The top 25 restaurants for a first date in Toronto by neighbourhood
Restaurants for a first date in Toronto are casual enough to keep it non-committal, but interesting enough to possibly warrant a second go. These days there's no need for both dinner and a movie, a lot of these restaurants are entertainment enough for one outing.
Here are my picks for the top restaurants for a first date in Toronto.
Take your date to Playa Cabana Hacienda for Mexican snacks like lobster tostadas and tacos. These bites are small, but the tequila list is large: good if you're the type who gets pre-date nerves.
Classic Italian with a modern flare, Sugo is the closest thing you'll get to a nonna's kitchen-style Italian meal — checkered table cloths included — minus nonna's judgmental stare.
Sit side-by-side in front of the open kitchen at Vit Beo for some tasty Vietnamese eats. This place is open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Sundays, in case you're planning a super late night meet.
The decor at Jackpot Chicken Rice is sure to put you and your date in a good mood. That, plus delicious plates of Chinese chicken and rice along with strong cocktails will only add to the night.
Food is surprisingly pricey at Si Lom, but everyone really just goes for the cocktail buckets: 32-ounces of sparkling, super sweet booze concoctions that will definitely give you both a sugar high.
If you’re both the simple type, but don’t want to feel drab on the first date you can hit up Borrel for a Dutch twist on hot dogs and finish with poffertjes: adorable little mini pancakes.
Fairly inexpensive and definitely delicious, Imanishi is perfect for Japanophiles — or at least anyone who likes little bites of Japanese food and traditional dishes like the katsu curry rice.
It seems like Khao San Road will always be the go-to Thai spot in the Entertainment District, with dependably tasty pad gra prao and the favourite khao soi noodles.
The Gabardine is the kind of place that lets you go both ways. Just like their meals, this place is the perfect blend of cosy and fancy (think fries and steak) — meaning you have the option of showing up dressed-up or totally casual.
The narrow space that is Hole in the Wall is so charming, there’s no way you can lose (unless you’re absolutely horrible company). This little spot is all brick, wood and tight spaces: the ultimate intimate getaway.
Campechano is a sweet little taqueria where you can dine on tacos, guac and refreshing hibiscus tea in a colourful, fun setting. They also have some tequila drinks to really liven the mood.
If you both decided to go to Descendant Pizza on a first date, you already have something in common. Meant for the deep dish pizza lovers, these Detroit-style pies are huge (and pricey), so sharing is definitely caring here.
Meals at Godspeed Brewery aren’t the biggest, but they’re definitely tasty. The main attractions here are obviously the draft beers, brewed onsite, and a chill outdoor patio.
If dining on pizza while bathed in neon lights sounds like a great time, head to Superpoint. Despite being a lowkey spot, they’ve also got a great wine list and some potent cocktails too.
Snag a table at Chantecler for French eats in a lively night-time atmosphere. Sit at the bar with your date and slurp down a dozen oysters sensually with unwavering eye contact for sure-fire seduction.
What better way to awe your date than take them to see one of the best views in town: The Rooftop at the Broadview Hotel. The vista from this third-floor restaurant will make just about anyone look spectacular.
If you both enjoy the European romanticism of sitting side-by-side for dinner, then the bar at Terroni Bar Centrale is very much the place to be. Head here for traditional Italian eats and a great wine list.
The snug little 416 Snack Bar is always bumping, and for good reason. The menu of small tapas dishes is always unique and the soundtrack is regularly on point. It can get loud, which means you’ll have to lean in a little closer to each other (if that’s okay).
The booze at Tuk Tuk Canteen is great — highly recommended is the rum punch, which comes in a pitcher to share between two. Pair your drink with some Cambodian eats like crispy tofu and red curry on rice.
The lean menu of rotating daily specials at Annabelle is charming and definitely cuts down on decision-making time. That means more time to chat, or rave about Annabelle’s housemade pasta.
Head to Otto’s Bierhalle to share a feast of German classics like sauerkraut, weisswurst sausages and spätzle, downed with pints of German beer beneath a ceiling of lush greenery.
Lovers of Japanese soup noodles will appreciate the deliciousness of Sansotei Ramen: a narrow space which gets busy, but whose spicy tan tan and tonkotsu black ramen are absolutely worth the wait.
The most northern location of La Carnita is just as tasty as its southern counterparts. As usual, it’s all abot tacos here, but unlike the locations on John Street or College this one has a fantastic outdoor patio.
Reigning for quite a while as one of the best in Yorkville, Bar Reyna isn’t cheap but hey — it’s Yorkville. Despite the price, the menu will one hundred percent be a hit: you can’t go wrong with delicious Mediterranean and heavy-handed cocktails.
Jesse Milns of Chantecler
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