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This Valentine’s Day, it’s all about feeding our relationships – and each otherThis Valentine’s Day, it’s all about feeding our relationships – and each other


Romantic dining isn’t always about indulging in a four-course feast complete with candlelight, flowers and Champagne. Sometimes it’s as simple as sharing sushi or pizza – or just a decadent dessert.

This Valentine’s Day – or any day – make memories in your own special way. Here are three local establishments for the win.

Nona Sushi Asia, Ramsey Commons

The words “intimate” and “urbane” spring to mind upon entering Nona Sushi Asia. Creamy leather banquettes meld with dramatic sculptural art, chocolate-colored walls, exposed black beams, towering lucky bamboo and cascading beaded chandeliers. It’s a romantic vibe all the way.

But Nona is also a setting for laughter and sharing food among friends and colleagues as was evident by the crowd during a recent visit.

Sushi lovers approve of the well-chosen menu, which includes sashimi, nigiri sashimi, maki rolls, vegetable rolls, specialty rolls and house signature rolls.

The lunch special is so fresh and filling, we are tempted to stake claim in a curvaceous banquette and settle in for a nap. The prices also leave us satisfied. Choose three kinds of sushi, enough to feed two, for $14. Single selections range from $5 to $7. The aptly named passion roll, Philadelphia roll and shrimp tempura roll calm our cravings.

For those who don’t go for raw fish – or are leery because they’re expecting – there’s even a “pregnancy menu” of curated selections, says co-owner/chef Ruma Kurniawan.

“I love it here, and I love what I do,” says Kurniawan, who is originally from Indonesia but calls Fayetteville her hometown.

The lobster roll is just one reason folks keep returning. Chunks of tender lobster tail are breaded and deep-fried to a golden brown and then presented in a lobster shell, alongside rolls that artfully combine rice, cucumber, asparagus, avocado, lobster sauce and red tobiko (tropical fish roe). At $22, it’s one of the priciest menu items, but worth every morsel.

We also enjoy the crunch crab, which is prepared tempura-style and comes with crab, avocado, crispy potato, spicy mayo, lobster sauce, eel sauce and Sriracha ($11).
An open kitchen brings the food show live as sushi chefs fulfill orders with skill and tender care. Behind them is another chef preparing hibachi selections. Thai dishes also are a specialty and the Vietnamese comfort soup, pho (with bone-in rib or without if requested).

The service is friendly and gracious without being intrusive. Toast each other – and the future – with an imported beer, sake or sweet plum wine. And savor yet another bite of sushi freshness, which is beautiful to behold.

Nona Sushi Asia is in Ramsey Commons at 4411 Ramsey St., Suite 112, Fayetteville. Open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday until 10 p.m. Also, Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed on Tuesday. No reservations. First-come, first-served. A second location is on Morganton Road across from Cross Creek Mall.

Sammio’s Italian Restaurant, Fayetteville

Let’s face it. Sometimes the only Valentines to speak of are your kids. And they like pizza. Heck, who doesn’t like pizza?

A crust that is neither thick nor thin, but right in the middle, and fresh ample toppings fill the bill at Sammio’s, a longtime family favorite centrally located on Raeford Road near the “social” Harris Teeter.

We recommend the Super Deluxe, which is loaded with pepperoni, mushrooms, ham, black olives, green bell peppers, onions and Italian sausage. At $16.99 for a large, it’s a meal deal with the possibility of leftovers for a midnight snack.

Or choose from a variety of specialty pizzas, including a three-cheese White (at only $6.99 for a small) and a Mediterranean Chicken pie. We are tempted by the intriguing-sounding Breakfast Pizza topped with eggs, ham, bacon, and American and Mozzarella cheeses.

Find Sammio’s at 2623 Raeford Road. Check out their Facebook page for additional details, including a variety of menu options and hours. Or log on to sammios.biz.

Burney’s Sweets & More, Fayetteville

Perusing bakery cases may not be everyone’s idea of a hot date, but what could be sweeter?

Golden, glazed croissants with a choice of fillings attract devotees to Burney’s Sweets & More. Warning: The Bavarian, chocolate and lemon creams are especially addictive.

Other enticing choices include the just-sweet-enough cannoli, macarons in a rainbow of colors, and banana pudding in single-serving containers. If they’re available, go ahead and splurge on the chocolate-covered strawberries, which make thoughtful – and delicious – gifts. Even to yourself.

Burney’s Sweets & More is at 3319-B Raeford Road, Fayetteville, 910-745-8975, burneysoffayetteville.com.