We can’t all be suave superstars when it comes to planning a romantic night out. Luckily, there’s a guru for that: Noah Cappe, host of The Bachelorette Canada. From choosing the right lighting to romance-inducing menus, Noah shares his expert tips on how to plan a special evening that will capture your bae’s heart.
Dress to Impress
While we all love to rock sweatpants at home, this is not the time to dress down. Showing up scruffy for a date is a one-way ticket to the friend zone.
“Dust off your fancy outfit and put it on,” says Noah. “Is there anything more beautiful than looking across the table at your partner, and they look beautiful and you feel connected? That’s a moment.”
Getting a little gussied up sends a message that you care about your date. But opt for an outfit that best suits the activity; a suit for a picnic in the park is a date night fail.
Be Choosy About the Dinner Venue
Pick a place with an intimate atmosphere. It may require a bit of leg work, but finding the right restaurant can help avoid date night awkwardness.
“There’s such a movement to pump cool music loud and everyone is yelling over each other,” says Noah. “That’s obviously the opposite of a romantic evening. The focus of a romantic night is about conversation and finding the beauty in the quiet moments. It won’t happen in a place that has a local DJ.”
Phone ahead and ask questions: Does that five-star bistro transform into a noisy nightclub after 8 p.m.? What are their peak hours? Is there a seating section that’s more secluded? Know before you go! Not sure where to start? Try these 10 Romantic Restaurants from Coast to Coast.
Get an ‘A’ for Effort
Nothing stirs romance like showing your date how much you care. Whether you’re dining in or out, pull out all the stops to create a special evening.
“It comes down to effort and thought,” says Noah. “Put time into planning something, even if it’s just putting a folding table in the backyard with some patio lights.”
It doesn’t have to be an over-the-top event: cooking your partner’s favourite dish or a surprise picnic on the beach can be just as meaningful as reservations at a ritzy restaurant.
“It’s never about the four walls — you can create a romantic dinner everywhere,” says Noah.
Lighten up (the Room)
Speaking of ambiance, Noah says lighting is key to setting the scene. No matter where you go, dining by candlelight creates a cozy vibe that’s sure to get sparks flying. “Candles mean romance!” says Noah. “It’s seems cliché, but there’s something so traditional and wonderful about candle lights.”
Mind the Menu
For date nights, what’s on your plate is just as important as where the table is set.
“It comes down to the menu,” Noah says. “I don’t care how many candles you light. If your partner is across from you, shoving a cheeseburger in their mouth, you’re going to struggle to find a romantic connection.”
With menu influencing mood, Noah shares a few guidelines for adding a side of romance to your entrée:
Go local: A menu that showcases local specialties is sure to delight your date, as well as feed the conversation. “In Vancouver, seafood is probably the best call,” he says. “Or if you’re having a romantic dinner in Alberta, a beautiful steakhouse. Work with the environment you’re in!” If you’re hosting a home-cooked meal, incorporate local or seasonal ingredients into the recipes. On the East Coast, impress your date by making Chef Michael Smith’s Lobster a la Rachel, a steaming bowl of pasta smothered in creamy tomato sauce and chunks of lobster meat.
Know thy date: Is your date gluten-free or allergic to seafood? Ask your partner so you can accommodate their dietary preferences. “From a menu standpoint, what’s most important is to know your partner,” says Noah. “My wife is a vegetarian, so taking her to a steakhouse where she can only order two sides isn’t very romantic.” You can even make one of these delicious gluten-free dinners or vegan dishes.
Feature sensual foods: Get the mojo flowing with the magic of food science! Research shows that what we taste can affect how we feel, and certain foods may especially spark l’amour. In particular, eating dark chocolate has been shown to trigger a spike in dopamine, which induces feelings of pleasure. “Chocolate will always be the most romantic, go-to option,” says Noah. “Plus, there’s eight million ways to do chocolate!”
Share a decadent chocolate fondue with cherries, sliced bananas, and strawberries (also believed to be romance-provoking fruits), or a plate of freshly shucked oysters, a notorious aphrodisiac. If you’re playing chef for the evening, get fancy and try marinating oysters four ways with this recipe from Lynn Crawford.