As a matchmaker, putting together people who are ready for dating and romance is an exciting part of my job. Part of that process involves planning and arranging for them to go out on dates. Accordingly, I’m always on the lookout for those unique, once-in-a-lifetime date experiences; but most times, my favorite date plan is simply for couples to have a nice dinner at a romantic restaurant.

I’m frequently asked how you should choose a place to go for a romantic dinner date and what to look for to make sure that the date is memorable. What you might choose for a dinner with friends or family is usually much different from where you would go on a first date. For example, the local pizza shop on the corner might have the best reviews around, but it’s not somewhere you would take your date when you’re trying to be romantic.

In my opinion, ambience is foremost when it comes to choosing a restaurant. What makes the atmosphere of any restaurant attractive can certainly be open to interpretation. Good food and great locations are rarely disputed; however, certain factors such as lighting, noise level, and music are all part of the ambience, as well. Of course, how they contribute to your feelings about atmosphere is somewhat subjective and are dependent on your individual tastes and preferences.

Finding a location for your date night is easy. West Palm Beach and the surrounding areas offer so much variety for locations to enjoy a romantic dinner. Waterfront and outdoor seating are always a good choice and there are many restaurants that feature cozy, private, intimate seating as well.

Food is also incredibly important when choosing a restaurant for a date. In today’s mobile-based digital world, it’s almost impossible to choose a bad restaurant with so many options to find on-line opinions and reviews. Be sure to check out sites like Yelp, Google and Menu Pages, or get a few recommendations from friends. Also, make sure to ask your date about their preferences and/or allergies before making reservations. It’s never good to show up a restaurant that exclusively serves something that your date can’t or won’t eat!

Music always adds ambience to a romantic dinner date. Many restaurants in our area feature live music and local performers. This can be a great addition to your date and makes the restaurants feel even more fun. But music, especially if it’s loud, can be a distraction and make it difficult to carry on a conversation when you’re trying to get to know someone new. If you enjoy the music, maybe try to position yourselves off to the side or at a distance so you can enjoy the entertainment while still being able to hear each other.

Lighting also goes a long way to creating a romantic atmosphere. A darker, candle-lit location will feel more romantic than one with fluorescent lighting. Eating outdoors is especially conducive to great lighting effects. Most restaurants that feature outdoor seating go all out to create interesting lighting features like, twinkle lights, torches and fire-pits. It’s always romantic to eat outside under the stars and South Florida provides ample opportunity to do so year round.

A final recommendation is to make reservations whenever possible. Not only does this help to eliminate a long wait at a busy restaurant, but it shows initiative and the importance you place on the date. It also gives you more time to start getting to know your date instead of waiting around to be seated.

There are many, many fantastic restaurants in our area to choose from. In West Palm Beach alone, there are numerous choices that provide excellent food and have great reputations so check out these recommendations and have a romantic night out. Here are a few of my favorites:

Cucina Dell’arte is a nice Italian restaurant on Royal Poinciana Way in Palm Beach. It has a small outdoor seating area and an eclectic indoor dining space. The food is unique, delicious, and priced well for a semi-casual date.

Rocco’s Tacos, in the heart of West Palm Beach on Clematis St., is an excellent Mexican restaurant that’s a lot of fun and has a diverse crowd and an excellent vibe. It’s a great place for a more casual date.

Cafe Sapori is a more upscale Italian restaurant on Southern Blvd. It has a wide selection of incredible dishes and the ambience is very romantic. With a few different seating options, you can definitely find a seat that’s quiet and lit beautifully.

Leila’s is a Middle Eastern restaurant on South Dixie Highway. It has a patio with fantastic lighting and the food is top-notch. It’s just busy enough to feel fun, but the laid-back atmosphere and cozy location makes it perfect for a romantic evening.

Cafe Boulud, located on Australian Avenue in Palm Beach is beautiful, upscale, and fancy. It features fine French cuisine and offers numerous courses. It’s a more expensive evening out, but well worth it for romance and the overall experience.

With just a little forethought and planning, you and your date will be on your way to having a dining experience that will lay the groundwork for more wonderful adventures to come!


Jessica-Nicklos-WPB-MagazineJessica Nicklos is the founder of Better Half Matchmaking in South Florida. Jessica’s passion is bringing people together. Through personalized matchmaking and dating coaching, she works with singles to find their match and build a solid foundation for dating success. Jessica has a B.A. in Corporate Communication and a minor in Psychology from Duquesne University. She is a member of the Matchmaker’s Alliance, serves as director of the Premier Women’s Network of South Florida and as organizer of the Single Professionals of Northern Palm Beach County.

Jessica lives in Palm Beach County with her husband, Chad, and their dogs, Vida and Daisy.

Check Tips About How to Plan a Romantic Restaurant Date in West Palm Beach. Some of the most Suggested Restaurants in West Palm Beach for a Romantic Date.