Want something a bit more casual for your lovers' dinner and think sunsets are romantic? Santa Fe boasts spectacular ones. One of the best places to this nightly show is Terra Bar at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado. Mother Nature's show is worth the almost 20 minute drive from downtown. The bar menu features an array of small plates created by Executive Chef Andrew Cooper. Sharing plates and feeding each other tiny morsels can be really sexy. If you prefer, you can also order from the seasonally-changing restaurant menu. Cooper is committed to fresh and local and even cultivates his own garden in summer. If you arrive at the bar, where seating is first-come-first-served and the sun's already down, opt for a table by the glowing fireplace. After dinner, take a starlit walk around the resorts grounds.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Fabulous sunset views, casual romantic ambiance and well-executed food make Terra Bar a winner.
Billie's expert tip: Want something a little more private? Book dinner a deux in Terra's private dining room (there is an extra charge for this) and ask Chef Cooper to create a special lovers' menu for your romantic occasion.
Staab House, the cozy bar at La Posada Resort & Spa, is in the former library of the Victorian mansion once home to Abraham and Julia Staab. You can't beat the ambiance for casual romantic dining. In winter, sit by one of the cozy fireplaces or snuggle up on one of the loveseats. In summer, enjoy the beautiful outdoor patio for your tête-à-tête. Sip on Julia's Manhattan, named for the resident ghost, or a glass of wine from their extensive list. Wednesdays through Sundays listen to live music while you dine on bar food. You can also order from the full restaurant menu. Want a more private romantic spot? Ask to have a table set in the Rose Room, just off the current library. After eating, stroll through the resort's lush six acres. Make sure to look up at the stars.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Sometimes you want a little romance coupled with a more casual menu. Staab House offers both.
Billie's expert tip: While at the Staab House, check out the art on the walls throughout the public rooms. The resort, billing itself as the "The Art Hotel of Santa Fe," even has a professional curator. Paintings cover almost all the walls in an ever-changing exhibit and they're all for sale.
A walk down charming, historic Johnson Street on your way to Terra Cotta Wine Bistro will set the scene for romance. Reserve a table in the romantic, bar or one of the two intimate dining rooms for your special dinner. Sip on some wine as you peruse the menu. Great way to start a lovers' dinner: a shared plate of Pacific Northwest Oysters Rockefeller. Oysters are said to be an aphrodisiac food; you can find out for yourselves. Owner Glenda Griswold says the best tables for dinner a deux are either the corner two-top in the bar or the corner table in the main dining room. Both have banquettes encouraging intimate conversation. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays live guitar music helps set the mood. Most romantic occasion to date: a couple who arrived post-wedding still dressed in bridal gown and tux.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Sometimes you want a romantic dinner without breaking the bank. This intimate bistro/wine bar is a great choice.
Billie's expert tip: Owner Glenda Griswold suggests calling in advance to let them know that you're celebrating an occasion, what kind of experience you're seeking and any special romantic touches you'd like to add. Knowing your preferences will help them choose the perfect table for your special dinner.
The name says it all: Dinner for Two. Though they serve more than two, this cozy eatery, run by the Barnes family since 2003, is a place that seems conceived for lovers. The intimate dining room with its subtle lighting sets the mood for love. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings a guitarist plays soft background music. It's an ambiance made for murmured conversations peppered with words of love, perhaps even a proposal. You can have an entire dinner with retro tableside service. First course: Caesar Salad for Two, followed by chateaubriand, the king of romantic restaurant dishes and for dessert: Bananas Fosters for Two. For added drama, both the entrée and dessert are flambéed tableside. The perfect libation to go with this intimate dinner: a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Most romantic gesture: A future groom asked Chef Andy Barnes to create a sugar basket to present an engagement ring.
The Anasazi Restaurant and Bar at the Inn of the Anasazi is one of the most romantic dining rooms in Santa Fe. Décor is Santa Fe style with American Indian accents. Want something more private than the communal dining room? For a price, you can reserve the elegant Wine Cellar or the hotel's living room, an intimate space, for your dinner a deux. No matter what the occasion, Executive Chef Juan Bochenski can consult with you in advance and design a special lovers' menu for your special dinner. Ordering off the menu? The Seafood Risotto Española with lobster, shrimp, mussels and squid in a saffron broth is rich with flavors and hints of possibilities. For a dessert that says, "I love you," opt for the decadent Chocolate Indulgence.
When asked what makes Bouche romantic, chef/owner Charles Dale has a simple answer: "France = Romance!" This intimate bistro's soft cream walls accented with red which Dale calls "the color of passion and love," and soft lighting set the perfect stage for your romantic dinner. Request one of the corner tables, the most romantic in the house, for your lovers' dinner. What's the most romantic dish on the menu? The Seafood Platter, a potpourri of shell fish that includes jumbo prawns, seasonal oysters (you know what they say about these) and Dungeness crab. Couples can feed each other these tasty morsels. Order your favorite champagne and the scene is complete. For dessert: the Profiterole au Chocolat. Most romantic event yet: a proposal. The future groom arranged for a neon sign that said "MARRY ME," lit at a prearranged time. Dale said the house went wild. "Luckily, he added, "she said 'yes!'"
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: This intimate French bistro is a romantic place to celebrate an occasion or to create one with a proposal.
Billie's expert tip: Dale suggests that if the restaurant is full (or you can't get a table at the time you want), sit at the Chef's Counter. You can watch the action in the open kitchen. The talented chef/owner trained with some of the most famous chefs in the world.
Quiet tables and candle light make Arroyo Vino, about 20 minutes northwest of Santa Fe a great place for romance. Let them know you're celebrating a special occasion and you may get a surprise or two. Request either table one or 104, the two most romantic in the house. The restaurant, specializing in small plates, has an ever-changing menu to keep it fresh and interesting. Diners will almost always find oysters, that heralded age-old lover's food, on the menu. Ask your server to recommend the best and most romantic dishes on the current menu. One of the beauties of small plates is they lend themselves to sharing and you can sample more of the eclectic dishes on offer. You can opt for one of the beautifully-plated entrees if you want a more traditional dining experience. There will always be a chocolate dessert for your meal's finale.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: The combination of creative, well-executed food plus fine wines and romantic ambiance make Arroyo Vino a great spot for a romantic rendezvous.
Billie's expert tip: Arroyo Vino was the off-shoot of the adjacent fine wine shop. Enjoy wine by the glass or take advantage of their unique wine program. Select any bottle in the retail shop for the retail price plus $20. The more expensive the bottle the better your deal!
Sunday brunch at Luminaria at the Four Diamond Inn and Spa at Loretto offers guests a leisurely way to begin their day while choosing between both breakfast and lunch options. Dine in their beamed dining with its classic southwestern d�cor. If you're with someone special, request one of their intimate booths, In warmer weather, opt for a table on the elegant, secluded patio. Signature dishes on the seasonally-changing menu include Loretto Eggs Benedict, an unusual take on this classic offering shaved ham, asparagus, baked potatoes and Hollandaise foam; breakfast tacos with chorizo; seasonal waffles or pan-seared salmon with risotto. The menu notes that Luminaria is guided by "principles of sustainability" and local produce is used whenever it's available. For something different, start your meal with their deconstructed mimosa.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Luminaria has boasts one of the most romantic dining settings in Santa Fe – especially tables 13and 42 and the candlelit loggia.
Billie's expert tip: Dining between May and October? Weather permitting; reserve a table on the outdoor patio (one of the best in Santa Fe). The roofed area with its tied-back curtains offers diners a shaded haven. If it's chilly, warm up at the outdoor woodturning fireplace.
Ask Santa Feans what's the most romantic restaurant in the city and many will say Geronimo. What makes it so romantic? The carefully cultivated ambiance (sexy lighting, kiva fireplaces, and soft music) paired with a well-executed menu and fine wines are the key. Start your dinner with the Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Sashimi and Tartare. This beautifully plated appetizer, served with wasabi pancakes, is a great way to start your romantic dinner. Load up a pancake and feed it to your sweetheart. Toast each other with a glass of Veuve Clicquot and end your romantic dinner with a decadent dessert. Voila: a perfect evening. Most romantic moment EVER? A proposal at table 34 (next to the fireplace in the back room – it's perfect for lovers). She said, "Yes." The final touch: a horse drawn carriage (with a man playing the violin) to whisk them away. Top that!
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Geronimo with its romantic ambiance, impeccable service and great food is perfect for an evening of romance.
Billie's expert tip: Executive Chef Eric DiStefano recommends the Fiery Sweet Chile and Honey Grilled Mexican White Prawns, pairing sweet and bold flavors for lovers. He thinks it's the sexiest dish on the menu. Remember to reserve a table well in advance. Geronimo books up.