I haven’t been out for dinner for Valentine’s Day for the last 20 years.
For around half of those I couldn’t, because I was running a restaurant which was always fully-booked on that night, but for the other half, I have always chosen – and would always choose - to stay in on this evening of all evenings.
Why? Well, here’s 5 things you should bear in mind before you blow your budget on eating out:
1. Restaurant rip-offs
All these lovely, pink, romantic menus with hearts and rose petals – they’re not designed to get you laid you know, they’re designed so the restaurant can pump the food out quickly and make extra bucks from you 'cos that’s the only food they’re serving that night.
You’re much better off going out on the 15th when you can buy the food that was prepped and not sold, generally at much less than the special Valentine’s package and with the added bonus of being able to pick and choose your own menu.
2. Bad Service
Despite every restaurant’s best efforts, people persist in booking tables at “7.30 for 8 o’clock”. And even if they don’t book at that time, that’s when they turn up anyway – all of them at the same time.
The wheels will fall off, waiters will panic, the chef will start screaming and your romantic dinner could get dragged out far longer than you intended as you wait for a seemingly-interminable length of time for that wretched chocolate fondue that you’ve paid for but didn’t really want in the first place.
Either book very early, or wait for the 15th.
I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing, but when the order of the evening is romance, it can be quite a strain. With waiters and fellow guests watching you, you feel like you have to hold hands ALL the time, gaze lovingly into your partner’s eyes, feed them dainty little mouthfuls from your plate, buy roses/teddy bears/whatever other crap comes around being sold for charity and worst of all – SWITCH OFF YOUR CELLPHONE.
Because whatever you do, you don’t want to be the focus of attention for the ENTIRE restaurant as the one person talking to the office about signing off on the artwork at 9pm on Valentine’s Day.
4. Nothing as romantic as cooking together
So those are a few bad things I feel about eating out on Valentine’s Day but on the plus side – is there anything more romantic than cooking together?
Think 9 ½ Weeks, think chocolate body-paint, think special bottle of wine and no need to worry about driving afterwards. Mmm – all sounds much better to me.
And of course, the best reason to stay in on Valentine’s Day is that when the mood takes you, you don’t have far to go. As it were.
Rather than waiting for the bill, waiting for a taxi, tapping impatiently on the steering wheel as you get stuck in a road block – all you have to do is head for bed and you’re all set. Happy Valentine’s Day indeed!
What do you think? Eat in or eat out on Valentine’s Day?
Follow Cathy Marston on Twitter @CathyMarston .
- Cathy Marston