Valentine’s Day used to be about wooing your significant other with singular experiences, not least of which was nibbling aphrodisiacs at a fancy restaurant. However, according to a recent Zagat survey, only 16 percent of Valentine’s Day participants said they cared about romantic ambience when it came to choosing a restaurant for dinner. Almost half of all those surveyed did not even list romance in their top three priorities.
So what gives? Apparently, people are way more interested in impressing their dates with top-notch food than low lighting and white tablecloths. Italian food is actually the most popular Valentine’s Day cuisine, according to the Zagat survey.
“Diners these days are much more informed about where their food comes from, and its quality,” Josh Boissy, co-founder of Sauvage in New York, told Zagat. On Valentine’s Day in particular, he adds, “I have seen a distinct move away from restaurants that try to do a theme and more towards places that just aim to serve good food and drink.”
But that doesn’t mean the romantic restaurant is totally dead, just that it looks different than it used to and does not necessarily fit into one dainty, stuffy box.
“It used to mean white tablecloths and stuffy waiters,” Matt Sherry, the manager at Chicago’s Swift & Sons, told Zagat. “Now, the lines are blurred. It can be more comfortable.”
If you’re still ruminating over your Valentine’s Day reservation, check out our tips on how to make Feb. 14 “insanely romantic.”