Cheap Eats

Valentine's Day for Cheapskates: Six Places for a Low-Cost Date in Broward and Palm Beach

Ahhh, Valentine's Day. The quintessential Hallmark Holiday, invented to divest coupled folks of hard-earned cash (in turn for typically meaningless trinkets) and to remind singles of how sad they should be about being alone on during this most wondrous day of the year. 

As baffling as Valentine's Day seems -- so few people seem to treasure it, and yet our ambivalence only makes it grow stronger -- it can be difficult to ignore if you are in a relationship.

What to do if you're on a budget or your convictions make it physically impossible for you to spring big bucks on a fancy-schmancy table at a low-lit restaurant on Las Olas? Why, the cheapskate date, of course! There is a bonus to choosing a low-rent dining destination on February 14 as well. It's the less obvious choice, so you're bound to miss the onslaught of amateur-night diners who flock to restaurants on holidays like V-Day and Mother's Day. 

After the jump, find six very affordable options for Valentine's Day dates in Broward and Palm Beach counties. We can't promise you that treating your date to a meal at any of these places will increase your odds in the bedroom, but it is unlikely that they'll leave you holding a declined credit card (which certainly wouldn't help your chances). 

- Talia's Tuscan Table, 4070 N. Dixie Highway, Boca Raton. Call 561-362-0874. 

The menu at this out-of-the-way Italian joint is priced to sell, and with no wait staff, you'll save on tip. Hell, you can even pour your date a beer from the "serve yourself" keg -- just drop a few bucks in the jar. While the cost is low, you'll find plenty of character and food that is made with high-quality ingredients. If Italian doesn't suit your fancy, the adjacent Baba's Shrimp Shack offers a similarly low-priced menu and system. No reservations taken, no valet, no expensive wine list = no big check. 

- El Jefe Luchador, 27 S. Federal Highway, Deerfield Beach. Call 954-246-5333. 

Scrimping on the Valentine's Day dinner bill doesn't mean you have to go without flavor. The street food at this sister restaurant to Charm City Burger (another good option for an affordable V-Day din-din) gets high marks for packing a ton of taste and being relatively easy on the wallet. You can stick to familiar choices like tacos or show off your adventurous side with dishes like the pork carnitas. 

- World of Beer, 4437 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek. Call 954-984-0300.

Since rare craft beers at this chain can quickly start to climb in price, you'll want to take the reins early on and guide your date's choices to the less pricey options. The bar will be highlighting Valentine's Day appropriate brews like the Ommegang Seduction and Rogue Double Chocolate Stout. They'll also be sharing snacks like chocolate-covered strawberries and cupcakes so dinner can be a mix of beer and sweet treats at a sweet price.  

- Le Tub Saloon, 1100 N. Ocean Drive, Hollywood. Call 954-921-9425. 

Tables that are hard to snag. Waterfront dining. Desserts that can be shared while watching the sun dip behind the mangroves. Le Tub has some of the elements for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner -- so what if the drinks are served in plastic cups and you're sitting on a wooden bench? This is the cheapo way to show your date that you're in tune with South Florida's best-kept totally open secrets. 

- Souvlaki Fast, 122 NE Second St., Boca Raton. Call 561-395-1906. 

The food is served quickly, indeed, but the bright, modern décor and quality sandwiches keep it from feeling like a run-of-the-mill chain. Here's a little bonus: If you take your date for a romantic lunch date, you can take advantage of the Supergyro Tuesday promo and get a regular or chicken gyro for $5. Feel free to feign surprise over this happy little "coincidence." 

- Pollo Tropical. Multiple locations. 

You are a Valentine's Day cheapskate and you don't care who knows it, least of all your date. Sound accurate? Then we've got just the deal for you. Pollo Tropical will offer a chance for two to dine for $9.99 with a choice of two entrées (create a TropiChop or go for the quarter-chicken platter), two regular-sized fountain drinks, and a regular-sized order of yuca sticks or sweet plantains. You'll also get a flan to share for dessert. How romantic! To get the coupon, you'll have to text "SWEETHEART" to 52198. Good for dine-in or carryout. 

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Tricia Woolfenden