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Octopus Carpaccio. Photo courtesy of Zanti Cucina Italiana

Featured Article

Table for Two

Valentine's Day calls for three of the hottest reservations in town.

Aya Sushi 

Discover the perfect Valentine's Day destination at Aya Sushi in Bellaire. The menu at Aya has been masterfully crafted by Chef Yoshi Katsuyama, trained in Tokyo and celebrated for making waves at Houston's Uchi and Soto. 

Aya boasts a seasonal omakase experience and an unrivaled selection of sake, the largest in Texas. Aya recently earned the prestigious Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, highlighting its commitment to curating a thoughtful wine and beverage program.

Those fortunate enough to snag a reservation for the omakase experience will not only taste unforgettable sushi, much of which is only available at Aya, but they will also enjoy Chef Yoshi's entertainment throughout the two-hour experience. Part humble bragging and part hilarious, his guest interaction adds to the dining experience. Beyond the omakase offerings, indulge in a diverse array of nigiri, sashimi, and sushi rolls for an unforgettable Valentine's Day celebration.

Zanti Cucina Italiana

As Dean Martin crooned, "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's Amore." River Oaks Italian hot spot Zanti will not only provide the amore this Valentine's Day, but they will also provide a delicious selection of wood-fired Neapolitan-style pies with toppings that include crispy pancetta, blue cheese, and white truffle oil. Perfect for a date night, the curated menu features appetizers such as the Burrata Caprese, Black Truffle Beef Tartare, and the Scampi Aglio Olio & Peperoncino. Flavorful entrée highlights include the Pappardelle Al Ragú Di Ossobuco, Branzino baked in sea salt served tableside, and the Bistecca Alla Fiorentina. 

Valentine's Day is about dessert, so make room for Zanti's tiramisu, Crostata al Limone, a lemon tart with meringue, and a selection of homemade gelato. If you want to make a splash, order an off-the-menu chocolate sphere. Served tableside, the decadent dessert has a sparkler and plenty of melted chocolate.

Annabelle Brasserie 

If you haven't seen the over-the-top decor of Annabelle Brasserie splashed all over social media, Valentine's Day might just be the perfect opportunity. The latest concept from Benjamin Berg is an all-day restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Located in Autry Park, a mixed-use development on Buffalo Bayou Park, Annabelle has the charm of a Parisian cafe and features antiques from all over the world, including vintage lighting, mirrors, and a bronze female sculpture as a focal point.

Annabelle's menu was created by Berg Hospitality's Culinary Director Brian Sutton and executive chef Russell Kirkham. It features dishes including lighter fare like soups and salads and traditional brasserie favorites such as steak frites, beef short ribs, and Le Grande' Berg'er served tableside with melted raclette.

  • Sashimi. Photo by Jenn Duncan
  • Creamy Lobster Udon with caviar. Photo by Jenn Duncan
  • Chef’s Choice Sashimi. Photo by Jenn Duncan
  • Photo by Jenn Duncan
  • Caviar Pasta. Photo courtesy of Zanti Cucina Italiana
  • Black Truffle Tagliolini. Photo courtesy of Zanti Cucina Italiana
  • Octopus Carpaccio. Photo courtesy of Zanti Cucina Italiana
  • Annabelle Brasserie. Photo by Brian Kennedy
  • Seared Ora King Slamon. Photo by Brian Kennedy
  • Tuna Tartare. Photo by Brian Kennedy