Get back to the basics with these romantic dinner ideas!
Set the scene at home, at a restaurant, or in the park.
Whether you're going for a three-course meal, something easy to cook, or something vegetarian/vegan, these romantic dinner ideas will appease all palates.
Planning a thoughtful evening to bond doesn't need to be exclusive to romantic partners.
Romantic dinners with your significant other may seem cheesy, but they maintain both mystery and excitement in a relationship. They are a surefire way to rekindle your spark. Spending an evening making googly eyes at each other in candlelight with these romantic dinner ideas will make your heart flutter like you are just falling in love.
People often avoid romance because it seems like hard work, but it can be quite easy and enjoyable. After all, sharing a milkshake in the car is a mundane activity that becomes very romantic when you do it with the right person. Read on to find out the mechanics of multiple romantic dinner ideas including intention, setting, and meals to prepare for your honey!
What is Romance?
The term "romance" is thrown around all of the time, and you likely have an unrealistic rom-com interpretation or commercialized Valentine's day view. It doesn't have to feel that way, though. Romance is a feeling of excitement and mystery in a loving relationship.
The key to keeping love alive is maintaining the spark you feel at the beginning of the relationship by putting in the same effort throughout the relationship's course.
Facilitate romance by buying flowers, having a candlelit dinner, or penning a heartfelt note to your lover. The feeling of romance, however, comes from your emotions and interactions with your partner. While these gestures are nice, it's the emotion behind them that count.
The key to a successful romantic evening is the attitude and vibe you present. Keep on your warmest smile, bring out your tender side, show that you have put thought and attention into the scene, and then shower each other with love!
Strengthen Your Relationship With Romance
All five of the love languages are fulfilled through a romantic dinner, so each of your relationship needs can be met! Having a romantic evening with your partner is easily the best way to spend quality time together. Quality time in a relationship is necessary for both partners to feel fulfilled.
Whoever plans the romantic evening is expressing their love through acts of service and gift-giving. Words of affirmation are inevitable when a romantic gesture is performed as both partners should feel in awe of each other. As the host, tell your partner how much they mean to you and what has motivated you to plan this romantic evening. If you are the lucky receiver, be sure to show your gratitude and compliment their cooking.
Hold each other's hands under the table, flirt by rubbing your feet together, and cuddle up on the couch after to show your love through physical affection. Communicating your love in each of these ways combined is the perfect recipe for a happy and healthy relationship.
Do it regularly — once a month or so — and you are guaranteed to maintain the first date astonishment of your partner. Now that you know why you need romance in your relationship, here's the nitty-gritty of how to execute it.
Setting the Scene
Your partner will be able to see how much effort you have put in and greatly appreciate your hard work. There is no need to break the bank to plan a romantic dinner. First, pick where you want to host your lover!
Transform your dining room or living room into a romantic restaurant. Clean the space to its utmost, lay out a tablecloth, light some candles, turn out the lights, and get ready for dinner. Select some soft music to set the mood by searching for a romantic dinner playlist, or pick something you and your partner mutually enjoy. Bonus points if you get flowers for the table or your partner's favorite chocolates!
Be prepared for intimate conversation topics all night with these Couple Conversation Card Games to Improve Communication. They're sure to spark deep, meaningful conversations and maintain romance throughout the night.
Read on to see the best dish recommendations for a romantic home dinner! Whether you can barely cook for survival, or you're a novice chef, there is something for everyone to accomplish on this stay-at-home dinner date.
All of the recipes below can be found in blogs and on websites across the internet. Find the one that works best for you, try it out, then play around with ingredients to personalize and make it your own.
At a Restaurant
Planning a romantic dinner out requires far less effort but is typically more expensive. Be sure to select a place with the ambiance you are looking for. Make a reservation and let the host know you would like a private table for your date night.
If you and your partner go to dinner often, add some extra spice to this one to accomplish the added romance. Pick a restaurant you have never been to, your partner's favorite restaurant, or the location of your first date to make it special. Let them know you would like to have an extra romantic date and present them with a flower or kiss on the hand as you depart.
Some responsibility is on you to set the mood of a romantic evening through words of affirmation, chivalrous gestures, and maybe a token of your love. Order that bottle of wine you both love and let the evening flow!
Dinner with a View
If you would like the affordability and intimacy of a home date, but don't want to stay at home, you have options to venture out! Find a local park, viewpoint, or even the garden in your backyard to set up your dinner.
Bring a table to the location you've picked or throw out a picnic blanket. Plan for sunset, but bring some candles if you stay after dark. Enjoy the sounds of nature or bring a speaker to select some romantic dinner music.
Choose one of the recipes linked below, pack them up in your best Tupperware, and head off for your destination date.
Romantic Three-Course Meal at Home
Go all out for your lover with a three-course meal cooked specially by you. This can be reserved for a special occasion and accomplished far easier than you imagine, so pick a few recipes you know your partner will like and get cooking with extra love!
Crudite Dip: Dips are a staple appetizer and for a good reason. Dip some fresh, crispy vegetables into this delicious dip as the conversation starts over dinner. This versatile dish can come before any entree of your choosing. Arrange your dippable snacks around the dish to present them to your date in the most impressive way. Pair with oysters as a main dish!
Bruschetta: Before you head to the shrimp scampi, start with crispy french bread loaded with garlicky tomatoes. Bruschetta needs some time for the flavors to marinate all together, so cook it the night before and make your day of prep even easier!
Mini Buffalo Chicken Balls: This fan favorite is easily casual or dressed up with a nice platter and garnish. Get your hands a little dirty rolling up these chicken balls for date night adding extra love to your appetizer. Team these up with the gnocchi in vodka sauce.
Cheese, Ham, and Olive Bites: Go for this easily made and easily liked appetizer to get your evening started. You can't go wrong with a simple option. Sometimes they even turn out to be the best! Buy your date's favorite cold cuts and olives, and then get fancy with the presentation to whip these little bites up. Follow this bite-sized appetizer with the butter roast chicken.
Fig Brie Bites: Figs are considered one of the most romantic foods, so of course, they have made the list. Combined with the sweet taste of puff pastry and the creamy texture of brie cheese, these bite-sized appetizers will melt in your mouth. Now that you have your date's full attention, keep them impressed with the filet mignon.
Oysters: Oysters are considered to be the most romantic dish because they are a natural aphrodisiac. Perfect for your romantic dinner! They are easy to prepare and leave you with so many options for dressings. Check out this list and pick the one (or two) you want to share with your date. Seal the deal with caramel Havarti.
Shrimp Scampi with Pasta: Fancy enough for your romantic dinner and easy enough for anybody to cook, shrimp scampi is perfectly paired with bruschetta as an appetizer. Use your favorite white wine in the recipe and drink the leftovers with dinner. Pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc complement shrimp scampi the best. Finish off with chocolate mousse!
Gnocchi with Vodka Sauce: Warm up your tummy and heat up your relationship with this one-pot, super tasty gnocchi dish. Learn to make the vodka sauce from scratch and finally find out why it's called vodka sauce. Good to serve with some bread on the side to sop up that delicious leftover sauce in your dish. Satisfy that post-tomato-sauce chocolate craving with a healthy serving of brownies.
Garlic Herb Butter Roast Chicken: Butter up your chicken and your date with this classic recipe. Skip the grocery store rotisserie chicken, and see how delicious and flavorful it is to roast one yourself! Take things a step further and whip up some mashed potatoes on the side if you like. End the night — or at least the dinner — with impressive bananas foster.
Filet Mignon: Notorious as an expensive dish at restaurants, but it's brought home better and cheaper. Treat yourself and your date to this classic steak cooked from the comfort of your own home. Whip out that cast iron pan and get it super hot, the key to a perfect filet mignon. Keep things clean and classy with a chocolate-covered strawberry finish.
Caramel Havarti: Cheese continues to top the charts as a romantic food, and dessert is no exception. This dish is elegant yet simple to prepare. Use slices of apple to smear the cheese on for your perfectly sweet, romantic dessert.
Chocolate Mousse: This fool-proof dessert is sure to please anybody who gets to try it. Chocolate mousse is a classically romantic dessert and a safe pick that anybody will enjoy. Serve this creamy goodness in a pretty martini glass and garnish with a strawberry for extra points.
Brownies: You simply can't go wrong with a classic brownie. Chocolate, whipped cream, and strawberries are the perfect combo for a romantic dessert. They'll be the perfect end to your evening, and you'll have some leftovers for later that night!
Bananas Foster: Continue masquerading as a pro chef with this 10-minute dessert. Turn up the heat on your date with a flambé finish then grab two spoons and dig in!
Chocolate-Covered Strawberries: One of the easiest desserts to make, chocolate-covered strawberries have earned their title as a romantic dessert for a good reason. After you make them with extra love, feed one to your date after dinner, and cue the cheesy romantic moment.
Easy Romantic Dinner Ideas
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio: Impress your partner with a fancy-sounding dish with minimal cooking skills. With just spaghetti, olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic, and some spices in your cabinet, you can make a killer pasta dish. The only risk is them asking you to cook it all the time!
Baked Lemon and Rosemary Salmon: With just five ingredients from the store and five minutes of preparation time, wow your date with some mouth-watering salmon. Salmon has a reputation for special occasion dinners, but it can be much easier than you think. Give it a shot and thank me later!
Marry Me Chicken: This dish has gained quite a reputation on the internet and for a good reason! This chicken dish is easy to make, absolutely delicious, and has the perfect name for your romantic dinner at home. Impress your date with its taste and make them blush when you announce the name.
Pad Thai: A classic take-out meal from the comfort of your home, this dish is fast and simple but so full of flavor. It's all prepared in one dish for an easy flow in the kitchen in under 30 minutes!
Baked Feta Pasta: Another dish that went viral on social media for its easy preparation and mind-blowing flavor. It's melted feta mixed with roasted cherry tomatoes. What's not to love? Throw the feta and tomatoes in the oven while you cook the pasta, and then mix it all together! Guaranteed to be loved by you and your significant other.
Romantic Dinner Ideas Based on Your Significant Other
Romantic Dinner Ideas at Home for Her
Women are typically suckers for movie-style, cheesy romance. Light the candles, put on some music, set out some flowers, and offer her a dance. Women love to be swept off their feet and will swoon over any surprise you have in store for them.
Surprises go a long way when you plan a romantic evening. Invite her to a date night, but leave out the exact details you have planned. The cornier the better! Lay out rose petals, whisper sweet things to her over dinner, and smile at her a lot.
Here are some recipes women typically love:
Spaghetti Carbonara: Most every woman loves good pasta! Indulge in this classic, creamy spaghetti and make her toes curl at the dinner table. Made from basic ingredients but with lots of flavor. Bonus points to pair with her favorite wine!
Lemon Chicken with Broccoli: Show off your cooking skills in an easy way with this two-step recipe. Packed with flavor to please you both. She'll think you learned from your grandma.
Pan-Seared Steak: Try out this 20-minute method for a mouth-watering, pan-seared steak. It's so easy to cook and so impressive for your gal. Make her mouth water over the butter sauce and the chef.
Romantic Dinner Ideas at Home for Him
Men are often resistant to romance not because they don't enjoy the quality, flirtatious time, but because they are often the givers of romance. They tend to see it as a chore more than a treat. If you have decided to plan a romantic evening for your man, he will feel pampered the way he deserves.
You can plan this romantic evening with the same candlelight and music, but perhaps throw in a personal touch that will make him feel special. Flowers and chocolates can be nice gifts for men too. Try adding in an extra sexy surprise after your meal such as a new set of red lingerie. He'll melt in your hands!
Men love a woman that can cook for them and bonus points if you make their favorite dish from their mother. If you have such a connection, reach out to her and ask her to pass on her wisdom. This grand gesture will make him feel loved!
Otherwise, here are some recipes for most men's favorite meals:
Steak and Potatoes: Not only is this dish amazing to eat, but it is super easy to cook. Whether you have an impromptu dinner or you're limited on time, give this one a go.
Pot Roast: You may lose some element of surprise as your house smells delicious all day, but the anticipation will leave your man excited for date night! Show off your homemaker abilities with this grandma-style pot roast.
Baby Back Ribs: Men aren't the only ones to hit the barbeque! Check out different methods to prepare baby back ribs, and get the bibs ready for his new favorite home-cooked meal. They are smokey, sweet, sticky, and savory.
Romantic Dinner Ideas at Home for Vegans
Vegan Lasagna: This is a classic home-cooked meal but in a vegan version. It's full of flavor and very nutritious! Vegans are sure to appreciate the effort to recreate classic meals with ingredients they can eat. Serve with a side salad to complete the whole meal.
Ratatouille: A dish that is super impressive, easy to make, and delicious. This will be loved by vegans and non-vegans alike as it's full of color and flavor. Yes, it can be made without the tiny rat under your chef's hat!
Vegan Pavlovas: This sweet and romantic dessert is sure to please anybody whether they are vegan or not! Break open the crispy exterior to taste the marshmallowy goodness inside. Top with coconut whipped cream — which is even better than regular whipped cream — and strawberries.
Romantic Dinner Ideas at Home for Vegetarians
Cream Cheese-Stuffed Mushrooms: Start your meal off with a delicious and easy appetizer. Just prepare the filling, stuff the mushrooms, and bake! They're the perfect size for you to feed to your partner too.
Cheese Fondue: Fondue is something even non-vegetarians will fall in love with. Use this guide, pick the best cheeses, and get stirring. Bread dipped in heavenly, gooey, cheesiness? Yes, please! Chop up some bread, veggies, potatoes and apples to carry that cheese straight to your mouth.
Creamy Vegetable Risotto: You can't go wrong serving risotto! A super-creamy dish full of delicious vegetables is sure to be loved by vegetarians and omnivores. This Italian-inspired dish is the perfect center of the table for your romantic dinner.
Don't Forget the Drinks
Go for the classic bottle of wine. There is no wonder why wine is a part of the "romantic date" image. You can't go wrong cracking open a bottle during your evening, and it will help to bring out the mysterious flirting in your relationship.
Love Potion #9: Try out this adorable Triple Berry Pomegranate Martini and show off your cocktail-making skills. It will look great and taste even better. With heart-cut strawberries and dry ice to impress its drinker, you'll certainly set the scene of romance and effort for your love.
Special Dinner Ideas for Family
Ever think about bringing your kids to date night? You can show love to your children in very similar ways to how you show love to your partner. Planning a family dinner is an amazing way to spend quality time with your whole family and show your love for them through food.
Choose a special night to have dinner as a family and pick your setting: home, restaurant, or somewhere outside. You can ask for their preferences or leave it a surprise.
If you decide to stay home with the family this time, try one of these family favorite recipes:
Family Pizza Night: Make some dough and prep for a pizza bar. Everyone gets to roll out their own dough, spread on their sauce, sprinkle some cheese, and pick their toppings. This is an incredibly fun way to make dinner together, and it will taste amazing.
Sloppy Joes: An American classic meal that the whole family will love. Easy to make the filling and the fixings. Just be careful not to make too much of a mess while eating!
Honey Chicken: Prepare some honey chicken for your honeys! This recipe is delicious for parents and children alike. Sneak some broccoli into the sweet sauce to get the kids on board. It's easy to make for the whole family.
Time To Dim the Lights
Planning dates with your significant other is key to a happy, healthy, lasting relationship. Cater to every love language with a romantic dinner together. The gesture alone — despite what you choose to provide for dinner — will score big points in the relationship department. Partners like nothing more than to feel appreciated and loved, and a romantic dinner is one of the best ways to show it.
Whether you choose to go to their favorite restaurant, stay home, or picnic in the park, there will surely be sparks flying. It is ideal to surprise your partner with this romantic gesture, so don't give too much away when you invite them for a date night this Friday!
Flirting is key to setting the mood of a romantic evening. Check out this guide on The Best Flirty Questions to Ask a Guy if you need to brush up on your flirting before your romantic evening. It can often lead to bigger and better post-date activities.
Once you’ve used up all these recipes, and you're planning another romantic dinner, check out this list of 21 Date Night Dinner Recipes You Need to Try. The options for a romantic dinner are seemingly endless. You'll never have to wonder what to cook with all these ideas!
Get those candles ready, grab the wine, and prepare to spoil your partner with a fantastic romantic dinner!