Summer Restaurant Week Reservations Update: Save on Meals in Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, LA, NYC, Toronto, Minneapolis + More

pestoSummer and summer restaurant week reservations are here! Tables typically get snapped up quick; so, start to click to make sure you can enjoy steals on meals at the finest restaurants in cities across the U.S. And, stay tuned as we roll out even more popular restaurant week reservations in the weeks to come.

* Portland Dining Month is in full swing. Make a reservation for three-course gourmet meals for just $29, June 1-30.

* Coral Gables Restaurant Week continues. Take advantage of special $17-$29 lunches and $17-$49 dinners, June 10-30.

* Dine Downtown-San Jose Restaurant Week reservations is onFeast on special three-course, prix-fixe meals at participating restaurants, June 21-30.

* Say ‘Ciao!’ to Italian Dine-Out New York City. Order up $26 lunches and $40 dinners, June 26-July 6.

* Toronto Summerlicious is less than a week away. Enjoy $15, $20, or $25 lunches and $25, $35, or $45 dinners, July 5-21.

* Allez! New York City French Restaurant Week is coming soonBook now for amazing prix-fixe $17.89 meals at the city’s finest French restaurants, July 8-14.

* Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s Restaurant Week is back in action this summer. Take advantage of $10-$20 lunches and $15-$30 dinners, July 14-19Continue Reading

Make a Reservation to Help the Hungry with Dine Out Charlotte, April 12-21, 2013!

Make a reservation to help end child hunger in Charlotte!

Dine Out Charlotte has arrived! Charlotte, North Carolina, is a city made for foodies. But, even with its enviable dining scene and spectacular local bounty, many residents still go hungry. During Dine Out Charlotte, April 12-21st, you can help fill their plates by filling yours at a participating restaurant. For every three-course $22 or $32 dinner ordered, a donation of $2 goes directly to Charlotte’s Second Harvest Food Bank’s Feed Hungry Kids program.

Participating restaurants include Dressler’s, Fiamma, Red Rocks Cafe, Upstream — and many more! Make your reservation to support Second Harvest in their mission to help end child hunger in the Metrolina area. Book your tables today!

Fondue or Fon-don’t: Does Melted Cheese Melt Hearts?

Fondue-or-FondontWe recently announced the winners of the OpenTable Diners’ Choice award for the Top 50 Most Romantic Restaurants. Of the 50, a whopping 12 were Melting Pot restaurants, where fondue anchors the menus. Two other winners, La Fondue and Simply Fondue, are also, as you might have guessed by their names, fondue-friendly eateries. The Chicago Tribune‘s food blog, The Stew, picked up on our list’s fromage factor and ran with it, while the clever folks over at Eater didn’t want to give a shout out to these restaurants when they generously covered our list, saying, “[F]ondue hasn’t been considered romantic since Three’s Company went off the air.” The fact remains, however, that many diners find fondue to be the perfect mood food for a romantic evening.

What exactly is it that makes love bloom over melted cheese and other cook-it-yourself delights? We weren’t quite sure, so we reached out to our network of diners over Facebook and Twitter. Bulbul Gupta says, “Interactive food is always a great date dinner idea, interactive anything is very romantic — you learn to share early on and can easily feed each other with a one-foot distance without it getting overly mushy…perfect!” Diner Teresa Miller concurs, “The Melting Pot in Larkspur is VERY romantic. The location is in an old brick kiln with lots of low lighting. Cheese is comfort food, hence the reason why romance blooms when bellies are satisfied!” Jennifer Kaplan, also a fondue fan, says, “My husband and I do find it romantic. The lighting is low and the tables are reasonably secluded. We enjoy lingering over our dinner and find the food to be very good.” Ryan Mathus tweets, “I find fondue/Melting Pot cool just because it’s not your traditional meal and more hands on. It’s all about us.” Fellow tweep Jen Fairchild notes, rather poetically (or erotically?), “Fondue is steamy and hot and thick and creamy and good…just like love!”

Perhaps the best and not-at-all cheesy cheese story we heard comes from OpenTable diner Cara Couture of Charlotte, North Carolina. She writes, “My husband and I go to The Melting Pot any time we have reason to celebrate — graduation, anniversary, new job, a Friday night — but our favorite reason was to celebrate our engagement. In between the limo ride and the chartered plane trip around the city of Columbus, Ohio, my then-fiancé made dinner reservations at our favorite restaurant, The Melting Pot, where a bouquet of roses was at our regular table with a congratulations card signed by the restaurant staff. To this day, that remains the most romantic night of my life.” Sigh. My husband’s marriage proposal is looking more and more lame the more stories I hear like this one (a chartered plane?). But, I digress.

To find out if the people from The Melting Pot had any insights as to why their dining experience is so aphrodisiacal, we reached out to Chad Hornik, who owns several Melting Pot locations, including those in Richmond and Virginia Beach,  which were included on our Top 50 Most Romantic Restaurants winners for 2010. Hornik says of his restaurants’ romantic appeal, “Dining with fondue creates an aura of romance. It’s a participation meal — you’re cooking, helping, talking. Even if the conversation gets awkward, diners can talk about the food.” Also, “The lighting is dim, and each table is designed to have its own intimate atmosphere. We even have curtains that block off some of our tables, and sometimes we have to knock before we enter!” The Melting Pot, though, is more than just cheese. Hornik adds, “The cheese is just the appetizer. It’s a relaxed four-course dining experience, and the desserts…well, dipping strawberries into chocolate is pretty romantic.”

Chad, you had me (and, most certainly, my chocoholic husband) at strawberries and chocolate. Perhaps a a trip to The Melting Pot will prompt a second proposal. And, yes, Curt, that means a second ring.

Summer Restaurant Weeks Start Soon: Let the Reservations Begin!

Forget the beach or vacations. Nothing says summer like Restaurant Week! The perfect way to enjoy a “staycation” in your own city, Restaurant Week offers you the chance to enjoy prix-fixe meals at participating restaurants at wallet-conscious prices. If you’ve never dared to dine at a certain restaurant because it was beyond your budget, Restaurant Week is for you.

Kick-off cities include Toronto, Ontario, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Keep checking back to find out about a Restaurant Week near you.