Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Marriage Proposals

ring Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Marriage ProposalsWith Valentine’s Day fast approaching, love is in the air. A 2013 survey by American Express revealed that 6 million people were planning or anticipating a marriage proposal on Valentine’s Day, and we imagine that number will be similar for 2014. Since it is one of the most popular dining holidays, we’re betting there will be a lot of folks popping the question in restaurants this weekend. Find out how the hospitality professionals at restaurants throughout the OpenTable network have helped diners ask for their beloved’s hand in marriage in the last few weeks in these recent OpenTable restaurant reviews. And, if you’ve gotten engaged at a restaurant, share your story in our comments section, on Facebook, or Google+

Astor Court, Atlanta, Georgia: ”The staff at Astor Court could not have been more helpful in assisting in my proposal. They were friendly and accommodating, even adding some of their own suggestions to make the surprise more romantic. I went during a weekday, so it was not too busy which was perfect for us. The food was excellent as well, capping off a good night!”

Due Amici, Columbus, Ohio: ”The food and service were fantastic. I surprised my girlfriend with a proposal and ring, and the Due Amici staff helped to make it a big surprise. She couldn’t help but say yes.”

* Geneva Chophouse, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: “I’ve been there a half dozen times on my own. This last time, I took my girlfriend and proposed. I called ahead and left a message asking for a table with a view to propose. The whole staff knew and they were excited and accommodating. I was very nervous throughout dinner, and the manager came over and asked us how our meal was and she put her hand on my shoulder and calmed me down! It was beautiful — the view, the restaurant, and the proposal! I am forever grateful to all of the staff that evening.”

Gracie’s, Providence, Rhode Island: ”Many thanks to the staff of Gracie’s, who always go above and beyond, but particularly this night when everyone (but my then-girlfriend) knew that it was a big night for us – proposal night. I had made arrangements with staff beforehand, and everything was set and ready for our arrival. Throughout the night, we were congratulated by staff and patrons alike, and the staff were quite cognizant of the fact that my fiancée was making calls to her family and friends and gave us our space. I don’t think we ordered until an hour after we sat down!”

Havana Central, Garden City, New York: ”I called after I made my reservation and spoke to William, the manager. I told him that my then-boyfriend’s birthday was on January 20th, and I wanted to propose to him. William and my waiter, Zane, as well as the other staff were WONDERFUL!!! Everything was planned out the way I pictured it and my fiancé said YES!!!!! Everyone at Havana Central did a great job, and I can’t wait to set up my Valentines day function there with my friends!!!”

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Pay Your Check with OpenTable Mobile: Pilot Payment Program Launches in San Francisco

OT Mobile Payments iPhone Shot 2.6.2014 Pay Your Check with OpenTable Mobile: Pilot Payment Program Launches in San Francisco

First, OpenTable made it simple to book a restaurant reservation at any time of day or night with just a few clicks. Now, we’re pleased to announce that it will soon be just as easy to pay for your meal. Rather than waiting for a check or, worse yet, being late for the theater, with the new OpenTable payments feature, you will be able to tap to pay – and be on your way.

OpenTable mobile payments are currently being tested by diners at select restaurants in San Francisco. Over the next few weeks, we will be adding more diners to the test program and will provide you a way to request access. If you receive an email invitation to be part of our pilot program, you can get started by making a reservation at a participating restaurant. Simply add a credit card in the OpenTable iPhone app before your meal and you’ll be able to view and pay your check. There’s no scanning or bar codes involved.

If you’re participating in the pilot program, you will receive an email requesting feedback about the app and your experiences with it. For those of you who are particularly passionate about the app, the experience, or mobile technology in general, we’ll also be offering the option to join us for in-person Q+A discussions at our headquarters in San Francisco.

We thank you for your participation as we bring our payments feature one step closer to a broader launch. Your honesty and insights are not just vital to its refinement – they are greatly appreciated.

Kashyap Deorah is General Manager, Payments at OpenTable

OpenTable Reveals the Top 25 Most Romantic Cities in America

San Antonio OpenTable Reveals the Top 25 Most Romantic Cities in America
San Antonio, Texas, tops the list of most romantic cities for the second year in a row.

As we anticipate the romance of Valentine’s Day, we are pleased to release its rankings of the Top 25 Most Romantic Cities in America.

While our nation is known for its diverse food culture, our analysis revealed that romance is a popular dining trend in cities across America.  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 here.

Top 25 Most Romantic Dining Cities in America

1. San Antonio, Texas

2. St. Louis, Missouri

3. Providence, Rhode Island

4. Atlantic City, New Jersey

5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

6. Salt Lake City, Utah

7. Columbus, Ohio

8. Houston, Texas

9. Brooklyn, New York

10. Louisville, Kentucky

11. Austin, Texas

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Enter the Romantic Dining Stories Giveaway: Share Your Tale of Romance + Restaurants for a Chance to Win 1 of 5 $200 OpenTable Gifts

giveaway val day Enter the Romantic Dining Stories Giveaway: Share Your Tale of Romance + Restaurants for a Chance to Win 1 of 5 $200 OpenTable GiftsHave you ever been swept off your feet by your sweetie in a restaurant? Been surprised with an over-the-top romantic restaurant outing? Has your dining partner gotten down on bended knee to pop a very important question? Enter the OpenTable Romantic Dining Stories Giveaway!

With Valentine’s Day less than two weeks away, we want to spread the love with a giveaway we think you’ll love. Share a romantic dining story in the comments of this post, and you’ll be entered to win  one of five $200 OpenTable Gifts*, redeemable at a participating OpenTable Gifts restaurant. And, next week, we’ll publish several winning stories of romance and restaurants on our blog.

The entry period runs through Friday, February 7, 2014. Winners will be announced Monday, February 10, 2014, and will be notified via the email address associated with your comment below (so please be sure to check it!). Complete terms and conditions after the jump.

We look forward to swooning over your stories!  Continue reading…

Dining Poll: Are You a Fan or Foe of Mayo?

According to an article in TODAY, research firm Euromonitor has revealed that mayonnaise is the top condiment in the U.S., handily besting ketchup. I’m a fan of both, but Duke’s mayonnaise is absolutely my most coveted condiment. As united as we seem to be in our love of mayo in the United States, however, a lot of folks cannot abide the creamy marriage of eggs and oil, even tho’ many chefs are pro mayo. Where do you stand in this condiment conundrum? Weigh in on the issue in our dining poll below.

OpenTable Restaurant Reviews Reveal Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America; Plus Exclusive Dessert Slideshow

As diners make reservations for romance on Valentine’s Day, we are pleased to honor the 2014 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 approximately 19,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Featuring restaurants with alluring ambience and seductive menus, the complete list of honorees is scattered among 32 states and includes Canlis in Seattle, The Little Door in Los Angeles, and Zenkichi in Brooklyn. California boasts the greatest number of winning restaurants with 14, followed by Florida with eight. Hawaii, Texas, and Virginia each have seven winning restaurants. Colorado, Nevada, and Ohio claim five winners apiece, while Arizona, Illinois, New York, and Utah have four. Missouri, New Jersey, and Tennessee count three winning restaurants, and Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Washington have two each. Alaska, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, and Rhode Island also have winning eateries.

For another year, fondue is a favorite for diners seeking to fan the flames of romance. And, illustrating that home really is where the heart is, American fare restaurants account for the greatest number of winners. French and Italian cuisines are very popular as well. And, because almost everyone loves to share a sweet with their sweetheart, we have an exclusive slideshow of swoon-worthy desserts from our winning restaurants.

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On Our Plate: Valentine’s Day Reservations; #ShareMyPlate No Kid Hungry Giveaway; dineLA; Chicago Restaurant Week + More

DOVF On Our Plate: Valentines Day Reservations; #ShareMyPlate No Kid Hungry Giveaway; dineLA; Chicago Restaurant Week + MoreHappenings on and around OpenTable…

* Valentine’s Day reservations are open. Make a reservation for romance on February 14th.

* Restaurant operators: It’s not too late to share your Valentine’s Day specials with diners. Visit Restaurant Center today!

* Snap an Instagram of your plate + share it to help end childhood hunger. Enter the No Kid Hungry #ShareMyPlate giveaway for a chance to win cash prizes and to help feed hungry children throughout the U.S.

* Save 10% on tickets to Wine and Wishes in San Francisco on February 1. Help support Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area today.

* Attend the 16th annual St. Jude’s Gourmet Gala in Washington, D.C. on February 25. Purchase your ticket today.

* Berkeley Restaurant Week rocks on. Dive into $15 + $20 lunches and $20 + $30 three-course dinners through January 31.

* The new year is here — and Center City District Philadelphia is, too. Book for three-course $20 lunches and $35 dinners through January 31.

* dineLA has steals on meals in Tinsel Town. Book a table for $15, $20, or $25 lunches and $25, $35, or $45 dinners through January 31.

* Don’t forget to Dine About Town in San Francisco. Make a booking for two- or three-course lunches for $18.95 and $36.95 three-course dinners through January 31.

* Dine Out Vancouver continues. Feast on $18, $28, or $38 dinners through February 2. 

* Chicago Restaurant Week has blown into the Windy City. Order up $22 lunches and $33 or $44 dinners through February 5.

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Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Chestnuts

chestnuts blog Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: ChestnutsThe weather across the U.S. has been nothing short of vexing, and much of the nation has been in the grasps of a polar vortex. Whenever Jack Frost is nipping at my nose, such as this week, my mind wanders to thoughts of chestnuts, whether they’re roasting on an open fire — or in a savory soup or pasta. Chestnuts are most abundant in December, but they are in season until March. Unlike money, chestnuts grow on trees, and they are low in fat, a good source of fiber and carbohydrates, and rich in manganese, an important antioxidant. Find out how chefs are making this humble nut into a high-end hit with diners in recent OpenTable restaurant reviews.

Ancora, Washington, D.C.: “I was fortunate to have ordered the best venison I’ve ever tasted; pepper crusted, so tender it almost melted in my mouth, it was served with mashed potatoes, spinach, and chestnuts.”

Babette’s Cafe, Atlanta, Georgia: “Every dinner at Babette’s has been excellent over the years. The wild mushroom and chestnut soup was very flavorful.”

Benoit Restaurant and Bar, New York, New York: “The chestnut and grapefruit tart sounds odd, but it was really good.”

* Chambar, Vancouver, British Columbia: “My dining partner’s ample spice-rubbed duck breast moist with the pink juice was topped by wild berry compote and plated vertically atop chestnut hummus.”

Chef’s Table at The Kensington Riverside Inn, Calgary, Alberta: “Every dish, from the chestnut soup and the squash ravioli to the wild boar shank and fritter, the Wagyu beef short ribs and the tagine chicken to the pear and citrus desserts, were beautifully cooked, very flavourful, and wonderfully presented.”

Dahlia Lounge, Seattle, Washington: “Dungeness crab cakes for one entree and chestnut bread pudding for the other — a  vegetarian entree — both delicious.”

Despaña, Princeton, New Jersey: “The chorizo and chestnuts is yum.”

Farallon, San Francisco, California: “The food was very memorable, most notably the oysters and the chestnut/truffle risotto, recommended by our server.”

Fiola, Washington, D.C.:  ”The marubini of roasted chestnuts (like ravioli with mushrooms, pine nuts, black currants, and sage) was very seasonal, light and oh so tasty.”

Continue reading…

Jay Poblador Invites You to ‘A Night Out for the Philippines’ in NYC on 1/27 to Build a Village

NY for Philippines Jay Poblador Invites You to A Night Out for the Philippines in NYC on 1/27 to Build a Village

On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan devastated large swaths of the Philippines, killing more than 6,100 people and destroying the industries that are vital to villages. The destruction hit very close to home for many people with family in the Philippines, including Jay Poblador, general manager at The Elm in New York. Seeking a way to aid in recovery efforts, Jay founded NYers for the Philippines. His co-founder is Arnold Marcella, who is a sous chef at The Elm.

On January 27, 2014, NYers for the Philippines invites you to join New York City’s most notable chefs, mixologists, and entertainers at A Night Out for the Philippines: Building A Village Together at Bagatelle New York. All proceeds from this one-night-only fundraiser will provide housing and create a sustainable rehabilitation program for a community in the Philippines hard-hit by Typhoon Haiyan.

Jay reveals, “When the typhoon hit the Philippines, Arnie Marcella  and I were struck by the intensity of the storm and the amount of damage it had brought on so many regions in the Philippines. As we tried to contact relatives to make sure that everyone was safe and accounted for, we realized that we both had ties to Iloilo City.” After Jay and Arnie learned that most of the aid was being focused on Tacloban City, the epicenter of the typhoon’s damage, they were spurred to form the group NYers for the Philippines to raise funds for Iloilo’s recovery.

NYers for the Philippines has partnered with Gawad Kalinga, whose mission in the Philippines is to restore human dignity, first to impoverished communities in the Philippines, and then, because of all the natural calamities the country has faced, assist communities devastated by these acts. At a base level, providing a safe permanent environment for individuals and families is the first order of business. Jay and his team hope to raise enough money to rebuild an entire village of 25 to 30 homes. He notes, “In appreciation of all the chefs who are participating in A Night Out for the Philippines: Building A Village Together, we intend to put plaques on the homes commemorating their generosity. One of the things we get to do in this partnership is to name the village. For example, there is a Lufthansa Village, a Mandarin Oriental Village, and so on.” He adds with a smile, “Ours may very well be named Chefs’ Village.” Jay and members of NYers for the Philippines plan to visit the village when the houses are complete and meet the people living there.  Continue reading…

Enter the #ShareMyPlate Instagram Contest to Help No Kid Hungry End Childhood Hunger

ShareMyPlate Enter the #ShareMyPlate Instagram Contest to Help No Kid Hungry End Childhood HungerLove snapping pics of your plate? Into sharing your shots on Instagram? Then participate in Sysco’s #ShareMyPlate Instagram contest to help end childhood hunger in America!

Dine out at your favorite OpenTable restaurant, take an Instagram of your meal, and tag it with #ShareMyPlate — and Sysco will donate 50 cents for every photo shared to No Kid Hungry. Plus, the best photos will win prizes: $1,000, $500, and $250 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes respectively.

Eat often! Share often! Give often! Winning photos will be selected by Food Network celebrity Chef Robert Irvine. Contest ends March 5, 2014. Learn more at http://statigr.am/contest/ppgr/share-my-plate and snap away today!