Seven Tips to Make Canadians’ Valentine’s Day Restaurant Reservations Even Easier

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is in the air and Canadians are making plans to celebrate with that special someone. But how can you ensure your dining experience is the best it can be, when everyone is rushing to make a reservation for your favourite restaurant?

At OpenTable, we love helping diners discover and book the perfect table, and we also love helping restaurants provide excellent hospitality experiences that keep guests happy and coming back. So, to help Canadians get the best dining experience this year, we’ve put together seven tips to make your Valentine’s Day one to remember:

Beat the rush: While some diners make Valentine’s Day restaurant reservations more than one month in advance, half of all reservations in Canada are booked after February 7 and 10 per cent are made on February 14*. Book early, or consider dining out on Friday or Sunday night instead. Valentine’s Day falls on a long weekend for many Canadians this year, making the choice easier.

Make your requests: Do you have a preferred seating location or a favourite booth? If so, don’t be afraid to make your request when you book. While you may not get what you ask for, putting your requests in early gives you an advantage over other diners.

The more, the merrier: If you dine in a group, you may better your chances of being seated on Valentine’s Day. Most restaurants get fully booked for tables of two, but have larger tables and booths available.

Go early or arrive later: Booking the first or last tables of the evening can also improve your chances of being seated. So sit back, relax and enjoy that glass of wine.Continue Reading

Jill + Joe Dobias of Joe & MissesDoe on Time off and Time Together

Working in New York City’s East Village, Joe and Jill Dobias, the team behind Joe & MissesDoe, have been in a relationship for 10 years, in business together for six and a half, and married for a year and a half. Joe is executive chef, while Jill manages the restaurant, including its acclaimed bar program. The restaurant is open six days a week, and the pair also operate JoeDough, a successful catering and events company. Like most restaurant couples, this doesn’t leave much time for – much.

Jill says, “Work is work for Joe and me, so even though we live together and work together, we don’t get to spend a lot of ‘couple’ time together. It’s important that on our day off we try to limit the ‘work talk’ and make sure we do ‘normal’ couple things like cook dinner, go out to dinner, and watch movies.”

When they find downtime together in their own Manhattan kitchen, the roles are reversed, with Jill stepping behind the burner. “I love to cook for Joe. He cooks for a living, and he totally appreciates when someone else does it for him. My favorite dish to cook for him is pork chops. It’s really funny because I’m a Jewish girl and I’m cooking the most treif meal possible. I didn’t grow up eating a lot of pork, so I guess I like the challenge. I get really creative, too, and make stuffed pork chops,” she shares with a laugh.

The pair are also sure to venture out to sample other notable restaurants in town. “Joe and I had an amazingly romantic meal at Upland. Chef Justin Smillie’s menu is outstanding. We ate at the bar at ten o’clock on a Monday night … and it was perfect.” Note to foodies: They give special shout outs to the live scallop dish and a chicken liver pasta.

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OpenTable Reveals Top 25 Most Romantic Cities in America

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As we prepare to celebrate love and loved ones on  Valentine’s Day, we are over the moon to fete the 25 Most Romantic Cities in America.

It’s no secret that America has become a country of foodies, but our unique analysis has revealed that we’re also a nation of hungry romantics. In order to provide a ranking of cities where romantic dining is inherently part of the culture, the OpenTable Most Romantic Cities Index was calculated using three variables: the percentage of restaurants rated “romantic” according to OpenTable diner reviews; the percentage of tables seated for two; and the percentage of people who dined out for Valentine’s Day last year.

The following cities, listed in order, comprise the Top 25 Most Romantic Cities in America. The complete list may also be viewed at http://www.opentable.com/m/most-romantic-cities-in-america.

Top 25 Most Romantic Dining Cities in America

1. Atlantic City, New Jersey
2. San Antonio, Texas 3. Providence, Rhode Island
4. Key West, Florida
5. Birmingham, Alabama
6. Louisville, Kentucky
7. Newport, Rhode Island 8. Palm Springs, California
9. Austin, Texas
10. Lahaina, Hawaii
11. Colorado Springs, Colorado
12. Las Vegas, Nevada
13. Omaha, Nebraska
14. Santa Barbara, California
15. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
16. West Hollywood, California
17. St. Louis, Missouri
18. Charleston, South Carolina
19. Memphis, Tennessee
20. New Orleans, Louisiana
21. Fort Worth, Texas
22. Nashville, Tennessee
23. Long Beach, California
24. Santa Fe, New Mexico
25. Charlotte, North Carolina

For diners still searching for the right restaurant for Valentine’s Day, we have recently released the Diner’s Choice List of the Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America. Diners can also find more tips and trends regarding Valentine’s Day on the OpenTable “Dining Check” blog.

And, diners, you’re invited to enter the OpenTable #MyFoodieValentine Dinner for Two Giveaway. Entrants just need to share a fun photo of a favorite foodie — or food — with @OpenTable on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #MyFoodieValentine for a chance to win one of the ten $200 OpenTable Gift cards we’ll be giving away every business day, starting Monday, February 2, 2015, through Friday, February 13, 2015. Learn more here…

What’s your favorite city for romantic dining? Let us know here or on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, or share a photo of your fave romantic destination   with us on Instagram!

Now Open: February Restaurant Week Reservations

February-RW-blogFebruary brings another month of dining for less in some of our favorite  destinations. Reservations fill up fast; consider yourselves warned!

* Hudson Restaurant Week has $13+ lunches and $25+ dinners through February 6. Reserve now.

* Napa Valley Restaurant Month invites you to sip, sup, and savor on $14-$30 lunches + $24-$50 dinners through February 28. Reserve now.

* Chicago Restaurant Week allows you to choose the finest of the Windy City with $22 lunches + $33/$44 dinners through February 12. Reserve now.

* Baltimore Restaurant Week serves up tasty three-course $15 lunches + $20 + $30 dinners, February 15-28. Reserve now.

* New York City Restaurant Week brings you the best of the boroughs with three-course $25 lunches + $38 dinners, February 16-March 6. Reserve now.

* 502 Restaurant Week comes to Louisville, Kentucky, with extra-special $50.20 dinners for one or two, February 18-March 4. Reserve now.

* Denver Restaurant Week wants to give your tastebuds a treat with $30 dinners at the Mile High City’s finest restaurants, February 20 to March 1. Reserve now.

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