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Cafe Mandolin & Bottega Italian Bistro 

Tastemakers

Valentine's Day is right around the corner. If you're still wringing your hands over what to do for that special person in your life, consider a Victorian Romance dinner and evening party at The Opera House Banquet Facility in Petersburg, offered by Richmond Discoveries. Register by Monday, FebAC. 7, for this idyllic journey back in time, with Victorian-era re-enactors joining you in the elegant buffet and after-dinner festivities, 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12. 9 W. Old St. Advanced registration required at 733-9220. $35. With few restaurants to satisfy after-work dining urges, the Uptown area of West Main Street needed a place like Café Mandolin, recently opened Jan. 27 at 1309 W. Main St. This is a bright, white-linen spot that has a bistro look with the café prices. Entrées range from $13 to $18. Chef and owner Nancy Cohen offers a varied menu, including pecan-crusted catfish, Thai vegetable platter and grilled pork tenderloin medallions. Tastemakers thinks the lights should be turned down a little for greater relaxation, but recommends you try this appealing new addition to our favorite neighborhood. 355-8558. South Side diners tired of finding long waits at their favorite Italian eatery should look to a change of pace at Bottega Italian Bistro, located at 11400 W. Huguenot Road, right next to Ruth's Chris Steak House. Recently appointed Executive Chef Adam Schumm promises to stock the restaurant's new menu with traditional Italian favorites, as well as with some new vegetarian dishes.
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