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Romantic Valentine's Day Dinner Ideas

Plan a romantic at-home dinner date for Valentine's Day with our steps for setting the mood, plus our best recipes and thoughtful gift ideas.

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Set the mood.

Mix and match your favorite shades of red and pink to create a romantic setting. Set the perfect mood with simple place settings and decorations, such as a bouquet of pinkroses or carnations for a centerpiece. Make the dinner table look special by setting out your best china on an elegant napkins, and if the dining room is near a fireplace, get a cozy fire going to add to the ambience.

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Start the music.

We've started the perfect Valentine's Day dinner playlist with 20 of our favorite romantic songs; put this playlist on repeat or use it as inspiration for making your own Valentine's Day dinner extra romantic.

"The Very Thought of You" -- Woody Herman Orchestra, Flip Phillips
"All the Way" -- Frank Sinatra
"The Nearness of You" -- Norah Jones
"It Had to Be You" -- Billie Holiday
"L-O-V-E" -- Nat King Cole
"I Just Called to Say I Love You" -- Stevie Wonder
"More" (Theme from Mondo Cane) -- Frank Sinatra
"Anema E Core" -- Perry Como
"Life Is Beautiful" -- Tony Bennett
"Call Me Irresponsible" -- Michael Buble
"Unforgettable" -- Nat King Cole
"You Belong to Me" -- Dean Martin
"My Cherie Amour" -- Rod Stewart
"Love Is Here to Stay" -- Frank Sinatra
"That's What Love Is" -- Bobby Darin
"How Are Ya' Fixed for Love?" -- Keely Smith, Frank Sinatra
"My Romance" -- Sammy Davis, Jr.
"I'm in the Mood for Love" -- Nat King Cole
"You Make Me Feel So Young" -- Frank Sinatra
"The Way You Look Tonight" -- Rod Stewart

Dim the lights.

Create a romantic Valentine's Day atmosphere with candlelight. A centerpiece with a cluster of different sizes of pillar candles will give your romantic dinner table the perfect glow, or for a different look, scatter votives across the table and windowsills.

Cook your best recipes.

You've heard it before: The way to the heart is through the stomach. Cook the perfect Valentine's Day dinner for your sweetheart with our suggestions for starters, the main course, and dessert -- or mix and match the recipes for your special menu. Not sure which wine goes best with your main dish? Take a look at our romantic food and wine pairings to get started.

See 17 romantic food and wine pairings.

Romantic Starters

These appetizers are light and easy to make for a two-person dinner.

Peppered Herb Cheese Ball

Sweet-&-Fiery Polenta Fries

Salmon "Martini" Starters

Olive-Cherry Bruschetta

Sweet Valentine's Day Desserts

End the dinner date with a sweet dessert that finishes with a romantic note.

Gooey Chocolate Pudding Cakes

Chocolate Pillows

Tiramisu Bread Pudding

Red Velvet Heart Cake

More delicious desserts that are perfect for Valentine's Day.

Don't forget a thoughtful gift.

Handmade cards and gifts are often the best way to tell your Valentine "I love you." Here are some of our favorite gift and card ideas:

  • Make a handmade card with an inside joke to make him or her smile on this day for lovers.
  • Give a blank journal with a sentence written on each page telling why you love him or her or recounting a funny story in your relationship.
  • Buy a bottle of wine from a significant year, such as your wedding anniversary or the year your first child was born.
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