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Favorite Date Night Spots in the 209

209 Magazine asked our social media friends and followers where they go on date night — and here’s what they said:

Romantic Restaurants

Redwood Café

With its trellises of green, leafy vines hanging romantically about the patio area and its chic dining room, a menu full of enticing dishes and a 300-label wine list, the Redwood Café is the ultimate experience in casual fine dining in Modesto.

Chef specials are regularly included in the menu with prime rib offered many Friday evenings. Wine down Wednesdays is a special event at Redwood Café at $20 and includes six samplings of their featured wines.

Redwood Café is located at 4342 Dale Rd., Modesto. For more information, visit or call (209) 545-9248.


Surla’s is a popular destination for couples looking to connect over an elegant meal. Chef John Surla created the eatery with the belief that diners should be comforted by the food as well as the surroundings and service. Surla’s cuisine is Asian/Fusion influence, a combination of flavors from Philippines, Korea, Japan, China, Hawaii, France, Italy, and Spain.

“We are the only red-lit bar in Modesto, which makes for a sexy and unique ambience,” said Surla’s bartender Amanda Spinnato. “We get a lot of people coming in for date night, not just first dates, but repeat customers who are married and keep coming back.”

Surla’s will have a pre-fix special Valentine’s Day menu. Reservations are recommended.

Surla’s is located at 431 12th St., Modesto. For more information, visit or call 209-550-5555 for reservations.

Camp 4

Modesto’s Camp 4 Wine Café has a unique tie to the Yosemite climbing community. The business is owned by Damon Robbins, son of the Yosemite legend Royal Robbins, and it operates out of the building that housed the first outlet store of the Royal Robbins clothing company.

Damon grew up in Modesto and entered the restaurant business in San Francisco after going to college in Colorado. On a fateful visit home to Modesto, Damon found that a coffee shop in the building that had formerly been his family’s first outlet of their clothing company Royal Robbins Outdoor Clothing, had gone out of business. Almost immediately, Damon began plans on opening up a place in this perfect space in Modesto, and thus Camp 4 Wine Café was born.

Camp 4 is a wine cafe that serves paninis, charcuterie, cheese and beer in a unique space that includes outdoor dining.

“We offer something unique to Modesto, not a cuisine that is done a lot in the Valley. It’s great to start out an evening, end an evening or for a full meal. It’s very versatile,” said Marissa Smith, general manager and wine program director.

Although Camp 4 has an extensive wine selection, it’s also well-known for its craft beer offerings.
Reservations are recommended and Camp 4 will offer Valentine’s Day specials.

Camp 4 Wine Café is located at 1508 10th St., Modesto. For more information, visit or call 209-529-5898.

Out and About

Downtown Lodi

Take a stroll through downtown Lodi, and you will quickly notice that you have stepped into a wine-lover’s paradise. The romantic city is at the center of the region’s wine country. Quaint and rustic, Lodi and its top-notch tasting rooms and award-winning wineries that line either side of the main streets, make the city one of the Central Valley’s main attractions.

Visitors can sample nearly 200 different wines, most made locally, at the city’s more than 40 tasting rooms. The romantic scenery and variety of locations offers a chance to explore a variety of tastes and specialties within walking distance.

For more information, including a complete listing of wineries and tasting rooms, visit or the Lodi Wine and Visitors Center at 2545 W. Turner Road, Lodi. (209) 365-0621.

Stargazing in Knights Ferry

The Knights Ferry Recreation Area is a large, sprawling park area that is great for hiking, picnicking — and stargazing.

Get there earlier in the afternoon and take advantage of the recreation area that winds around the old power station of Knights Ferry, as well as other various monuments from the gold rush era, and hiking trails at the park stretch on for nearly a half mile.

Knights Ferry Recreation area also includes the Knights Ferry Covered Bridge. This bridge, spanning 330 feet, is the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi, and looks stunning against the beautiful backdrop of the Northern California foothills. There is a footpath across the bridge so you can venture across the bridge and experience that gold-rush nostalgia firsthand.

Knights Ferry is located 12 miles east of Oakdale off Hwy 120/108 in Stanislaus County.

Stockton Heat

For many couples, there’s nothing more romantic than spending time together rooting for their favorite team. 209 Magazine readers said spending a cool winter night watching Stockton Heat hockey action was a perfect date night. The Heat have a number of home games in February and March, each with a different theme. Feb. 17 is Law Enforcement Appreciation Night, while March 3 will pay tribute to “Star Wars.”

“Whether it’s the ‘kiss cam’, a marriage proposal, or a glass of our fine, local wines from Ironstone and Michael-David, we’re fired-up to be selected as one of the top date night spots in the Valley,” Heat CEO Brian Petrovek said. “We offer a fun, fast-paced and entertaining product on the ice with a relaxed, casual, and inviting atmosphere throughout the arena that make dates with the Heat the hottest around. There’s no better place for ‘dinner and a show’ than the Stockton Arena hosted by Stockton Heat Hockey, and we’re thrilled that our fans agree!”

The Heat play in the Stockton Arena, located in downtown Stockton’s waterfront development. For ticket information, visit