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How To Pick A First Date Restaurant

First dates are inherently awkward. You are essentially sniffing around a person to see if you like them enough to continue seeing them more in the future. It's a vetting process, so while you can't eliminate the awkwardness, you can minimize it, while at the same time getting to see a person in a context familiar to you. There obviously isn't a hard and fast rule regarding where to take the person. It's all subjective on you, your date, and the circumstances. However, you can pick a place that will put you at your best, and show your companion the type of person that you are. So play to your strengths and follow these tips. 

Pick A Place You Can Afford

In the past, my sense has often told me to shoot for the moon to try to impress a date. This hasn’t proven to be as effective as one would think. First off, picking a place you can’t afford is just bad business when it comes to your finances. But more importantly, you want to pick a place that you can afford because you won’t be on edge worrying about what your date is going to order when it comes to food or booze.

If you’re aiming for a “nice” place for your first date, pick the nicest place you can where your date could order anything off the menu. You’ll be cast in a better light if you splurge at a kinda-nice place than if you come across as frugal at a very expensive restaurant.

Don’t Pick A Place Solely On How Nice It Is

Sure, the food will be good, and you project a certain image in picking a swanky or trendy restaurant, but picking an expensive place doesn’t do much to demonstrate how creative you are, or that you’re able to show a girl a good time. Careful with picking expensive joints, because they can often be a little rigid or stiff. Remember that you’re not there to eat a meal. That’s incidental. You’re there to get to know someone, and to exhibit the type of person you are. If you’re a divey guy, but you take your date to a fancy joint, you’re not doing a great job of representing yourself. Sure, you might get a second date out of it, but you’re delaying the inevitable.

That said, I’ve had lots of fun with friends and dates at priecy places too, so don’t rule them out if you can afford them, just don’t make cost your only criteria.

Take A Chance With Memorable Place

At the end of the day, I’ve always found that it’s better to be memorable than impressive. Sure, it’s much better to aim for both, but standing out is better than a generically pleasant experience. A restaurant off the beaten path would be better than diner and a micro-brew at Houston’s (possibly not for every girl, but I believe for most).

A good rule of thumb is: Avoid chain restaurants at all costs. They’re just not that special, and the goal of a first date is to make the girl feel special, with any venue you choose.

That Said, Be Smart About Your Choice

Find out if your date is a vegan, hates Thai food, or doesn’t drink. Sure, a graceful date should be able to work around most any menu, but the point of this whole exercise is ensuring she doesn’t have to. While you’re going for “memorable,” the last thing you want is to make your date uncomfortable. Sure, you can take her out of her comfort zone, but don’t take her to the shittiest part of town for “authentic” tacos, or put her in a position where she has to eat monkfish liver to seem polite.

Pick A Place Near Other Activities

The end of a dinner could just be the beginning of the date if things go well, so pick a spot that offers options for after dinner. Bars, concerts, walks, movies, arcades, are all decent follow-ups. Don’t give the date a reason to end if you both are enjoying yourselves.


Oh. And for the love of God, pay for her on the first date. Chivalry goes a long way, and even if things don’t work out, don’t have her questioning whether or not it still exists for the next guy that dates her. 

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