After taking my girlfriend to more than 160 restaurants (yes, really) in our first two-and-a-half years of dating, it’s safe to say I know a bit about dining out.

First, some of the “best” restaurants in any city are not necessarily the most romantic. Take any source for a restaurant review–newspaper, Yelp, blogger, Trip Advisor–and oftentimes, the reviewer evaluates a ton of criteria irrelevant to whether or not you will have a nice, romantic night out at that restaurant.

When I think about whether I’m going to have a romantic date, I don’t really care if the kitchen is using truffle or kosher salt, where the chef cooked previously, or whether the ham is flown in from Iberia. I care about whether my date and I can have a quiet conversation, if our shared space will seem intimate, and will the food and ambiance be worthy of our attention and my expenditure.

This isn’t to say I don’t know or appreciate good food! With over 400 cookbooks in my library at home, I do know the difference between a sous vide and an amuse bouche and I’m happy to talk about them all day long. I just don’t think a Michelin star equals a romantic meal.

When you’ve been to as many restaurants as I have on my dating/dining journey, you realize that all restaurant tables are not created equal. It strikes me as ridiculous that in any given restaurant, the couple sitting in the back by the kitchen or near the bathroom is paying exactly the same price for their meal as the couple that scored the window table with a view. Some popular “romantic” restaurants may be well designed, but don’t have any unique or particularly romantic tables; similarly, some restaurants that are off the critics’ radar have fantastic, unique tables that can be the setting for an enchanting evening.

For years, friends have consulted me informally on where to take their partners or dates for a romantic dinner. Maybe you’re celebrating an anniversary or a birthday; maybe you’re planning to propose; or maybe you’re just interested in taking your partner out for what I call a Statement Date–this website will help. I created MostRomanticTable.com to help you score a first-class table at coach prices.

While my methodology is entirely subjective, my criteria are not. In picking a Most Romantic Table, I consider noise, intimacy, privacy, and aesthetics. My idea of romance involves a visually enticing environment where two people can talk over great food, with fine service. I hope you enjoy our selections.

Watch our founder, Jay Ward, talk about our mission:

Listen to our founder, Jay Ward, in his interview with Ryan Scott on KGO AM 810: