Romantic dinner ideas to set the mood with food

by | Dec 20, 2021 | Gatharing Ideas, Menu Inspiration

Couple with dishes of pasta and red wine

In the words of Cesar Chavez: people who give you their food, give you their heart. 

Food brings us together and creating an intimate dinner for your favourite person is one of the best ways to show them how you truly feel (about them – and of course about roast chicken. Our feelings about a good roast chook are deep and pure). 

Whether you’re looking for date night or Valentine’s Day ideas, or simply romantic dinner inspiration to celebrate a special occasion with your special someone, we’ve got dinner ideas for couples that are guaranteed to rev up the romance. 

Channel your inner chef (or enlist the help of the pros, aka us) with our favourite dinner ideas for two, designed to set the mood for l-o-v-e with the most delicious food.

Fine dining white plate with lobster tail and seafood bisque

Make them swoon with seafood

If your sweetheart is a seafood fan, you have an ocean-full of possibilities to whip up an easy dinner that’s bound to impress!

A favourite romantic dinner recipe of ours is seared scallops with lemon butter. In just 10 minutes you have melt-in-your mouth citrusy scallops swimming in a browned butter. 

If shrimp / scampi is more your scene, why not try a Vietnamese-style noodle bowl with juicy prawns and a tangy dressing, or add them to a delicious tomato-based fettuccine? (We do recommend staying clear of the garlic shrimp if you’re chasing that goodnight kiss. Wink)

For the more adventurous in the kitchen, try your hand at poached lobster tails in a seafood bisque, or even DIY california rolls for your sushi-loving sweetie. And for something fancy with minimum effort, smoked salmon with crème fraîche and dill on rye always make for an appealing appetiser.

Let our private chefs create a seafood treat of Tasmanian salmon tartare with fried capers and herb salad on a charred brioche from our A Night of Decadence menu. 

Carving a golden roast chicken

Home cooking is where the heart is

Ask most people what their ideal date night dinner is and they will probably say a delicious home-cooked meal. It’s always more about the effort than the execution when you’re cooking for the one you love, so don’t feel like you need to be a professional chef to impress! (Also, that’s our job)

Simple, home-style favourites like golden roasted chicken or a beautiful rack of lamb are easy to prepare and can be dressed up with sophisticated sides: swap your classic carrots for roasted Dutch carrots, or spruce up your potatoes by doing them ‘hasselback style’. 

If Southern home cooking is more your style, try crispy baked buffalo chicken coated in a delicious batter of butter, brown sugar and hot sauce, or smothered pork chops cooked in a creamy gravy . If you haven’t tried pork chops this way, we definitely recommend giving it a go!

Nothing says comfort food like the southern fried chicken and three-cheese mac and cheese from Bryce’s American Favourites menu. 

Large bowl of fettucine with tomato sauce and generous grating of parmesan

Do romance as the Romans do 

Forget order-in pizza night – live la dolce vita with a delicious Italian feast at home. The beauty of Italian food is its simplicity, lending itself perfectly to easy romantic dinner ideas. 

Level up your garlic bread game by layering some fresh baked ciabatta with vine ripened tomatoes, garlic, basil, and a drizzle of sticky balsamic to create caprese garlic bread. Genius, right?

Of course, it wouldn’t be an Italian feast without a little pasta. A classic pasta dish with tomato sauce (‘sugo di pomodoro’) never fails, as long as you dedicate some time to cooking your sauce from scratch using high quality tinned tomatoes or passata. 

On the side, a quick white bean salad, radicchio with vinaigrette, or panzanella (bread salad) are always perfecto

And for a dinner recipe with a difference, we can’t go past chicken piccata. Lemony, buttery and adorned with capers, we’re officially renaming this one ‘marry me chicken’ – it’s a sure-fire way to win anyone’s heart!

From Roman lamb roast to pappardelle puttanesca, our Savouring Italy menu has all the ingredients for an Italian meal with amore. 

Steak with onions and a glass of red wine

Fall for a fabulous French feast

Nobody does a romantic date night quite like the French. Turn your evening into a French affair with decadent dishes like crispy skinned duck breast or oh-so-indulgent French onion soup. 

French food doesn’t need to be complicated. Keep it simple with steak done well, whether it’s fancying up flank steak as ‘steak frites’ or cooking the perfect filet mignon with sweet, caramelised onions. 

Give your filet a French kiss by cooking your steak au poivre – in other words, with generous amounts of ground black pepper – or preparing a rich bearnaise sauce with clarified butter, white wine, vinegar, eschalots, tarragon, egg yolks, and French parsley (chervil). 

Have your special someone say ‘ooh la la’ with a Parisian Date Night for two, prepared by our amazing private chefs.

Baked brie topped with almonds, drizzled with honey, next to fresh bread

Indulge in vegetarian-friendly fare 

If you’re in need of a romantic dinner idea for a plant-based partner, there’s no shortage of easy dinner ideas out there to wow them. 

Cheese fondue is one of the cutest and most nostalgic romantic dates you can create. Use a good quality cheese (a mix of firm, buttery cheeses like gruyere and gouda are best) combined with a splash of dry white wine and cornstarch for a gooey, gorgeous, melty fondue.

There’s truly no greater pleasure in this world than melted cheese. Try popping a wheel of brie into the oven for 10 minutes, drizzling with honey, and serving with a fresh baguette for a simple, stunning starter. A satisfying onion soup is a also an excellent starter, and can be made vegan-friendly by opting for a dairy-free cheese.

For the main event, get roasty with roasted mushrooms in a garlic butter with a flourish of fresh herbs, or a roasted squash risotto. And if you have butternut squash to spare, put it to good use with salad recipes like pumpkin, spinach and feta, or honey roast pumpkin and quinoa.

Did you know any of our menus can be modified to be vegetarian-friendly? See the delicious options on our Coastal 3-Course Gatharing menu for inspiration.

Dark chocolate discs topped with pepitas. dried rose petals, and candied fruit

All you need is love… and chocolate

When it’s time to seal the deal with something sweet, is there anything better than a chocolate covered strawberry for an easy romantic treat? (You can use that poem, by the way)

Chocolate covered ANYTHING will do the trick, really. Grab a selection of fresh, seasonal fruits and cut them into wedges or bite-sized pieces. Dip half of the wedge in either milk or dark chocolate, lay on a tray of baking paper and sprinkle with toppings like ground pistachios, freeze-dried raspberry, candied ginger / orange peel, or coconut.

You can even omit the fruit altogether and simply do chocolate discs with the delicious toppings. Romantic desserts really don’t come simpler than this! 

If you’re seeking dessert recipes with minimal effort and maximum enjoyment, an affogato (literally coffee and ice cream) is the perfect finale. Then, after dessert is done, it’s time for the romance to really begin. 

If the way to their heart is through their stomach, win them over with the gooey chocolate souffle from our For Love and Lobster menu.

Looking for a date night that will really impress? Let Gathar bring the restaurant experience to you! Invite our amazing private chefs into the kitchen to create an intimate dinner for two and make your evening deliciously memorable.