Dinner Dates can make or break the early stages of a relationship – they give you a chance to test your chemistry and see how your potential partner behaves in social situations. Get one or two small things wrong, and the evening can go badly very quickly.  Avoid making a bad first impression by following our simple tips.

Before the Date

Choosing the right restaurant is key. Pick a restaurant with good ambience and food.  Some prefer to let the date decide but if you already know her dietary preference, put some thought into and suggest a restaurant. It pays to show initiative. If you’re unsure about your restaurant choices, modern Australian or Italian are a safe bet, they give variety and cater to everyone’s taste.

Keep an eye on your budget and browse the menu beforehand.  Dating isn’t cheap but nothing looks worse than having to ask your date to put in a $10 note because you can’t afford to foot the bill. There are deals and vouchers that can save you money but if you shutter at the thought of pulling out a voucher at the end of your meal, consider a restaurant booking/discount service like Yumtable – an app that lets you book restaurants and applies a discount to your bill – no vouchers needed.

Set the Mood

Make sure you choose a place with good lighting, seating and low noise levels .  You don’t want to pick a noisy venue where you have to shout at your date.

What to Wear

When choosing what to wear, it’s always better to overdress than underdress.  A nice jacket can smarten up any outfit.

Getting to the Restaurant

Aim to get there 15 minutes to alleviate any potential mishaps and wait for your date outside the restaurant. If you’re driving, scout the parking out before you get there.  The rough rule of thumb is if you have to circle for more than 5 minutes looking for parking, you should just bite the bullet and pay for parking.  It shows you value your time together more than a few dollars.

Ordering the Food

Go for more than just a main.  A nice entrée and a dessert can turn a good dish into a great meal.  Another idea is to order a variety of starters and skip the main, to get a good selection of dishes and to find out if your dating is the sharing type.


Take your time!  Dinner shouldn’t be a rush.  Keeps the conversation going throughout the meal. If you finish well before your date, that’s not a good look.

No phones!  Show your date the respect they deserve by giving them your undivided attention.

Use your cutlery at all times.  Never use your hands unless it’s absolutely necessary (such as crab, but this isn’t exactly a first date dish!).


Paying can be a delicate issue.  The guy should at very least offer to pay for the whole meal, and it’s good taste if the lady makes at least a show of wanting to split the bill.  Let them know you’re not just there for the free meal.  Chivalry is not dead.

Tip:  To avoid the awkwardness of fighting for the bill, leave your credit card with the restaurant beforehand.

If all else fails, be confident, considerate and polite.  It will go a long way and will show your date that you really want to make it a nice evening.

Dinner Etiquette on a date is something that women zone in on.  After all, they are checking if you are ‘family friendly’.  Follow these tips to guarantee your table etiquette is up to scratch so its not a preventive to moving to the next stage of dating.