• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

LA-area Latin restaurants that will spice up your Valentine's Day

February 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
If you're looking for a romantic setting to celebrate Valentine's Day, you won't have to travel far. Local restaurants are pouring the wine and planning special menus to create the perfect atmosphere, whether you're with that special someone or a group of friends.

Two new places in town welcome all couples, as well as families and friends, to feast together and celebrate the "day of love."

At Fuego, located inside Hotel Maya in Long Beach, you'll want to scoot closer together to enjoy the hot Latin dishes and the gorgeous skyline.

"It's such a romantic place," said Victor Juarez, executive chef at Hotel Maya. "One of the things that I love over here is coming down and seeing the view."

The beautiful skyline, the indoor and outdoor fire pits, and the swaying palm trees all inspired a special "fuego" (hot) Valentine's Day menu, as well a Valentine's Day brunch on Sunday.

Stay all day and take advantage of Hotel Maya's Valentine's Day packages.

"It's going to be beautiful weather. We have a nice jazz trio playing, all-you-can-eat buffet, champagne's included, beautiful views," said Greg Guthrie, director of food and beverage at Hotel Maya.

Some of the dishes offered were created to enhance the romantic experience. For example, there are grilled filet medallions with spicy yams or savory lobster enchiladas and fresh ceviche. And of course, there's Fuego's famous guacamole.

"That's my inspiration. I got to do something creative so they can appreciate the whole entire estate," said Juarez.

In Westwood, the distinctive blue and turquoise cantina pays homage to the spirit of a famous Mexican love story.

Casa Azul Cantina is inspired by the love story of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, who lived in the original Casa Azul in Mexico.

"Frida Kahlo was very passionate with her kitchen, and with her food, so she always liked to host people over," said Mayra Mejia, manager of Casa Azul Cantina.

Executive Chef Orlando Candanoza hails from Mexico City, and his dishes are based on authentic Latin flavors, like charbroiled filet mignon in a rich butter lime sauce.

Experience the fresh halibut adobado, marinated in three types of chiles or try the tiradito de hamachi - thin, sliced yellowtail with avocado and rocoto chile that evoke thoughts of passion and love.

The cantina is cozy and warm for you and your sweetie, yet relaxed enough to bring your group of friends.

"He starts creating and building this romantic menu and also while blending this romantic story," said Mejia.

See photos of the delicious dishes offered at these romantic restaurants.