Introducing the 25 Most Romantic Cities in America 2016 #savorthelove

As we begin to fete love and romance ahead of Valentine’s Day and on the heels of announcing the 2016 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America, we’re thrilled to release our rankings of the 25 Most Romantic Cities in America 2016. Virginia Beach tops the list — can you guess which other destinations are represented?

2016 Most Romantic Cities in America

Food trends may come and go, but our data indicates that Americans continue to have an appetite for romantic dining. 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 25 Most Romantic Cities in America 2016. The complete list may also be viewed at

The 2016 25 Most Romantic Cities in America are…Continue Reading

2016 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America

As we celebrate love and romance in honor of Valentine’s Day, we are pleased to announce the 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America for 2016. 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.


Featuring beloved restaurants adept at delivering hospitality with a personal touch, often from owner-operators, the complete list spans 33 states and includes honorees such as The Cellars in Virginia Beach, Forbes Island in San Francisco, and Zenkichi in Brooklyn. California has 15 winning restaurants, followed by New York and Virginia with 8 apiece, Colorado with 7, and Arizona, Florida, and Texas with six each. Hawaii and Nevada each have five winners while North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina each boast four. Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Washington count two winners per state. Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Utah are also represented.

Exceptional ambience is the common thread at the winning restaurants, from those set in historic buildings, such as the Rainbow Room atop 30 Rockefeller Center, to those associated with cozy inns and luxe resorts, including Duling Kurtz House and Tidepools at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. Establishments serving American and French cuisines dominate the list; however, Italian restaurants and steakhouses also proved popular, as did those specializing in perennial favorite fondue.

The list of the 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America is generated from more than 5 million restaurant reviews collected from verified OpenTable diners between December 7, 2014, and December 6, 2015. All restaurants with a minimum “overall” score and number of qualifying reviews were then sorted according to Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the percentage of qualifying reviews for which “romantic” was selected as a special feature. “

Based on this methodology, the following restaurants, listed in alphabetical order, comprise the 2016 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America, according to OpenTable diners:Continue Reading

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.