Choosing the right place to visit for a first date can be daunting. You don’t know the other person well enough yet to figure out their preferences. What if they’re allergic to seafood? Are they the romantic type or is that not their thing? We’re here to help you with some fool-proof tips on finding the perfect place to eat for that all-important date, so you can focus on worrying about what you’re wearing instead of where you’re heading.
Choose somewhere with variety
This is key if you haven’t spoken about cuisine before the date. It doesn’t matter how much you love curry, or think they might love octopus linguine, don’t risk it by visiting somewhere really specific. Save the romantic trip to the steak-only restaurant that’s been your favourite since childhood until you know your partner’s tastes a little better. For now, stick to the sort of place that has a lot to offer.
This doesn’t mean you have to visit somewhere boring! There are some really fun places out there with menus that branch out a little. Many modern pubs offer a really great dining experience alongside an extensive menu, so you can have your steak while they choose what they like. Compromise is a great start to any relationship!
You don’t need to be ostentatious
Really great dates don’t need to take place somewhere you can’t afford, so think outside the box a little and don’t just visit the typical flash places you’d expect. Smaller, family run restaurants can really set the mood and enhance your experience whilst saving you money that you can spend on that second date. I’m not saying take them to a cheap burger chain (unless you know they love it there!) but it’s also unnecessary to go somewhere you might not even enjoy just for the sake of showing off. You want to seem invested without being something you’re not. Vivo Italian (in Stapleford or Kettering) is a lovely family-run restaurant that’s not too costly if you’re in the Nottingham area.
Choose somewhere you could stay
If your date’s going brilliantly, you might want to stay for some drinks after your meal. Choosing somewhere nearby (or even better, with) a killer cocktail bar or cosy place to drink some wine can make your date even more special. If you’re not drinking, take a look at the desserts menu before booking and check to see if there’s anything you’d fancy. This way, you can get to know one another a little better and make a full night out of it. If you live in a city centre, it’s easy to find somewhere to fit the bill but if you’re a little out of the way, hotel restaurants often have a bar and a posh pub does the job too. If you’re near Leicester, Maiyango Restaurant’s chilled out bar area with tasty cocktails is the perfect place for this, and because the food’s great anyway there’s no pressure to stay if you don’t want to.
Consider the atmosphere
Choose somewhere that you can casually chat and feel comfortable, rather than a rigid environment. The atmosphere of the restaurant you choose is sure to impact the atmosphere of the date, so make sure it’s comfortable or perhaps a talking point in itself. Think al fresco dining or cosy sofas to avoid an awkward interview. The Living Room (in both Leeds and Nottingham) is fantastic for this, offering relaxed and cosy booths alongside a varied menu.
Hopefully this has helped you choose where to visit. Our listings can provide a good amount of choice for each city without being overwhelming, so start there to find the perfect place. Don’t forget to book your restaurant through Go dine to gain points towards a free meal for future dates!