I think a connection with the person makes a date amazing. My first date with my current partner was amazing!
He took me downtown at night. Our downtown area is gorgeous. It was around Christmas time so they had the twinkling lights up and in the beautiful trees lining the streets. It's really like a huge upscale outdoor mall (2 stories) with a downtown feel.
We ate at an awesome place there that served steaks, wings, pizza, pasta, sandwiches, etc. Shared a pizza and snuggled in the booth with each other. It was cold, and romantic!
Then we went on a walk through there eating ice cream (even though it was cold out!) Then he flagged down the horse and carriage people and we went for a ride. It was so romantic and magical, snuggling under the twinkling lights and stars. I love horses so it was really special for me.
We've been together since we were 16 so I only had one other date before him, which was terrible.
The guy was taking me out on my birthday. We went to Chili's (not sure if it's nationwide?) and it was ok. That $25 dinner was my gift. No flowers, chocolate, or even a gift at all. Not that a gift is the way to win my heart, but I'm a romantic. Give me some dang flowers and a card and you have me! He was an ass and obviously wanted sex from me. He wasn't romantic, didn't hold my hand, didn't make eye contact, and wanted to make out rather than give cute kisses and snuggle. It wasn't romantic at all but my current partner more than made of for the other guys fail.