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(Photo credit: Lukas Friedrich, Luna Design)

Valentine’s Day isn’t all sunshine, rainbows and roses. The hearts-and-flowers holiday has been tabbed as a “Hallmark holiday.” But lost in all the (chocolate) sauce around gift-giving just six weeks after Christmas is the idea that Valentine’s Day, at its heart, is about love. 

And who says it has to be romantic love? You can love your friends. You can love where you live. Speaking of the latter, there’s plenty to love about the North Fork, whether you’re currently hitched or not. The sprawling vineyard views, farm-to-table-cuisine and ethereal calm that winter brings to the table.

Valentine’s Day (and the weekend before it) offers a chance to celebrate the best of the North Fork — with a romantic partner, friends or by yourself if you’re so inclined. From offering special menus to wineries with toast-worthy offerings, these are the top ways to spend Valentine’s Day on the North Fork.

North Fork Table & Inn, 57225 Main Road, Southold, 631-765-0177

(Photo credit: Northforker archives)

After a winter respite, North Fork Table & Inn is re-emerging from hibernation for Valentine’s Day (with chances to hibernate in delicious fashion). A three-course menu includes the restaurant’s signature Duck Tot & Caviar to start, a high-end entry point to a meal that can consist of a Tomahawk steak dry-aged to perfection or a surf ‘n turf feast with black garlic marinated filet mignon, lobster ravioli and soft herbs. Diners can add on wine pairings for $92 per person. Don’t want to leave? Upgrade your trip with a romantic escape package that comes with a bottle of Macari wine, chocolates and other treats.

Aplina, 45 Front St., Greenport, 631-477-2600

This Greenport restaurant and wine bar likes to say it “flirts” with Swiss-Italian culture and cuisine. Like a good part, the Valentine’s Day menu promises to bring out the best in each. Think foraged mushrooms or Swiss capuns (dumplings) to start or followed by fondue for two or Crescent Farms duck as a main. As for dessert, it’s a choice between chocolate chartreuse souffle or a St. Gallen Monastery tart with red currants and almonds. Truly, it’s a toss-up, but the coin toss is unnecessary when you’re a part of two.

Bistro 72, 1830 W Main St., Riverhead, 631-369-3325

Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday this year, which may leave you feeling rather bah-humbug if you have to work. Bistro 72 is making Valentine’s Day a multi-day affair. From Feb. 9 to 14, diners can choose from a special menu offered by the farm-to-table eatery inside the boutique Hotel Indigo. A French onion soup with gooey Gruyère cheese can get a cold evening off to a warm start. Mains include bright-yet-hearty choices like burrata ravioli and clams and linguini with sundried tomatoes. A mini-red velvet cake for dessert on Valentine’s Day seems appropriate.

A Mano, 13550 Main Road, Mattituck, 631-298-4800

This might be one of the best heart’s day bargains going: $65 three-course prix fixe plus a glass of Prosecco. Yes, please! The menu selections at this Mattituck fave with make your heart go pitter-pat. From traditional anchovy-spiked Caesar salad kicked up with both radicchio and romaine and crunchy garlic croutons, oysters of the half, irresistible arancini and a truffle-honey drizzled brie and pear tart among the starters, to soothing Sunday sauce with pasta and meatballs, potato crusted cod, and Barolo-braised short ribs, you’ll want to pick up the phone ASAP to get in on this sweet deal. Pro tip: Don’t forget the cannoli for dessert!

Sparkling Pointe, 39750 County Road 48, Southold, 631-765-0200

With apologies to Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, sparkling wine and cupcakes are the real super-couple of February. On Feb. 10 to 11, Sparkling Pointe is teaming up with North Fork Flour Shoppe to offer a seated, three-course tasting of bubblies and miniature cupcakes. The event, which sells out annually, costs $30 per person and will occur in Sparkling Pointe’s airy, white-washed tasting room accented by poppy art. 

Macari Vineyards, 150 Bergen Ave., Mattituck, 631-298-0100

Macari is offering a trio of ways to raise a glass to something or someone you love this Valentine’s Day. A special flight of vinos, including a Cuvée Katherine rosé tabbed as “effervescent,” will be on it, and the vineyard plans to pair wine with light bites. A special Valentine’s bundle will set you up for an at-home date in the future (perhaps on the 14th?). Among the treats, the bundle includes a bottle of Macari’s 2020 Dos Aguas red blend, loved for its lush raspberry notes and extra virgin olive oil. A few more to whet your whistle: Chocolates, pasta and tomato sauce from Amber Waves. Macari’s wines will also be served at a tasting and tarot card reading at Meadowlark North Fork from noon to 5 p.m.

Clovis Point Vineyard & Winery, 1935 NY-25, Laurel, 631-722-4222

Chocolate and vino are like the adult version of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (not that there’s anything wrong with the 18+ crowd enjoying those). Clovis Point Vineyard & Winery will be hosting tastings on two weekends (Feb. 10 to 11 and Feb. 17 to 18), bookending Valentine’s Day, giving busy couples and friends plenty of options to sip, nibble and savor the quintessential and steady pair. The chocolates all come courtesy of North Fork Chocolate Company. There will be two seating sessions in the 10-acre property’s intimate tasting room, which is part of the 10-acre property each day (noon to 3 p.m. and 3:30 to 6 p.m.). Reservations are required. The cost is $25 for wine club members and $30 for non-members.

Long Island Aquarium, 431 E Main St., Riverhead, 631-208-9200

Think the seaweed is greener for couples who get to go out on Valentine’s Day while you work or ride a train home? We can’t weigh in there, but we can point you to an under-the-sea adventure complete with wine and chocolate at Long Island Aquarium. The menu includes salad with chocolate-dipped bacon (seriously), chocolate-braised short ribs and a decadently rich chocolate gateau layered chocolate cake. Each course is paired with a wine from Raphael. Make a weekend of Valentine’s Day by booking a “Sweetheart Sleepover” at the Hyatt next door. A hotel package is $509 and includes dinner and an overnight stay.

Peconic Bay Vineyards, 31320 Main Road, Cutchogue, 631-735-9192

If you have a hard time picking what sushi roll to have, let alone what wine to sip alongside it, Peconic Bay Vineyards is offering a super-fun resolution to that conundrum. Head to the winery on Saturday, Feb. 16 for their five small course servings of sushi prepared by the Chequit’s secret-weapon sushi chef Gayle Scarberry paired with winemaker Greg Gove’s fab fermentations (think sparkling wine and seaweed salad, riesling and wasabi, and host of other eye-opening matches) — plus a surprise sweet course from Chequit pastry chef Mazie Galle! Time slots start at 6 p.m.

Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, 42155 Main Road, Peconic, 631- 477-1100

Join Greenport Harbor Brewery on Saturday, Feb. 10th, from noon to 4 p.m. for their annual Flanneltines Day Celebration. Head to their Peconic location for beer and food specials, live music and unique artisanal finds. Throughout the afternoon you’re invited to explore a festive array of handcrafted items, including flowers, chocolate, poetry, jewelry, art, knits, cookies, embroidery, tarot card readings and more. Also, give love to a good cause and donate non-perishable food items to CAST’s food bank. This event is completely free to attend.

American Beech, 300 Main St, Greenport, 631-477-5939

Whether you’re looking for a cute Galentine’s get-together or a romantic dinner with your special someone, American Beech has your Valentine’s Day plans covered. “The Valentine’s” price fixe menu is three courses offering romantic classics such as oysters Rockafeller, short rib tagliatelle, a warm Brussels Ceasear salad and flourless chocolate lava cake — to name just a few. This special is $95 per person and reservations can be made on Open Table or by calling the restaurant.

Demarchelier Bistro, 471 Main St., Greenport, 631-593-1650

No one does romance quite like the French and this Valentine’s Day everyone is invited to delight in the full menu of this Greenport bistro along with romantic specials which include small plates with osetra caviar (for $30.75) and seared foie gras (for $28.75). Reservations for both lunch and dinner are strongly recommended and can be made on Resy.

The Halyard at The Soundview, 58775 County Road 48, Greenport, 631-477-0666

You can’t beat the views of the Sound at The Halyard. (Photo courtesy of The Halyard)

The Halyard invites guests to a romantic evening by the Sound in their Piano Bar for a romance-filled Valentine’s Day weekend. Enjoy the Sommelier Selection of Chartogne-Taillet Brut Rosé, Champagne NV, priced at $115. This special menu features Tuna Tartare for $22, Chicken Roulade (for two) at $46, and Raspberry Soufflé (for two) at $18. Opt for the three-course prix fixe menu at $85 per person. This bubbly-filled experience is available from Feb. 14 to 18, with seating from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Additionally, join The Halyard on Feb. 15 for the Nameless Writers Salon #2, “The Love Drop: A Sorta/Kinda Valentine’s Day Reading.” From 6 to 7:30 p.m., spend the evening with writers as they craft ‘love letters’ to things that inspire, challenge or confuse them. Reserve a free seat by RSVPing online, limited seating is available.

Leon 1909, 29 West Neck Road, Shelter Island, 631-749-9123

Celebrate love and the return of Leon 1909. The specials on this Shelter Island staple’s menu include foie grass with candied hearth-roasted pumpkin warm brioche (for $36), grilled lobster with a lemon verbena (for $65) consummé and braised lamb shank with heirloom beans (for $60).

The Watershed Kitchen & Inn, 46 Front St., South Jamesport, 631-779-3454

Give your sweetheart a memorable experience this Valentine’s Day at Jamesport’s The Watershed Kitchen & Inn. On Feb. 14, the restaurant will feature a full a la carte menu plus some chef’s favorites. For $99 per person, you get a choice of two appetizers, a 4 oz South African lobster tail, a 10 oz filet mignon and a choice of two sides and then finish everything off with a dessert platter for two. Make your reservations here in advance.