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Love-struck spots for Valentine's Day 

Tastemakers

It's almost Valentine's Day and taking your date out for a cheeseburger at McDonald's just isn't going to cut it. You want to make a good impression, but where can you go?

Restaurant owners should know what makes a good, romantic dining experience. Here are some love-struck spots they consider when making reservations for romance.

All agreed that an intimate atmosphere soared in the list of priorities. Bob DeCapri, owner and chef at Caffe Di Pagliacci, takes his wife to Buckhead's for quiet, romantic evenings. It's dark and the tables are secluded there, he says, giving couples much needed privacy. Call Buckhead's for reservations at 750-2000, if it's not booked. Caffe Di Pagliacci already is, DeCapri says.

Amici is a well-loved Italian spot in Carytown, but owner Carlo Gaione admits that the great food, not the intimate setting, keeps people coming back to his place. Gaione loves Grafiti Grille in the West End when dining out himself. He's also fond of The White Dog in the Fan, calling the basement place cozy.

Patina Grill and Millie's come to mind as romantic spots for Kendra Feather, owner of Ipanema Cafe on Grace Street near VCU. She says good service and welcoming atmospheres play an important role, especially when you're on a date. You don't want to feel stressed out by the dining environment, she says, because dates can be stressful enough already. Call Millie's at 643-5512. For Patina Grill call 360-8217.

And what do the people at Patina Grill have to say? Besides recommending his restaurant for its cozy dining room, of course, manager Mark Walsh says he visits the Fox Head Inn in Goochland. 784-5126.

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