Oh, the perils of dating. Drunken booty calls, counting the minutes til it’s cool to text back without looking desperate . . . Well, we can’t control all the factors of chaos in the dating matrix, but why not plan a date this Valentines Day where improving your chances of a liaison is written in the DNA of your meal. From classic aphrodisiacs like oysters and chocolate, to uni, caviar, and honey, we dig around for the best places for you to get your best foot forward.
SILVERLAKE | L&E OYSTER BAR
1637 Silverlake Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Get your fillings of the world’s most notorious aphrodisiac at this neighborhood oyster bar. Served up in a multitude of manners—raw, grilled, and fried—you’re sure to find a presentation of the bivalves that’s to your liking. Beware though: L&E does not accept reservations, so give yourself plenty of time to snag a seat.
WHAT TO GET: For the traditionalists, raw oysters are available by the dozen and you can scope out L&E’s daily oyster offerings on their Twitter. Not so keen on raw? You can also get your oysters grilled here. Try them “casino” style with butter, paprika, thyme, shallots, and neuske’s bacon, or get the “oysters L&E” with duck confit, dried sour cherries, chives, and bread crumbs.
DOWNTOWN | Q RESTAURANT
521 West 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014
This recent addition to downtown houses some of the best Edomae-style sushi LA has seen yet, with an interesting backstory: Two western attorneys fall in love with sushi in Japan at the hands of Chef Hiroyuki Naruke. When the Fukushima nuclear disaster hits, they and a fellow lawyer colleague help the beleaguered sushi chef fulfill his dream of opening a sushi restaurant in the U.S., and the rest is history.
WHAT TO GET: Although it may be an acquired taste, uni—otherwise known as sea urchin—is a prized delicacy in Japan, and discerning epicureans around the globe are catching on. With a sweet, buttery, and briny flavor, uni owes its aphrodisiac reputation to anandamide, a neurotransmitter which is reported to activate dopamine production in your brain. You’ll want to go omakase here, but make sure to request uni and you’ll likely be served a San Diego variety of uni much preferred by the chefs over the ubiquitous Santa Barbara kind. For a real sweet-and-savory treat, try their miso-marinated uni.
WEST HOLLYWOOD | PETROSSIAN
321 North Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048
The Petrossian’s history as a caviar purveyor dates back almost a century when Russian brothers Melkoum and Mouchegh Petrossian relocated from Russia to Paris to sling the fish eggs and elevate the delicacy into the world of luxe, French cuisine. Today, caviar is known world-over and is often viewed as an aphrodisiac not so much for its makeup, but for its elusiveness and expensive pricetag. On top of that, caviar is also said to be a symbol of fertility.
WHAT TO GET: Who knew caviar could be served in so many ways? Whether folded into scrambled eggs encased in an eggshell and topped with vodka cream, or sandwiched in between layers of beef tartare, there’s a presentation to satisfy all—from the novice to the caviar connoisseur. Those willing to shell out can get the Tsar Imperial Caviar Trio: 30 grams each of Tsar Imperial Ossetra, Siberian & Transmontanus Caviar for a whopping $390.
MANHATTAN BEACH | M.B. POST
1142 Manhattan Avenue, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Chef David LeFevre’s post office turned “social restaurant” is a Manhattan Beach staple, making the perfect setting for a romantic brunch. Communal tables and re-invented down-home cooking make M.B. Post the optimal mix of casual, accessible ambiance and gourmet cuisine.
WHAT TO GET: While fried chicken doesn’t exactly shoot to the top of our aphrodisiac list, the ingredients featured in this rendition are what help this dish make the cut. Laced with honey and truffle, the highly aromatic dish satisfies both the glutton and the epicurean with its crispy exterior, juicy meat, and fragrant sauce.
BRENTWOOD | COMPARTES CHOCOLATIER
912 South Barrington Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90049
From its aroma to its heavenly taste, what’s not to like about chocolate? Whether you like dark, milk, or white chocolate, you’ll find some of the city’s most beautifully presented chocolates here at Jonathan Compartes chocolate emporium. Go ahead and judge a book by its cover, too, because the chocolates here taste as good as they appear, adorned with elegant and colorful patterns indicative of the chocolates’ flavors.
WHAT TO GET: Compartes chocolates come in over 100 varieties, so there’s bound to be at least one chocolate to satisfy even the pickiest of chocolate eaters. Pick something fragrant to maximize the aphrodisiac potential. We suggest the olive oil rosemary, pear cardamom, strawberry balsamic, and smoked sea salt. Compartes also offers holiday and seasonally-themed chocolate flavors, like egg nog or blackberry sage.