We’ve created the perfect menu for a romantic dinner for two and we’ll walk you to it from start to finish. Delicious dinner for two ideas that are great for a Valentine’s dinner or a dinner date at home.

Collage of recipes on the dinner for two meal plan

If it isn’t obviously by now food is our love language. A romantic dinner for two can be something as simple as pizza if you’re having it with someone you care about but when I want to do something special for my partner I cook.

I know it can be overwhelming to come up with the perfect menu so I’ve put one together for you. These are some of my favorite recipes for special occasions and I’ve made sure that they each have a component you can make ahead of time to make things easier on the big night.

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Start with a Drink

A glass of wine is always appreciated (for this menu you’ll want to go with a red!) but if you want to make something special this pink raspberry martini fits the bill.

Raspberry Martini garnished with raspberries
Raspberry Martini
Raspberry martini is a classy cocktail with a beautiful pink color and smooth sweet taste.
Check out this recipe

Tips for Making it Ahead of Time

While you don’t want to mix this drink up before you are ready to serve you can make your simple syrup a week ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator.

Wash and prep your fruit up to 2 days ahead.

Salad

A healthy, fresh salad is always a nice way to start a meal. I have two favorites you can choose from and both involve nuts, fruit, and cheese because that’s the best part. Choose between a tangy vinaigrette or a creamy bleu cheese dressing.

pecan and pear salad topped with blue cheese
Winter Salad
This light and crisp winter salad is full of seasonal fruits and nuts like pears, cranberries and pecans and topped with a homemade vinaigrette. 
Check out this recipe
Endive Salad with pecans
Endive Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing
This easy Endive Salad recipe is filled with endives, apples, pears, pecans smothered in a delicious homemade blue cheese dressing. You just need a few simple ingredients to throw this easy salad together in no time.
Check out this recipe

Tips for Making it Ahead of time

  • While the fruit will have to wait until right before serving you can prep all of your other ingredients up to 2 days ahead of time.
  • Wash and dry the lettuce, measure out the nuts, cheese, and dried cranberries (if you’re making the winter salad).
  • Make your dressing up to 1 week in advance. If you’re making the vinaigrette you will want to let it sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving to allow the olive oil to become more liquid.

Time Saver

If you need to save time you can skip making your own dressing and instead purchase a good quality dressing at the grocery store. I highly recommend Girard’s Champagne Vinaigrette for the winter salad or Lite House Blue Cheese dressing for the endive salad.

Main Course

There is just something sexy about food braised in wine. These braised short ribs are rich and decadent while also being the ultimate comfort food. Serve them over creamy polenta mixed with tangy goat cheese for the ultimate romantic dinner.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs on a plate with creamy polenta
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
This red wine braised short ribs recipe is cooked low and slow in the oven to give you perfectly tender, fall-off-the-bone beef that melts in your mouth.
Check out this recipe

Tips for Making it Ahead of Time

Braised short ribs are even better if they are made ahead of time. You can make them 2-3 days before and store in the refrigerator or up to 2 months before and store them in the freezer.

Making them ahead of time also makes it easier to remove the excess fat from the juices to make a delicious sauce.

I have detailed instructions in this blog post about all of your options for making ahead of time and how to reheat.

What to Do With the Leftovers

This recipe makes more than you’ll need for a dinner for two but that’s ok because braised short ribs make great leftovers.

Heat them up the next day or save some for your next party and make our short rib sliders!

Creamy Polenta in a black bowl garnished with thyme
Creamy Polenta
This creamy polenta recipe is a classic Italian dish made with perfectly cooked course cornmeal and tangy goat cheese.
Check out this recipe

Tips for Making it Ahead of Time

This dish can also be made a day or two ahead of time. The key to reheating is having a little extra broth on hand and maybe a little extra cheese … because you can’t really have too much. We have detailed instructions for preparing it ahead of time here .

Alternate Side Dish

Short ribs are also delicious served over creamy mashed potatoes and this is the best recipe you’ll find! Easy to make ahead of time!

Dessert

Last but certainly not least we have dessert. Chocolate is the quintessential dessert for showing someone just how much you love them and both of these get the message across loud and clear.

Our decadent chocolate tart is layers of rich, creamy chocolate baked into a graham cracker crust and out dark chocolate peanut butter brownies are perfectly rich and fudgy and everything you love about brownies.

You can’t go wrong with either of them.

slice of Decadent Chocolate Tart on black plate
Decadent Chocolate Tart
This decadent chocolate tart has a creamy chocolate ganache filling baked into a chocolate graham cracker crust and topped with a shiny chocolate glaze. It’s the perfect chocolate dessert!
Check out this recipe

Tips for Making it Ahead of Time

This tart tastes best fresh the day you make it. That said, you can make it up to 2 days ahead of time.

When making ahead, follow all instructions to make and bake the tart, but DO NOT make the glaze. Allow the tart to cool completely and then wrap tightly in cling wrap and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

On the day you intend to serve it, allow the tart to sit on the counter for about 30 to 60 minutes and let it come up to room temperature. As it warms up, you can follow the instructions to make the glaze and pour it over top.

Homemade peanut butter brownie on a plate with a fork
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies are the ultimate dessert. Perfectly moist and ultra rich, homemade brownies that are a chocolate lover’s dream!
Check out this recipe

Tips for Making it Ahead of Time

You can make these amazing brownies up to 4 days ahead of time (any longer than that and they might dry out). Just store them in an airtight container at room temperature until you are ready to serve!

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