You’ve talked, texted, stalked each other’s Facebook accounts, maybe even snuck in a quick Google search during a quiet moment at work. Yes, you are ready to have that first dinner date.
Dating has changed and I’m not sure when the shift happened or why. Was it economics? Time management? Or evolution? While a first date used to mean dinner and a movie, now most first dates are over a coffee or a drink. A quick 30-45 minutes to “interview” the other person to see if you’d like to actually break bread. If that date goes well and you both have a second drink, it’s definitely a good sign. But that’s the amuse bouche of dating and now you’re excited to reach the next hurdle, dinner. Will you leap that hurdle like a world class Olympian or run into it full force giving yourself a deep bruise like a JV High School track freshman?
I’m an old fashioned guy and from what I hear the female population like when a man is a MAN! If you’re wondering what that means, I’m worried. It means you should have a plan. That plan should be fun for you both and not spur of the moment. You should MAKE a reservation, even if you don’t need to it shows you care and are detailed oriented. As a guy you should know from the earlier date or conversations what she does and doesn’t like to eat – vegetarian? I HATE sushi! I like my steaks well done. All of that gives clues on where to go and that you listened.
Once you have an idea on the type of cuisine, go for a place you’ve both never been or at least she’s never been. Girls like the adventure and it’s a bonding experience. I’ve also tried to find places you can go for a walk after either just to keep the conversation going, near a spot that has a cocktail outside if the weather’s nice or where you can maybe skip dessert and go for an ice cream.
Hopefully, that first dinner date will lead to another. A couple of other quick tips to help you secure that second date:
- No coupon/Groupon on the first dinner date. It could signal something you didn’t intend.
- Offer to pick her up in a cab or your car – Prince Charming rode a horse.
- Open all her doors – it’s easy and “free” points!
If you struggle to choose the right restaurant for that impressionable first dinner date, here’s a quick list of my favorite spots for any palate.
- Sushi – Arami or the Sushi Bar at Roka Akor
- Neighborhood Joint – Yusho or Vera
- Wine Fan – Telegraph, The Tasting Room or In Fine Spirits
- Fancy Pants – Café Spiaggia or GT Fish & Oyster
- BBQ Lover – Lillie’s Q or Chicago Q
Where do you like to go for that first dinner date?
Joe Campagna is the Chicago Food Snob. A former restaurant General Manager, Server and Chef you can find him on twitter @chifoodsnob. You can reach him through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Joe also contributes to Eater.com Chicago.