Romantic seafood dinners are a vibe. They carry intrigue and excitement. And when you’re dining with a special someone who arouses “butterflies” and uncontrollable giggles, they are oh-so-fun! Or, perhaps for you, planning a romantic dinner feels like tapping into a deep well of comfort, slowing down to be close to the one and only who “gets” your innermost self.

A romantic seafood meal is about so much more than what’s on your plate. And a Valentine’s dinner at home allows for setting the tone with special touches — favorite flowers, music, and wine — that reflect your partnership and your personality, a unique experience that dining out can’t perfectly capture. Whether the force of cupid’s arrow has recently struck you, you’re popping the question or (finally!) planning a cozy night off from the hustle of work and family, here are four romantic dinner ideas for a vibe that’s all about you and yours this Valentine’s Day.

One pan wonder

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Vital Choice offers the best wild Pacific Northwest salmon. This one-pan recipe is low-maintenance prep and cleanup, too. Quick sear two salmon fillets in a hot cast-iron skillet, then create a simple pan sauce that doubles as a side dish for serving in just minutes. This romantic meal idea frees up your evening for snuggling by the fire. We’re thinking of an after-dinner nightcap of chocolate truffles and dessert wine.

romantic dinner ideas cast iron salmon

Be one with the sea

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“You want to sit down and enjoy your partner, not spend the entire night cooking!” chef and brand ambassador Geoffrey Zakarian exclaims. Create a Valentine’s vibe that focuses on simplicity, full flavor, and beauty with this recipe for his bold-flavored Chilean sea bass with mint, caper, and olive relish. Pair it with a prepared gourmet side dish, such as wheatberry kale salad, and settle in for time well spent together.

romantic dinner ideas chilean sea bass

Wine goes with everything

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Restaurant dining often includes wine pairings, which is an exciting way to savor the flavors of each course. Plan a romantic wine pairing at home, and choose light and crisp sauvignon blanc for first-course salads and gourmet cheeses. For main course chicken, shellfish, or pasta dishes, sip on a richer white wine, such as chardonnay or rosé. And bring on the luscious red fruit of Royal Crest Red for more decadent mains, such as this deeply satisfying pear and gorgonzola lamb chop dish, and rich desserts, like individual chocolate lava cake.

romantic dinner ideas wine

Surf and turf

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If you’re considering popping the question this Valentine’s Day, no meal is more celebratory than a snow-white lobster tail and thick, juicy steak set side by side. Follow these lobster cooking and eating tips, and try your hand at chef Zakarian’s effortless indoor grilled ribeye for an unforgettable night. Or take the pressure off and order an exquisitely prepared surf and turf duo, or just go with the surf. No harm done. No laws broken.

romantic dinner ideas surf and turf

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Theresa Gambacorta is a food writer and 25-year veteran of New York City's restaurant industry. Her writing has appeared in such titles as La Cucina Italiana, Men's Fitness, Muscle and Fitness, and Centennial's special interest publications. She is the co-author of chef Joey Campanaro's Big Love Cooking (Chronicle) and is currently working on a cookbook about Persian cuisine to be published by Knopf.

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