Even the most confident people among us still have to deal with first date jitters.
There’s deciding what you’ll wear, mentally preparing “safe” conversation topics, and wondering if the person will actually look like their profile picture.
What’s one thing that will help you to feel a lot more relaxed about the situation?
Picking out a great date restaurant.
But whether you live in a huge city where you’re overwhelmed by choice or a small town where you can pretty much decide between three options, it’s still a struggle.
This post is here to serve as your ultimate guide to picking out great first date restaurants — that will help you to secure a second date.
What Not to Do
First of all, let’s talk about the most important things to avoid when you’re deciding on the best restaurants for a first date.
That same watering hole that you take all of your first dates to? Don’t go there. The staff has definitely already realized what you’re doing, and unless you feel seriously comfortable with an audience of judgy servers, we’d suggest picking a new spot.
While taking your date to the same old spot might make you feel comfortable, it also encourages you to stick with your “first date routine.” You can’t make a genuine connection with someone new if you’re ordering the same dishes, telling the same stories, and asking the same questions that you do with everyone else.
Remember: this is a date, not a job interview.
Also, while you want to show your adventurous side, don’t pick a location with extreme food. Make sure the restaurant you select in is line with your date’s dietary restrictions and preferences.
Finally, don’t choose a restaurant that’s more like a destination than a casual date.
Look for something that’s in the middle of both of your locations — and always offer to pick them up or send a car.
Focus on Setting
Yes, food matters most of all when you’re checking out potential first date restaurants.
However, you want to make sure that the restaurant also has the kind of vibe you’re going for (and good lighting certainly doesn’t hurt, either.
Make sure there are tons of comfortable seating options available (think lounge chairs) if you two decide you want to grab a drink at the bar after dinner. You want the place you choose to be mildly upscale, but not too over-the-top.
For example, candles on the table are great. But a waiter playing the violin right beside your table? That’s a little much for a first date.
Read the Reviews
The best thing to do when you’re looking for the right date restaurant is to read the online reviews.
This way, you’ll learn about everything — the quality of the food, the service, the ambiance, and even the other people that frequent the place. You’ll also be able to see more “candid” photos of what the restaurant looks like in real life, not on the curated restaurant website.
It will also give you the chance to figure out if it’s a common first date hotspot.
If so, it means that waitstaff will likely be better at taking cues and knowing when not to cut into a conversation.
They’re likely also good at helping you both to ease a bit of the tension by making suggestions about the food and drinks.
If the reviews give nothing but single stars?
You’ve dodged a bullet.
Look for a Built-In Activity
If the date is going well — or if you feel like both of you need a little bit more of a chance to loosen up — choose a spot that offers another activity aside from just eating.
For example, get more info about nearby bowling alleys that also serve food and drinks. You can decide to eat while you bowl, or bowl first and then treat yourselves to an awesome meal afterward.
Maybe you want to find a restaurant that has a low-key concert (think jazz or singer-songwriter) that offers food and drinks. In some cases, even a dinner theatre could be a great choice for a first date restaurant.
If you’re a bit on the competitive side, try taking your date to a restaurant that has tons of old-school arcade games. Now, there are even restaurants that offer ax-throwing if you want to really take a walk on the wild side!
You should also do a little bit of research about nearby places that you could go for a drink or another activity afterward.
Pick a spot that has several options within walking distance.
Picking Awesome First Date Restaurants Isn’t Impossible
Yes, facing down the task of having to offer your date options for first date restaurants can certainly feel intimidating.
However, the truth is that they’re much more interested in getting to know as much about you as they can than they are a great meal. And if you end up picking a dud?
Just laugh it off and use it as a great excuse to make it up to them on the second date.
Are you in need of a few more tips about what to look for in a restaurant not just for dates, but for any occasion?
Planning a trip abroad, and want to know the international foods you just have to try at your destination.
We’ve got you covered, so keep on checking back with our blog to make sure you always eat and drink well, wherever you are.