A recent survey released this week by online reservation giant OpenTable found that because the holiday falls on a Thursday this year, the dining public fully intends on indulging in meals out over the following weekend, as well. Though 51 percent of OpenTable diners said they planned to dine Feb. 14, 36 percent will draw their celebration out to Feb. 15 or Feb. 16, and 8 percent plan to dine out more than once.
Lovebird diners also revealed that they intend to spend a check average of $139 on their date, which is 63 percent more than the typical OpenTable check average of $85 per couple. And, more than two-thirds prefer a la carte options versus a prix fixe menu.
“The idea of a romantic Valentine's Day meal often conjures up images of lavish tasting menus, enchanting small plates, and prix fixe menus,” OpenTable’s Chief Dining Officer Caroline Potter said in the survey’s release. “However, our survey revealed some surprising insights into how people want to celebrate Valentine's Day and an indication of romantic trends to come. Diners prefer a la carte ordering in a classic three-course meal where they can personalize their experience.”
Overall, California dominates on the romance scale, with 17 of the OpenTable’s Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants residing in the Golden State, and four California cities ranking among the country’s most romantic – La Jolla, Pasadena, San Diego and Santa Monica.