1. Don't choose a super-fancy restaurant.
It's going to make the whole thing uncomfortable because of money and fanfare. It will also last too long for a first date.
2. Don't choose a concept restaurant.
Those restaurants that serve 12 kinds of mac and cheese or 24 kinds of risotto are by and large annoying. They sound fun and awesome but they never are. Unless you and your date discussed it beforehand — like it's kind of a fun experiment you're both on board for — don't do this.
3. Don't make someone you ask out choose the restaurant.
Doesn't matter who is "the foodie" or who follows Eater.com or who works at a restaurant or who knows the city best. If you ask someone out, pick a spot.
4. Don't be rude to a waiter, a runner, a host, or anyone who works at the restaurant.
5. Don't order a bottle of wine without asking your date.
The whole "Should we get a glass of wine or a bottle of wine?" should be a conversation. So should the, "Should we start with a cocktail?" thing. Your date might have to work later tonight. And don't assume that he or she wants to get drunk with you. Just talk it out and decide together.
6. Don't order tuna tartare or any other endangered species.
Tuna tartare is lame for a whole host of reasons. (God forbid the tuna comes in some kind of tower, and holy hell there better not be avocado. This is not a original flavor combination, no one is going to enjoy eating this. Don't order tuna tartare.) But most importantly, don't order a fish that's practically extinct. You should be fine as long as you stay away from tuna (bluefin and yellowfin) and Chilean seabass.
7. Don't order mussels, clams, or any other project.
Mussels are great! But they're for a night out with someone you are comfortable with. No one wants to watch you slurp and dip and attack a pile of bivalves for the entree course. You wouldn't want to your date do that either. Unless it's literally the only way to get the server to bring French fries, don't.
8. Don't order a pork belly appetizer.
SO many reasons. First of all, it's going to ruin your appetite for entrees because it's almost always prepared with too heavy a hand. Second of all, it's SO FATTY and fat isn't the best first-date food. Third it's just trying too hard and you'll seem like you are, too.
9. Don't be a dick if your date takes a picture of the food.
Whatever, dude. Get over it. If he or she can on a conversation for the other 99 percent of the meal, and doesn't seem to be uploading that photo to a social network AT THE TABLE, chill and let her memorialize the crust on her steak for a hot second.
10. Don't try to feed your date.
11. Don't ignore your date's order when making your own.
Is your date having a hard time making a decision about what to order? Ask her what her second choice is, then offer to switch plates with her half way through. YAY! This remedies nearly all of the above offenses (but not all). Did your date just say he wants the exact same thing you want? UGH. Tell him that and then say, "WHAT DO WE DO? THIS IS A TRAVESTY CAN WE HANDLE IT?" Did your date just hint that she wants the steak for two? Consider it, and if you really REALLY aren't down, then say, "If that's what your heart is set on, be honest about it. But I really want to try the scallops, so I'd be torn." Or say, "I can't talk about this anymore, it's annoying," and realize that you shouldn't be going on a date with a food person.