The Food of Love: Valentine's Day Dining by the Numbers

Valentines dinner
Valentines dinner

Love isn't just in the air. It's being served on a platter.

A romantic dinner is a Valentine's Day staple, and this year the tradition continues, with lovebirds making reservations and -- in many cases -- planning to spend $200-plus to dine with their special someone, according to a recent Valentine's Day dining survey conducted by online restaurant reservation giant OpenTable (OPEN).

Planning Date Night

"With this Valentine's Day falling on a Tuesday, we are going to see two spikes in restaurant reservations," Caroline Potter, OpenTable's chief dining officer, said in a statement. "About half of the diners surveyed anticipate booking a romantic evening on the 14th, while another 26% are choosing to celebrate on Saturday night, Feb. 11."

And with 53% of survey respondents saying they plan to make their reservations more than a week in advance, a savvy move may include a few well-placed hints if the beloved tends to be a procrastinator.

Check, Please!

So where will lovebirds dine, and how much will they spend? More than half of survey respondents expect to shell out $101 to $200 for the special meal. And 10% of say they plan to run up a tab of $200 or more.

Here are some other nuggets from the OpenTable survey:

Ingredients for love:

  • 35% of survey respondents list Italian cuisine as the most romantic for Valentine's Day.

  • 25% are smitten with French cuisine.

  • 11% list American food.

  • 8% cite fondue.

  • 7% enjoy the romance of small plates of tapas.

Cash-strapped ZIP codes:

  • 16% of Seattle residents plan to spend less on those romantic Valentine's Day meals.

  • 15% of Atlanta survey respondents plan to do likewise.

  • 10% of Los Angeles diners are pulling back their purse strings on V-Day dining.

Where love (and budget) knows no bounds:

  • 20% of Las Vegas residents plan to spend more than $200 on Valentine's Day dinner.

  • 20% of Miami fun-in-the-sun residents plan to spend in excess of $200.

  • 19% of New Yorkers also expect to spend $200 or more.

Motley Fool contributor Dawn Kawamoto owns no stock in any of the companies listed. However, she is heavily invested in the notion of romance and Valentine's Day. (You can bet her husband will be reading this article.) The Motley Fool owns shares of OpenTable. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of OpenTable.