Why do first dates always take place in restaurants? An unfamiliar place where the environment can be hostile (sneering waiters), rife with social hazards (that spinach leaf stuck in your teeth), and awkwardness skulking like a ninja around every corner (is your skirt tucked into the back of your pantyhose again?).

I know you spent hours agonizing about that outfit you have on. Forget about color blocking, it’s too late for that now! At this very moment it’s all about the dish you choose that will make or break your first date chemistry.

So don’t think about the person sitting across from you as an ally—they’re your judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to your meal choice, honey. Luckily, when it comes to sexy vs. shameful food orders, we’re here to help you decipher a dish that’ll make for a truly delicious first date…

1. Bowtie Pasta

A big bowl of pasta makes a few clear statements about you as a woman. First, it says that you’re not one of those annoying chicks that counts calories and steers clear of carbs. Secondly, it says that you like to indulge in a little comfort without beating yourself up (i.e., you’re not opposed to snuggling in bed a little late on Sunday mornings).  Next, note the noodle—bowtie—singular, compact, clean (rotini or macaroni will do as well). Just steer clear of long, stringy noodles…you know the ones prone to residual slurping spray. In the wise words of Yoda, “A red ring around your lips; will not a first kiss seal.”

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2. Sushi

As long as you don’t find yourself wrestling with a king-size tuna roll, the sushi experience offers lively, bite-sized, graceful dining.  Ordering sushi shows that you have an adventurous side, not to mention the fact that it gives you an excuse to show off your finer finger skills (I’m talking about the chopsticks).

3. Steak

If you really want to make a solid impression on your dinner date, slice into a super sexy cut of steak. Trust me; showing off your delicate carving skills imply that you’re not afraid to take control of a fine piece of meat!

4. Burger

If the lady can chow down on a burger with gusto and grace, she gets mega points! Think about it, showing your prowess in the face of potentially messy food with an air of elegance will show your date that you’re not afraid to let loose and be yourself. It certainly dispels any suspicions of high-maintenance or calorie-counting tendencies. Just don’t, whatever you do, dig in with a knife and fork.

5. Chicken Parmigianino

It’s carefree, it’s steeped in tradition, and it’s pure classic! An order of chicken parmigianio matched with a hearty red wine says that you cherish relaxing and relish the simpler things in life—as long as it’s with someone special.

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6. Chocolate Desserts

Let’s face it; dark chocolate screams sex—think dark chocolate-covered strawberries, lava cake, or dark chocolate mousse. And splitting a slice with your date is like giving them a taste of what seducing you might be like. Go ahead; disarm your dinner partner with a forkful of libido stimulation, a sample of what the night might hold in store…

7. Tapas

Dating and small plates of tapas go hand-in-hand.  Think about it; sharing bite-sized nibbles with someone you find totally delectable is a completely romantic concept—particularly if you share a bottle of wine!  Plus, it tests out the theory of what you really have in common, not to mention there’s potential for getting close and feeding one another with your fingers.

8. Brunch

The idea of starting your day off with that new special someone in your life says something very positive about your intentions. A brunch date shows that you’re a go-getter, ready to wake up and tackle the world before noon, yet casual enough to ease into the day slowly, at your own pace.

9. Risotto

This is a dish that takes time, it takes patience, and it shows that you appreciate the finer things in life without being pretentious stick in the mud. Bonus: you don’t have to slurp a bowl of risotto with the potential humiliation of getting sauce on your skirt (or on your date’s shirt). Just whatever you do, don’t toy with the peppermill in a seductive manner…you look ridiculous!

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10. I’ll Have What They’re Having…

Show your compromising side (and maybe your adventurous side) without appearing a doormat by ordering what your date is having. This way, you’ll have a conversation point to start with and an even playing field that might break the ice for more intimate banter.

Anna

Anna adores cooking, drinking wine, and listening to records, but she does a lot of yoga to balance things out ;) This explains the black bean brownie disaster of 2007 (don't bring that up). She's noshed in countries like Greece, Turkey, France, Ireland, Costa Rica, and numerous other weird, yummy places that will get her waxing all poetic about her favorite recipes.

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