Gentlemen, next week is that day you may dread. I speak, of course, of Valentine’s Day. It’s that night you tend to give your significant other overpriced flowers, and take her to a dinner where the menu prices surely are higher than they were the last time you were there.
Here’s what to do and not to do for Valentine’s Day dinner.
1. Don’t Aim for the Fanciest Dinner in Town
It’s easy to have a nice dinner with your date without blowing a week’s paycheck on a fancy meal. Sure, a Michelin-starred restaurant is a fantastic experience, and it will be wonderful, but if you go on Valentine’s Day it will be a madhouse. Aim for a restaurant you can get into, know, and are sure to enjoy.
2. Eat What You Like
Stick with what’s tasty. Is your better half a seafood lover? Shoot for a place that has fresh fish, crab, or oysters (which supposedly have properties that may make for a better time once you get home). It doesn’t have to be a white tablecloth restaurant, it just needs to be tasty. There’s nothing worse than taking a date to a restaurant that doesn’t end up being any good.
3. Up the Evening with Multiple Destinations
If you are a couple that likes cocktails, beer, or wine, think about starting the night at a bar known for craft cocktails or a fantastic wine list. Get some appetizers with your libations, perhaps listen to some live music, and relish the moment. Then you can head somewhere for dinner, and maybe somewhere else for dessert.
4. Get Out and About
If you have nice weather for Valentine’s Day, embrace the outdoors. Take a walk on the way to dinner or eat at a table outside. If you’re stuck inside an office or running around with kids all day, it can be nice to get outside and relax with your partner. Oh, and there’s definitely something romantic about getting an ice cream cone and walking around your favorite part of downtown or along the river.
5. Think Outside the Box
If you rarely have the opportunity to spend time with your loved one and don’t often get the chance to experience certain things you both enjoy, now is your shot. Don’t feel constrained to just an evening of eating and drinking. Do you two love to go to museums? Get out a little early and take a stroll through an art exhibit on your way to dinner. Fans of opera? Include tickets to a show as part of your present and plan your dinner before or after.
6. Don’t Overdo It
It’s easy to try too hard. It’s easy to spend too much, buy too many flowers, or go overboard with gifts on a holiday like Valentine ’s Day. Don’t fall into that trap. A nice evening of drinks, dinner, dessert, and some one-on-one time can be all you need. If you overeat or drink too much, it’s not going to make for a good night. Take it easy and enjoy your time together.
7. You Can Always Cook at Home
My wife and I love to cook together. It’s not something we get to do often, but it’s always fun and a great way to catch up. If your Valentine’s date is the same way, think about staying in and preparing a meal together. It doesn’t have to be hard. You can pick up some meat and cheese from a local shop to start your evening, open a bottle of wine you’ve stashed away for a special occasion, and cook some nice pasta, grilled lamb, or roasted vegetables.
Remember, Valentine’s Day is about spending quality time with your loved one. Having a great meal together is the perfect way to do that, but it doesn’t have to break the bank, be incredibly fancy, or go over the top. Good luck, gentlemen.