The Best (and Worst) Foods to Order on a First Date

Fettucine AlfredoSo your first date with the person of your dreams is coming up. A lot of thought went into everything—the location, the outfit, the hair…Did anybody stop to think about the food?

You need to choose your food carefully on your first date; otherwise, you can give the wrong impression. Nobody wants to look like a glutton or a slob on the first date. Some foods are also just a little sexier to eat than others.

Breaking Stereotypes

One of the best ways to catch someone’s attention is to go against their expectations. For women, this might mean ordering a big steak on a first date, and for men, it might mean ordering a salad. This shows your date that you’re not like all the other guys or girls out there. A woman ordering steak in particular can turn a guy on—men like women with ravenous appetites…for many things.

You can also accomplish this change of pace by ordering breakfast for dinner or ordering something off the child’s menu. You need to be careful though—if you go ordering a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at a five-star restaurant, your date might think you’re delightfully quirky, but then again they might just think you’re a classless moron.

The Puzzling Pasta Problem

Pasta is considered to be a good date food. There are even those who consider it to be kind of sexy to eat pasta on a date, for some reason. The problem is that pasta can also be very messy. The trick is to choose the right pasta and the right sauce.

Spaghetti is usually a bad idea, especially if you’re wearing a lighter colored top. Even the most accomplished pasta eater can easily end up having a spaghetti-related mishap when they’re dealing with conversation, a crowded restaurant, and first date jitters. Spaghetti is rather unforgiving about drops, too, because it is almost always served with a nice red marinara or meat sauce.

Safer pastas to eat on a first date tend to be the bulkier ones that you can really sink a fork into. Gnocchi, ravioli, and even tortellini are pretty easy to control and very tasty when done well. Going with a cream or white sauce is also a safe choice, if you tend to be clumsy. Men in particular enjoy watching their dates devour white sauce, but they’re probably thinking of something else.


Seafood is really the perfect date food. It is healthy, relatively low in fat, and fairly clean and easy to eat. Some types of seafood, like oysters and crab legs, are considered to be natural aphrodisiacs, so they can even help to get you and your date in the mood. There is also a beauty and elegance to some well-prepared seafood, like a nicely pan-seared salmon or a well-prepared lobster tail.

There are some things to be careful of with seafood, too, lest it become a horrible date food. First and foremost, make sure you’re not allergic to the particular type of seafood that you’re ordering. Nothing kills a first date faster than a puffy face and a trip to the emergency room.

Some seafood can look a little less than sexy. A first date may not be the best time to order an eel steak or raw octopus. On that subject, you need to be careful with sushi, too. Sushi can offer you a great opportunity to be trendy and show off your skill with chopsticks, but it can lead to problems if you don’t know what you’re doing or if you’re unprepared for the taste and texture and it grosses you out. Spitting raw fish into your date’s lap is not a turn-on.

A Few Assorted Bad Date Foods

There is an entire class of foods that should probably be prohibited on a first date—the saucy foods. These would include ribs, hot wings, sloppy Joes, and other foods slathered in colorful sauce. Similarly, foods that you have to hold and tear into like a caveman, such as a chicken leg, should probably be saved for a night out with the guys.

Really spicy foods are a bad idea, too, as are beans and other gassy foods. Gastrointestinal distress is no way to start a relationship. Another thing to be careful of is really fattening foods like cheesecake or monster ice cream sundaes—no date is worth packing on ten pounds in one meal.

A Few Assorted Good Date Foods

When looking for a good appetizer on a first date, edamame is good choice because it is healthy, tasty, and kind of fun to eat. Vegetables, in general, excluding gassy veggies like beans and asparagus, are good date choices because they make you look like you’re health conscious.

Desserts are excellent for first dates, especially if you can keep the calories down. There’s something very seductive about watching someone eat a chocolate-dipped strawberry or chocolate mousse. If you reach a level of comfort that allows you to share your dessert with your date, so much the better.

There are a lot of things to worry about on a first date, and food should definitely be one of them. The right food can make you look healthy, confident, and even sexy, while the wrong food can make you look foolish, inept, gluttonous, and messy. If you want to make your date want to have you for dessert, you need to choose your date meal carefully.