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

DOVFHappenings 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-blogThe 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.”

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

NY-for-Philippines

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