7 ways to tell you're in the wrong restaurant for your date

Finding the perfect restaurant in which to woo a fledgling sweetheart isn't easy - and choosing one on Valentine's Day can throw even the most romantically savvy off their game. It's a fine line between upscale and stuffy, inventive and intimidating, casual and just plain cheap. Just in time for V-Day, here are seven ways to tell you might just be in the wrong restaurant for your date - and some suggestions for choosing the right one.

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1. The Hostess Wears Prada (Your Date Wears Crocs).
If you're dating someone who inevitably pulls on a pair of cargo shorts for a night on the town, you might want to bypass formal, jacket-required establishments. But don't retreat to your local cafe! With the recent trend toward 'upscale comfort food', happy mediums abound: Try a stylish gastropub, nouveau soul food restaurant, or mom-and-pop Italian where romance and denim needn't be mutually exclusive.

2. There Are Antlers On The Walls (Your Date Is a Vegan).
Be sure to check in with your date about their dietary preferences before booking a table at a steakhouse or seafood place. While most meat-centric restaurants offer some type of vegetarian or vegan option, your date will likely end up with a B-List entree. Always check the menu online beforehand - if it's mainly comprised of items they can't consume, consider veggie-friendly cuisines such as Mediterranean and Indian instead.

3. It's a Bowling Alley (Your Date Is Hopelessly Uncoordinated).
Novelty/Sporty dinner dates are fun and all - just be sure your date has an interest in (and, more importantly, ability for) spur-of-the-moment bowling, Go-Karting, indoor-wall-climbing, or hip hop dancing. Remember: It's good etiquette to forsake the element of surprise for a little advance inquiry and wardrobe advisement.

4. It Has a Medieval Theme (Your Date Is a Germ-Phobe).
A restaurant that recreates Ye Olde Times can be tons of campy fun, but just be sure your companion isn't the compulsively Purel-pumping type: These venues tend to encourage eating with your hands, shared bottomless beer steins, and layers of sawdust as an alternative to mopping. A panic attack can really spoil the mood.

5. There Are More Than Seven Courses (Your Date Is Not a Foodie).
If you've memorized the Momofuku cookbook, named your terrier after Thomas Keller, and revere molecular gastronomy as the new frontier of fine dining, that's terrific. Just be sure your date has a shared interest in wasabi foam, or else he or she might be in for one long, tedious meal. Many foodie-fetishized restaurants offer a special menu on Valentine's Day - simply aim for 5 courses and under.

6. It's An Obscure Regional Cuisine (Your Date is a Meat-And-Potatoes Person).
While it's wonderful to introduce someone to all the flavors of our cultural stew, an esoteric Soba menu might intimidate and confuse your date. You want them to feel relaxed and special, and handing them a needle-thin pair of chopsticks and telling them to go wild on the Inaka might not achieve this end. Try a more middle-ground approach: Sushi or tapas can often provide the right ratio of adventure to comfort.

7. It's Hooters (Your Date is a Girl).
This should be obvious, but unless your companion is a very, very good sport, Hooters or any variant thereof is a bad idea on Valentine's Day, even as an ironic-hipster endeavor. If you're looking for a little eye-candy, instead chose a restaurant with a killer dessert cart - or head out with the bros instead.