11.02.2016

Romantic Dinner Ideas for Two

Going out to dinner is a fool-proof way to have a romantic evening, but breaking from tradition and putting on a well-executed romantic dinner at home can be equally, if not more, impressive.

Of course, if you’re not a fan of cooking, the thought of putting on a special meal may give you a bad case of the shaky knees. But remember this: fortune favours the brave. Pulling off a show-stopping meal at home will stay in your loved one’s memory far longer than that well-cooked-whatever-it-was at that restaurant around the corner.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, to the show-stopping meal.

Dinner ideas for two: Our favourite cuisines

When it comes to romantic dinner ideas, choosing a cuisine is one of the most important steps – it sets the scene for the entire evening.

Italian

Rich risottos, creamy carbonara and ricotta-stuffed canola; this is the cuisine for the passionate food aficionado. Italian tends to be simpler to cook than other cuisines, so if you chose this one be sure to elevate it from pedestrian to polished – see below for some presentation tips.

French

For a sophisticated air to the evening, pick French. Touted as the modern haute cuisine, nothing says ‘I’m willing to earn your love’ like a home-cooked French meal. Think baked camembert for the entre, beef bourguignon or winter cassoulet for the main and little individual chocolate soufflés for dessert.

Thai

A healthier choice - but no less romantic - would be an Asian-inspired dish. Thai food includes everything from vegetable stir-frys if you're looking for something light, to moderately spicy Thai green curries if you're feeling a little more adventurous. Finish with sweet fruits (such as mango or pineapple) and you may just feel satisfied without having to over-indulge. 

Chef's Choice!

EliteSingles spoke to chef and author of ‘Feel Good Family Food’, Dean Edwards, who imparted his romantic dinner ideas for a dream three course dinner for two. Click on the image below for the full recipe. 

Stree-free romantic dinners 

Especially for non-professional chefs among us, cooking for a new partner can be a little overwhelming. Dean acknowledges that cooking for a new love is, “always going to be a little scary especially when there is a level of expectation.” He says the best way to avoid the last-minute scramble is to prepare as many elements beforehand as you can – that way you’ll spend less time fussing in the kitchen and more time with your dinner guest. 

READ MORE: Perfect date ideas for every occasion!

Feast your eyes on our 4 presentation tips!

Your date will see your food before they try it, so try to make a great first impression. Romantic dinner ideas need to be executed with a bit of finesse in order to take it from a regular meal to something really memorable. But you don’t need to be a sous chef to create a truly special plate of food. Consider the focal point, colours, flavours and textures of the meal and give these techniques a go:

1. Scatter micro greens and edible flowers
These can be purchased from speciality cooking shops and placed delicately upon the dish. Choose contrasting colours to really make the dish ‘pop’.

2. The ‘smear’
Cooking show fans may know this trick well already – it’s simply a bedding of puree or sauce upon which you place your perfectly cooked whatever-it-is-you’ve-cooked. How do you achieve the look? Australian chef Daniel Wilson explains, ‘Place a spoonful of thick sauce or purée on one side of the plate. Then turn the spoon over and place the back of the spoon into the middle of the sauce, then drag to the other side of the plate, or curve it like a comma in a quick but controlled manner.’ 

3. Quenelle 
Those football-shaped curls of mousse, cream or ice-cream are relatively easy to pull off. Just dip a table spoon into a cup of very hot water and, gently cutting into the surface of the cream, drag the spoon towards you so it curls with the shape of the spoon. Then simply slide it off onto the waiting cake/pudding – easy!

4. Clean the edges of the plate before serving!
‘Cleanliness and care are paramount: wipe off errant sauce with a damp paper towel’, says Wilson.

Romantic Dinner ideas – the extra bits and pieces!

For an unforgettable meal, pay attention to the finer details.

Wine

Good food gets better with good wine. Take the following pairings as a guide:

Sauvignon Blanc with tart dressings and sauces
Pinot Grigio with light fish dishes
Chardonnay with rich fish dishes
Off-Dry Riesling with sweet & spicy dishes
Dry Rosé with cheesy dishes
Pinot Noir with dishes with earthy flavours
Cabernet Sauvignon with red meat

READ MORE: 15 Little Ways to say 'I Love You' - read our pro tips!

Music

Need a romantic dinner playlist? Try this Spotify® list, put together by EliteSingles to help you jazz up your next special meal!

Dinner setting

Toss a few loose flowers on to the table or place a collection of candles in the centre as a centrepiece. If the weather is warm and you want to really push the boat out, you could even set up a dinner setting in the backyard.

With all of that covered there's just one thing left to say: Bon Appétit!

Still looking for that one special dinner guest? Sign up for EliteSingles now and meet your match!

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