The most popular date night of the year is right around the corner, so it's time to get those dinner plans in order. According to the online restaurant booking site OpenTable, an estimated 70 reservations are booked every minute leading up to Valentine’s Day. If you're not sure where to dine this year, check out OpenTable's annual list of the 100 most romantic restaurants in the U.S. In anticipation of Valentine's Day, Open Table tapped into its 80 million diner reviews of more than 30,000 restaurants across all 50 states and Washington DC to come up with their list of the most ideal date night spots.
Inside Creative House/Getty Images
The expansive list covers 31 states (with Illinois boasting 12 out of 100 dining options) but you don't have to reserve a spot at a restaurant on their list to experience a romantic night out. OpenTable expects February 4 to be the busiest day on its site (spiking more than 500%!) for reserving a place to dine on Valentine's Day, but don't stress too much if you didn't get a 7 p.m. slot at your favorite restaurant. In their press release on the most popular day to book a table, they've offered some tips to help ensure a night to remember.
- Be an Early Bird or Night Owl: Getting a 6 p.m. or 9 p.m. reservation will get you a table at that restaurant you've been dying to get to without the holiday's crowd.
- Pick a Classic Go-To Spot: We know you want to impress your significant other with a costly tasting menu with wine pairings, but the 228% spike in reservations in the upscale restaurant scene may prevent you from getting in. Stick to one of your favorite date night spots instead and try that multi-course meal another night.
- Expand Your Palate: Sure, a juicy steak might be what your stomach naturally thinks it needs on Valentine's Day, but 46% of the country agrees and also goes to those locations. Consider educating your culinary tastes by picking something with a little ethnic flair. You'll also be more likely to nab a 7 p.m. dinnertime.
- Group Up: OpenTable reported 83% of Valentine's Day reservations were couples only. Take the opportunity to connect with friends on a double date so you can use up all the seats at that table of four instead of just the two of you.
The clock is ticking for claiming tables (OpenTable is literally counting down) and buying gifts, so make your plans now. If you'd rather keep it low-key or couldn't get the time you wanted at your restaurant on February 14, you could always make a romantic dinner at home. Whether you're going out with your significant other or celebrating the holiday with your gal pals, we know it will be a day full of love and tasty food.