Celebrating Valentine's Day Has Never Been More Expensive

The heart-shaped box of chocolate; the thoughtful card; the stuffed animal -- these all have their place in a classic Valentine's Day date, but nothing is more important than dinner. In fact, according to Zagat, more than half (about 53 percent) of couples will be dining out this year to celebrate.

That's a costlier proposition than ever, though -- the average cost of Valentine's Day dinner for two has ballooned to $170.53.

Zagat Blog

That's significantly more than 2012's average of $146.52, still a pricey meal by most standards.

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What will we be eating on our ever-increasing diner's check?

The most popular cuisine for Valentine's Day this year will be Italian, the choice of 17 percent of surveyed diners.

That's followed by French (13 percent), seafood (13 percent), steak (11 percent), American (10 percent), sushi (7 percent), Mexican (3 percent) and Chinese (1 percent).

However, a full 20 percent of those involved in the survey said the cuisine didn't much matter -- so long as the food is good.

Zagat Blog

If you're looking to do something sweet for your sweetheart, but also need to save a little scratch, might we suggest browsing a few of our recipes?

Nothing says "I love you" like a home-cooked meal, after all.

Read More: Valentine's Day + Chocolate: How the Marriage Came to Be

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