Chocolate body paint and rose petals are for amateurs. We all know that the way to someone’s heart is via the belly. If these dishes look familiar, it’s because they’re the all-stars of precoital dining, the greatest hits that will never disappear from Valentine’s Day menus (even if you secretly want them to). So if you really want to impress your date, don’t go rogue and try to be creative; make these dishes, because they taste good and you want to eat them.
Related Reading: The Most Delicious Valentine’s Day Gifts for Food Lovers
Nothing says “I love you” like a crisp, freshly pan-fried crab cake, just like this recipe—perfect for making ahead and heating at the last minute—says you’re the perfect unflustered spouse or potential partner. Our quick aioli, made with store-bought mayo, extends the narrative. Get our Crab Cakes with Quick Aioli recipe.
Valentine’s Day just wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without something bubbly. The mignonette sauce for these highly seductive oysters on the half shell calls for a splash of Prosecco, Champagne, or whatever else is tickling your nose in the glass. Get our Oysters with Prosecco Mignonette recipe.
Maybe it’s the luxurious texture, the richness, or the possibility that your forks will accidentally touch mid-dip: Whatever it is, fondue is sexy. This recipe will have you and your Valentine twirling in no time. Get our Easy Cheese Fondue recipe.
Cuisinart Cast Iron Fondue Set, $49.95 at Walmart
A classic 13-piece set in a classic shade, which happens to be perfect for the occasion.
Lobster is a luxury food that actually tastes luxurious, and the act of eating one in the shell—cracking claws, picking out the flesh—is, like love, not something that takes well to hurrying. Get our Basic Steamed Lobster recipe.
Related Reading: The Best Places to Order Seafood Online in 2020
If your baby isn’t into getting his or her fingers all lobster-y from a whole steamed specimen, this salad is an elegant, no-bib solution. Get our Warm Lobster Salad recipe.
The aroma of fresh black truffles is deep and enchanting, and this beautifully simple pasta lets those truffles shine. You’ll also impress your Valentine with how much you dropped on dinner, and/or how frugal you are not to be paying restaurant prices. Get our Shaved Black Truffles Over Fresh Pasta recipe.
Alma Gourmet Fresh Italian Winter Black Truffles, 1 ounce for $79 on Amazon
You truly can buy just about anything on Amazon.
Related Reading: Luxury Food Gifts for the Valentine with Expensive Taste
Beef filet looks and tastes fancy, but it’s the simplest thing to make. Here, a black pepper crust gives it personality, and the béarnaise gives it glamour. Get our Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon with Béarnaise Sauce recipe.
ButcherBox Surf and Turf, $129+
Feel the love in the form of two free filet mignons plus two pounds of salmon when you sign up through Feb. 16 or while supplies last.
The ultimate Valentine’s dessert: opulent, rich, and—in its own small way—grand. After this, you’ll want to stack the plates in the sink and take it to the couch. Get our Chocolate Lava Cake recipe (and our Raspberry Coulis recipe to top it off).
Related Video: Pucker Up for a Valentine’s Day Cocktail with Kombucha
This post was originally published in 2011 and has been updated with new images, links, and text.
Photos by Chris Rochelle for Chowhound.