This time last year, we celebrated Valentine’s Day with only the vaguest notion that things were about to change. Restaurants were packed with best-dressed diners who were seated within inches of one another. At the bar — both seated and standing — were dozens of hopefuls who had failed to make reservations.

Last Valentine’s Day, a complete stranger asked me if I’d like to sample his cocktail before ordering one of my own ... and I did!

What a difference a year makes. Celebrations, for now, are marked by signs of the times: social distancing, face masks and sanitizer stations. The good news is that we’re an adaptable society and it is still possible to have a good time.

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The ancient origins of Valentine’s Day are not all that romantic (Google “Lupercalia” at your own risk), but nowadays the holiday is a symbol of affection for our friends and loved ones. So, whether you are celebrating Valentine’s, Galentine’s, or Palentine’s Day, here is what you need to know.

Restauranteurs are advising patrons to call well in advance (like, now) if they hope to secure weekend reservations. Due to health and spacing regulations, dining establishments are operating at drastically reduced capacities. In addition, February 14 falls on Sunday, a day many restaurants are closed. Options include dinner specials on the preceding nights, as well as Sunday brunch at many locations.

Below is a list of restaurants specifically open for dinner on Sunday evening. Most of them have prepared a special food and cocktail menu for their guests. Reservations are a must, but those who prefer can set a pretty table at home, light some candles, and order takeout.

New Hampshire

Portsmouth

  • Cure
  • Black Trumpet
  • Surf
  • Cava
  • Flatbread Pizza
  • Ore Nell’s BBQ (take out only)
  • The Rosa Restaurant
  • Vida Cantina
  • Ristorante Massimo
  • Beach Plum
  • Café Mediterraneo
  • BRGR BAR
  • Rooftop at the Envio
  • The Wilder
  • Toscana Italian Chophouse
  • The Library Restaurant

Dover

  • Stages at One Washington
  • Ember Wood Fired Grill
  • Roost
  • Chapel+Main (take out only)
  • Cara Irish Pub
  • Thompson Tavern
  • June Cork Pub
  • Smuttlabs Brewery and Kitchen

Rye

  • Atlantic Grill

Rochester

  • Revolution Tap Room & Grill

Durham

  • Three Chimneys Inn
  • Ciao Italia

Newmarket

  • Kume Bistro
  • La Catrina Mexican Kitchen

Newfields

  • Fire and Spice Bistro

Hampton

  • The Old Salt Restaurant at Lamie’s End
  • Hagan’s Grill
  • Tino’s Kitchen + Bar
  • CR’s The Restaurant

Maine

South Berwick

  • Odd Fellows Tavern

Kittery

  • When Pigs Fly Restaurant & Pizzeria
  • Robert’s Maine Grill
  • Bistro 1828 at Pepperrell Cove
  • Tulsi Indian Restaurant
  • The Black Birch (take out only)

York

  • The York River Landing

Ogunquit

  • Jonathan’s Ogunquit (dinner & Elton John Experience event)
  • Northern Union
  • The Front Porch
  • Angelina’s

Massachusetts

Newburyport

  • Loretta
  • Sea Level Oyster Bar
  • Agave Mexican Bistro
  • The Grog Restaurant
  • Ohana

Salisbury

  • Seaglass Restaurant and Lounge
  • Portside Waterfront Kitchen & Bar

Amesbury

  • Crave

This list does not include every eatery in every town. Consult individual restaurants' websites for additional information.

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