BY NATALIE WINTERS
Recently voted Most Romantic Restaurant by the Turlock Journal Readers' Choice, Bistro 234 in downtown Turlock is sure to be a Valentine’s Day stop for lovers looking to have an elite dining experience.
“Our restaurant is one of the most well-lit, intimate restaurants in town,” said Jayton Gates, manager and wine director at Bistro 234.
Bistro 234 pulls from many different areas of inspiration for their atmosphere and menu.
“We’re not necessarily a steakhouse, French restaurant or American restaurant,” said Gates. “We feature a variety of everything to satisfy every palate.”
From their juicy grilled rib eye steak to their fresh fish selections, Bistro 234 will not disappoint.
“Our pasta dishes are outstanding, as well,” said Gates. “The chicken marsala, the tiger prawn and scallop pasta dish; and we also feature game meat such as different styles of lamb and braised short ribs.”
Bistro 234 is the perfect spot not only for returning customers but new guests as well.
“We feature our regular menu with our specials, of course, so first-time diners can enjoy a meal that they’ll want to come back for any other evening,” said Gates. “There are always special items on the menu, but we think it’s important to expose our regular menu with the great options we feature.”
Pair your dinner with the perfect glass of wine and top it off with a specialty dessert to make the night that much more special.
“Our French macarons are homemade from scratch,” said Gates. “They’re such delicate cookies and we have some of the best in town with a large variety of flavors.”
Gates also suggests their version of the Ding Dong pastry as a must try.
“We have a recipe for a pastry like a Ding Dong,” he said. “It’s traditional with the foil garnish and we add a chocolate ganache; it’s amazing.”
The popularity of Bistro 234 is well known throughout the area and Gates encourages those interested in dining with them for Valentine’s Day to make reservations in advance.
If an outdoor adventure is more to your taste, grab a picnic lunch from the Hilmar Cheese Cafe and head out to Turlock Lake for sweetheart picnic.
The Hilmar Cheese Cafe, along with offering a variety of free cheese samples, is also known for their signature deli fare. They offer sandwiches, paninis and wraps, artisan flat bread pizzas and specialty salads. Don't forget to try their signature cheese chowder, cream cheese brownie and cheese pie.
The Hilmar Cheese Cafe is located inside the Visitors Center at 9001 N. Lander Ave., in Hilmar. The Cafe is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Once you've chosen the perfect cheesy treats, take your picnic lunch to the George J. Hatfield State Recreation Area for a Merced River view.
The park is located at 4394 Kelley Rd. in Hilmar.