Toronto is one of Canada's most beautiful cities, home to iconic landmarks such as the CN Tower and the expansive High Park. The heavily multicultural city is known as a haven for the arts and culture, providing a plethora of unique date ideas for couples celebrating their first date or golden anniversary alike. Gorgeous contemporary art is showcased at elegant museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, while hip record stores carry hard-to-find releases and serve as hangouts for some of the city's most notable musicians. International cuisine takes center stage throughout the city, ranging from gourmet French and Mediterranean fare to unique global fusion options.
1.The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto
© The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto
The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto is one of Toronto's premiere cultural museums, originally opened as the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in 1999 within the Art Gallery of North York. Since 2018, it has been housed within a 55,000-square-foot renovated industrial space in Toronto's Lower Junction and has been funded by the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. The museum strives to showcase innovative contemporary art works, with a focus on works with relevant cultural and political themes. Rotating exhibitions throughout the year highlight the works of regional and national artists. Museum visitors can enjoy light cafe fare at Forno Cultura or browse merchandise and art publications at the museum's Art Metropole store.
158 Sterling Rd, Toronto, ON M6R 2B2, Canada, Phone: 416-530-2500
2.The Nicholas Metivier Gallery
© The Nicholas Metivier Gallery
The Nicholas Metivier Gallery is one of Canada's largest contemporary art galleries, originally opened in 2004 in a space along King Street West. Since 2018, the gallery has been housed within its current location and has strived to showcase the works of Canadian and international artists of all ages and experience levels working in a variety of media. Gallery artists such as Joachim Bandau, Katharine Harvey, Izima Kaoru, and Yousuf Karsh have also been exhibited at prestigious international institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Reina Sofia Museum, and the Tate Modern. Visitors can explore the gallery Tuesdays through Saturdays during the morning and afternoon hours.
190 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5A 1P1, Canada
3.Auberge du Pommier
© Auberge du Pommier
Auberge du Pommier is one of North York's most acclaimed French restaurants, known as an icon of Toronto fine dining since its opening in 1987. The restaurant, which is the crown jewel of the city's Oliver and Bonacini dining group, serves up traditional French fare with North American twists in a beautiful dining room space created from remnants of two 19th-century woodcutters' cottages. Lush floral terraces and cozy wood-burning fireplaces create a romantic ambiance, making the restaurant a great choice for special date nights. Elevated fare served up at lunch and dinner includes traditional classics such as cote de boeuf, lamb saddle agneau, duck breast canard, and phyllo-baked brie rôti. Full tasting menus explore seafood, meat, vegetable, and dessert courses, available with fine wine pairings from the restaurant's immense wine list.
4150 Yonge St, North York, ON M2P 2C6, Canada, Phone: 416-222-2220
© Arthur's Restaurant
Arthur's Restaurant is a delicious American-inspired rooftop terrace grill and bar, originally opened in 2019 by the Chase Hospitality Group. The Midtown Toronto restaurant evokes midcentury splendor in its gorgeous dining room, which is flanked with intimate booths and a custom-designed ceiling meant to recall the glass cut of crystal beverage glasses. Classic North American entrees are given modern twists, including favorites such as chicken scarpariello, Dover sole, Dungeness crab cakes, and vegan eggplant parmesan with cashew mozzarella. Casual takes include matzo ball soup, pastrami on rye, and house signature all-American cheeseburgers. An impressive list of classic cocktails is complemented by extensive international wine and spirits selections.
12 St Clair Ave E Unit M02, Toronto, ON M4T 1L7, Canada, Phone: 647-348-7000
5.Northern Maverick Brewing Co.
© Northern Maverick Brewing Co.
Northern Maverick Brewing Co. is one of Toronto's newest craft microbreweries, opened in 2017 by Jason Kaptyn. The expansive brewpub, which was named as one of Toronto Life's best new restaurants of 2018, offers 400 seats over two stories, including a large seasonal outdoor patio area. More than half a dozen of the company's delicious brews are tapped at any given time, including flagship lager, APA, IPA, gose, and dry-hopped sour styles. Entrees focus on high-quality land and sea fare prepared with seasonal ingredients, including buttermilk fried chicken, smoked pork ribs, 30-day dry-aged strip loin, and seared scallops with pumpkin and barley risotto. Clever shareable plates such as porchetta tacos, squash ricotta cakes, and roasted bone marrow are also great for splitting with dates.
115 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5V 2P9, Canada, Phone: 416-540-4030
6.Open Kitchen Toronto
© Open Kitchen Toronto
Open Kitchen Toronto is a unique rotating event dining series led by restaurateurs Jennifer Coburn and Stacey Patterson, striving to celebrate and promote the advancement of women in the culinary industry. The organization collaborates with some of Toronto's top female chefs, restaurateurs, and bartenders, including icons such as Lynn Crawford, Lora Kirk, Nuit Regular, Sandy de Almeida, and Elia Herrera, to create one-of-a-kind inclusive and educational dining experiences for participants. All tickets include all food, beverages, and gratuity for the evening and benefit George Brown College's Toronto Female Culinary Scholarship fund. Dining events are hosted at various locales throughout the city, including chef-driven restaurants.
© Aloette Restaurant
Aloette Restaurant was named as one of Canada's 100 best restaurants in 2019. The restaurant, which was opened in 2017 as the sister restaurant of popular dining spot Alo, serves up refined bistro fare with French twists at lunch and dinner throughout the week. Elegant land and sea entrees include green curry madai sashimi, roasted octopus with chorizo, dry-aged beef tartare, and fried chicken with yuzu honey and hot sauce. Dates can share high-quality appetizers such as crispy oyster mushrooms or split classic desserts such as lemon meringue pie or apple pie sundaes. Wine menus emphasize European imports, while a creative cocktail list highlights ingredients such as herbal teas, aromatised wine, and Anaheim chilis.
163 Spadina Ave 1st Floor, Toronto, ON M5V 2A5, Canada, Phone: 416-260-3444
© Il Covo
Il Covo is the latest offering from the team behind Toronto favorite Buca, helmed by executive chef Ryan Campbell. The charming tapas joint, which is named for a phrase translating to "the hideout," strives to create a relaxing, communal atmosphere that blends traditional and modern Italian influences. Shareable plates include delectable fresh pasta entrees such as tagliatelle alla bolognese, gnocchi alla romana, and tortello in brodo. Fine cheeses are also presented elegantly, along with high-quality land and sea entrees such as fried Chesapeake Bay soft-shell crab, calamari e patate, and brodetto fish stew. An extensive selection of wines are available by the glass, along with a list of craft beers and playful cocktails.
585 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1B2, Canada, Phone: 416-530-7585
© Mamakas Taverna
Mamakas Taverna is a charming Greek-style taverna, designed as a nod to owner Thanos Tripi's Greek heritage. The restaurant, which was opened in 2014, serves up unique modern twists on classic Aegean fare in its beautiful airy dining room, which is meant to mimic a traditional open Greek market atmosphere. Excellent land and sea entrees served up at dinner include whole grilled lavraki fish, kotopoulo brined chicken, and grilled paidakia lamb chops. Dates can also share a selection of traditional Greek dips and appetizers, including favorites such as tzatziki, haloumi, and phyllo pies. Unique house cocktails include the Acropolis, which blends tahini-flavored rye whiskey with liquid peanut butter.
80 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Y7, Canada, Phone: 416-519-5996
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10.Tiny Record Shop
© Photo credit: Janet Kimber
Tiny Record Shop is one of Toronto's hippest spots for new and used vinyl records, operated inside the environmentally-friendly gift shop Token. The Shop, which is curated by Paper Bag Records' Trevor Larocque, was originally opened as a way to downsize its owner's personal record collection. Today, it has blossomed into one of the city's best spots to find rare, vintage, and international records across a variety of genres and time periods. Customers can peruse indie rock, soul, jazz, hip hop, and metal collections and occasionally spot celebrity shoppers who frequent the store, including members of bands such as Wilco, Junior Boys, and Broken Social Scene. Unique gift items are sold at Token, including pop culture-focused cards and locally-produced gift items minimizing plastic and paper waste.
777 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1H5, Canada, Phone: 416-479-4363
© Canoe Restaurant
Canoe Restaurant was opened in 2015 atop the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower, offering unparalleled views of the city's skyline from its beautiful dining room. The restaurant, which is part of the Oliver and Bonacini Restaurants group, is helmed by executive chef John Horne and specializes in inventive contemporary Canadian dishes meant to reflect the country's unique provincial cuisines. Diners can enjoy hearty entrees such as tamarack lamb, Baffin Island turbot, tournedos rossini, or Ontario squab, paired with elegant appetizers such as charred venison tartare and baked stracciatella. Full seasonal chef's tasting menus are also served, along with an extensive menu of clever cocktails prepared with regional Canadian ingredients.
66 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5K 1H6, Canada, Phone: 416-364-0054
12.Famous Last Words Bar
© Famous Last Words Bar
Famous Last Words Bar is one of Toronto's most acclaimed themed bars, named as one of the city's best new nightlife spots by NOW Magazine and blogTO since its 2016 opening. The bar, which is helmed by owner Marlene Thorne, is named in honor of a Timothy Findley novel and is sure to please dates with literary interests. Each cocktail is named after a famed novel, including favorites such as the mezcal-infused Gold Finch and the Aperol spritzer Beautiful Ruins. Scrabble tiles on the lounge's unique bar spell out the names of famed literary characters, adding to the ambiance. A small selection of bar snacks is served up, including charcuterie and cheese platters and fine pates. Book-themed special events are hosted at the bar throughout the year, along with live music performances and mixology courses.
392 Pacific Ave, Toronto, ON M6P 2R1, Canada, Phone: 416-792-5200
© Leña Restaurante
Leña Restaurante is a delightful Argentinian-themed restaurant and lounge located within Toronto's famed CF Toronto Eaton Centre, housed within its branch of upscale retailer Saks Fifth Avenue. The restaurant is named in honor of executive chef Anthony Walsh's mother-in-law and pays tribute to the culinary traditions of South America, blending traditional Argentinian recipes with Italian and Spanish twists. Dates can share excellent tapas such as blistered shishito peppers, yuca fries, or the restaurant's signature empanadas, which are stuffed with beef and egg. Hearty entree options include veal milanesa, roast lamb sirloin, and squid ink fusili with ‘nduja sausage. A full bar bites menu is served up at the restaurant's Bar Lala, along with a selection of Argentinian-inspired cocktails.
176 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5C 2L7, Canada, Phone: 416-507-3378
Awai is one of Toronto's most acclaimed new restaurants, praised by Toronto Life, NOW Magazine, and blogTO since its 2017 opening. The Bloor West Village restaurant, which is led by executive chef Nathan Isberg, focuses on plant-based fare prepared with locally-sourced ingredients, with a focus on vegan and health-conscious dishes. Internationally-inspired dishes rotate daily, served up in five- or eight-course tasting menus available throughout the week. Optional wine pairings can be added to all tasting menus upon request. The restaurant's beautiful ambiance makes it a perfect option for dates, showcasing an open-plan kitchen and intimate tables providing plenty of privacy to cozy up.
2277 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6S 1P1, Canada, Phone: 647-643-3132
© Actinolite Restaurant
Actinolite Restaurant has been praised as one of Ontario's best restaurants by The Globe and Mail, known for its elevated New Canadian fare and sleek chef's menus. The restaurant, which was opened in 2012 by married duo Claudia Bianchi and Justin Cournoyer, is named in honor of the mining town where Cournoyer grew up and acquired a love for hunting, fishing, and cooking. Menus emphasize fresh, minimally-prepared fare cooked with regionally-sourced ingredients acquired at the peak of their freshness. Diners can enjoy full seven-course tasting menus, four-course summary menus, or abbreviated two-course neighborhood menus, both of which are available with wine pairings.
971 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6G 3V5, Canada, Phone: 416-962-8943
16.My Roti Place
© My Roti Place
My Roti Place is a unique fast-casual Indian restaurant founded in 2018 by restaurateurs Dhiraj Tiwari and Vivek Deora and executive chef Karthik Kumar. The 16-seat counter-service restaurant lets diners craft their own roti delicacies, starting with their choice of white, multigrain, or turmeric roti breads prepared in house daily. Protein choices range from chicken and fish to tofu and paneer cheese, while sauce options include traditional variants such as saag, vindaloo, and korma. Diners can customize their spice levels for all meals and enjoy vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free options. Customizable biryanis are also served, along with classic appetizers such as samosas and clever global fusion snacks such as butter chicken poutine.
406 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2A6, Canada, Phone: 416-366-5554
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FK, formerly known as Frank's Kitchen, is the newest incarnation of one of St. Clair's most popular restaurants, originally opened in 2010 by Shawn Cooper and Frank Parhizgar. The restaurant, which was completely rebranded and reopened in 2018, serves up delicious French Continental fare infused with global twists, all crafted from housemade and locally-sourced ingredients. Dinner menus change frequently, but often feature options such as gnocchi with lobster bolognese, cocoa nib-crusted duck breast, and barbecue beef short ribs with potato leek puree. A wine list highlights more than 70 food-friendly wines, mixing classic and recognizable favorites with a selection of limited-production and boutique offerings.
770 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C 1B5, Canada, Phone: 416-551-9731
17 Best Toronto Date Ideas
- The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, Photo: The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto
- The Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Photo: The Nicholas Metivier Gallery
- Auberge du Pommier, Photo: Auberge du Pommier
- Arthur's Restaurant, Photo: Arthur's Restaurant
- Northern Maverick Brewing Co., Photo: Northern Maverick Brewing Co.
- Open Kitchen Toronto, Photo: Open Kitchen Toronto
- Aloette Restaurant, Photo: Aloette Restaurant
- Il Covo, Photo: Il Covo
- Mamakas Taverna, Photo: Mamakas Taverna
- Tiny Record Shop, Photo: Photo credit: Janet Kimber
- Canoe Restaurant, Photo: Canoe Restaurant
- Famous Last Words Bar, Photo: Famous Last Words Bar
- Leña Restaurante, Photo: Leña Restaurante
- Awai, Photo: Awai
- Actinolite Restaurant, Photo: Actinolite Restaurant
- My Roti Place, Photo: My Roti Place
- FK, Photo: FK
- Cover Photo: Aqnus/stock.adobe.com