My title
Home > dating, Five Things > If You’re Going To Do The Dinner Date, Five Things To Remember

If You’re Going To Do The Dinner Date, Five Things To Remember

September 14th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Much like I wrote about the five things to remember for the movie date, I find there needs to be some parameters put in place for the dinner date as a first date. Like going to the movies, going to dinner is as cliche and traditional as eating with utensils, so I feel it’s time for me to write out some rules I have applied to my own dinner dates.

As recently as a year ago, I would do everything in my power to avoid dinner (and the movies) on a first date. It wasn’t that I was averse to footing a bill, more so, I just didn’t like what dinner did to a date. Something about the setup put both parties in a position to be so surface, and the predictability of it all was mind numbing. But as I get older, I find myself becoming more and more of a foodie. My mom will tell you the first words I ever spoke were, “I eat.” My grandmother owned a restaurant when I was growing up. I have a subscription to Bon Appetit magazine. Top Chef is one of my favorite shows, and cooking is one of my favorite things to do outside of writing.

All that being said, I no longer hesitate to take a woman out to eat, as a matter of fact, I have learned to enjoy it as much as I enjoy doing anything else with a woman. Here’s how…

GO TO THE SPOT THAT SERVES THE BEST OF WHATEVER SHE LIKES

There is no word more overrated and unnecessary to describe a restaurant than “ambiance”. Remember the two of us are going out to eat, not to look at well-designed interiors. Living in New York has taught me the fanciest places don’t always have the best food. So I no longer take a woman to the restaurant with table linens just because it has table linens. I simply ask her what she likes to eat, and then make my choice accordingly. Let’s say she likes sushi, my first thought isn’t Nobu, even though Nobu is delicious. But I have a couple of other places in mind, ones she’s probably never heard of, and in my experiences, those places always impress a little more.

IF YOU CAN, EAT AT THE BAR

Especially if it’s the first date, I’d rather eat at the bar than a table. Something about sitting there makes everything a lot more relaxing. When two people are sitting across the table from one another, they’re forced to talk about themselves. When two people are at the bar, they can talk about each other, the other customers around the two of them, the bartender, and sometimes even a game or something on television. Use the things going on around the bar as talking points. Don’t see them as distractions. When I was working in restaurants throughout high school and college I always remembered the couples who sat at the bar being the ones who had the most fun together. They also are more likely to get better service and avoid wait times. Speaking of wait times…

ENJOY THE WAIT TIME

I always say when it comes to dinner, arrive hungry, not starving. In New York City, a lot of places don’t do reservations, instead there’s an hour or so wait, so it’s best not to come in a hungry, bad mood. Use this time to have some fun. Find some seats in the waiting area and make fun of all the frustrated people who are also waiting for tables. Trade iPods and recommend some songs to one another and then listen to them. Ask for a kids menu and play the games on those. Whatever two people do during the wait time, they need to make it as enjoyable as dinner time. Remember, idle minds are the symptoms of bad attitudes so stay busy while waiting.

MORE THAN WHAT SHE LIKES, FIND OUT WHAT SHE DOESN’T LIKE

Food allergies, lifestyle dietary decisions like vegetarianism, averse to spicy food, all of these things are necessary information. Before I even ask what a girl likes, I ask her what she doesn’t like or what she can’t eat. One time, I insisted on going to a restaurant in New York City called the Fatty Crab, and the girl I was taking wasn’t into spicy food. When we arrived and sat at our table, the waiter said 90 percent of the menu was spicy to some degree, but my date, bless her heartburn, toughed it out anyway. I admired her for that, but there was a lot of food left on the table and a lot of money wasted. I learned even if a menu has a couple of items sprinkled throughout that suits the person’s dietary needs, it’s best to go where there’s more of a selection from which the person can choose. What kind of jerk would take a vegetarian to a steakhouse even if they did have salad?

SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT AND GO SOMEWHERE ELSE TO GET IT

Why as adults do we still subscribe to our parents rule that just because we couldn’t finish our dinner, we can’t have dessert? I say, do dessert, but go somewhere else to do it. And then look at that, it’s like two dates in one. But honestly, dessert is one of those things that doesn’t always need to be as high end or fancy as dinner. As a matter of fact, most people already have a favorite dessert place, so why not go there instead of taking a chance on a place you’re visiting for the first time? In other words, I’m sure this place we just had dinner at has great cheesecake, but I highly doubt it’s better than the Cheesecake Factory.

Categories: dating, Five Things Tags:
  • Phia

    Great post!

  • CognacJones

    on point

  • http://www.dear-whoever.com Ev

    Rules #1 and #5 are as good as gold.

  • http://sinnamonnights.blogspot.com/ Sinnamon

    You sound like a real laid back guy who cracks a lot of jokes and likes to have fun. So while I see your points, I still have some qualms. I’m a romantic first date kind of girl. The bar just won’t do. And if you take me somewhere that has a kids menu, I’m crossing you off my list of potential second daters. I like laid back. I like jokes on other people. I like eating chicken wings in front a big screen tv at a sports bar. But not on a first date. We’re getting to know each other. I need peace and quiet so I can hear you tell me what you like, what you don’t like, what you’re into, etc. I want to hear about you…and tell you about me. I don’t wanna talk about everyone else. I’m not on a first date with everyone else.

  • http://musefromabroad.blogspot.com/ scout

    Great post. I’d much rather my date be relaxed than uptight, so I’m generally fine where ever we go as long as we can truly get to know one another. When *he’s fidgety, I’m annoyed and neither makes for a good time.

  • Erica

    This is a post I wish every single man on earth would read. I never thought about these things but now that you mention it I am going to be looking for men to be this perceptive on our first date! The whole dessert thing…genius!!!!!! I like the bar idea but the only problem is sometimes bar sitting can be uncomfortable and it can be a little noisy up there(just depends on the restaurant). I am an ambiance type girl…but your point is valid. I have gone to plenty of great ambiance restaurants and barely ate my food. However, on a bad date, ambiance and a drink or two can really make a zero night into like a five. I digress.

    Loved this one!

  • Violet

    I LOVE these! I’m with Erica. Everybody should read. Submit to Bon Appetit. Push for a guest spot on Top Chef. A (first) dinner date dining segment would serve you well.

    Great post!

  • ladymaxie

    eating at the bar….that’s pretty good. make things a little more casual and fun. just in case you get stuck with a boring date, you can always chit chat with the bartender. haha. jk but on the real, im a short girl so it’ll depend how short the dress rides, haha and how high the bar stools are.

  • Leah

    Sinnamon :
    Like or Dislike: 5  1You sound like a real laid back guy who cracks a lot of jokes and likes to have fun. So while I see your points, I still have some qualms. I’m a romantic first date kind of girl. The bar just won’t do. And if you take me somewhere that has a kids menu, I’m crossing you off my list of potential second daters. I like laid back. I like jokes on other people. I like eating chicken wings in front a big screen tv at a sports bar. But not on a first date. We’re getting to know each other. I need peace and quiet so I can hear you tell me what you like, what you don’t like, what you’re into, etc. I want to hear about you…and tell you about me. I don’t wanna talk about everyone else. I’m not on a first date with everyone else.

    I understand where you’re coming from, but I can’t really agree (for myself, I mean). I’m not a bar person because I’m just not comfortable at bars, but I don’t necessarily need a peaceful and quiet restaurant just because it’s the first date. I would think that we’ve already done a lot of talking on the phone to get to know each other a bit, and there’s no hurry to get answers to a bunch of burning questions… we can “hear” each other after we leave the restaurant, over dessert. 😉 Again, I get your point, but to me, there’s no rush. I think at this point in my life, I’m cool with just chillin and enjoying the moment, whatever that moment is.

    As for the kids menus, I agree, not necessarily ideal, but not out of the question (for me). I live in Atlanta and have been on my way to a nice, non-franchised restaurant that had a wait time of 90 minutes, so we ended up at my favorite chain restaurant, TGI Fridays. They have a kids menu. Not my first choice, but fine with me! Like Jozen said, to me ambiance isn’t everything. It’s about the “getting to know you” time and just being together. (IMO)

    IRT the post in general, LOVE IT!!! I especially needed the part about wait times. I’m pretty impatient (though I wouldn’t show it on a first date, but my insides would be flipping out!), so it was good to get some tips on how to wait without getting stressed. At the end of the day (talking to myself now), it’s not that serious… and plus, what’s the hurry?

  • http://www.myliferunsonfood.com Sanura

    Those are great ideas that will take a date from nervous anxiety to casual fun. I especially like the last idea of finding another place to eat dessert. I’m forwarding this to my boyfriend!

  • zy

    I loved this post. My best first date was at the bar of a pretty good restaurant here in NYC. Rather than opting to wait for a table, we sat at the bar. We talked about everything under the sun, cracked a few jokes on some of the patrons and had an absolute ball. I’m also a eliever in going somewhere else for dessert. It breaks up the momentum and gives you more to talk about. I think more men need to read this and more women need to speak up about what they like and don’t like. No man is psychic (though I SWEAR I wish they were, lol) so he won’t know you’re allergic to shellfish until you tell him, don’t just leave all the planning up to him and then be upset when he takes you to a seafood restaurant, lol

  • Naomi

    Love it! Now if i could just have a dinner date..HAHA!

  • madeleine

    thats the stuff!

  • citygirl22

    If you see two people relaxed at a bar, you can’t dismiss the possibility that they are already past the first date. I’m the type that likes to sit across from someone on a first date, admire his looks, observe verbal and non-verbal cues, and absorb his personality. If all goes well, we can sit side-by-side for dessert!

    As for ambiance, I think it goes beyond decor to details such as music, lighting, spacing of the tables, and the general atmosphere. These do affect how comfortable and enjoyable the experience is. While the food may be the main draw of a particular restaurant, pleasant surroundings don’t hurt. So, someone who chooses a well-outfitted joint gets extra “points” for thoughtful planning. With a big name restaurant, of course it’s the status factor: hard to get a table, usually a more interesting scene… and heavy on the wallet. We ladies know what it is, and we appreciate it too.

    But truth be told, NONE of this matters. If I am really feeling someone, I would just as much love a homespun picnic in the park or a couple of slices of pizza.

  • Orchid

    Great post! Hope more guys read it. Best first date EVER… He took me to brunch. My friends thought he was whack for doing that but whatever. They thought he was trying to be cheap. He knew I loved breakfast food on general principle and went with that. It wasn’t too fancy but we sat and talked for 3 hours about everything under the sun. I’ve been to nicer places for first dates with other guys but that was probably the most special because I was digging him so much 🙂

    Sitting at the bar and going for dessert at another location are cool ideas. I like sitting at the bar because there’s nothing between you and you can people watch. The table can be kind of formal. Dessert is always important because you never have enough sugar.

  • leressa

    LOVED THE POST!!! I love a guy who has a great sense of humor so if I was on a date with someone who suggested we do the games or color on the kids menu..he’s definately gettin a second date ( unles of course he does or says something really stupid on the first date) I love that fact that you truely LISTEN to what your date has to say about what she likes and doesn’t like and dont go straight into “i’m trying to impress her mode” .. and you said that you were no longer the “king of the little things” … smh smiling…….

  • Cristina

    A few years ago a guy moved the chair from in front of me to next to me… and the table was tiny. But we were closer, got to talk quietly and not awkwardly stare at each other… so next to me is wayyyy better than across on a date! AGREED

  • Spring

    Yeah I like the idea of sitting side by side instead of in front of each other on the first date. Nothing worse than awkwardly staring at each other. lol. Great Post!

  • Nicky

    Wow Jozen… this sounds like a hot date. Now if only you left tips on how to subliminaly send this post to the guy I’m dating…

  • Nadia

    I’m in lurrvve lol