romantic dinner ideas with a happy couple in love clinking glasses drinking red wine at home.

8 of the Most Romantic Dinner Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Romantic dinners are a vibe. They carry intrigue and excitement. And when you’re dining with a special someone who arouses “butterflies” and uncontrollable giggles, they are oh-so-fun! Or, perhaps for you, planning a romantic dinner feels like tapping into a deep well of comfort, slowing down to be close to the one and only who “gets” your innermost self.

A romantic meal is about so much more than what’s on your plate. And a romantic Valentine’s dinner at home allows for setting the tone with special touches — favorite flowers, music, wine, and dessert, of course — that reflect your partnership and your personality, a unique experience that dining out can’t perfectly capture. Whether the force of cupid’s arrow has recently struck you, you’re popping the question or (finally!) planning a cozy night off from the hustle of work and family, here are eight romantic dinner ideas for a vibe that’s all about you and yours this Valentine’s.

Caviar and bubbles

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Kick off a luxurious evening and savor the incomparable delicacy of caviar. Set it out as an hors d’oeuvre, piled on a blini (a small Russian pancake made from buckwheat flour), toast points, or crackers. Pair caviar with Champagne or sparkling wine. The effervescent bubbles perfectly offset the salty, rich fish roe. And if you think the romance bar can’t go higher, double down on the bubbles and create space for a relaxing and enticing bubble bath between courses.

romantic dinner ideas caviar

Wine goes with everything

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Restaurant dining often includes wine pairings, which is an exciting way to savor the flavors of each course. Plan a romantic wine pairing at home, and choose light and crisp sauvignon blanc for first-course salads and gourmet cheeses. For main course chicken, shellfish, or pasta dishes, sip on a richer white wine, such as chardonnay or rosé. And bring on the luscious red fruit of Royal Crest Red for more decadent mains, such as this deeply satisfying pear and gorgonzola lamb chop dish, and rich desserts, like chocolate-covered strawberries.

romantic dinner ideas wine

Make space for preferences

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Romance is about seeing and sharing ourselves authentically. “The careful attention to preferences,” says Mexican-born chef Pati Jinich, “allows us to focus on someone else’s wants and needs.” Create a Valentine’s dinner that honors your partner’s roots and food preferences. We love Chicago chef Joe Flamm’s incredible coastal seafood pasta, a dish he created to celebrate his wife’s Croatian heritage. Or Jinich’s seared tuna steaks in HoneyBell sauce, a spicy, tangy, savory, sticky — and romantic — dish she makes for her husband, Daniel.

romantic dinner ideas tuna steak

Surf and turf

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If you’re considering popping the question this Valentine’s, no meal is more celebratory than a snow-white lobster tail and thick, juicy steak set side by side. Follow these lobster cooking and eating tips, and try your hand at grilling a ribeye indoors for an unforgettable night. Or take the pressure off and order an exquisitely prepared surf and turf duo, or just go with the surf. No harm done. No laws broken.

romantic dinner ideas surf and turf

One pan wonder

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Vital Choice offers the best wild Pacific Northwest salmon. This one-pan recipe is low-maintenance prep and cleanup, too. Quick sear two salmon fillets in a hot cast iron skillet, then create a simple pan sauce that doubles as a side dish for serving in just minutes. This romantic meal idea frees up your evening for snuggling by the fire. We’re thinking of an after-dinner nightcap of chocolate truffles and dessert wine.

romantic dinner ideas cast iron salmon

Show off your tender side

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This spiral-sliced Manchego cheese and pear-stuffed pork tenderloin will impress your date, especially if you’re a Valentine’s Day newbie in the kitchen. The salty Manchego cheese mingles with sweet pears to give the dish incredible balance. Set the mood even more with an aromatic pear-scented candle and set the table with long-stem roses for the ultimate romantic — yet accessible — home-cooked Valentine’s meal.

romantic dinner ideas pork tenderloin

Make it an ultra cheesy date night

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Mouthwatering, homey dinners, such as this three-cheese mac and cheese, followed by your favorite board game or a special movie night, are comforting Valentine’s bliss. Keep the fun, indulgent vibes going by dimming the lights and relishing Love and Romance chocolate-dipped strawberries. Or “spice things up” and go for aphrodisiacal chocolate-dipped jalapeño peppers to celebrate your lasting love!

romantic dinner ideas mac and cheese

Be one with the sea

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“You want to sit down and enjoy your partner, not spend the entire night cooking!” Zakarian exclaims. Create a Valentine’s vibe that focuses on simplicity, full flavor, and beauty with this recipe for his bold-flavored Chilean sea bass with mint, caper, and olive relish. Pair it with a prepared gourmet side dish, such as scalloped potatoes, and settle in for time well spent together.

romantic dinner ideas chilean sea bass

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