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Love is in the air...

We select our top three independent restaurants in York to make this Valentine's Day one to remember

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Photo Credit: Del Rio's
Photo Credit: Del Rio's

Cuisine: Italian
Where: Blossom Street

Just up from student hotspot Nag's Head and (the late) Rumours lies Delrio's: the self-proclaimed "little Italian restaurant down the stairs by Micklegate". To enter, you first must venture down a flight of stairs into the cellar of the building (very scary, may require hand-holding) to reveal the cosy, mood-lit, authentically decorated restaurant that lies at the bottom. Delrio's is romantic.

Reserve one of several tucked-away alcoves for you and your beau and enjoy some privacy as you tuck into your candlelit meal a la 'Lady and the Tramp' spaghetti and meatball scene. The restaurant is family run and uses ingredients both from local and Italian sources, and with many dishes for under a tenner, the extensive menu caters for all budgets. If you think this sounds too perfect to be true, let the 4.5 star rating on trip advisor persuade you otherwise. Give Delrio's a visit on Valentine's Day and you're guaranteed to be exclaiming 'Mamma Mia' long into the night...

Photo Credit: Rustique
Photo Credit: Rustique

Cuisine: French
Where: Castlegate

Rustique is the perfect name for this restaurant and bistro. Think cosy, candle-lit dinner and rich French food. Portion sizes are very healthy, and the three-course set menu offers a lot of variety at a decent price (£15.95). Confit du canard (slow roasted duck), and moules marinieres a la creme are two great options. Given how packed the restaurant can be on an ordinary weekday, it goes without saying you'll need to book a table in advance.

The tables are quite cramped and whether that adds to the romance factor or not is up to you to decide. Some like it up close and personal! But if French is the language of love, then the delicacies prove it's the flavour of love too. With great food at great prices, Rustique is perfect for both first dates and long-time couples this Valentine's Day.

Photo Credit: Nouse
Photo Credit: Nouse

Cuisine: Spanish
Where: Goodramgate

With a name that means 'ambience' in English, you would hope that Ambiente on Goodramgate is able to live up to its name. The busy hustle and bustle of a traditional tapas bar isn't typically associated with romance, but then again, sharing is romantic and tapas is meant to be shared. Just don't forget to request a table away from the bar area, a quiet corner upstairs will provide a lovely romantic setting.

Serving up authentic Spanish cuisine with a contemporary twist, Ambiente offers a wide range of dishes. A particular favourite is 'Introduction to Tapas', seven dishes of delicious tapas to share for two at just £25. Or you could go for the aptly named 'Shared Platter', which comes in a vegetarian, meat or seafood option at £9.95 per person. This tapas restaurant is a small restaurant with a great cosy atmosphere and lovely staff. If you're looking for something a little different this Valentine's Day and want to avoid the chain restaurants, then this could be the option for you.

Where next?

A few after dinner drinks would be a perfect way to finish off the night. Kennedy's on Little Stonegate is a great place to grab a drink, offering a selection of cocktails for £3.50 after 5pm during the week. All Bar One on New Street is offering a bottle of fizz (Pignoletto) for £15.

You also can't go wrong with Lucia just off Grape Lane for an amazing atmosphere and an extensive selection of cocktails under five pounds. If you're still hungry, they also offer traditional Italian desserts. If beer is your drink of choice, then The Guy Fawkes Inn on Lower Petergate is a traditional, historic pub with a wide range of real ales.

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