Who says fancy dinner dates only take place in a restaurant?
Sure, it feels special to sit in a candle-lit restaurant and be served by the experts in the hospitality and culinary scene. It also feels nice to soak up the ambiance, from the elegant interiors to the soft buzz from other diners. But with our so-called invisible enemy spreading around, sitting in a jam-packed restaurant feels more like a risky experience than a romantic one.
Planning to celebrate a special occasion with your spouse in a place that doesn’t involve crowded restaurants? With creativity and thoughtful planning, anywhere can be a memorable place for enjoying your dinner with your beloved.
1. Impress your lover with your Masterchef skills
If you’re a skilled cook, why not whip up restaurant-quality meals in your own kitchen? We’re not talking about the meals you cook during a random Thursday night. We’re talking about something special, plated with finesse. Gordon Ramsay’s tutorials are just one YouTube search away.
Prime steak cuts. Duck breasts. Rack of lamb. Pan-seared salmon. All of which go with a delectable sauce, a bed of staples, and some colorful vegetables on the side. Pair it with a bottle of red or white wine!
2. Set up your dinner table
Can’t go to a fancy restaurant for your special occasion? Transform that humble dinner table into a lavish table setting for two. Pinterest has a plethora of table decor inspirations. You can find anything from rustic settings adorned with wood and plants to modern and elegant decors, embellished with metallic finishes and luxurious fabrics.
You’re gonna need some candles and candle holders, some flowers and greenery, pretty vases, table runners and/or placemats, and napkins. Get ready to take out the best plates and golden utensils hiding in your cupboard too.
3. Can’t cook? Have a takeaway gourmet dinner
Whether you don’t possess Masterchef skills or you’re just not ready for the hassles and hustles of cooking, ordering takeaway meals is always a great idea. No, now isn’t the time for cheap pizza boxes and greasy burgers. Make it special by opting for something gourmet.
Order from a restaurant that serves exceptional dishes. Pick a theme too. Are you up for an all-Japanese menu? How about Indian or Mediterranean? Perhaps an Italian feast? Then, get ready to give these packed dishes some justice by plating them nicely. You can even ask the restaurant to provide you with herbs, extra sauces, and other garnishings to help with your plating.
4. Al-fresco dining…in the backyard
If you have a backyard, patio, or balcony, you can also “take your spouse out for dinner.” Adorn the area with warm lights, be it candle lights or string lights. Set up a fancy table, play romantic music, and enjoy delicious meals under the canopy of stars.
You can also take inspiration from this restaurant in Cork city, and how they set up a cosy and classy al-fresco setting.
Picnic but make it #aesthetic with a charcuterie board
Add some flair to an old-school picnic date with a charcuterie board. It’s the art of preparing and assembling an assortment of meats, cheeses, olives, artisan pieces of bread, fruit, and nuts on a serving board.
More than just a “for the ‘gram” trend, an artfully arranged charcuterie board is also a way of making your dinner date feel extra luxurious, even if it’s just in a local park or in your own backyard.
Sip and paint
Why pay for an expensive sip and paint when you can have the same experience at home, for less? All you need to do is grab some art materials and a bottle of your favorite wine. No time limit, no other people in the room — just you and your spouse, enjoying your quality time together. Pair your wine with a meat and cheese board, garnished with fruits.
Sweeten the deal with chocolates and berries
Skip the ultra-sweet chocolate bars that make you gain extra pounds. Forget the overpriced heart-shaped chocolate boxes either. For a deluxe treat that resembles the ones in romantic suites, make your own chocolate-covered strawberries with hot melted fondue.
Visit a local cafe with an ambiance
Romantic dates don’t always have to take place at night. You can enjoy a great meal in a dreamy setting while the sun’s still shining.
How about a hearty brunch at a hole-in-the-wall place? Or a relaxing afternoon date over coffee and pastries at a quiet, al-fresco cafe? Going off-peak has a couple of perks: you’ll have a real date outdoors, encounter fewer people, and enjoy a more serene ambiance.
Do you have other fancy dinner date ideas that don’t involve sitting in a jam-packed restaurant? Let us know in the comments below!
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a self-proclaimed foodie who enjoys discovering hidden gems and writing engaging articles about food, travel, and lifestyle. And yes, she loves cocktails and happy hours too! To know more about yummy food and drinks, you may visit Greenes Restaurant Cork.