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11 Dishes NOT to Order on a First Date

Bon Appétit’s staffers share their thoughts on dishes to never order on a first date.

1. Sushi


“Sushi. Guys suggest sushi all the time, but I feel really uncomfortable ordering it because it is impossible to bite in half and then you are left with raw fish dangling outside of your mouth.” —Frederika Brookfield, executive director, public relations

2. Salad


“I make a lot of (potentially unfair) judgments about people if all they order is a salad.” —Carey Polis, senior web editor

3. Anything Involving Chopsticks


“I would never order something that involves chopsticks. First dates are nerve-wracking enough that I wouldn’t want to be shakily reaching for a piece of hamachi that could easily slip from my grasp.” —Colu Henry, special projects director

4. Soup


“Soup. It’s awkward for both parties—the slurper eater and the date.” —Chris Penberthy, research director

5. That 3rd Cocktail


“That 3rd cocktail. And crucifers: broccoli, brussels sprouts (though they’re pretty much unavoidable these days)—too much potential for rumbly in the tumbly. BUT he or she should be willing to share the other stuff, order the lamb tartare, and look at the dessert menu.” —Dawn Perry, senior food editor

6. Onions


“For me and for my company: Never never never order the dish with the onions. Unless it specifies that they’ve been braised, caramelized, melted, or some other long-cooked preparation that will eliminate their acridity, the potential for onion breath and scent they’ll inevitably leave on your hands is not worth however mind-blowingly delicious it might be. And if you absolutely must have it, go back with your buddy…or your mom.” —Joanna Sciarrino, assistant editor

7. Leafy Greens


“Leafy greens. I was never a big Seinfeld fan, but there’s that episode where George Costanza has a piece of spinach stuck between his teeth during an entire interview. Ever since then, my family always says ‘You have a George!’ when that happens. This is to be avoided at all costs on a first date.”—Faye Chiu, assistant managing editor

8. A Huge Piece of Meat

Grilled Ribeye

“I wouldn’t order a huge piece of meat. Not that I’m afraid to eat a lot in front of a dude, it’s just more that it’s kind of intense and masculine to sit down to an entire rib eye, ya know? If they order a food I don’t care for, it’s kind of a bummer. Like anything with “red pepper coulis” would be like, “NO THANKS.” Also burgers. Don’t order a burger on a first date, bro. Be a little more adventurous, show some effort.” —Alison Roman, senior associate food editor

9. Dover Sole


“Dover Sole. First off, it’s incredibly expensive. Second, it usually comes as an entrée for two, which is awkward. A guy I went on a date with ordered it, then wanted me to split the check—needless to say, there was no second date.”—Danielle Walsh, assistant web editor

10. Chicken Breast


“Chicken breast—seriously?” —Matt Gross, editor,

11. The Same Thing


“The same thing that I order. If you’re not into being able to try twice the number of dishes on any given restaurant menu, then we have no future.” —Belle Cushing, writer


Text & images source: Bon Appétit

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