Make sure that the price is right
"Don’t pick a five-star restaurant if you’re on a two-star budget," said KarenLee Poter, internet talk show host and author. "If you’re feeling out of place, it starts the date out on the wrong foot. Conversely, if you pick somewhere that you’ve been to before or that shows a little about your creativity and personality, you’ll be that much more ahead of the game."
Try not to feel pressured into taking them to a location that'll make your credit card balance go into the negatives. Understanding what you realistically can and can't afford automatically makes your restaurant search easier, and an honest person right off the bat.
Look for a place that has an atmosphere you both would enjoy
The energy of an environment can make or break the night.
Nick Notas, dating and confidence consultant, wants you to use the environment to your advantage. "Do something you’ll actually enjoy and that helps the date go smoothly. Bonus points if it’s a shared commonality," he says.
If you know that the person you're courting is a jokester who likes to have fun, it wouldn't make total sense to take them to a fancy-schmancy place with a ton of rules and regulations (e.g., having to wear a tux/dress with heels, no loud talking, etc.). This is not to say that funny people don't like serious environments either, but you get the drift.
You know what they say: location, location, location
This tip is a nice and easy one because you should pick something that is equal distance for both of you, and a central enough of a location that getting home is painless.
This applies to meeting each other there, or either of you picking the other one up.
Of course it would be nice to show off and plan a great night out with delicious food at a stellar place, but if it's too far out of the way, it's not worth it for the first date.
One word: RESERVATION
Don't be that person who walks into a restaurant assuming that you'll automatically get a table for two at 7:45 on a Friday night. Call ahead and see if you can book a reservation — better safe than sorry!
Do your homework and read those online reviews
Take your time and do your research when looking at user-based review sites — don't nix a restaurant based off the first review you read, and take everything with a grain of salt. It's a great way to get a general idea as to how the public feels about it.
So go forth, pick what works for you, and good luck!