Feb. 14 Ahead: Auto Club Restaurant Inspectors Offer Their Most Romantic Dining Spots In Region

(LOS ANGELES, Feb. 13, 2009) - February is here and Valentine's Day is looming. To help the love struck impress a date, spouse, or significant other this weekend, the Automobile Club of Southern California Diamond rating restaurant inspectors developed a list of romantic dining spots for Cupid's arrow.
The inspectors used the AAA Diamond rating criteria of overall food, service and ambiance offered by the establishments, as well as their experiences inspecting the dining spots, to come up with a list of places to recommend for celebrating heart day.
"Romantic restaurants in Southern California can range from a stylish outdoor patio under a star-lit sky, an inspirational garden, a breath-taking sunset or a place that's casual but elegant," said Patricia Marenco, Approved Accommodations Supervisor. "We polled our inspectors for their recommendations. Their selections range from three-to five Diamond-rated restaurants that are romantic and meet AAA standards for dcor, professional service, and cuisine."
The Top Romantic Dining Destinations noted by the Auto Club's restaurant inspectors for 2009:
Los Angeles
Nick & Stef's Steakhouse-Casual but elegant. This restaurant offers a newly remodeled patio lounge and along with its reputation for great steaks, its menu features vegetable dishes for vegetarian dining options.
Pacific Dining Car-Open since 1921, this restaurant offers a back-in-time setting. It also offers shuttle service to Disney Concert Hall, the Music Center, Staples Center and Nokia Theatre.
Patina-If you're looking to be pampered, this restaurant offers impeccable service and a stylish patio for al fresco dining. The restaurant is located in the Walt Disney Concert Hall for pre- or post-concert meals.
Zucca Ristorante-One of the area's top Italian restaurants and located two blocks from Staples Center, this locale offers shuttles to the Music Center. Romantic private dining rooms.
Water Grill-Downtown restaurant noted by Auto Club inspectors, Michelin, the Robb Report and LA Magazine for its fresh seafood. Warm deco style dcor and ambiance.
Central/West Los Angeles
Gardens in the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills-A setting for romance with casual outdoor dining, poolside. California-style cuisine.
The Restaurant (at the Hotel Bel-Air)--Beautifully decorated, the dining room is a popular setting for seasonally changing French-California cuisine. Also features a charming bougainvillea-covered terrace with an outdoor fireplace.
La Jolla
Marine Room-Special Valentine's Day menu served amid dramatic ocean views and crashing surf. Opened in 1941 and patrons remain awed by the tide that's just inches from the windows.
Orange Hill Restaurant-Fine dining on a hilltop. On Valentine's Night offering dancing after dinner in the Evening Star Ballroom to favorite oldies, classics and contemporary love songs.
The Raymond Restaurant-Timeless charm, cozy booths and candlelit patios. The Pasadena landmark that traces its roots back to the late 1800s, is offering a special Valentine's Day menu.
Palm Springs
Europa in the Villa Royale Inn-Romantic beauty in an international setting. Charming private dining room with wood-burning fireplace and French doors. Continental dishes.
Duane's Prime Steaks and Seafood at the Mission Inn-Inland Empire's only AAA Four Diamond restaurant since 1996 located in one of the most unique hotels in America built in Mission-Revival-style. The hotel's wedding chapels are located a floor above the lobby.
San Diego
Addison-The first and only AAA Five Diamond restaurant in San Diego. Signature dining spot of The Grand Del Mar. Restaurant ambiance is plush and service is professional. Contemporary French cuisine has racked up accolades in the industry since opening in 2006.
Molly's-Located on the ground level of the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina. Local seafood, along with steaks and barbeque make this spot with great views a year-round draw.
Santa Barbara
Montecito Caf--Every table at the often-busy restaurant offers a view of the village and serene atmosphere.
Wine Cask Restaurant--Elegant but quaint. Large groups frequent this restaurant but on special occasions the staff will be sure to make it a memorable evening.
Stella Mare's--Housed in a 1879 building, the restaurant is across from a bird sanctuary, which provides infectiously fun "background music." Popular destination with two locations and featuring intimate rooms.