You've got a first date coming up, and you're desperately scouring restaurant reviews, trying to figure out where to go. The wrong choice could compromise your chances of getting a second date so it pays to choose wisely. When looking at options, keep these essential elements in mind:

1. Balanced Age and Atmosphere

On a first date, you don't want to go to the newest, trendiest place. The lines are long, and the hype is often about novelty rather than reliably great food and services. However, you also don't necessarily want to go somewhere old and stuffy with a predictable menu.

The same is true of atmosphere: you don't want a disco fun pub, but you also don't want somewhere that feels like a library.  You want a restaurant that feels fun and upbeat but also allows you to have a conversation. Instead, for age and atmosphere, look for somewhere balanced.

2. Straightforward but Elegant

Unless you know your first date is with a foodie, don't take him or her anywhere overly complicated. You don't want to be in a situation where either of you don't know how to pronounce dishes on the menu or aren't sure of how to eat what's in front of you.

Instead, you want straightforward but still elegant food. Look for somewhere with a homey, French-inspired classic cuisine made with local fare or whatever type of food feels the most straightforward but still elegant and classy to you.

3. Affordable but Not Cheap

Ideally, choose a restaurant both of you are likely to be able to afford. Even if you plan to offer to pay the check, you don't want your date to feel alienated or uncomfortable by the high prices. Similarly, you also don't want to look like you are showing off.

Avoid the cheap places as well. If you can only afford fast food, go for coffee or a cocktail instead.

4. Reservations

A key feature you need in a first date restaurant is that they accept reservations. A reservation ensures you get a seat, keeping your date on track. Otherwise, you end up going through the entire selection process to find the perfect first date restaurant, but you end up eating at the chips shop next door.

5. Short and Sweet

If you simply cannot find a restaurant to book for your first date, it may be time to consider alternatives. Many people prefer to have a coffee date or just desserts instead of a full length meal. That saves you from having to decide upon a restaurant, and it keeps your date short, just in case you don't like each other.