Is Dinner A Good First Date? (10 Reasons It Is)

Couple eating and drinking in very good restaurant


A classic first date idea is to take your date out to dinner.

There’s a reason that going out to dinner on a first date is so common.

It’s one of the best ways to get to know someone.

If you have a first date planned, then you may wonder if going to dinner is a good first date idea.

Here are 10 reasons why dinner is a good first date.


Is Dinner A Good First Date? (10 Reasons It Is)


1. It’s Romantic

Man kissing hand of his girlfriend on romantic date


One of the reasons that dinner is a good first date is that it can be romantic.

Yet, the romance level of your date often depends on the restaurant you choose.

For example, some restaurants are more romantic than others.

If you take them to a fast-casual restaurant like Applebee’s or Olive Garden, then it won’t be the most romantic setting.

Fast-casual restaurants tend to cater to people looking for budget-friendly food, often for their families.

A better restaurant idea is a local restaurant that’s a bit more expensive.

They tend to be more popular with couples looking to impress one another.

By taking your date to a more expensive restaurant, you can set the right mood.

These restaurants tend to have lower lighting which also helps set the mood.

You also typically have to dress somewhat nicely to attend these restaurants.

Some of them even state that you need to wear a certain kind of clothing to be welcome there.

Suit and tie or business casual, for example, are the most common requirements.

By dressing up and going to a nice restaurant, you can make the first date more romantic.

That’s ideal for someone who wants to ensure that their date knows that they’re interested in them romantically.

It can also make the date feel special.

It shows that you put a lot of effort and thought into choosing the restaurant instead of choosing the place that was closest to your home.

Going to dinner is a good first date idea because it helps set a romantic mood for the rest of the evening.


2. Talking Is The Focus

Amorous couple on a romantic date


Another reason why going to dinner is a good first date idea is because talking is the focus of the date.

With other date ideas, the attention might be on the activity.

For example, if you take your date out to a laser tag arena, while it might be fun, you’re not really talking.

You’re both trying to get each other out or get the other team out.

While you both may come out of it feeling good and happy, you don’t learn much about each other outside of the fact that you’re both good or bad at the game.

Dinner removes all distractions.

There’s only you and the other person at the table.

You have to talk, otherwise, the date becomes boring very quickly.

It can be difficult to think of topics that are appropriate for a first date, however.

That’s why it’s sometimes a good idea to do an activity before dinner.

This can help you break the ice later.

Otherwise, you can always look online for appropriate topics to talk about on a first date.

You might even find some topics that work well as an ice breaker.

Since you have to talk to one another at dinner, you can learn a good deal about one another from the very first date.

You might even find out that you’re too different to continue dating.

This can help you save time since you know you won’t be pursuing them for another date.

You may also find that you both have similar interests and values.

That might give you enough confidence to pursue the relationship even further.

Going to dinner is a good first date idea because it forces you to speak with one another and get to know one another.


3. You Can Perform The “Check Test”

couple paying with card in a restaurant


Dinner is also a good first date idea because it allows you to perform the “check test.”

The check test occurs when you pay the bill for the meal.

The test portion begins when you see if they offer to pay as well or if they expect you to cover the whole thing.

Generally, it’s in good taste for one partner to pay the bill on the first date.

Moving forward, you can always split bills.

However, the test allows you to see if they volunteer to pay half of the bill, all of it, or none of it.

This can allow you to get a glimpse into the kind of person that they are.

For example, if they want to pay half the bill, then it might suggest that they’re more progressive rather than traditional.

They want to pull their weight and ensure you’re not taking on the financial burden alone.

It might also suggest that they’re compromisers.

They prefer to meet you in the middle instead of having you do something all on your own.

Finally, it can suggest that they’re independent.

They have enough financial stability that they feel comfortable paying for half the bill or the entire bill themselves.

On the other hand, if they don’t attempt to pay for the check, then you can also glean some things about their personality.

It might suggest that they’re more traditional.

In a heterosexual relationship, they might believe that the man should be the one to pay for everything.

It might also suggest that they’re either more submissive or dominant in relationships.

Either they adopt a more submissive role in letting the partner pay for them, or they’re more dominant in that they expect you to pay for them because of who they are.

It might also suggest that they don’t have the financial means to pay for themself.

Dinner is a good first date idea because it allows you to perform the “check test” to learn interesting information about your date.


4. Learn About Their Food Likes

couple having dinner


If you know that you want to pursue someone romantically, then going to dinner can help.

It allows you to understand how picky they are or what kind of food they gravitate toward.

This can then help you impress them later.

For example, you might discover that their favorite dish is medium-rare steak.

This allows you to then go home and practice cooking medium-rare steak until it’s perfect.

Then, at a later date, you can cook it for them and impress them.

They’ll love the meal that you cooked and the fact that you paid attention to their preferences.

You might also discover that they follow a certain diet.

For example, you might find out that they’re vegan or vegetarian.

Because those diets may require you to make somewhat of a lifestyle change, you can then decide if that’s something you want in your life or not.

For example, do you think you can share a home with a vegan when you love to eat meat?

If that’s going to become a problem between you two, then it could spell the end of the relationship.

Dinner can also make you aware of your date’s dislikes.

You may find that they hate ketchup, for example.

This can then help you plan accordingly if you ever want to take them out for a meal again.

Dinner is a good first date idea because it can help you learn about your date’s eating habits and diet which can help you down the line.


5. You Can Learn About Their Alcohol Preferences

Young couple on dating


A popular side with dinner is alcohol.

You might order some wine or another alcoholic beverage to go with your dinner.

Wine tends to be the go-to pick since it’s deemed romantic.

Ordering some form of alcohol on the first date is a good idea because it helps you test to see how much they drink.

You may discover that they don’t partake in alcohol at all.

If you’re someone who loves to drink, then this might become a problem.

They might become annoyed whenever you decide to go out drinking.

By finding this out on the first date, you can either end things after the date or you can see if it’s something you can compromise on.

On the other hand, you might find that they drink a lot.

If they drink most of the bottle and you only had a glass, then it could suggest they may have a drinking problem.

If that’s not something you want to get involved in, then you can end the pursuit of the relationship after the date.

If the amount they drink matches what you consume, then it might suggest that they’re able to handle their alcohol and know when to stop.

That might give you enough confidence to continue dating them.

Alcohol is also expensive.

You can use it as a secondary “check test.”

If they order drink after drink knowing that you’re paying for it, then you might glean that they’re selfish and exploitative.

If they offer to split the bill on the drinks, then it might suggest that they’re more compassionate or interested in compromises.

You can discover a lot about someone based on how they handle their alcohol.

Dinner is a good first date idea because it allows you to see how your date handles alcohol.


6. You Can See How Interested They Really Are

Romantic date


One of the quickest ways you can find out if someone is actually interested in you is to take them to dinner.

Since dinner requires you to focus on one another, if someone has an interest in you, then they won’t have a problem doing so.

They’ll engage you in conversation and remain primarily focused on you.

Their attention won’t drift to other diners in the restaurant or to the servers.

Most importantly, they won’t be looking at their phones at any chance that they get.

While checking their phones now and then to determine the time is understandable, it’s something else entirely if they’re constantly on their phone and texting.

Even taking a few photos is acceptable.

However, if they’re not engaging with you and are instead fully focused on scrolling through their phone, then they’re probably not interested in you.

That’s all the signal you need to know that you shouldn’t ask for a second date.

As such, going to dinner is a great way to find out if someone is interested in you.

Dinner is a good first date idea because it helps you gauge someone’s interest level in you.


7. It’s Relatively Affordable

paying in restaurant


Another reason dinner is a good first date idea is that it can be relatively affordable.

There are tons of restaurants in and near cities.

Some of them are extremely expensive while others are more moderately priced.

You also always have fast-casual restaurants bringing up the bottom with the most affordable menus.

If you don’t have a large budget, you can usually find a romantic setting that impresses your date at the mid-tier expense level.

If you have the budget for it, then you can always take them to a very expensive restaurant.

If you live somewhere with a large choice of restaurants nearby, you’ll be able to choose one that matches your budget.

Because lots of restaurants also have menus online, you can even review their prices before you arrive.

This ensures you never have to embarrassingly tell your date that you can’t afford the bill at the end of the night.

First dates should aim to impress, but you shouldn’t empty your wallet to pay for one either.

After all, you might discover that your date isn’t feeling a connection with you.

If you had spent all your money on a date that went nowhere, then it might feel like a huge waste.

If you stick with a more affordable restaurant, then it’s less of a monetary investment.

If you don’t get a second date out of it, at the very least, you won’t feel as bad about the money you spent.

Dinner dates are also typically far more inexpensive than other types of dates.

Going to a concert, for example, can cost several hundreds of dollars.

Many other activities can cost upwards of a hundred dollars for two people.

Going to dinner allows you to control how much you spend on the date a bit more.

Dinner is a good first date idea because it’s relatively affordable and isn’t a huge monetary loss if you don’t get a second date.


8. It’s A Great Starting Activity

couple eating main course at restaurant


Dinner is a great first date idea because it’s a good way to kick the night off.

Once the dinner is over, you can always do something else afterward.

You might decide to take a walk around town or through the park.

You might go see a movie.

You could even head down to the local bowling alley for some friendly competition.

Dinner is a great starting activity for a date because it allows you to get to the important stuff right at the beginning of the date.

You ask questions, you get to know one another, and you break the ice.

By starting with dinner, you’ll also likely have plenty of topics to talk about.

If you were to do something beforehand, then you might have already discussed the topics that you wanted to talk about before dinner.

This means dinner might be a bit awkward and quiet.

By doing dinner first, you can talk, then go do something else.

The conversations that happen after dinner will flow a bit easier since you’ll have gotten to know one another a bit and your scenery has changed.

Eating dinner also fills you with new energy.

You’ll feel more energized and ready to do something else after dinner.

If you had dinner after doing an activity, then you might feel tired instead.

You may not have enough energy to do something afterward.

Going to dinner first can set the right mood and make you both comfortable with one another before trying out other activities together.

It’s a good first date idea because it acts as a great launch point for other activities.


9. It’s Safe

having date


Another reason dinner is a good first date idea is that it’s safe.

If you don’t know your first date well or if it’s a blind date, then dinner is a safe option.

A restaurant is a public place where you can readily get help if things get weird.

You can also choose to meet at the restaurant if you’re not comfortable with giving your date your address.

If things get dicey, then it’s a lot easier to call the police and tell them you’re at a certain restaurant rather than somewhere on 9th Street.

Dinner is a good first date idea because it’s safe and makes those on the date feel safe, too.


10. You Can Hear Live Music

man looking at smiling woman


Some restaurants offer live music now and then.

This is a great opportunity to make your date even more memorable.

Whether it’s a well-known band or an up-and-coming band, live music just makes an experience even more special.

Live music makes going to dinner a great first date idea because you can ensure that the date is extra memorable and special.

If there’s a place to dance, then you can even show off your moves and delight, or embarrass, your date further.

In other situations, you might need to pay extra to hear a live performance.

At dinner, you get it free with your meal.

Dinner is a good first date idea because restaurants sometimes offer live music events which can make your first date feel even more romantic.



A first date is important to get right if you want to make a lasting impression.

Going to dinner is a great first date idea because it’s relatively affordable and gives you a chance to learn a lot about your date.

It’s also a great activity to break the ice so you can get over initial awkwardness and have fun doing other activities together afterward.

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