Choose carefully and a great evening is bound to follow

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Worried that your special romantic Valentine meal might go wrong? Daniel Gill gives his top tips on making it right.

What kind of restaurant would you choose to impress your other half?

I’d recommend always looking for a venue that is intimate and unique, with touches that will make the evening feel extra special.

Find somewhere that is slightly off the beaten track and has a relaxed atmosphere.

A restaurant with plenty of outdoor space whether it be a park or gardens, lends itself perfectly to a romantic after dinner walk.

Don’t miss out

Valentine’s Day is renowned for being one of the busiest times of year for restaurants, so to avoid disappointment and embarrassment, make sure you book well in advance.

Avoid the rush and embrace the romance

Although Valentine’s Day falls on Tuesday this year, why not avoid the after-work rush and consider celebrating on the Saturday before.

Choose wisely

Having a sneak peek of the menu before you decide on the perfect restaurant to spend your evening in is key, especially if you’re trying to impress someone special.

Ensure you are happy with what is on offer and check what menus are available on the evening – some restaurants will only offer a limited menu due to the high number of covers.

How to negotiate the sea of people

The layout of a restaurant is the most important thing when it comes to Valentine’s Day. The restaurant you choose should cater for the number of couples by keeping a significant amount of space between each table to allow for privacy – after all you don’t want to spend the evening listening to the conversations of other diners.

What to order, and what to avoid

The first rule of thumb is to avoid a menu that is too filling, and secondly to stay away from the garlic.

Most restaurants will probably bear these two points in mind when devising their Valentine’s Day menu, but I would still choose carefully. Simple, hearty dishes made using local produce are the best option and many venues will keep their set menus quite limited so that you don’t have to spend all evening deciding what to eat.

What kind of restaurant would you recommend people should avoid?

It seems obvious, but I’d always recommend avoiding restaurants that are renowned for being busy. Often these restaurants tend to get you in and out of the door as fast as possible, which obviously doesn’t make for a relaxed evening. Opt for somewhere with a good reputation, a pleasant ambience and high quality food. By choosing a restaurant with character and individuality you can be sure of a memorable experience.

Daniel Gill is managing director of Dine, owners of The Garden Room restaurant in Leeds’ Roundhay Park.