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First Date Ideas: “Dinner” and “Dining”

But “dinner and dining mean EXACTLY the same thing! Right?”

For a first date, “dinner” and “dining” is the difference between a Toyota Corolla and a Toyota Camry. This is not to say that you need to focus on “fine dining” as your only eating out option.

Rather this is to show you the options you have available to you when deciding to take your date out to eat, and which option is appropriate for each situation.

What is “Dinner?” When is it Appropriate?

I refer to “Dinner” as eating out at a place that is considered not cheap, but also not expensive. Think of places like a “steak house,” seafood shack,” “Mexican,” “pizzeria’s,” or a buffet.

These environments are usually very casual: Places where people meet after work, or families with the kids or grandparents and such. Don’t be surprised if it’s Friday night and a ball team and cheerleader squad is there as well!

“Dinner” for a first date is a good “add on” option if you are planning to do something else in addition to eating out, such as “dinner and bowling,” “dinner and a movie,” “dinner and dancing,” etc.

Since you already have other activities planned for the night, there is no need to go “all out” spending money at an expensive restaurant.

“Dinner” is also good if you are not too sure about the woman you are taking out on the first date. Meaning, you’re not getting very good vibes from her, and need to “test the waters” to see if there is any potential for something long-term with her.

Since most first dates will usually confirm if there is any connection between the two of you, there is no need to “wine and dine” her if you have the feeling she’s not going to stick around that long.

One last option you have is “doing lunch.” This is especially useful for those who have very busy schedules. You can “schedule” her in between meetings or jobs that you may have to do, so long as she is understanding about your busy schedule.

It is also good to note that she may not be available during the times that you want to “do lunch,” so adjust accordingly to be able to work with her schedule as well.

NOTE: Be it “Dinner” or “Dining,” this is one of the few instances in where you DO NOT want to go to a particular place only because she wants to. If you know that there is nothing on their menu that you would eat (and you are paying for the meal), then tell her.

If she is still uncompromising and insist that “you’d just love the place!” then (Ninja Skillz) insist that she pay for her meal, as well as yours.

See if she still wants to go now, 😉 (Even if she does, you have nothing to lose if she’s paying…)

What is “Dining”? When is it Appropriate?

Dining is for when your first date consist of eating out only as the main event, meaning that you have nothing else planned for the evening (such as “dinner and a movie”) other than “dining.”

These places will be a little more “elegant” and expensive. The type of restaurants that fit this category would be the “cuisines,” such as “Italian Cuisine,” “Chinese Cuisine;” but this isn’t necessarily the case of every expensive restaurant.

It will all depend on what’s on the menu. This is where you will find the “hand-made desserts,” expensive red and white wines, and even $12 hamburger and fries!

KEEP IN MIND: You don’t have to go to a super-expensive place for your first date, but you do want to go someplace “nice.”

In “dining,” you are mostly paying for the “atmosphere” and environment of the restaurant. Expect things to be a little more upscale and intimate: no crying babies, or loud random outburst here!

And this is what makes them ideal for romantic dining.

So if you want to do a good job of making a first impression, then find a nice place to “dine” for your first date.

This will also give you a perfect excuse to “show-off” your nice dinner jacket and tie you got from Neiman Marcus, the Tiffany cufflinks, and the new Rolex watch.

(NOTE: I just threw all of that out there for effect. You DO NOT have to dress up this extravagantly. A nice button-up shirt and slacks should be fine.)

You also need to call ahead of time to find out whether or not the place requires you to make a reservation. This is usually only required at “super-posh” spots such as “Mr. Chow’s” in New York City, but it’s best to be sure anyway to save you from the embarrassment of being told “sorry sir, but you’re not on the list.”

Keep in mind that at the more popular restaurants, you may have to wait or “take a number” until a table opens up for you and your date. DO NOT take the option of “taking a seat at the bar” for your first date just because a table isn’t open.

JUST WAIT FOR ONE TO BECOME AVAILABLE! (or make a reservation ahead of time!)

Do a Google Search to find out which restaurants are located in your area:


Final Dinner/Dining Date Notes

  • Prepare to have something to talk about, such as news, current events, and politics (politics can sometimes be a buzz-kill during a date).
  • LET HER ORDER HER OWN DAMN FOOD MR. CONTROL FREAK (JERK)! It’s okay to suggest something, but never make her order something she may not like. LET HER DECIDE!
  • Stay AWAY for talking about ex’s (definite dinner/dining date buzz-kill).
  • It’s okay to go into your life’s story, but do her a favor and keep the really tragic stuff out.

Bon Appetite!

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