Make It a Party: 10 Inspired Ideas for “Dinner and a Movie” Night
Instead of hosting another “been there, done that” dinner party with other couples, why not invite them over for a date-night classic? Movies provide the perfect romantic backdrop and menu inspiration, and it’s always fun to revisit the classics.
Set the stage
To get started, assess your living and viewing space to see how many couples you can comfortably fit and adjust your guest list accordingly. Bring in extra floor cushions, chairs, or poufs for additional cozy seating.
On the menu
The whole idea of this gathering is tailoring your menu to the movie, either directly or in a whimsical way. You can get inspiration from a must-see food scene, have fun with the title of the movie, or go ethnic with your overall menu. Definitely serve wine with your meal or concoct a signature cocktail in honor of — or inspired by — the title. Here are 10 pairings to get you started:
- “Big Night” – Brothers Primo and Secondo try to save their struggling restaurant by hosting one “big night” to impress their guests. Primo prepares the feast of a lifetime including a complicated Italian, layered timbale pie. You can attempt to recreate the delicious dish or just order in or make individual calzones to mimic the look.
- “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” – A raucously funny romantic comedy about a big, loud Greek family whose daughter falls in love with a very American Adonis. Serve classic Greek dishes like Greek salad, moussaka, hummus, and simple grilled-shrimp skewers. A funny scene involving a Bundt pan used as a flower pot makes a Bundt cake a perfect finish.
- “Chocolat” – This sweet romantic comedy about a single mom who opens an exquisite chocolate shop and patisserie in a small French village offers plenty of menu inspiration! Start with a classic French dish like coq au vin served with baguettes, or use this as an opportunity to indulge your sweet tooth and host a full-on chocolate tasting event.
- “The Godfather” or “Goodfellas” — It’s hard to choose between these two classic mafia movies, but the menu is easy to pick! Go for a big pot of “Sunday Sauce” marinara with thinly sliced garlic and recreate a tradition these wise guys take very very seriously. Our Italian sub skewers make a beautiful starter — serve with ziti, sausage, and definitely cannoli for dessert. Fuggetaboutit!
- “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” — This 1961 classic features Audrey Hepburn as the beautiful and charming party girl Holly Golightly. She befriends Paul, a new neighbor and struggling writer, and throws memorable parties. But the must-see food moment is Holly’s wistful stop at Tiffany’s as she savors a chocolate croissant. Serve a variety of breakfast dishes like our bacon egg and cheese breakfast pizza with orange juice, and chocolate croissants, of course.
- “When Harry Met Sally” – Can men and women stay friends without getting involved? This classic romantic comedy featuring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan explores that question, but the most memorable scene in the movie takes place in Katz’s Delicatessen over pastrami sandwiches. Serve a deli-inspired menu with sandwiches, pickles, chips, and rugelach and dare guests to do their own recreation of the famous scene!
- “Mystic Pizza” – This cult favorite features a super young Julia Roberts along with Annabeth Gish and Lili Taylor as employees in a local pizza parlor with an award-winning secret sauce. Romance and mayhem ensues. Order in or make your own pizzas and serve with a simple salad.
Family Friendly Options: “Dinner and a Movie” parties aren’t just for couples: They can be a family-friendly date night too! This is also a great option if you and your friends are sitter-challenged. These “not just for kids” movies will be fun for all ages:
- “Ratatouille” – This adorable cartoon about a French rat who longs to be a restaurant chef will have everyone dying to try the title dish. Ratatouille is a classic Provencal stew featuring eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes. Serve it with simple roast chicken and French bread as you enjoy cheering Remy to success.
- “Lady and the Tramp” – A favorite for decades, this classic Disney cartoon follows the adventures and romance of pampered pooch Lady and street-smart Tramp. Serve spaghetti and meatballs over red and white checked tablecloths to evoke the scene where Lady and Tramp fall in love.
- “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” – This trippy children’s classic follows poor paperboy Charlie and his grandpa as they go on a VIP tour of a whimsical candy factory led by the eccentric owner Mr. Wonka. Host this one as a dessert party and definitely serve bubble gum, blueberry pie, everlasting gobstobbers and “Wonka Bars.” This one is sure to be a hit with the young and young at heart.
What’s your favorite food scene in a movie?