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Valentine’s Day Guide: Montreal’s Most Romantic Restaurants

by Jennifer Nachshen

If you’re not into cooking dinner for the one you adore, you’re best bet is to make a reservation for romance at one of Montreal’s most swoon-inducing restaurants. What criteria can you use to determine the woo-factor? We’ve laid out some of the critical characteristics of a romantic dinner. It’s one part ambiance, another part food, and the third part? You. Turn off your cell phones. This is not the time to play Tripletown. Or instagram.

Photo courtesy of Bocata Wine Bar

 

Ambiance

Now is definitely the time to go somewhere without fluorescent lighting and whitewashed walls. We love getting cozy in Bocata Wine Bar or going slightly underground at Le Bremner. Sinclair offers a slightly Gothic feel. But is there any better atmosphere than the comfort of your own bed? Bring your loved one a stack of fluffy pancakes or, if you need a change of scene, order room service after a staycation at Loews Hotel Vogue.

Prosciutto and figs at Dolcetto (photo by Ashley Joseph)

 

Food

Keep things nice and easy with restaurants offering special Valentine’s Day menus, like Suite 701′s three-course menu for $55, four courses at FBar for $58 and four courses at Verses for $75. We also recommend hitting a spot that serves tapas-sized portions so you can order plates to share, like Resto Biarritz, Le Filet (we love that they have a secret vegetarian menu), Dolcetto and Pastaga. If it’s aphrodisiacs you’re after, order oysters at l’Orignal or if you’re man is a strict carnivore, fill him up with steak at Atelier Argentine. Of course, you can never go wrong with the decadence of Joe Beef  or the elegance of Maison Boulud.

Dulcey dessert at Les 400 Coups (photo courtesy of Valrhona)

 

Dessert

You can’t beat Les 400 Coups when it comes to the sweet stuff (we often fantasize about Patrice Demers’ green dessert) and this year they’re having some fun with Dulcey, the new Blonde chocolate from Valrhona. The caramelized white chocolate has a soft, toasted flavour and Demers is creating three desserts, including a decadent Creme Dulcey (you can also find limited-edition Dulcey desserts at Patisserie Rhubarbe, Les Chocolats de Chloé and Fous Desserts). Of course, dessert is always most delicious when it’s served in the comfort of home, so pick up some doughnuts at Léché Bakery, order in something sweet or whip up a pan of rich, decadent brownies.

Photo by Erika David

 

Romance Factor

We strongly recommend restaurants that make you and your special someone swoon. Our first date with our guy was at the Taverne on Greene, so it holds a special place in our heart.  If your first date was at a brightly lit noodle joint, go there. If you proposed at a McDonald’s drive through, go there (and then plan something way better for after). If you bonded over stories of surfing in Australia, pick up a few pies from Tourtiere Australienne. But why focus on dinner? Afternoon tea can be just as romantic, if not more. Especially if you both take the rest of the afternoon off work.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Herman

 

If you’re Single

Just because you aren’t in a relationship, doesn’t mean you have to spend the evening solo à la Lean Cuisine. Head out to a happening resto-bar with your sexy boots and a big smile. Bevo Bar + Pizzaria is offering three courses for $40 along with a DJ spinning tunes and Taverne Gaspar is adding to their lively atmosphere with a $55 four-course menu. Have a beer and some nibbles at les Soeurs Grises or pull up to the bar for an elegant meal at Hotel Herman. Our top pick? Imadake. We figure most couples will be going for sappy romance rather than sake bombs, leaving the table pounding to the sexy singletons.