As St Valentine's Day draws closer, it is not unusual for the
5pm Food blog to be asked for a few suggestions for a romantic restaurant.
It is a question that always leaves us a little bamboozled. What we find romantic might leave you cold.
However, we can give you some pointers that may lead you in the right direction. First up, we gently suggest that you go somewhere familiar.
If you are going out for a St Val's meal then there is already a weight of expectation that this is going to be a special, memorable meal. Possibly the most romantic meal of the year.
Relaxed, fun evening
Already that is a fair bit for this event to live up to and trying somewhere new, somewhere that neither of you know, simply adds unnecessary uncertainty or even anxiety.
Remember, this is supposed to be a relaxed, fun evening.
Perhaps it might be a better idea to go to a restaurant which you both know and like. And if it already has special memories for you then that is half the preparation for a romantic meal completed.
Of course, there are lots of other factors that could be taken into account. A dining room with a view always adds sparkle and candles are never a bad idea. Low lights are flattering in a way that spotlights are not.
The main pic shows The Stockbridge Restaurant in Edinburgh, a place that makes excellent use of low lighting, candles and mirrors to create a romantic ambience.
Some people like very attentive service; others would prefer to be left alone as much as possible. Swapping sweet nothings gets tricky if the waiting staff keep materialising at the wrong moment.
Not everyone likes to go out for a meal on St Valentine's Day itself. These are people who find the special menus, single flowers on tables and pink drinks a little too contrived.
We get it. It's not for everyone and if you start to feel your blood pressure rising because a menu suggests that sag aloo is 'seductive' then you might want to skip Valentine's Day and book in on another day. A normal day.
Book a restaurant for St Valentine's Day
Naturally, this is the 5pm Dining blog and we have a wide variety of romantic restaurants for you to book. You can browse them here.
We'll finish by suggesting that the most important ingredient for a romantic dinner is the company. The food might be beautiful; the Champagne perfectly chilled and the surroundings delightful.
It all counts for little if either of you are not determined to make the most of your time together and remember why you wanted to share a meal in the first place.