Top 5 romantic dinner ideas

Our insiders tell you how to fan the fires of love, from hiring a private chef to choosing a restaurant worthy of true romance

“I think a private dinner prepared just for you and your loved one in your chosen venue, with no one else around is the most romantic thing. I remember this bespoke dinner I cooked for a couple at the Pacific Grove in California – it was a candle lit dinner set up on a grass lawn facing the ocean. The guy wanted to copy Ed Harris proposing to Julia Roberts in the movie Stepmom so I had to get a small roll of thread in a white chocolate box. When she opened the box she shouted so loud I ran from the van, fearing that something flew into the food or she found a stray hair. Thankfully it was a shout of joy! It was the coolest wedding proposal. The food was a five-course meal. I had to do all the cooking inside a van. They loved my food and helped get me more bookings. I did many more private dinners and proposals after that.”
-Chef Bruce Lim, Executive chef; Inside a Chef’s Life author. Follow him on Twitter.Screengrab from @Antoniostagaytay on Instagram

 “I still find Antonio's  (+63918 899 2866) unbeatable if you’re thinking of a romantic date. Aside from being voted constantly among the top 10 restaurants in Asia since five years ago by the Singapore-based Miele Guide there is definitely romance in its location and setting. It’s out of town, in Tagaytay, and there are few restaurants or dining establishments as beautifully built as Antonio’s – a sprawling two story complex built like the modern manor of an Ilonggo (Filipino) gentry, and set within a lush 2.5 hectare garden setting. Fine crystal, silver, crisp white linen and a polished wait service in any restaurant I’ve ever experienced. Needless to say chef/patron Tonyboy Escalante’s food remains unbeatable.”

-Teddy Montelibano, Journalist


“It will have to be dinner at Nami Resort (+6336 288 6755), Boracay. It’s set on the cliff side of Boracay so it offers a fantastic view of the beach, with a really cozy and secluded area for dining, dark wood floors and lots of tea lights, candles, couch type and traditional table settings. Nami is also known for its spa so it really is an escape of sorts, especially for couples. But what’s truly memorable is their food. It’s the type of eating that makes time slow down so you can simply enjoy every bite. I discovered Nami when I was shooting for my old show on QTV, Living it up.
- Issa Litton, Host and food critic

"Last year, my husband Elvin and I spent our anniversary and his birthday at The Inn at Cliffhouse Tagaytay. We stayed in their main suite. It had a huge balcony with jacuzzi and a view of Taal Volcano. Our dinner was just cheese, cold cuts with fruits and wine while we watched the sunset and enjoyed a dip in our private jacuzzi."
-Vanessa Carmona-Julian, Beginnings Communications group account director


“When in Manila, it's the family-owned Melo's Steak House for us. Everything on the menu is delicious and it always feels like a romantic dinner "date". Back when my husband and I were still dating, I must admit that he swept me off my feet on that first date at Melo’s, where they pulled out all the stops, with the entire army serving us tableside. Despite the fine dining setting, the place is very relaxed and unpretentious and you're treated like royalty, especially if you’re a returning guest. They remember every little detail — your name, your favorite bottle of wine, already chilled to perfection when you arrive. Ask for the Steak Cart, choose your meat and preferred cut, sliced and weighed by the master cutter before your eyes, then sent to the kitchen, cooked according to your liking. For starters, have the best classic Caesar salad, the oysters Rockefeller, and the signature Melo’s pâté and gambas. From the mains, the steaks of course and the halibut in salsa verde. And for the sweetest ending, eclair and mango flambé. At the Westgate branch in Alabang, you can’t go wrong with their 'deconstructed' canonigo – an old time favorite!”
-Freida Dario-Santiago, travel and lifestyle journalist, and consulting brand marketing and PR director

By Freida Dario and Monica De Leon

Cover photo: Indigo at Discovery Shores, Boracay Island screengrabbed from @dobbernation

Originally published in InFlight Traveller February to March 2013. Updated February 2017