BY LINDA LUONG & SARA BURNSIDE MENUCK
Toronto may not be the most obvious choice for a romantic getaway, but strip away the hustle and bustle and you’ll see that there’s a lot of heart in Hogtown. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or Valentine’s Day, in the throes of a budding amour, or rekindling a flame, there are plenty of pleasures to be shared between both traditional and modern lovebirds.
FUEL YOUR APPETITE
As the saying goes, the best way to a man’s (or a woman’s) heart is through the stomach. Wine and dine your beloved at these restaurants, which range from swanky, candlelit boîtes to livelier nosh spots for contemporary couples.
The French have long been associated with their deep knowledge of affairs de coeur, so it’s no surprise that a restaurant (or three) from the country that invented such a passionate kiss should be among the spots to take your paramour. A seasonal menu of locally grown foods is prepared in classic French style at Café Boulud, while La Maquette sets the mood with intimate dining spaces including a solarium that overlooks the serene Toronto Sculpture Garden. If you can take your eyes off of your beloved, lavish La Société boasts art deco accents and a stained-glass ceiling, and is a great spot for people watching. Already a favourite destination for business lunches, George brims with nostalgic touches like ornamental wrought iron window coverings and shimmering chandeliers, making it an ideal place for lovers to indulge in chef Lorenzo Loseto’s five-, seven-, or 10-course tasting menus. A homey atmosphere pervades at F’Amelia, an Italian trattoria that dishes out rustic fare on a charming tree-lined street. And Scaramouche has been a city staple for more than three decades; no doubt its desirable dining room—complete with a picturesque view of downtown—has hosted its fair share of proposals and anniversaries.
The Drake Hotel is among the hottest venues in the city for all things cultural. Its kitchen, overseen by chef Ted Corrado, churns out inventive seasonal fare like lobster nachos, and a very popular brunch with the likes of fried chicken and waffles on the menu. Consistently named as one of Toronto’s best restaurants, Edulis is a labour of love from culinary couple Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth; their King West-area dining room is relaxed and familiar—the perfect space for noshing on chef Caballo’s French- and Spanish-inspired cuisine. Equally easygoing, The Harbord Room serves up bistro-style fare and great cocktails with inventive names like Lady Sniper and Sea of Cortez amidst exposed brick and luscious leather, while L’Unita is an idealized setting for a Hollywood romance, what with its with vintage posters, flattering lighting, and a feast of handmade pastas.