Midnight in Paris, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Lady and the Tramp – sweet and savoury romantic films capturing moments when people (or pets) find love surrounded by food. You may not know this, but Toronto has some of the most mesmerizingly romantic restaurants anywhere in Canada. From French fine dining to eclectic Michelin-star Mexican cuisine – illustrating your fantasy feast is just a click away. Call me Cupid, but I’ve hit the mark with my list of the 10 most romantic restaurants in Toronto.
So, if you’re craving a little cinematic romance this season, consider reserving at one of these enchanting locations cause love is in the air — and it smells delicious.
Le Select Bistro
Unlike Emily, I know what great French food looks like, and Le Select Bistro is just that: great. This contemporary-style restaurant captures the essence of old Parisian bistros layered with gorgeous mood lighting and vintage decor. Their weekday specials are delicious and everything about their extensive wine menu is the pièce de résistance. If you can’t make it to Paris for Valentine’s Day, consider reserving a table at Le Select instead.
What could be more romantic than sipping on prosecco and indulging in a luxurious truffle risotto? Doing all of that at a Michelin-star restaurant of course. Both intimate and minimalist, Osteria Giulia channels the guests deep emotional connections to food, creating an unforgettably romantic setting.
I recommend ordering the Frutti di Mare alla Griglia for the ultimate sensorial experience.
Do you ever just look at a place and become completely enamored by it? Yeah, that’s Pompette for you. This understated beauty is nestled in the heart of Little Italy and has been serving the neighbourhood artfully crafted French dishes since May 2020. If you want more Pompette, not to worry, just a short walk west, their sister Bar Pompette is ready to serve delicious nightcaps.
When news broke that an Ace Hotel would be opening in Toronto, everyone shed a small tear of joy. So, to no one’s surprise, the hallmark restaurant of Ace Toronto would be as equally invigorating. Alder, led by Chef Patrick Kriss of famous Alo Food Group, has created something special here. Layered in minimalistic charm, the restaurant boasts an incredibly flirtatious menu of nostalgia and innovation.
For Valentine’s Day, Alder is offering select special menu items like Foie Gras Parfait and Amarena Cherry Paris-Brest to woo the taste buds, and your date.
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Le Swan has always been a local favourite of mine for many reasons. The space itself is small and intimate, with very minimalist decor reminiscent of old diners, and yet has an element of Parisian bistros that can’t be missed. This moody-lit restaurant is a perfect place for first dates. It’s not too imposing and offers the right amount of playful menu items that can tell you whether your date is a bœuf bourguignon baddie or grilled cheese connoisseur.
If you’re obsessed with Spanish tapas just as much as I am, Bar Isabel is the place to be. Another moody-lit setting (get the theme here) that truly encapsulates the energy you get when you’re in a typical Barcelona tavern. From classic small plates like Iberian cut meats to Patatas Bravas and of course Octopus, there’s really no end to how you can romance your evening.
Writers Room Bar
Perched at the top of the Park Hyatt Hotel in Yorkville, Writers Room Bar truly is a love letter to the great writers of our time. If you have a bibliophile in your life, this is the perfect way to romance them off of whatever smut they’re currently reading. Stunning cocktails, chic decor, a warm fireplace and, of course, unobstructed views of the city, what more could you ask for?
If you’re in the mood light bites and good wine, this Queen West French wine bar is the perfect pick(quette). Since the day it opened, I’ve absolutely adored Bar Piquette. There’s something so charming about its eclectic style and earth-toned decor that just draws you in. Thankfully their adorable back patio is heated during the colder months for an even more authentic Toronto date experience — fairy lights and all!
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Joso’s is for the ones who love the classics. Serving Yorkville since 1967, this seafood staple offers everything you would want in a “legacy” restaurant in Toronto. If your date is a big fan of quirky art and laidback atmosphere, Joso’s is for you. Not sure who made this rule, but there’s something sexy about having seafood and wine on a date. At Joso’s, there’s only a few other restaurants that rival the quality in seafood they offer.
Quetzal is in a league of its own. This Michelin-star restaurant led by Chef Steven Molnar is (to me) one of the crown jewels of Toronto’s restaurant scene. If you’re looking to impress your date, this is the place to go.
Quetzal offers an intimate dining experience with masterfully made dishes inspired by the deliciously sexy flavours of Mexico. Whatever you do, please ask for the bone marrow and Argentinian Shrimp, and if you’re feeling extra fancy get the caviar — think of as the perfect happy ending.