Tempest Oyster Bar

Not your typical Madison lobby decor: a vintage wooden boat with a blue marlin on the wall greet visitors to Tempest Oyster Bar, one of Madison's more overlooked romantic restaurants.

Valentine’s Day is the biggest date night of the year, and with the holiday falling on a Friday this year, dining out that night becomes almost imperative.

Ed Lump, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, said he didn’t know whether V-Day is the biggest night in the restaurant industry, but said it is “certainly one of the biggest.”

Valentine’s Day translates into a big week for restaurants, he said. “People don’t just go out on Valentine’s Day. Actually, they go out throughout that week to celebrate Valentine’s Day.”

Having the holiday fall on a Friday makes it “less good” for restaurants because Friday — the night of the Wisconsin fish fry — is a big night anyway, Lump said.

Lunches are busier on Valentine’s Day and during Valentine’s week as well, he said.

And Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to translate only into a romantic dinner or lunch. It can also be a night out with the guys, or a night out with girlfriends, or a night out with the family.

True romantics have made reservations at their favorite restaurant weeks ago. But the rest of us — even we lonelyhearts — should still be able to snag a table at one of these romantic places and not have to settle for fast food.

Here are 10 ideas for Valentine’s Day procrastinators:

Slideshow: 10 candidates for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner

Tempest Oyster Bar, 120 E. Wilson St.: Probably the most overlooked fine dining establishment in Madison. Those put off by the name should kno…

Mason’s on Main, 113 S. Main St., Oregon: A short drive to Oregon can be a romantic start to a meal at this new restaurant, which has two pers…

Restaurant Muramoto, 225 King St.: Sushi is a good way to splurge on Valentine’s Day, and this standby has the most sophisticated dining room …

Lao Laan-Xang, 1146 Williamson St.: The original Lao Laan-Xang on Willy Street can feel a bit cramped, but it makes up for that in charm. And …

Grampa’s Pizzeria, 1374 Williamson St.: Grampa’s can make pizza romantic with distinctive pies like the Barberini with ricotta cheese, garlic,…

Bassett Street Brunch Club, 444 W. Johnson St.: This fun restaurant is more whimsy than romance, but you can impress your date by ordering the…

Louisianne’s, 7464 Hubbard Ave, Middleton: Any excuse to go to this restaurant is a good one. The menu tantalizes as much as the French Quarte…

Kennedy Manor Dining Room & Bar, 1 Langdon St.: A continuously operating restaurant for 80 years, Kennedy Manor likely holds a Madison rec…

Porta Bella, 425 N. Frances St.: Porta Bella might seem to you like a romantic dining cliche, but no list of romantic restaurants can be compl…

Chocolaterian Cafe, 2004 Atwood Ave.: Maybe it’s a light meal you want so you can focus on wine and chocolate. This is the place to do that. N…

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