A Guide To A Romantic Dinner For Two

Feb 13, 2019 | Cooking Tips, Recipes

It is probably unsurprising for you to hear that for Valentine’s Day I generally make a romantic meal at home. It’s cheaper than going out. I get exactly what I want. I don’t have to deal with busy restaurants, or try to find parking down town. It’s awesome.

The thing is, I’m a professional chef. Not everyone has the skills that I do. But that doesn’t matter. In today’s post, I’m going to walk you through making a romantic dinner for two. What to make. How to make. All the things.

Let’s get to it.

Planning What To Cook

Knowing what to and what not to cook for Valentine’s Day is just as important, if not more important than the actual cooking. This decision can make the difference between calm and relaxed, success and failure.

During occasions like this, we have a tendency to plan beyond our capabilities. We try things we’ve never done before. Often we try to do too much. The thing about Valentine’s Day is it’s about spending time with the person you love. Not spending time cooking and plating while they sit there board waiting for you to join them.

So what do we do?

A good meal, like a really good meal doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to take hours and hours. It just takes a little bit of planning and forethought. With that, you can do the thing that really matters which is spending time with your partner.

When Planning your meal keep a few things in mind.

Number 1: Don’t over do it.

There is a saying that I really like, you’ve probably heard it. Keep it simple stupid. This is the key to your success. Plan a meal that your comfortable with. Plan a meal that you know you and your partner will like. Hell, plan a meal that you two can cook together.

There is no point in putting in all this effort only to make a meal that neither of you like. Right?

Number 2: It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Just because you are making a romantic dinner at home doesn’t mean you have to spend $200 on groceries. Again, keep it simple stupid.

Avoid expensive ingredients, especially if you don’t know how to cook them or get the most flavour out of them.

Number 3: Sharing is caring.

Often, for romantic dinners, I will buy one really large steak and my wife and I will share it. (It’s more like a small roast). Not only does this promote a sense of care, it also is often much more cost effective. And, you don’t have to worry about fancy plating or anything like that.

This works with more than just steak. Roast some potatoes and put them in a bowl on the table. Make a large salad that you two can each take from. Even dessert can be meant to be shared.

It’s much easier to make one big thing than two small things.

Number 4: Don’t make the meal too heavy.

Remember, this is Valentine’s Day, not Thanksgiving. You don’t want to feel bloated and tired after you eat. You want to leave room for a little…exercises.

Avoid dishes with loads of cheese or heavy cream sauces.

Number 5: Pair some wine.

Once you know what you are going to make for dinner, go to your local wine shop and explain to the clerk what you are making. More often than not they can suggest a good wine, that will go well with the meal. And that will stay within your budget.

Number 6: Decorate the table.

A few flowers, some candles, and a table cloth can go a long way.

Foods To Avoid

As this is Valentine’s Day and you will likely be doing some smooching later (if you call it smooching you won’t be smooching) you want to avoid foods that leave a strong smell on your breath.

Really, you want to avoid raw onion and lots of garlic. A little garlic is fine.

Food To Embrace

Just like there are some un-romantic foods, there are also some very romantic foods. On Valentine’s Day you should try and embrace the obvious ones like oysters, chocolate, strawberries, and vanilla.

If you don’t like raw oysters that’s fine, there are a lot of really delicious cooked oyster options. You can find some from Saveur here.

Light pasta dishes like linguine and clams, or pesto are great for Valentine’s day as they pack a tonne of flavour in a small amount of food.

Composed salads are a great option as well. Salads like roasted butternut squash and arugula with goats cheese, pecans and maple balsamic vinaigrette.

For the main anything can work but try to make it shareable.

For dessert, a light trifle, some tiramisu, or a even chocolate pot du crémé.

Sharing The Duties

As this is a celebration of love and togetherness you should definitely cook together. Plan so that one person is responsible for the starter, one for the dessert, and you both work on the main. That way it’s a gift you are giving to each other.


It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important on Valentine’s Day. This is especially true if you bury yourself in the kitchen all night. Just keep it simple and remember that the person you are doing this for, they care way more about spending time with you than they do everything being perfect.

Here are a few of my favourite kitchen tools on Amazon


  1. Lorraine

    Great advice Ben. BTW – I have used the KISS method for many years, but I say Keep it Simple, Sweetie. You and Susie have a wonderful celebration of love on Valentine’s Day. Guaranteed that the food will be perfect.

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