Winterlicious, produced by the City of Toronto and presented by YP Dine, is the perfect opportunity to try a new restaurant with your lover or impress someone special on a first date. From fancy to cozy spaces and European to Mexican dishes, here are some of the most romantic date night restaurants to try during the festival.
Discover a slice of Paris among the cobblestoned streets of the Distillery District. Cluny is a feast for all the senses. The bistro’s spacious interior, designed by acclaimed Toronto design firm Munge Leung, offers a romantic ambiance and is grand without feeling stuffy. The marble-clad raw bar is the ideal spot for couples to cozy up together over a bottle of wine and plate of oysters. On the menu for their $38 Winterlicious dinner, you’ll find a chicken liver parfait with black currant and cassis, a duck confit pot pie with Andouille sausage and root vegetables, and a lavender tea chocolate bar with chestnut ice cream.
Come to Carens in Rosedale on Saturdays, when there’s a jazz pianist playing, and try to get a seat by the fireplace to really set the mood. Its French cuisine mixed with the romantic ambience just adds to the joie de vivre Parisian mantra. Carens’ Winterlicious three-course dinner at $38 is filled with mouth-watering options like a butternut squash purée, mushroom risotto, boeuf bourguignon, cheesecake, and raspberry sorbet, to name a few.
Mistura is an upscale Italian restaurant where you’ll want to dress your best. For $48, you can dine on a fancy three-course meal. Starving? Start with the classic bolognese. Want a traditional main dish? Go for the pearl barley risotto. Then, finish off with the chocolate and olive oil cake, infused with brandy, macerated figs and honey ganache.
This two-level restaurant screams fancy and classy – you’ll want to dress up. For $38, Rosewater is worth trying during Winterlicious, as its menu boasts creatively flavourful options like the appetizer salad of roasted pear and endive. The ricotta gnocchi main course is a safe bet, yet also a sweet surprise with its caramelized squash, spiced pecans and gorgonzola cream. For dessert, there’s a choice of sticky toffee pudding, housemade sorbets, or chocolate raspberry tart.
If your idea of a romantic dinner is candlelight ambience, fancy drinks and French comfort food, then Smith is the restaurant for you. For $38, warm up with some mushroom soup, feast on some steak frites and end the night with a “broken” chocolate mousse cake, which comes with vanilla ice cream. For drinks, order the Rose Minimalist if you’re feeling fancy or go for a classic glass of wine.
A narrow late-night hideaway along the busy West Queen West strip, Nuit Social might be the most underrated first date spot in the city. The low-key wine bar offers an eclectic, thoughtfully curated selection of 20 wines (all available by the glass), contemporary cocktails and nibbles designed for sharing – think build-your-own boards (topped with charcuterie, cheese and olives) and seasonal small plates. For Winterlicious, they are offering a $28 dinner that includes options like beet salad with white asparagus and smoked goat’s cheese, braised beef cheek poutine, and a butterscotch budino with salted caramel.
Kalendar Restaurant & Bistro
Kalendar is a quaint bistro in Little Italy run by two childhood sweethearts. The atmosphere is super cozy and intimate, with decor reminiscent of the Victorian era. For $28, the Winterlicious dinner menu is a steal. If you’re into seafood, share the lobster bisque and grilled calamari appetizers. For vegetarians, there’s a delicious crunchy Thai salad and a main dish called Half Scroll Seven, which is a mix of vegetables with spicy curry. For dessert, share the tiramisu and cheesecake.