Though Scaramouche, Splendido and George – not to mention Amuse-Bouche, Centro and Canoe – have likely been booked solid since Labour Day, you might still be able to reserve a Valentine’s Day table à deux at a romantic restaurant for next Thursday if you look a little off the beaten eatin’ track.
It’s always toujours l’amour at intimate Kensington Market bistro La Palette (256 Augusta, at College, 416-929-4900), especially when suave owner and maître d’ Shamez Amlani slips a Maurice Chevalier or Josephine Baker CD into the mix. At Silver Spoon (390 Roncesvalles, at Howard Park, 416-516-8112), the room’s upscale elegance is matched by Rocco Agostino’s seasonally attuned card.
Downtown, Constance Guitard’s underappreciated Weezie’s (354 King East, at Power, 416-777-9339) is the perfect setting for exquisite comfort food and one-on-one conversation. A few blocks away, Mengrai Thai (82 Ontario, at Richmond East, 416-840-2759) offers understated Southeast Asian fare in a gorgeous brick-lined warehouse loft complete with dumb waiter and polished service.
Up in the Village, the chic Victorian splendour of Fuzion (580 Church, at Dundonald, 416-944-9888) makes a sophisticated alternative to the Best Ass contest at Woody’s. Swanky Yorkville boîte Boba (90 Avenue Road, at Cumberland, 416-961-2622) gets its fair share of celebrities, most notably an openly canoodling newlywed Elvis Costello and Diana Krall. With apologies to Kurt ’n’ Courtney, the greatest lovers of the last century, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, got engaged for the first time over chateaubriand for two at venerable Barberian’s (7 Elm, at Yonge, 416-597-0335) back in 63.
Budget-minded vegans can feed each other communally plated meat- and dairy-free Ethiopian fare with their fingers at M & B Yummy (1263 Queen West, at Brock, 416-516-2798). Those in the know skip the lineups for tapas at Torito and head straight for its basement bar, Pepe (276 Augusta, at College, 647-436-5874), where the menu is identical but the subterranean grotto more conducive to romance.
Red Tea Box (696 Queen West, at Euclid, 416-203-8882) doesn’t take reservations and doesn’t do dinner, so show up after lunch and have the stunning backyard coach house all to yourselves for a mid-afternoon tryst. It’s first come, first serve at Tom Thai’s too-cool Foxley (207 Ossington, at Dundas West, 416-534-8520) as well; whoever’s at the front of the queue is guaranteed a blowout meal at one of the hottest boîtes in town.
And after all that, if you still can’t get a table, remember there’s always Mother’s Day!
Photo By David Laurence