Six Last-Minute Ways to Save Your Valentine's Dinner

Uh-oh. It's the Thursday before Valentine's Day and you haven't said a word to your honeybunch about Valentine's Day dinner. Maybe she/he is assuming you've got stealthy super-secret plans that will be so romantic they'll squeal with delight and impale themselves onto Cupid's arrow. More likely, little snookems is getting antsy that all of the good dinners are sold out and you'll be in the doghouse again this year.

Relax. Breathe. This commercial holiday nightmare "special day" will all be over soon. If you've waited till the last minute and don't have a lot of cash to spend, no worries. We've got your dating dilemma covered with a few tips for V-Day procrastinators: 

6. Think National: Even if you're not usually a fan of national chains, they might be worth trying on Valentine's Day. Reservations aren't often required, and places like P.F. Chang's China Bistro are offering prix fixe menus that'll give you a four-course meal for two without the huge price tag. 

P.F. Chang's Valentine's Day "Chang's For Two" special includes cup of soup, shareable appetizer such as lettuce wraps or dumplings, one entree and two mini-desserts for a total of $39.95. Available at Valleywide locations.

5. Be an Early Bird: V-Day falls on a Sunday this year. Ugh. For a lot of people, that's chore day. For others, it's church day. Save your Sunday for the usual obligatory errands and celebrate Valentine's Day on Friday or Saturday night. Some restaurants, like The Urban Tea Loft in Chandler, are starting their Valentine's Day Dinner packages early. Urban Tea is offering a 3-course meal (appetizer, entree and pineapple flan or red velvet cake) from their brand new dinner menu for $75 per couple on Friday and Saturday night, as well as Sunday. Call 480-786-9600 for reservations.

4. Go Sans Prix Fixe: You'll save more, and avoid needing reservations, if you opt to just share a few things from the regular menu. Glendale's Bice Bistro is offering a 3-course prix fixe for $50 per person, but they've also got a full menu available on Sunday. Skip the huge, gut-busting feast and share some tuna tartare, pasta and chocolate souffle. You'll save money AND be forced to get a lot closer to your partner. Oh. Darn.

Sail away on a sushi boat for two.
Sail away on a sushi boat for two.
Courtesy of Wagstaff Worldwide/Kabuki Japanese Restaurants

3. Screw Tradition: Steak, lobster and pasta are Valentine's Day dinner staples. This year, why not opt for something more unique like V-Day sushi or fajitas? Many ethnic restaurants don't require reservations, even for holidays. Try the "Love Boat" special at Kabuki Japanese Restaurant's Glendale and Tempe locations. For $19.95 per person, your table will be graced with a giant wooden boat filled with chicken teriyaki, BBQ ribs, shrimp and veggie tempura, dumplings, mussels, California rolls and fruit. You'll also get soup, salad, and rice. Kabuki has plum champagne and "cake & ice cream" desserts for $7.95 each to end your night on a sweet note.

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