OpenTable Reviews Reveal #DinersChoice Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America — with Slideshow

As diners around the world prepare to celebrate love and loved ones on Valentine’s Day, we are pleased to honor the 2015 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

From restaurants serving shareable dishes to those showcasing seasonal delights, the complete list includes award winners in 31 states and Washington, D.C., such as Canlis in Seattle, La Grenouille in New York, and Red Fish Grill in Miami. California has the greatest number of winners with 15, followed by New York, Texas, and Virginia with eight each, and Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina with seven apiece, and Nevada with five. Colorado, Hawaii, and Illinois each have four, and Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania all have three. Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington, respectively, have two award winners. Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C., are also represented.

Cheese continues to please diners, with fondue restaurants making a solid showing for the sixth consecutive year. American, French, and Italian cuisines are also popular.

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Five Must-Try San Francisco Restaurant Week #SFRW Dishes

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA) and OpenTable have partnered up just to give you several great reasons to bust out the stretchiest pants you own: San Francisco Restaurant Week. From now until January 30, San Francisco chefs invite diners to try special $25 two-course lunches, $40 three-course dinners, and $85 Discovery menus highlighting elevated food and beverage pairings (because sometimes three courses just aren’t enough). Not only can you check off some of those restaurants on your must-try list, but you can also check off your charity work for the month: during this inaugural SFRW, the SF-Marin Food Bank will receive $.25 (per cover) for each reservation booked via OpenTable.

With just 10 days of dining, it can be hard to choose the reservations that are right for you. In that spirit, we’re highlighting five must-try dishes that can be enjoyed over a stolen lunch hour during the work week or during your next candlelit Thursday date night.

#1 Umi Masu Iridashi from Ichi Sushi & Ni Bar: A traditional Japanese dish in which ocean trout is rolled in potato starch, fried, and placed in a tamari, sake, and dashi broth with grated daikon ginger and scallions on top — bonus points for the sake paired with this melt-in-your-mouth buttery fish.

#2 XLB (xio long bao) from Chino: Handmade by Shanghainese Leo Gan (a.k.a. the XLB whisperer), these dumplings are simple and straightforward in taste, thanks to the well-balanced ratio of not-too-dense dumpling wrapper, in-house ground pork from Marin Sun Farms, and housemade chicken stock.

#3 The Marlowe Burger from The Cavalier: Step off the streets of San Francisco into this London-style brasserie at which Chef Jennifer Puccio has created arguably one of the best burgers in the city. This grass-fed Niman Ranch burger is topped with caramelized onion, cheddar, and — you guessed it! — bacon — and is served with a horseradish aioli. The chips on the side are so nice they’ve been cooked thrice.

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Come Join Us at OpenTable

At OpenTable, we power great dining experiences, but the best thing about OpenTable isn’t the places we are or the products we make; it’s the people who work here. And now, you can get to know them in our new video —  and discover why we think OpenTable is a truly special company.

There are many reasons the folks you’re about to meet love being at OpenTable every day: the opportunity to work in an organization that is equally passionate about both restaurants and technology; the satisfaction that comes with producing the tools restaurants need to provide diners with amazing hospitality experiences; and, of course, the chance to create and implement groundbreaking technologies.

Once you get here, you’ll see that we are passionate about all kinds of things, from amazing food and drink to personal pursuits that spill over into the professional. Yes, we really did have a Kentucky Derby race in the office. We really do have engineers who make mouthwatering waffles and build bespoke coffee bars — along with a CEO who really can catch flies with his bare hands. And, this really is a company that embraces you from the minute you walk in the door (and we’re not just talking about Alex!).

Watch for a look at our San Francisco headquarters, meet a few of our team members, and then apply to take a seat at our table. http://www.opentable.com/careers/

Stephanie Douglass is Senior Director, People + Culture, at OpenTable.

What’s in Store for Restaurants in 2015?

grains blog2015 is here, and it’s made us start wondering what the next year has in store for the restaurant industry. To find out, we gathered predictions from some of the most influential people in the business: chefs, restaurateurs, editors, and more. From menus and cocktails to service and technology, here are the trends they expect to see play out this year. Read on, then tell us in the comments: what are your predictions?

FAST CASUAL

“Star chefs known for the power of their personal vision will open up fast casual: Dave Chang, Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson, Josh Skenes, Jose Andres. We’ll be eating better burgers and vegetables, quickly.” — Dana Cowin, Editor-in-Chief, Food & Wine

By far, the most common prediction among industry leaders is a revolution of traditional fast-food restaurants, and a growing interest in casual, affordable dining from top-tier chefs.

As Union Square Hospitality Group CEO Danny Meyer tells us, “Everyone wants to be the Chipotle of (fill in the blank).” Author Ruth Reichl added that chefs are addressing a serious problem by offering affordable food in underserved neighborhoods. “I think that’s going to mushroom and they’re going to be really successful,” she notes.

COMPENSATION 

“I don’t know if this will truly be a trend, but my heart holds out hope for it: better pay for cooks.” — Francis Lam, food writer and judge, Top Chef Masters 

With some restaurants eliminating tipping and exploring alternative methods of compensation, fair pay continues to be a hot topic in the industry. Corney Burns and Nick Balla of San Francisco’s Bar Tartine tell us, “We see restaurants moving away from tipping, coming up with alternative ways to compensate staff.”

GRAINS

“I expect to see more awareness and discussion of monocultivar grains in the coming year. I was just involved in a film called The Grain Divide with such chefs and experts as Michael Pollan, Dan Barber, Chad Robertson, Marc Vetri, Sean Brock, and more regarding the benefits of small mills over mass-produced product and its effect on health and flavor profiles.” — Michael Tusk, Chef/Owner, Quince and Cotogna

In 2014, whole grains were popular on menus and cookbooks alike — and 2015 should be no different, as chefs rediscover a variety of heirloom and specialty grains.

“Rye was the big grain of 2014. I predict chefs will explore other grains for breads, pastas, and, especially, desserts.” — Izabela Wojcik, Director of House Programming, James Beard Foundation Continue Reading