Restaurant News & Reviews

7 ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in SLO County

With fine food from DePalo & Sons in Shell Beach, you can make a romantic picnic on the bluffs above the beach.
With fine food from DePalo & Sons in Shell Beach, you can make a romantic picnic on the bluffs above the beach.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Get ready for romance with these tips and ideas.

Take a cruise aboard the Papagallo II

What: Gaze upon the sparkling lights of Morro Bay while cruising aboard the Papagallo II, a luxury 72-foot motor yacht. Local favorite Steve Meyers will entertain you with classic hits from the 1960s and ’70s while you sip on champagne from the no-host cash bar. Then sit down to a sumptuous feast prepared by Chef Leonard Gentieu, an honors graduate from the esteemed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

When: Boarding begins at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, cruise from 6 to 9 p.m.

Where: 1205 Embarcadero, Morro Bay

How much: $70, $4 to $20 drinks

Info: 805-771-9916 or

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Take a romantic night cruise off the coast of Morro Bay aboard the Papagallo II, a luxury 72-foot motor yacht. Courtesy photo

Give your sweetheart a selection of snuggly treats

What: Browse the whimsical items at General Store Paso Robles and put together a romantic gift basket. You can serve your valentine some Belgian hot chocolate-on-a-stick in red-rimmed enamel cups, share an artisan buttermilk chocolate bar and read some passages from Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s book “How to Love.” Other Valentine’s Day selections at the store include Cupid-themed cards and heart-emblazoned towels and napkins.

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily

Where: General Store Paso Robles, 841 12th St., Paso Robles

How much: Varies

Info: 805-226-5757 or

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Shop for treats for your sweetheart — such as Cal Poly Chocolates — at General Store Paso Robles. David Middlecamp

Pop the cork on a local sparkling wine

What: Nothing says romance like the pop of a sparkling wine cork. Laetitia Vineyard & Winery in Arroyo Grande was the first local label to put bubbles on the map with its estate-grown chardonnay, pinot blanc and pinot noir grapes.

In recent years, other wineries have joined in the fun, such as Biddle Ranch Vineyard in San Luis Obispo, Thacher Winery and Vineyard in Paso Robles and Templeton’s PasoPort Wine Co.

When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

Where: Laetitia Vineyard & Winery 453 Laetitia Vineyard Drive, Arroyo Grande

Info: 805-481-1772 or

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Brut Coquard is one of the sparkling wine offerings at Laetitia Vineyard and Winery in Arroyo Grande. David Middlecamp

Serve up some romance with a special dinner

What: Is there a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try? Check out the intimate Italian setting at La Locanda in San Luis Obispo, the wood-fired fare at Ember in Arroyo Grande or the intriguing Peruvian dishes at Mistura in Paso Robles?

Many local restaurants are also offering special Valentine’s Day menus, such as Windows on the Water in Morro Bay and Cello Ristorante & Bar in Paso Robles. (Reservations are recommended.)


Lomo saltado at Mistura in Paso Robles features free-range natural top-sirloin strips stirfried with organic fresh tomatoes, red onions, potatoes and Peruvian spices. It’s served with Peruvian white rice. David Middlecamp

Present your love with ravishing roses

What: The stunning roses grown by Eufloria Flowers in Nipomo have graced the Kentucky Derby, the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena and numerous celebrity events. The company sells wholesale throughout the United States and Canada, but you can personally select a bouquet at their Nipomo nursery location or at farmers markets in Arroyo Grande, Cambria, Morro Bay, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo.

An added bonus? Because the sustainably grown roses are so fresh, they’ll last longer than flowers shipped from overseas.

When: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to noon Saturday

Where: Eufloria Flowers, 885 Mesa Road, Nipomo

How much: $10 a dozen

Info: 805-929-4683 or

Lily Garcia, general manager at Eufloria, leads a group of attendees at the California Cut Flower Convention past a bucket of cut Ruby Red roses. The Nipomo nursery grows several varities of flowers. David Middlecamp

Gather up goodies for a sunset picnic

What: Looking for the perfect fare for a romantic picnic on Valentine’s Day? DePalo & Sons in Shell Beach is the place to go for provisions, spirits, and fine wines.

Grab some bread to go along with local olive oil, imported meats and cheeses or freshly made mozzarella caprese salad. Create your own deli sandwich or opt for one of the daily prepared dishes such as lasagna or rotisserie chicken. And don’t forget dessert, whether it’s a cream torte or a decadent chocolate cake.

When: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Where: DePalo & Sons, 2665 Shell Beach Road, No. L, Shell Beach

How much: Varies

Info: 805-773-1589

Romantic Picnic sandwich and salad
A Valentine’s Day picnic from DePalo & Sons in Shell Beach include a smoked turkey sandwich with herbed brie and edamame and quinoa salad. Joe Johnston

Celebrate the silver screen with a movie might

What: Get in the Valentine’s Day spirit by watching “You Can’t Take It With You” at Park Cinemas in Paso Robles on Feb. 11. Directed by Frank Capra, the movie stars James Stewart and Jean Arthur as two lovebirds trying to reconcile their very different families to the idea of marriage.

Film lovers can also check out indie films celebrating romance at the inaugural Cambria Film Festival, running Feb. 8 to 11.

After Valentine’s Day, keep the mood going with one of Hollywood’s original rom-coms: “The Philadelphia Story,” starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart. It’s screening Feb. 18 and 21 at Downtown Centre Cinemas in San Luis Obispo.

When: 7 p.m. Feb. 11

Where: Park Cinemas, 1100 Pine St., Paso Robles

How much: $12, includes popcorn, chocolates and soda or champagne

Info: 805-238-4103 or

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James Stewart and Jean Arthur appear in a scene from “You Can’t Take It with You,” screening Feb. 11 at Park Cinemas in Paso Robles. Columbia Pictures Photofest