20 Romantic Dinner Recipes
Whether you’re serving a rich cheese fondue, roasted rack of lamb, or silky, rich pasta, a romantic dinner for two can make an ordinary evening a little more special. Go big with a lemon-and-herb roast chicken or steak frites, or try your hand at homemade pizza. For a special holiday, anniversary, or a spur-of-the-moment surprise, add these romantic dinner recipes to your arsenal; you’ll come back to them time and time again.
Related: Full guide to Valentine's Day
Rack of Lamb with Mustard-Shallot Sauce
A rack of lamb is the right move for a special dinner for two, as it’s the perfect portion of meat to split and works with almost any side dish.
Oysters with Pikliz
Easily elevate a home-cooked dinner by serving oysters on ice. This recipe from Edouardo Jordan can be prepped beforehand, too.
Juicy Lemon-and-Herb Roast Chicken
Pulling off a restaurant-quality roast chicken at home starts with bagging the best bird you can find. This recipe is the other essential piece.
Littleneck Clams In the Style of Escargot
Easy-to-find littleneck clams stand in for snails in this riff on the French classic. We can’t imagine a better snack to pair with Champagne while enjoying each other’s company.
Steak Frites with Black Garlic Butter
Nothing says romance like a perfectly cooked steak and crispy fries. This one with black garlic butter is marriage material.
Sweet Potato Gyoza with Beet Puree
Sweet potato and hazelnut butter make up the filling for these inventive and satisfying gyoza. A silky beet puree shot through with preserved lemon adds a hit of brightness.
Tomato-Braised Baccalà with Olives and Polenta
Simmering soaked salt cod in a tomato sauce filled with peppers, onions, and olives infuses the fish with flavor and leaves it flaky and tender. Pour a glass of Pinot Nero and it’s the perfect meal.
Charred Vegetable Ragù
“Ladled over a pile of tagliatelle and topped with more cheese, this nourishing sauce tastes slow-cooked and comforting, especially on a wintry weeknight,” Kelsey Youngman writes.
Chef Andrew Carmellini uses Calabrian 'nduja, the spicy, spreadable sausage, to bring loads of delicious heat and flavor to his silky carbonara.
Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon and Crème Fraîche
Roasting the butternut squash with honey and a touch of salt intensifies the natural sweetness of the squash and caramelizes the honey. Take time browning the onions; cooking them low and slow deepens the foundational flavor of this hearty soup.
Chef Jennifer Jasinski tops this excellent winter salad with goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and pomegranate seeds.
Chickpeas and Kale in Spicy Pomodoro Sauce
Chef Missy Robbins swaps chickpeas for pasta in her riff on spicy pomodoro. She finishes the dish with a shower of fresh herbs and salty pecorino cheese.
This classic fondue from chefs Bruce and Eric Bromberg includes Jarlsberg, Emmental, Gruyère and Parmigiano, plus just the right amount of kirsch. It’s creamy, gooey, and perfectly balanced.
Pork Chop au Poivre with Red Wine–Shallot Sauce
Steak who? This bone-in pork chop riff on the classic French au poivre preparation is so good, we may never go back to beef. Using a blend of peppercorns, not just classic black, adds notes of floral and vegetal spice to this simple dish.
D’Affinois cheese is incredibly creamy yet mild, buttery, and sweet, similar to a blend of Tomme and triple-crème Brie. Here, it’s melted over tender, soft potatoes and jammy caramelized onions; a glug of dry white wine helps to cut the richness and highlight the sweet flavor of the Fromager d’Affinois.
French Seafood Bisque with Baguette
The freshest seafood—preferably sourced from your local fishmonger—is the highlight of this velvety-smooth bisque. Take care to cook each type as directed to preserve its delicate flavor and texture. This resourceful recipe uses every last bit of your briny haul to yield a rich seafood stock that enhances this thick, soppable soup.
Classic London Broil with Rosemary and Thyme
Red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce effortlessly infuse quick-cooking flank steak with bold flavor. Serve with buttery baked potatoes and a salad of crisp lettuces, and pile any leftovers of the thinly sliced steak on crusty rolls for sandwiches.
King Oyster Mushroom Steaks with Pesto and Almond Aillade
Chef Julia Sullivan employs a duo of cast-iron skillets to prepare the tender, crispy-edged mushroom steaks at Henrietta Red in Nashville; one for cooking the mushrooms, the other for pressing them flat so they cook evenly. Buttery roasted almonds balance the sharper notes of garlic and lemon in this rustic French sauce.
Brown Sugar–Glazed Salmon with Buttery Roasted Squash
Chef Erick Williams recommends thick cuts of salmon for this recipe; they cook quickly while remaining juicy and tender and are well balanced by the sweet, gingery glaze. If delicata or acorn squash aren’t available, substitute butternut squash.
Grandma Pie Pizza
Spread with an oregano-spiked tomato sauce and topped with plenty of part-skim (not fresh!) mozzarella, this recipe delivers an old-school pizzeria experience at home.