The Absolute Worst 10 Foods To Order On A First Date

There are few situations in life more stressful than a first date. Those two words alone have the ability to send rivers of anxiety coursing through your veins and washing over your brain. First dates are the epitome of nerve-wracking. Both parties are putting on their best facade to prove to the other one they're worthy of a second time out, with the hopes that everything might even blossom into a long-term romance. 

Spending time with another person you barely know anything about can feel super awkward at first, which is why it's imperative to engage in an activity that provides time to ask each other questions and feel out each other's personalities. And, few events help the somewhat intense experience of first dates better than dining at a restaurant.

Sitting across from your date while enjoying a meal together will absolutely force conversation (well, at least it should), and it's during that pivotal time period you both can determine in your minds if the date is going smoothly or it's a can't-wait-to-get-the-heck-home kinda situation. 

One thing you have to keep in the forefront of your mind when you enter the restaurant is ordering a dish that won't backfire and leave you riddled with embarrassment. It'd be such a shame to ruin a perfectly great date with one huge culinary misstep. So, make sure to avoid these date-ruining dishes the next time you find yourself at a restaurant with the potential future love of your life.

1. Buffalo wings

Now, if you find yourself bringing a date to a spot that throws pretty sweet happy hour deals or a sports bar when a big game is blaring on the flat screens, you might be tempted to order up a basket of buffalo wings. Buffalo wings and televised sporting events go hand in hand, and many times, you can snag some super cheap wings during a happy hour window. But please try your hardest to resist the urge to dive into a basket of wings, no matter how much your appetite is pleading with you.

If there is one word that perfectly describes the experience of eating buffalo wings, it's "messy," and that's the absolute last adjective you want your date to use when describing you to their friends the next day. It's nearly impossible to eat wings with any sense of decorum. They're dripping in sauce, and that stuff instantly attaches itself to your lips, chin, cheeks, and any other part of your face that even comes remotely close to the wings.  

Now, if you really, really feel the undying urge to eat wings, there are specific tactics to implement that might help control the sloppy experience (asking the waiter to go light on the sauce, bringing your own wet naps, etc.), but it's a better decision overall to save the wing-eating extravaganza for an afternoon out with your friends.

2. Anything heavy on garlic

One of the biggest questions on a first date that's going really well is whether or not the night will wrap up with a kiss. Going in for a big ol' smooch is a huge moment for both people, and it's one that likely results in future dates. 

But, the very last thing anyone wants to do is reluctantly plant a kiss on a mouth that has a foul odor pouring out of it: Ew! That certainly is grounds for someone never returning your phone call again. So, keeping a fresh-smelling mouth is essential if a smackeroo is on the agenda. And one way to ensure that happens is to avoid any dish that uses a lot of garlic.

Fabrizis Suarez, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, explained why garlic leads to such a foul odor in the mouth. When you consume garlic, your body produces sulfur-containing gasses. AMS (allyl methyl sulfide) cannot be metabolized by the intestines or the liver, which leads the gas right back into your mouth. This gas rises from the gut and not the mouth, which gives it that unpleasant smell. So, if you really want that end-of-the-date kiss, give garlic a hard pass.

3. Food from the kids' menu

The people who run restaurants know that it can be a challenge for parents to bring their children out to eat. Kids tend to be picky eaters, so it's important the restaurant offers a section of the menu solely dedicated to their tiny tastes and appetites. The kids' menu exists for kids, plain and simple. This means that if you're an adult on a first date, you need to find something that lives on another section of the menu to order, no matter how enticing that basket of chicken tenders and a handful of French fries might sound.

No one on a first date wants to feel like the person sitting across from them has the palate of a nine-year-old. Ordering an item off the kids' menu puts out an immature energy that's an immediate red flag. What else might that person act childlike about? Listen, it's not wrong to enjoy a food item that's offered on a menu tailored for children, and sometimes a kids' meal is actually more appropriately portioned out than one for adults. However, the vibe it gives off is, well, childish. No adult wants to feel like they're sitting down with a youngster to eat on a first date.

4. Ectremely spicy food

There are those out there who cower in the face of anything even remotely spicy, but others crave food that seems like it was concocted in the bowels of hell itself. Some seek food so hot that even Satan would turn and run for the hills. 

No Scoville level is too extreme for these folks, and honestly, it's a super impressive feat to watch someone take down a dish of food that most mortals couldn't even handle one bite of. But just because you're the heat hero doesn't mean you should ask your server for the spiciest item on the menu, even if you think it'll impress the heck outta your date.

Now, it doesn't matter if the inside of your mouth is made of Teflon and you have a cast iron esophagus. The capsaicin (the chemical responsible for the heat) in the peppers automatically kicks your sweat glands into high gear because your body is treating the chemical as if it's a toxin that needs to immediately banish. 

A neuroscientist from the Monell Chemical Senses Center named Federica Genovese explained this reaction: The purpose of sweat is to wash out the spice that comes in contact with your mouth and skin. So, unless you think your date might thoroughly enjoy dripping sweat all over your clothing and, worst case scenario, the food itself, best to play it safe and stay far away.

5. Spaghetti

A hearty bowl of spaghetti can be a tough item to turn down when at a restaurant. Pasta dishes do a great job of filling you up, so you don't leave with an appetite still lurking in the corners of your belly, and depending on what ingredients you put into them, they're usually much more affordable than a protein-centric dish like a steak. 

However, pasta, especially spaghetti, with its long noodles, has one major drawback: It can result in a big mess with each bite, and that's the exact opposite look you're going for when trying to impress someone on a first date.

When it comes to spaghetti, there are two words to keep in mind that are the main cause of the mess: Noodle whippage. That unfortunate moment when a sauce-drenched noodle begins flailing around on its way to your mouth, showering your face, clothing, and basically anything else within arms reach with sauce. 

And, on top of that, if the noodles are tossed in a marinara sauce, you can add permanent stains to the list. The hazard potential that rides alongside a bowl of spaghetti is simply too high to risk, so put your love of pasta high up on a shelf for the day and choose a different dish.

6. Highly customized food

There are few things more embarrassing than going out to eat with someone who constantly sends food back or swarms the server with outlandishly picky requests. You immediately feel like you're lumped into the pain-in-the-neck table category even though you yourself are fully aware of just how rude and frustrating it is to the whole back of the house. No one wants to summon the wrath of the chef onto their meal, but that's exactly what can happen when you're a very picky eater. This is exactly why you refrain from ever doing this on a first date.

If you're constantly having issues with your food, then it instantly gives off vibes that you're an incredibly difficult or high-maintenance person to deal with in general. No one on a first date enjoys feeling like they're in for a constant struggle. When it comes to food, a chef named Chris Mathie explained why customizing is such a pain

According to Mathie, the staff at most restaurants is limited, so line cooks have to pause to accommodate the order, which can be a bother, especially if the restaurant is very busy. If you find yourself asking for too many modifications with one dish, it's best to just order something else. Don't be that annoying person who clogs up the kitchen flow on a first date.

7. High-fiber foods

"Beans, beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat them, the more you..." Well, you know the rest. The reason beans have the reputation for causing some unrest in the belly is their high fiber content. Now, ensuring you have a substantial amount of fiber in your diet is a good thing

Fiber promotes bowel health, it can help lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar levels, and help you live a healthier and longer life in general. However, if you're heading out to a restaurant on a first date, it's best to pass on any dish that's high in fiber. Just remember the little jungle from above. And it's not just beans that can cause unwanted gas at inconvenient moments.

Just picture this scenario: You're having a wonderful conversation with someone you just met, and things really seem like they're taking off quickly. You both are more than happy with your meals, but at some point during the chat, all the broccoli and green beans you've been eating suddenly decide to betray you. 

The next thing you know, your date is asking, "What's that smell? It's horrible!" and then they glance at you with a look of pure horror. You can kiss that second date goodbye real quick. In general, a high-fiber diet is very beneficial, but on a first date, don't do anything to aggravate your bowels.

8. Very expensive dishes

There was a time when the man was always expected to cover the restaurant bill on a first date. Nowadays, things are much different, and while there are definitely some guys who still insist on breaking out their wallet as soon as the bill arrives, it's totally common for both parties to split the bill to ease some of the financial strain. 

However, regardless of whether or not one party is paying for the entirety of the meal or it's getting split down the middle, don't ever go ahead and order something with a price tag that rivals a rent check.

Firstly, ordering something expensive gives off the vibe that you have expensive taste, and that can come as a huge red flag for someone because they now assume that you're always looking for the most expensive option. Financial stress is not something you want the other person thinking about before they even really know you. 

Someone online had an interesting perspective about a date opting for a pricey dish. They wrote that if your date orders the most expensive thing on the menu, you should be thankful, as it indicates that they expect to be wined and dined, which may not be ideal. So, the next time a server offers up white truffle shavings, it's best to turn the offer down.

9. Foods you're unfamiliar with

If you're a foodie through and through, then you know what it's like to look through a menu at a restaurant you've never been to and feel that sudden excitement sprint up through your brain when you spot a menu item that's super unique that you've never tried before. 

But, you always have to keep in mind the interests of the person sitting at the table with you who very much might not consider themselves a foodie with an adventurous palate. There's a time and a place for picking an exotic dish that might have others around you cringing at the ingredients, and that time is absolutely not on a first date.

Sure, you might see frog legs on the menu and think, "I've never tried those before, but they sound delicious!" However, the person sitting across from you could very well lose their appetite at the sight of those tiny legs that were once attached to a lily pad-hopping amphibian. 

The smart tactic would be to open a discussion up about food while you eat something safe, and if you get the impression the other person has an adventurous appetite like you, then pick a spot where you can both get super exotic cuisine for your next outing.

10. Something your date is allergic to

Restaurants take allergens very seriously. One careless move on the kitchen line during a busy dinner rush and the staff could find themselves with a guest going into anaphylactic shock in the middle of the dining room: Not a good situation for anyone. 

Luckily, cooks and servers cater to special allergen requests with the utmost importance, but one thing you should absolutely do on a first date is to find out if your date is allergic to anything in particular and make sure to order something that steers clear of it. Anaphylactic shock has likely never led to a lifelong romance.

If a particular allergy isn't super severe, then you probably could get away with eating across the table from someone with said allergy, and all will turn out okay. But what if it didn't turn out okay? What if someone in the kitchen accidentally cross-contaminated both of your dishes since they were going out to the same table? 

Or, imagine your date was allergic to a food you ate during the meal, and while everything went smoothie at the restaurant, you shared a kiss at the end of the night, and you had remnants of the allergen in your mouth still and that set off a reaction? First dates are all about playing it safe until you know the person more, and avoiding foods that could bring on an allergic reaction is certainly a great start.