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Last-minute Valentine’s Day tips

Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants (the other is Mother’s Day), which means making a last-minute reservation can prove difficult.

“If people are looking to get onto a reservation list for a popular place like Splendido or Auberge du Pommier, it’s too late,” Lida Elias, CEO of SaveMyDate.ca told CityNews.ca.

“But there are places that people can still check out. For example, Volos – a Greek restaurant – and George restaurant on Queen East still have some seats left – George has a five course tasting menu that night,” she said.

“Many restaurants still have a spot, it’s just either super early or super late, like 5:30 p.m. or 9 p.m.”

Here are a few other ways to avoid the crunch and celebrate a special night.

1. Reservation website OpenTable recommends skipping Feb. 14 altogether and enjoying a romantic weekend instead. Try aSaturday night dinner, followed by a cozy Sunday brunch.

However, if Thursday night is a must-do, click here to see which Toronto restaurants still have tables for two.

2. Try one of the many Toronto restaurants never take reservations. It’s not bad planning on your part – there’s always a line up at Grand Electric, Guu Izakaya and Pizzeria Libretto.

“Or try an intimate bar, like 416 Snack bar or Triple A wine bar,” Elias said, “They still have amazing menus.”

3. Set the mood at home: Use a tablecloth and learn how to make a fancy but simple cocktail (Sophie Dahl, author Roald’s daughter, recommends a rose prosecco), and cook something you know you can pull off (or order in). It’s about the night, not the molecular gastronomy.

4. Personal gifts are always better than last-minute impulse buys, the Today show explains. Try loading an iPod with your partner’s favourite music or a romantic playlist, or spring for one night at hotel in your town. It’s a relaxing getaway without the airport and traffic stress.

5. Does your partner like flowers other than roses? Get those. And write your own card.

How are you celebrating? Any tips for last-minute plans? Let us know in the comments.