“There’s literally nothing to do for Valentine’s! Whittier has the sh***iest food ever!” Honestly, it is tempting to play into the pessimism we so often hear when in conversation with our peers at our dorm rooms, parties, or even in class surrounding the restaurant scene in Whittier. But, I am here to prove you wrong and spread the love this Feb. 14. This Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for exploration in your love of food with the people you love, too. Since our return to campus, a bunch of new places have been popping up all around us that cater to the likes of college students. Many of these eateries are conveniently located in the prime location of Uptown. This is the perfect distance to take a romantic stroll from campus with your Valentine for a yummy meal. Without further adieu, here are the top five best restaurants to eat at this Valentine’s day, some old, some new.
In no particular order. . . .
The Mission Square
When you think of Valentine’s Day, you think of Italian food, right? It’s so romantic and aromatic – Italian wine is always a plus, too. The Mission Square in Whittier offers a delicious and intimate fine dining Italian experience, just a one-minute drive and six-minute walk from campus. This restaurant is unsuspecting from the outside, but, upon walking in, you will find the hidden gem of the courtyard patio. The trees on the patio are adorned with dimly lit twinkling string lights, giving a dainty light to the rustic tables. It’s a scene reminiscent of an Italian cafe you could find in Rome. The food is creative and new, while still remaining true to traditional
Italian. For example, the Sagne a Pezze infuses Japanese shiitake mushrooms into an Italian dish, giving it a bold but modern twist. The dish is tossed in loving housemade marinara with homemade pasta, while every table is served warm bread made from scratch. What more could you ask for? Dessert!
Channel your inner Betty Boop for a super cute Valentine’s date at Frisco’s CarHop! This adorable joint serves classic American-style food, with a similarly classic American diner decor and trendy atmosphere. The pink cars for seats with the fuzzy dice make you feel like you’re at Lover’s Lane; maybe that’s why it blew up on TikTok. The Frisco’s dining room is a great place to take some polaroid pictures with your date or friends because it is decked out in bright splashes of bubblegum pink and bright turquoise. Frisco’s is about a ten to fifteen-minute drive from campus, but it is totally worth it just because of the milkshakes. The chocolate milkshake came with whipped cream and was embellished with a red and white swirly straw, a crunchy peroline for added texture, and a glistening maraschino cherry. The milkshake is the perfect balance of sweetness and rich chocolate, giving a sort of silky feeling left in your mouth. On the other hand, the food does not compare. The impossible burger here is so dry it gives you cottonmouth, with no visible sauce for relief, and the fries are almost a mirror image of the Spot’s super-coated, crunchy fries. The food doesn’t matter, though’ the milkshakes and the atmosphere are really perfect for a fun, late-night date or an after-dinner dessert run.
The Crooked Gaff Oyster Bar
If you’re really leaning into the romantic side of things for Valentine’s Day, you might consider trying the Crooked Gaff Oyster Bar, because oysters are an aphrodisiac after all. This gem is only a 5 minute walk away, with a very quaint and atmosphere that is spread out, perfect for side seating and whispering sweet nothings. It offers a privacy that feels intimate because of the sparingly warm lighting. This Valentine’s Day, Chef Tony is offering a set menu in which you get an appetizer, entree, and drink for a fixed price. The special menu is unclear as of now, but expect Kumai Oysters for the day of love. Still, keep an eye out for the final menu on their Instagram, @cgk_2.0. Despite the unknown menu, their well-known YellowFin Tuna Tostada is absolutely mouth-watering. The fresh, pink tuna is heartily placed onto a homemade tostada topped with a refreshing ginger, peanut, cabbage slaw. When you bite in, you can feel the freshness of the tuna as it melts delicately on your tongue, to be met with a slight kick of spice and Ponzu sauce. It is a bit messy, but what good food isn’t? Based on this dish alone, the Valentine’s Day menu should be spectacular and can offer a romantic evening.
Maybe you aren’t into doing all that for Valentine’s Day, and just want to have a nice night in to watch sappy rom coms and stuff your face in chocolate and pizza. Well, this Valentine’s Day, Brickhouse Pizza is offering a heart-shaped pie to complement your relaxed night of snuggling. This is a great option for college students because — one, who doesn’t love pizza? Two, it’s affordable! The pizza here isn’t anything crazy special. It’s just your classic American pizza parlor. The cheese is the perfect amount, and when you grab a slice there’s usually a very satisfying cheese string like out of a picture. Brickhouse not only offers a heart-shaped pizza for your celebration, but they also have a variety of sandwiches, calzones, salads, and pastas to round out the night. Brickhouse is an easy one-stop-shop right down the street from campus — a cheaper option for your cozy Valentine’s night in.
For those who love a good beer, and are 21 or over, La Bodega has got you covered. This brand new speakeasy is under the guise of a butchery. When you first walk in it looks like a meat market, with varying selections of locally sourced meat displayed in the front windows. The host will ask, “are you here to pick up a package, or are you here to see the butcher?” ‘Seeing the
butcher’ is code for going to the bar behind the large silver door that looks like the entrance to an industrial walk-in fridge. Once you’re in, your nose is greeted with the combination of brewing hops and marinating meat, probably from their very popular Bodega Fries. Although this place has great farm to table food, the focus should be on the decor and their beers brewed in house. La Bodega’s Hazy IPA is very light and citrusy, with little hop which makes it dangerously good. Their newest drink addition is the guava seltzer, which actually tastes like you’re eating a real guava. It’s very light with the perfect amount of sweetness and punch. It’s also a very light shade of pink made special for Valentine’s day. The atmosphere is what you would expect of a speakeasy. La Bodega features emerald gold plush seating met with a soothing navy-grey blue wall. There are accents of gold everywhere, which makes the space feel luxe. It looks like it’s fashioned out of The Great Gatsby. If you want a cute and mysterious Valentine’s Day spot, you should definitely check out La Bodega’s speakeasy; maybe you could be Jay and Daisy!
To uphold my February 14th Italian food tradition, I will be going to The Mission Square for a lovely evening on the patio. The Mission Square is great for my Valentine’s Day because I always like to dress over the top, which fits in because of the elevated decor at Mission Square. I will be absolutely stuffing my face in the Ravioli Spinaci E Formaggio, while wearing my fancy gown, and sipping on some fancy wine.
Featured Photo Courtesy of Teresa McGlothlin/Quaker Campus