The Perfect Valentine's Destination: Olive Garden

Valentine's Day is coming up yet again--the holiday devoted to love, candy, and the pressure to do something creatively romantic if you're in a relationship. So, how can you ensure that you aren't the sad girl/boy at brunch whose significant other didn't make any V-day plans? Everyone will be gabbing about how creatively romantic their nights were, while you'll just be sitting there, twiddling your thumbs. Or, you could wow your brunch pals with tales of soup, salad, breadsticks, and so much more.

Olive Garden is the place to be on February 14th. I know, I know, a corporate restaurant establishment feels a bit uninspired for a holiday devoted to the most original and important thing anyone can do in their lifetime: fall in love. But Olive Garden is not your average corporate restaurant. When you're there, you're family, but unlike family occasions, you're actually having a pretty decent time, especially if you're with your lover.

Here's why I think Olive Garden is the top pick for your Valentine's Day dinner.

It's Italian!
Everyone knows Italian is the most romantic ethnic food. Lovers should delight in piles of steaming pasta when celebrating their relationship together, especially on this most holy day. Look at Lady and the Tramp. That movie is entirely average until they eat the same piece of pasta and accidentally kiss. At Olive Garden, you'll undoubtedly be able to pull this move off because the pasta options are endless.

It's Appetizers!
Olive Garden is the undisputed king of appetizers. Everyone knows that. What other restaurant serves appetizers that are the same golden-brown color as the table you eat them off of? If you like fried foods, then you're in luck--calamari and fried mozzarella are few of the many options you can choose from. Did you know fried foods are an aphrodisiac? Stuff your lover with some fried lasagna if you plan on getting busy later.

It's Pasta Design!
At Olive Garden, there's plenty of preset menu items to choose from. But in case you're feeling inspired and want to impress your lover with your initiative, you can create your own pasta bowl. It's basically a pasta Chipotle, minus the guacamole and food safety trouble.

It's Free Wine!
Waiters at Olive Garden always offer free wine samples. What I like to do is keep requesting new waiters so that I get a ton of free samples. Lovers and wine go together like Fettuccine and Alfredo. I always try the pink wines, which is very fitting for Valentines's Day.

It's A Spot!
Olive Garden is a corporate establishment, yes, but the good news is that a corporate establishment means great parking options. I can almost guarantee that your local Olive Garden has a parking lot or structure. I know that my local Olive Garden in Glendale, CA has a huge, blindingly white parking structure that never runs out of spaces. Lovers will take comfort in not having to spend hours looking for a spot, making your dining experience stress-free.

It's Rolly Chairs!
Little known fact--the chairs at Olive Garden roll! This makes it easier than ever to scoot in close to your pasta and scoot back out when your stomach no longer fits in the appropriated space. Plus, since it's Valentine's Day, you'll want to scoot closer to your lover. Nothing is more romantic than two rolly chairs, side by side.

It's Table Games!
Bear with me for a moment: let's assume that you don't love your lover. Or maybe, you've been with your lover for a long time and have run out of things to say. Olive Garden has already come up with a solution for this. For the low price of $1.99, you get access to all the many games you can play in lieu of conversation. There's even trivia, so if you really hate your lover, serve them their butt on a platter by beating them in 90s sports trivia.

It's Refreshingly Mint!
Every dinner must come to an end, even at Olive Garden, so eventually you do have to leave (this is the part where you're not really family). It's okay, though, because there are Andes Chocolate Mints to look forward to! Plus, after dinner mints are great for lovers who plan on some post-dinner necking. For the uninitiated, Andes Mints are delicious little morsels of chocolate mint goodness that make saying goodbye to Olive Garden a little sweeter. One time, I asked the hostess for extra mints and she responded by saying, "Take as many as you want, I don't care," and then she handed me the basket. It took everything in me that day to not run out of the restaurant with a basket of Andes Chocolate Mints.

Well, there you have it. There's no reason to struggle to find the latest hip restaurant in your neighborhood. Chances are the portions will be too small and they'll probably put something dangerous in the food, like Sriracha or fennel. Don't go to that cool secret music show or to a colorful, smoky dance club or to a sunset picnic in the park.

This Valentine's Day, honor your lover at Olive Garden.

Note: I am not affiliated with Olive Garden, just a passionate fan.