It's about time to refute the erroneous belief that St. Valentine earned his status due to his enormous love for slaughtering Jews. According to Wikipedia (read: the internet), the church recognizes three saints thusly named. Two of them were early-Christians martyred by the Romans and the third was murdered in Africa. Not a big Jewish community there for him to massacre. Though, I can only assume that all three were virulent anti-Semites.
But, enough with the hate and onto the love.
This Valentine's Day, throw caution to the wind and spend some time with your partner, your spouse or even a friend. And, if romance is not your forte, then outsource it.
Here're some options for this heart shaped day in some of Israel's most romantic spots.
Mechora Ranch in Kerem Maharal offers a romantic horseback ride towards the sunset followed with a wine and cheese picnic to the light of oil lamps. mechora.co.il; (04) 984-2735
Vintage, in Haifa, offers a free Kir Royale and chocolate fondue for couples who dine on a full meal (two starters and two main courses). (077) 550-2330; 24 Kikar Kiyat St.
Angelica Fine Grill, in Jerusalem, celebrates with a six-course tasting menu for NIS 200 per diner. Among the special dishes are sashimi with kohlrabi and pickled radish, oxtail ravioli with porcini mushrooms, sea-fish in an olive and sage vinaigrette and many kosher creations by chef Erez Margi. (02) 623-0056; 7 Shatz St.
Chloelys, in Ramat Gan, offers a special meal of first course, main course and dessert for NIS 380 per couple. Romantic dishes include beef carpaccio or beet carpaccio with salmon as first course, mullet fillet on the plancha filled with feta cheese and dried tomatoes or a sea bass tajine for two for main course and many special desserts. (03) 575-9060; 16 Aba Hillel St.
Tel Aviv's Carmella Bistro's famed chef Daniel Zach adds a certain aphrodisiac flair to the dishes at his stellar establishment's tasting menu. Dishes include almond and cashew crusted scallops with baked yam and Gouda cheese, an oyster shot in champagne and ginger and the "love box" for dessert. Want to know what's in Zach's love box? Then make a reservation. (03) 516-1417; 46 Hatavor St.
Benjamin Siegel, on the Tel Aviv promenade, offers a view of beautiful breaking waves to accompany your meal, which, for this occasion, is designed to be eaten with your hands. The following dishes can be licked off your lover's fingers: a bowl of mussels in Pernod and root vegetables (NIS 110), a shrimp skewer with a cheese pastry (NIS 46), petits fours with blue cheese and figs (NIS 39) and, two special desserts, a chocolate savrin on hot chocolate cream and poached pears with a red wine mousse (NIS 38). Napkins available upon request. (03) 516-6224; 60 Herbert Samuel St.
Frida Kahlo, in Tel Aviv, offers an oyster and champagne for NIS 25. For the lovers' appetites this prime place offers a fixed menu of two cocktails, eight dishes from the specials menu (including a sirloin with tomato puree, fish fillet on liver ravioli and more), two desserts and two digestifs for NIS 190 per diner. (03) 666-0481; 43 Lilienblum St.
Tel Aviv's Dita offers up a menu for two (NIS 170 per diner) comprised of two starters, two main courses, two desserts and two glasses of wine. Besides the regular great food there, you can choose a 100g couples dish of spareribs with potatoes and pears in wine or a 600g entrecote with potatoes and grilled onions. For dessert, don't miss the strawberry soup or crÃ¨me brÃ»lÃ©e - just terrific. (03) 560-4222; 45 Rothschild Blvd.
At the Italian Bellini, in the ever-so-romantic neighborhood of Neve Tzedek, champagne will flow, serenades will be sung and women will be the recipients of roses and heart-shaped chocolates. So all you partners of women need to do is show up. Valentine-themed dishes include a heart-shaped beet carpaccio with Gorgonzola cheese (NIS 42), sea corvina in dried tomatoes butter (NIS 94) and a strawberry and cream pie (NIS 34). Don't forget to ask about available spots next to the fireplace. (03) 517-8486; 6 Yechieli St.
The very tasty Assif is usually closed on Saturday nights. but for Valentine's Day it is open with a unique tapas menu. The different tastes include polenta with cheek stew (NIS 28), onion ravioli in red wine (NIS 26), calamari filled with maple chutney (NIS 38) and much more. Couples can order a 12 tapas meal with two champagne based cocktails for NIS 300. (03) 516-5198; 18 Lilienblum St.
Sinful Sweets, the Neve Tzedek confectionery, has created a variety of heart-shaped treats such as: chocolate-vanilla butter cookies (NIS 15 for 150g), chocolate cake (NIS 30) and, my favorite, strawberry jam cookies (NIS 24 for 300g). All come in a bright red box. Furthermore, today, Friday the 13th (oooh, spooky!), a special all-you-can-eat-brunch features all these special treats for dessert. (03) 516-2708; 67 Shabazi St.
Of course, all the restaurants will be decorated in the most romantic of ways. So, get to it. Find a loved one and make a reservation - not necessarily in that order.