Valentine’s Day 2016 is here, and those looking for the best deals and freebies at restaurants can still find some great places to spend a special meal.
February 14 is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants as couples try to find a great place to spend a romantic dinner (in fact, only Mother’s Day will draw more people out to eat). In 2015, Americans dropped $7 million at restaurants for Valentine’s Day, Eater reported. These meals averaged anywhere from $87 to $287, the report noted.
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American couples preferred to find something a bit exotic, Eater found, with international cuisine the most popular for couples. The report noted that some of the most popular destinations are French, Spanish, and Italian restaurants. Steakhouses and wineries are also popular, the report added.
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Singles had a bit of a different focus, the report found.
Eater looked at Google Trends data and reached out both to food delivery service GrubHub and search and discovery app Foursquare to understand how Americans eat on Valentine’s Day. One thing that stands out about American Valentine’s Day dinners is that, at least for couples, they are not very American at all: Data shows that couples prefer international Valentine dishes instead. Dinners for singles, on the other hand, are as American as they can get, filled with fatty indulgences.
Valentine’s Day is also a huge day for takeout, with Asian foods a particular favorite. Orders for sushi rolls, shrimp, and Indian food have some of the biggest spikes on February 14, Eater reported. Festive sushi orders, including heart-shaped sushi rolls, see some of the biggest increases in popularity, the report added.
While it may be too late to get a reservation for the fanciest restaurants, there are still plenty of great deals for Valentine’s Day 2016 at some of the favorite chain restaurants.
People magazine compiled some of the best Valentine’s Day deals, including the following.
California Pizza Kitchen: A $32 pre-fixed menu including one appetizer, two entrees, and a dessert.
Chili’s: Cupid’s Combo for Two includes Presidente Margaritas, an appetizer, two sirloin steaks, and a white molten chocolate cake.
Macaroni Grill: “Wine and Dine” menu includes one appetizer, entree and dessert, along with wine bottles at a 50 percent discount.
Outback Steakhouse: Meal for two including a Bloomin’ Onion, two 9-oz. sirloin steaks, two sides, two salads, and a cheesecake to share (all for $40).
Shake Shack: Buy one milkshake get one free.
Steak ‘n Shake: Free Valentine’s milkshake for anyone who buys $10 or more in gift cards.
TGI Friday’s: Bottles of wine are half-priced all Valentine’s Day weekend.
White Castle: Sit down dinner for two for $9.95
There are also anti-Valentine’s Day deals, including Hooters offering a free order of 10 wings for anyone who brings in a picture of an ex and shreds it on the premises. There is no proof required beyond this, so it seems anyone willing to bring a picture and tear it apart is good to go for this one.
There are likely plenty of Valentine’s Day deals at local restaurants as well, but these may be harder to find and even harder to get a reservation for. Try a Google search or “Valentine’s Day 2016 deals” for your particular city, but be sure to call ahead as early as possible to see if you can still find room for you and your date at the special meal.
[Picture by Tim Boyle/Getty Images]