (HK$980/person without wine, HK$1,480/person with paired wines). Couples dining at the restaurant on the night will be given a bottle of limoncello made by the chef, plus petit fours. COSY AND INFORMAL TRU (2/F, Grand Progress Building, 15 Lan Kwai Fong, 2525 6700) and SOHO SPICE (47 Elgin Street, SoHo, 2521 1600) both specialise in Thai/Vietnamese cuisine. Tru offers a three-course Valentine's menu (HK$388 per person) that includes banana blossom and shredded chicken salad with chilli jam dressing; red snapper fillet with coconut, lime sauce, roasted cherry tomatoes, chilli and lemongrass salsa; and poached pear with pineapple sorbet and coconut palm sauce. Meanwhile at Soho Spice the menu includes deep-fried softshell crab with crispy turmeric and ginger; grilled lamb rack with baked celeriac in Thai masaman curry; and orange caramel pudding with vanilla ice cream. The price is HK$358 per person. Diners at both outlets will receive a mini bottle of champagne. It's 'la dolce vita' for those heading to CINECITTA (9 Star Street, Wan Chai, 2529 0199) for a four-course Italian treat (HK$538 per person). The menu offers a choice of dishes per course, and includes a starter of either zucchini flower with ricotta, basil and tomato coils, or sauteed baby squid with white polenta. Other dishes include risotto with rose and champagne, ravioli stuffed with red chicory, taleggio in marjoram butter sauce, roast rack of lamb with herbs and pan-fried salmon trout in green sauce. Dessert comes dressed in chocolate and passion-fruit mousse with Sicily orange sauce. For Asian flavours try Thai Lemongrass (3/F, California Tower, 30-32D'Aguilar Street, 2905 1688), with its airy, informal ambience and dishes prepared by a resident Thai chef. Valentine's Day highlights include stir-fried beef fillet with mango, coconut meat, cashews, baby corn and water chestnuts in tamarind sauce. The eight-course menu costs HK$598 per couple. A shopping mall restaurant may not sound like the most romantic of Valentine's Day settings, but bistro La Fourchette (LG/F Pacific Place, 25228830) happens to be offering one of the best-value Valentine's meals around at HK$598 per couple. And the venue is just right for those who want to spend the second half of the evening at the movies, with a cinema complex under the same roof. Dishes include oyster soup with watercress, roasted tiger prawns on saffron risotto, and black-and-white chocolate cake with mosaic and passion-fruit sherbet. Cafe des Artistes (1/F, California Tower, 30-32D'Aguilar Street, 25263880) in Lan Kwai Fong combines contemporary dining with a dash of French bistro flair. The best tables are those by a window, but either way you can enjoy a relaxed setting for an evening of modern French cuisine. February 14 menu highlights include lamb tenderloin on spinach with spiced sauce, and sea bass filet with sea urchin sauce on saffron mashed potatoes, plus a glass of champagne per person. The seven-course menu costs HK$1,388 per couple. Valentine's gift packs will be given out on a first-come-first-served basis. The packs contain Godiva chocolates, gift vouchers for Frederique Spa and Victorian Spa and designer brand fragrances. Diners at Madison's (G/F, Hutchison House, 10Harcourt Road, Central, 25234772) on February 14 are in for an evening of ballads, French-American fare, and the chance to win a pair of Tissot watches in a lucky draw. A four-course dinner (HK$488 per person) includes scallops on baby spinach, lobster soup with basil oil as a starter, and for the main course either roasted sea bass with baby fennel, or roasted truffle stuffed French duck break. Dessert is pistachio cake with black sesame mousse. Those who are planning a wedding soon should note that the restaurant will host its first wedding fair on February 24 and 25, as part of its plans to showcase the restaurant as a venue for small, boutique-style wedding parties. During the wedding fair, high tea for two and a set dinner will be available at a 50 per cent discount. Elegant and sexy For a modern taste of Shanghainese cuisine, there is Ye Shanghai (Level 3, Pacific Place, 29819833; 6/F, The Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, Kowloon, 23763322). On February14 both outlets will offer a three-course menu (HK$398 a person). Appetisers include Hua Diao wine marinated drunken chicken, sliced pork terrine served with Zhenjiang black vinegar and a pot-pourri of 18 vegetables. There are seven options on the main course menu, which include baked stuffed crab shells, braised prawns with onion in sweet chilli sauce served with rice cake, and steamed pork dumplings. A flavour of Italy ends the meal, with a ginger panna cotta with pomelo and candied orange dessert. One of the most anticipated restaurants in Hong Kong of late has been Nobu, which opened recently at the InterContinental Hong Kong Hotel (18Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, 27211211). For those keen to sample chef Nobu Matsuhisa's creations, February 14 offers an opportunity to see if the restaurant and the food live up to their reputation. As Japanese cuisine goes, dining at Nobu is not a cheap option - an eight-course menu on Valentine's Day costs HK$1,388/person. Diners can expect a taste of the chef's much-talked about new-style cuisine, with dishes on the night to include kanpachi sashimi with sansho salsa, toro tataki with jalapeno dressing, lamb anticucho miso and chocolate harumaki. Alternatively, smart Japanese dining at Kaetsu (Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, 1Harbour Road, Wan Chai, 25847088) offers a Valentine's set dinner menu at HK$1,800 a couple. There will be two sittings on February 14: 6pm to 8pm, and 8.30pm to 10.30pm. If first-rate service and a lavish five-course menu in elegant surroundings (Italian style) is your calling, then head to Toscana (The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, 3 Connaught Road, 28776666 extension 2062). Chef de Cuisine Umberto Bombana was recently awarded the Worldwide Ambassador of the White Truffle, 2006, by L'Enoteca Regionale Piemonte 'Cavour' (The Regional Wine Cellar Piemonte). And while truffle season may be over, diners can expect dishes from chef Bombana that will seduce the senses. The menu includes Calvisius caviar on celery root foam with Balik salmon and artichoke; slow roasted lobster with asparagus agnolotti (stuffed pasta) and lobster basil jus; Wagyu beef tenderloin (below) with morel mushroom and pinot sauce, with foie gras on pumpkin and tangerine puree; and for dessert, a warm rosemary apple tarte tartin with champagne rose sorbet, hazelnut crisp and vanilla espuma, or foam. Naturally, there is a price tag to match the extravagance and dinner will cost HK$2,888/couple. Caprice (Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8Finance Street, Central, 31968888) (above) offers high-end dining with French flavours, impressive harbour views, decor that combines the contemporary with the opulent, and an open kitchen. On February14 an eight-course dinner will be available at HK$1,800/person. Dishes will include Jerusalem artichoke panacotta with perigord black truffle, poached quail egg and perigueux sauce, and bresse chicken demi-deuil with truffled orzo pasta and voluptuous jus. Guests will also be given a Valentine's treat. Over at Opia (1/F, Jia Hong Kong, 1-5Irving Street, Causeway Bay, 31969100), a six-course dinner (HK$895/couple) promises an array of flavours to get the sensual juices flowing. Dinner kicks off with a glass of rose champagne and Tasmanian oysters, followed by champagne sorbet and peppered mango salad. Next, diners can opt for seared foie gras with caviar, passion fruit cream and baby basil served with iced vodka; or creamy crustacean broth with Dungeness crab tortellini, boston lobster and roasted Hakkaido scallop infused with spiced vodka. Main course and dessert options sound equally tantalising and include cocoa butter roasted venison chop with marinated butternut pumpkin pistachio nuts, bitter chocolate sorbet and sticky Frangelico cherries; while lady finger banana tart with double chocolate and black pepper ice cream, baby basil, wild honey, vanilla cream and rose petals rounds off dinner. An alternative option for Italian cuisine is Va Bene (17-22 Lan Kwai Fong, 28455577). Its three-course Valentine's menu (HK$525/person) gives diners two choices for starters and main courses. The former consists of either puff pastry filled with buffalo mozzarella and tomato sauce, or homemade beetroot tagliatelle with scallops. Main course options are baked turbot with potatoes and thyme, or roast fillet of veal with asparagus and smoked provolone cheese. Dessert comes in the form of Monte Bianco, or chestnut cake with chocolate sauce. Women on the night (to the first 15 reservations) will be given a three-piece skin-care set from Elemis, and the first 50 women diners will be given a treatment voucher to be used at Victorian Spa at Hong Kong Disneyland. Sweet surprises to try at home Spoon's executive pastry chef Christophe Grilo (pictured) will give a demonstration of three desserts - personalised chocolate hearts, crunchy vanilla truffles, and Valentine's cups with strawberries and yoghurt - which can be recreated at home. Two classes are scheduled for tomorrow (February 3) and on February 10 between 9.30am and noon, and 1pm to 3.30pm. The HK$588 price tag includes a chocolate truffle cake, a Spoon apron, and a continental breakfast. Call 23132256. Chef Sergio Zanetti (The Mistral) will share his secrets on how to create a stress-free, romantic meal to five-star standards. The Mistral Valentine Culinary Kit includes a cooking class with the chef, ingredients for one person during the demonstration, plus a survival kit with ingredients for two and a bottle of champagne. The kit costs HK$1,888. Call 27312870. Chef Lai Yiu-fai (L'Eclipse, Langham Hotel pastry chef) will, under the direction of executive chef Christopher Christie, demonstrate how to create a 'Red Velvet cake'. Participants (limited to 10) must be booked for the afternoon tea buffet at the restaurant for either February10 or 11 (HK$298/person), and will get to take home the cake. Sessions will be in Cantonese and English. Call 2375 1133. Deliver a delicious message of love You can't go wrong with a personally delivered Cocktail of Love from Scandinavian restaurant and bar FINDS (2/F, LKF Tower, 33Wyndham Street, Central, 25229318 or 25216600). Choose from two options and FINDS will send someone over to shake a cocktail for your loved one - be they in the office, in the bath, or even in bed. Available from February 12 to February 14 at HK$899, including a sweet surprise, and available at half price if you make a dinner reservation for February 14. FINDS also has a house special, the Fluffy Love Cocktail, made with Bombay Sapphire, fresh raspberry, passion fruit, elderflower and lemon topped with raspberry foam. On the food side, try the four-course Valentine's Aphrodisiac Menu, specially created by FINDS' Finnish chef Jaakko Sorsa. This culinary assignation starts with Sorsa's signature marinated Belon oyster with marinated cucumber and thyme, followed by Faroe Island shrimp tartar with shaved and grilled asparagus, tarragon dressing and poached quail's egg. To clear the palate, a ginger-scented white tomato foam is next. The main course is either pigeon stuffed with pigeon confit and served with foie gras ragout of salsify, celery, eggplant and zucchini and sauce Maltese, or North Sea turbot 'grille-poche' with red bell pepper puree, saffron potato fondant and roasted vegetable vinaigrette. Dessert is chocolate mousse glazed with - you guessed it - passion fruit, and 'Pur Caraibe' with fruit terrine and rose champagne sabayon. The Aphrodisiac Menu is available on February14 only and costs HK$688 a head plus 10 per cent service charge. Included in the price is one mini bottle each of Moet & Chandon bubbly. Book early. DIAL OUT Like the idea of a first-rate meal without having to chop a single vegetable? Cuisine Courier provides a delivery service of foods from more than 50 restaurants of all kinds of cuisines. On February14, those requesting the Valentine's Day specials will be given a bottle of Mini Moet and flowers. Call 25960000.