You’ve put together a dashing outfit, carefully chosen a restaurant, and requested the most romantic table in the place. To pull off the perfect date night, though, you need to order wisely. Sharing the right dish with your sweetie can help create a memorable meal and give you something to reminiscence over on future evenings out. Here are 17 of the best foods to share on a date.
Arnaud’s, New Orleans, Louisiana
Your date is guaranteed to heat up with the arrival of the bananas foster. Rich with butter and cinnamon, then liberally doused with dark rum and banana liqueur, the bananas are ablaze to create a show-stopping dessert.
Barton G. The Restaurant, Los Angeles, California
Here’s a decadently nostalgic way to kick off a romantic meal: Lobster pop tarts. Maine-sourced clawboys are pocketed inside phyllo pastry with Gruyere and a Pernod mornay sauce accompanied by Tabasco hollandaise and tarragon aioli for dipping. [Photo by Christina Peters]
Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen, Healdsburg, California
Caviar is one of the most extravagant aphrodisiacs in the world, but it’s worth every penny. These black pearls come from California white sturgeon and are accompanied by egg yolks and whites, chopped shallots, crème fraîche, lemon, and brioche toast points. Even if you don’t get lucky, you’ll still enjoy this indulgence.
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Tysons Corner, Virginia
This towering tribute to the bounty of the sea includes Maine lobster, eight shrimp, eight oysters, and jumbo lump crab. Try not to clash claws with your dining partner as you zero in on your favorites.
Fig & Olive, Washington, D.C.
Get down to the meat of the matter with this 36-ounce Painted Hills Farm bone-in ribeye with a jus reduction béarnaise. It’s served tableside with roasted micro potatoes and your choice of two sides, such as golden beets, and sautéed kale and shallots. Then you can tear into it like a politer, less-oiled-up version of Khaleesi and Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones.
FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Not to be cheesy, but fondue is classic date fare. This version boasts five kinds of fromage and comes topped with tomato-basil relish. Dip in the triangles of grilled flatbread, while you get cozy with your dining companion. And, yes, it’s totally fine if you feed each other bites. In fact, it’s encouraged.
Food, Wine & Co., Bethesda, Maryland
There are fewer phrases that make our hearts thrum more than “chocolate soufflé bread pudding.” You order this decadent dessert for two at the beginning of the meal, because it takes half an hour to bake. The molten core is half dark chocolate and half milk chocolate, and it’s finished off with a warm cognac sauce.
J&G Grill, Bal Harbour, Florida
The über-luxe black truffle is an A-list aphrodisiac. Here the fancy fungi are showcased atop a thin crust pizza with Fontina cheese and locally grown organic greens. Now that’s amore!
Mio, Washington, D.C.
A cart is wheeled up to give you and your date everything you need to create DIY Puerto Rican mofongo. Use the mortar and pestle to mash together plantains, chicken broth, and pork rinds to create the Caribbean comfort food classic. You can give a sneak preview of your culinary skills or just prove that you’re an adventurous diner who likes to explore.
Oiji, New York, New York
Ssam means “wrapped” in Korean, so this platter for two comes with crisp Boston lettuce, Baby romaine hearts and Perilla leaves to wrap up your dinner. Pack these greens with spicy pork shoulder, sticky rice, leek, and cilantro salad and an aromatic tofu stew. If this dinner goes well, you might find yourself wrapped up in bed sheets later in the evening.
Puesto at the Headquarters, San Diego, California
You can start a meal or end it with the Mexican Street Bowl. An edible Jenga tower of mango, pineapple, melon, cucumber, and jicama gets a drizzle of a limey, chili-amped sauce sporting a touch of sea salt. It’s sassy, spicy, and saucy – all adjectives that appear in the Tinder profile of your ideal date.
Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, Boca Raton, Florida
Think of molcajete as a fancier fajita. The mix of shrimp, scallops, mahi, poblano chilies, calabaza squash and charred tomatoes arrives in a lava rock bowl, along with flour tortillas, lettuce, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, guacamole, and sour cream so you can customize your creation. Don’t worry, this meal won’t end like the time Ross confronted Rachel and Joey about their relationship – which he was totally cool with, by the way – while they were eating fajitas.
Spoonbar, Healdsburg, California
This dessert renders the classic “Which flavor should we order?” argument null and void. Sample five sweet couples, including vanilla ice cream bolstered with pomegranate jam and toasted banana fluff, and sesame topped dulce de leche ice cream. There’s something for everyone. Just don’t forget to share if you both hone in on the same scoop.
SUSHISAMBA, New York, New York
These are not your average campfire s’mores. Scoops of lúcuma fruit ice cream on a stick are rolled in crushed graham crackers, dipped in Peruvian chocolate, and covered in marshmallow fluff. All that’s missing is the whiff of smoke, the stars overhead, and cuddling on a log that’s doubling as a seat, but that’s what your imagination is for.
TAO Uptown, New York, New York
We predict your evening will finish on a sweet note if you order this giant fortune cookie for two. Packed with white and dark chocolate mousse, it’s accompanied by a rainbow of fresh fruit. Also, your lucky numbers are 7, 15, 21, 38, 52. [Photo by Carlos Larios]
Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill-Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada
We’ve already admitted our deep love of sweet soufflés. This lemon poppy seed stunner is paired with fresh blueberry compote and crème fraîche ice cream. It’s absolutely okay if you get in a spoon fight to compete for the last bite.
Wood, Chicago, Illinois
You’ve never had a root beer float like this. Housemade root beer rich with sassafras, sarsaparilla, and licorice root is mixed with your choice of Fernet Branca or Four Roses bourbon, then a quenelle of vanilla ice cream is set adrift at the center of this boozy sea. It’s too fancy to slurp up with two straws, but you can still make eyes at each other and pretend like you’re a couple of lovebirds in an old-fashioned soda fountain while you dig into it with spoons. [Photo by Neil Burger]
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell.