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Restaurants in Los Angeles are quite literally stepping up to the plate this Valentine’s Day (14 February, 2012), with special romantic menus such as an all-truffle dinner or an aphrodisiac meal that will make your special someone’s heart beat a little faster.

Artsy valentine
After a romantic evening perusing the artwork at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, treat your love to a candlelit four-course dinner at the museum’s Ray’s and Stark Bar ($65 a person). Start with the homemade oyster chowder, and don’t miss the decadent chocolate mousse with sea salt caramel and hazelnut praline.

Beachside valentine
Take a sunset stroll on the Manhattan Beach Pier before settling into dinner at Manhattan Beach Post. With the restaurant’s small plate menu, couples can share seasonal specialties like pomegranate couscous with lavender feta and Windrose Farm Kabocha pumpkin risotto. For dessert, order the “Elvis” – a mess of chocolate pudding, peanut butter mousse and bacon brittle.

Gourmet valentine
Indulge your beloved gourmand at Picca, where Chef Ricard Zarate is offering a special six-course truffle menu featuring Perigord black winter truffles ($79 a person). Considered by chefs and foodies to be the best black truffles in the world, the aromatic fungi will be used in a variety of dishes, like the traditional Peruvian oyster chowder, in the aioli accompanying sea scallops and even in a crème caramel dessert.

Indulgent valentine
For a truly extravagant meal, treat your better half to a five-course dinner by Executive Chef Giselle Wellman at Petrossian Boutique and Restaurant in West Hollywood ($75 a person). Menu highlights include 30 grams of Classic Transmontanus caviar, housemade foie gras ravioli and poached Maine lobster.

Seductive valentine
Seduce your date with the aphrodisiac menu at AnQi by Crustacean in Costa Mesa, Orange County. Master Chef Helene An uses her background in Eastern medicine to create dishes with purported libido-boosters like Kumumoto oysters, Peking-style crispy quail with mandarin champagne fennel, and lobster ginger ravioli. Live acoustic music will also help set the mood. Unlike the above restaurants, this menu will be available from 10 to 14 February ($95 a person).

Caroline Pardilla is the Los Angeles Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes Carolineoncrack.com.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the location of Costa Mesa. This has been fixed.

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