Deciding what food to order on a date can be awkward. You don’t want to be high maintenance and order the most expensive thing on the menu — but you also don’t want to order something that will turn your date off. You want your match to be even more into you after the date, not feel like they never want to see you again. So for the hope of eliminating that uncomfortable moment, here are six foods to steer clear of on a date.

1.  Spaghetti

As a carb lover, I really enjoy pasta. I think it’s delicious and, in general, a very safe food choice for a date. After all, you don’t want to order something too pricey, and (unless it’s covered in truffles) pasta is usually priced just right. However, there’s a big difference between manageable pasta… and spaghetti. Pasta, such as farfalle or penne, can be eaten politely. Spaghetti on the other hand, is always messy. Regardless of how carefully you eat it, it can still splatter all over your outfit. You want to impress your date, not have them thinking you’re a slob.

2.  Barbecue

Good news: barbecue is becoming trendy. Bad news: no one wants to look at a date with sauce all over their face and rib meat in their teeth. You want to be a hottie, not a hot mess.

3.  Spinach & Leafy Greens

Yes, greens are healthy, but save the healthy choices for a night on your couch. Spinach and leafy greens get stuck in your teeth way too easily. Nothing would be more embarrassing than having green stuff stuck in your teeth while you’re sharing your favorite story. When you flash your date a smile, you don’t want to also flash a chunk of spinach.

4.  Salad

Female daters take note: men are attracted to women who eat because a hearty appetite is appealing. A man wouldn’t invite you to join him for a meal if he didn’t want you to enjoy it. Ordering a salad as your main course sends the wrong message. It tells your date that you’re overly health conscious, which isn’t always an attractive quality. When your date tells his friends about the experience, you don’t want him to describe you as “the girl who ordered a salad.”

5.  Lobster

Besides the fact that lobster will probably be the most expensive thing on the menu, it’s a sloppy food choice. It almost always requires you to wear a bib around your neck and use tons of napkins. Your date won’t be impressed as you lick your fingers and are covered in wet naps. Save the lobster for nights when you’re dining with friends.

6. Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic are delicious, and add tons of flavor to food, but they aren’t date-friendly. When you’re on a date, you want to order food that enhances the experience. Onions and garlic are so strong that they’ll leave you with less-than-perfect breathe. I’m sure you don’t want your date to remember you as the one with bad breathe!

Remember that dating is a process. It’s about connecting with someone who has similar interests and values. Once you’re in a relationship, these food choices become irrelevant. But, when you’re newly dating someone and trying to get to know each other, you want to be thought of positively!

Carly Spindel is the Vice President of Janis Spindel Serious Matchmaking Inc. She has seen the matchmaking business firsthand since she was 6 years old. As the daughter of Janis Spindel, Carly has been called mini Janis since she could walk and has learned the inside tricks of the trade from Janis! Carly has been matching her own clients for the past 4 years, and runs Janis’ Express Matchmaking and Junior Matchmaking divisions. You can learn more about Carly and Janis Spindel Serious Matchmaking Inc. at
  1. This article made me laugh. While I generally agree (and I also say NO DINNER ON A FIRST ONLINE DATE), I think making a mess can make quite the story! My mom still talks about her first date with a guy where the pizza cheese stretched all the way from the plate to her mouth. 🙂 I personally have more issues with sushi. I can’t fit the whole piece in my mouth, and biting it in half is a recipe for disaster. 😉


  2. This brings back memories of a young lady who felt that fish on a date was a deginite no-no. We’re talking poached fillet in a lemon-butter sauce. We ended up having a wonderful time and got over this, but I am always amazed at the “rules” people have. My philosophy has always been that if I invite you to dinner, you’re free to choose what you like. I want to have a great time with you and likewise want this to be a memorable event for you. Clearly, some things are “common sense, avoid on a first date at least”. But for me to judge you (or vice versa) based on what you eat, is getting a bit too detail oriented ….

  3. Dating advice from an expert should make sense even if u disagree but little of this article does. The premise is; modify your menu choices so u can maximize the possibility of seeing this person again (assuming u want to). My problem is that what always works best is being yourself. If someone is going to like me enough to invest more time I want them to like who I am not some modified version to please them. And many of the assumptions about food above are not accurate (I’m a chef). I’m much more interested in knowing what someone really enjoys to eat rather than the contrived approach above. The idea of a date is learning about the truth that someone really is. Just be yourself-if u r not for them they’re not the right match for u.

  4. When going to a date, as a beverage choice, ask for water or order fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, or other drinks without added sugars. Ask for whole-wheat bread for sandwiches. In a restaurant, start your meal with a salad packed with veggies, to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner. Ask for salad dressing to be served on the side. Then use only as much as you need. Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried. Choose a small portion. This includes main dishes, side dishes, and beverages. When you’ve eaten enough, leave the rest. Ask for salad dressing to be served “on the side” so you can add only as much as you want. Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies. Choose fruits for dessert often.

  5. I truthfully never even thought about what to eat on a date! I just always thought you ordered what appealed to you. It is pretty sick to think you’re being judged by what you eat. (Unless you have a problem with messiness when you eat in general) I guess I’m just not into too many rules about things like that.

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