In the second part of our Valentine’s Day double whammy, we bring you five more ways to woo your loved one, from a romantic restaurant in Rome to a great shop for cards in New York. And we have included a wild card option for the singletons in London. Because life is not always a bed and roses.
ROME – L’Archeologia
With a steady year-round temperature of 15°C, the catacombs along the Appia Antica make a good winter destination. Afterwards, head for this delightfully rustic but elegant restaurant which, unlike many of its tourist-trap neighbours, takes food, wine and courteous service seriously. The main wood-beamed dining room is a romantic lunch or dinner spot. All the pastas are good – as is the salami, cheese and focaccia ‘Antica Posta’ starter. Favourite table: one near the open fire, in a warm ochre-hued room dotted with ancient marble fragments. www.larcheologia.it. ££.
NEW YORK – Greenwich Letterpress
The city’s obsession with letterpress stationery arrived around the same time as the cupcake. Unlike the fashion for red velvet fondant, letterpress lives on – and this is the best place to blow over a hundred dollars on a dozen beautifully designed and printed greeting cards. There are cats in hats for the festive season and twee-free Valentine’s cards. They also offer a bespoke invitation service. Favourite item: the Pop Culture pencils, bearing gold embossed slogans such as Why James Franco Does No Wrong and Why I Follow Kanye On Twitter. www.greenwichletterpress.com. ££.
SHANGHAI – Lost Heaven
Discover the spice-infused cuisine and ethnic exotica of China’s Yunnan province at one of Shanghai’s most beloved restaurants (reservations are a must). This place is inspired by folk cuisines along the ancient tea-trade route through southern China, Burma and Laos. Rich curries infused with rare mushrooms, tea leaves and mountain-grown spices are matched by evocative candlelit interiors dressed in crimson with Tibetan motifs. Favourite table: the romantic tables on the mezzanine overlooking the buzzing downstairs dining room. www.lostheaven.com.cn. ££.
SYDNEY – Hugos Manly (pictured)
After a day spent in picturesque Manly, have dinner here. Set on the edge of Manly Wharf, the restaurant’s chic interior makes it popular among couples. The fare is Italian home-style cooking: think seafood starters and indulgent pizzas with seasonal toppings of caramelised pineapple and roma tomatoes. Book to secure deck seating so that you can watch the waves lap the shore. Favourite table: a deck table facing the ferry wharf or the beachfront provides good views of the evening sun and sea. It’s perfect for a romantic dinner for two. http://hugos.com.au/. ££.
LONDON – LAST WORD
Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday in 2015, which means not only that restaurants should be approached with caution over that entire weekend, but also that singletons can expect quirky nightlife in spades. Dress up for daftness and dancing at Monty’s ‘festival-style’ singles party (www.hellomontys.com), or join fellow nay-sayers for some Speed Hating at a Down With Dating event (www.feelinggloomy.com).