12 of Calgary’s Best Date-Night Restaurants

Credit: Teatro

Nothing makes for a night of romance like a nice dinner out with your sweetie, and Calgary is full of restaurants that serve romantic vibes alongside some pretty fantastic food. An ideal date night means different things to different people — some couples like the addition of conversation-stimulating elements such as sharing tapas plates or the chance to sample a beverage flight, while others want a fine-dining tasting menu full of impeccable chef-prepared dishes and expensive imported wines.

Whether couples are looking to spend some intense personal time together over oysters and foie gras or want to share some lighthearted laughs while munching on Korean fried chicken and specialty pizza, these 12 local restaurants are ready to set the stage for a perfect Valentine’s Day date and beyond.

Major Tom (Downtown)

Even though it’s a relatively large venue, reservations are a must at Major Tom, which is indisputably Calgary’s hottest new restaurant. At first glance the menu reads as classic steakhouse fare — locally raised beef, gooey cheese toast, and baked Alaskas for dessert — but the kitchen gives everything a distinctively modern twist to make every item special. Sharing makes a Major Tom meal all the more romantic, and even the steaks come sliced to make them easier to split between two. The cocktails are also not to be missed, with creative creations as well as ice cold martinis poured out of tiny bottles tableside.

Dining at the restaurant: The food and drinks game at Major Tom is strong, but the star of the show is the view. Located on the 40th floor of the downtown Stephen Avenue Place, the dining room offers unparalleled vistas of the city. The bustling ’70s-era vibe of the decor just adds to the sexy atmosphere.

Takeout: The restaurant does not offer takeout.

CHARCUT (Downtown)

Credit: CHARCUT

One of Calgary’s most celebrated restaurants, the rustic-chic CHARCUT is the flagship restaurant from co-chefs John Jackson and Connie DeSousa and a major player in the city’s culinary community. Meat is the name of the game here with expertly prepared beef, lamb, chicken, pork, and fish entrees all on the menu. For a truly romantic endeavour, couples should try CHARCUT’s signature cured meat boards featuring house-made charcuterie, preferably with a side of truffle-topped poutine and sticky toffee pudding for dessert.

Dining in the restaurant: CHARCUT is the official restaurant at Calgary’s posh Le Germain Hotel. Take your special occasion celebration to the next level by booking an overnight stay after an evening of delicious drinks and bites.

Takeout: The restaurant offers takeout and delivery. CHARCUT also has a butcher shop program, allowing customers to purchase charcuterie, raw meat, and cocktail kits for curbside pickup.

JINBAR (Bridgeland)

When superstar chef Jinhee Lee announced that she was opening her own restaurant in 202,0 many Calgarians didn’t expect her to open something as casual as JINBAR, which specializes in pizza and fried chicken. But these aren’t your typical bar bites: Lee has created a super-charged version of extra-crispy Korean fried chicken, made irresistibly tender thanks to a long brining process, and her pizzas feature unique toppings such as beef bulgogi or sweet corn with honey butter chips. Pair that with a lively atmosphere and some shared snacks, and you’ve got the ultimate no-sweat date night.

Dining at the restaurant: While pizza and fried chicken travel well, it’s worth dining in to experience the bar’s cozy atmosphere, inventive cocktails, and a dish of condensed milk soft serve. 

Takeout: Takeout is available through OpenTable. 

Carino (Mission)

A bit of a hidden gem in the heart of the busy Mission neighbourhood, Carino offers a culinary adventure through the fusion of Japanese and Italian cuisine. The restaurant’s pastas are made with Japanese dashi broth and topped with anything from Parmesan cheese and tomato sauce to yuzu and clams — there’s even a dish called “gyozanga” that’s a mash-up of gyoza dumplings and lasagna. This is delicious food that inspires exploration and conversation, the cornerstones of any good date night.

Dining in the restaurant: Carino feels tucked away and is very intimate, which creates a delightfully romantic atmosphere. In-person diners can also explore the restaurant’s wine list, featuring both European wines and sake. 

Takeout: Carino offers takeout and delivery. 

Sukiyaki House (Downtown)

One of Calgary’s more upscale Japanese restaurants, Sukiyaki House is ideal for a special night out thanks to its contemporary setting and dedication to using top-tier ingredients. Chef Koji Kobayashi is trained in the art of kaiseki, which is regarded as the highest form of Japanese fine dining. High-quality sushi and sashimi and creative giant sushi rolls are on the menu, but couples can also spend their romantic meal sharing luscious plates of tuna or wagyu beef tataki or indulging in main courses such as miso sablefish or a Japanese-style AAA tenderloin steak.

Dining in the restaurant: Add an interactive element to a date night by sharing a sukiyaki or shabu-shabu hot pot, which need to be ordered at least one day in advance. The restaurant also offers an extensive selection of sake and plum wine.

Takeout: Sukiyaki House offers both takeout and delivery.

Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant: Valentine’s Day menu. Book the Experience here.

Teatro (Downtown)

Credit: Teatro

This restaurant on Calgary’s famed Olympic Plaza sits in an old bank building, giving it a sense of elegance and grandeur thanks to a marble-topped bar, sleek white columns, and a gleaming facade. The food falls into the category of exquisitely prepared Italian fine dining, with a menu fit for special occasions and couples who truly want to treat themselves. An opulent chef’s tasting menu is always available for those who want to take their dining to the next level, with special five-course Valentine’s Day experiences available to book through OpenTable on February 12 and 14.

Dining in the restaurant: The restaurant’s name is a translation of the word “theatre,” which is appropriate given its location across the street from the Arts Common theatre complex. Restaurant staff are used to accommodating diner’s theatre schedules so that the timing is just right for those going out for dinner and a show.

Takeout: Orders are available for takeout and delivery.

Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant: Valentine’s Day tasting menus. Book by heading to the Experiences section here.

D.O.P. (Victoria Park)

With just a handful of tables and some bar seating, D.O.P. is one of Calgary’s smallest restaurants, but it’s also one of the most in-demand, so reservations are a must at this intimate hotspot. The food is a reflection of the Italian dishes that owner Tony Migliarese grew up with, with a selection of antipasto designed to be spread on the restaurant’s excellent grilled bread, rich and creative pasta dishes, and impressive bone-in veal chops. The restaurant offers a nice selection of Italian wines, as well as house wine sold by the glass or the litre. 

Dining in the restaurant: D.O.P.’s dining room is small but its kitchen is even smaller, so the chef can only work on a few dishes at a time, meaning that the food comes out as it’s ready. Be prepared to share with your date — individual meals don’t fall into either the spirit or physical parameters of this lively little restaurant.

Takeout: Takeout is not available. 

Ten Foot Henry (Victoria Park)

Couples who don’t share the same eating regimes can still cozy up together at Ten Foot Henry and enjoy a shared meal that caters to everyone’s tastes. The restaurant bills itself as being “vegetable forward,” with seasonal veggie small plates prepared with creative garnishes and flavour-packed sauces making up the bulk of the menu — though meat eaters can add a meat or fish dish or two to the mix. The fresh, plant-heavy decor makes the restaurant feel like a contemporary oasis, giving diners a chance to focus on each other and the food rather than the outside world. Don’t skip on dessert: The famous butterscotch pudding makes for a luxurious end to any meal.

Dining in the restaurant: Sharing is definitely the name of the game at Ten Foot Henry, and servers are more than happy to help diners order just the right amount of food.

Takeout: The restaurant does not currently offer takeout.

Vin Room (Mission)

Credit: The Vin Room

Fine wines have long been associated with romance, and this Calgary restaurant offers a huge selection that will keep any wine lover happy. While there are plenty of nice bottles on offer, part of the fun of a date at Vin Room is getting to try a variety of wines that are available by the flight or in tasting sizes as small as two ounces. The food menu also offers a little bit of adventure, with lots of charcuterie as well as small tapas plates and larger entrees influenced by Middle Eastern, Asian, and European cuisine, all of which pair very well with a glass of wine. A special three-course menu is available over the Valentine’s Day weekend.

Dining in the restaurant: If you want a date that includes your canine companion, Vin Room boasts a dog-friendly patio over the summer and even offers special dog treats and “Pawsecco” for four-legged friends.

Takeout: Vin Room offers takeout and delivery as well as special dine-at-home meals for Valentine’s Day.

Hawthorn Dining Room & Bar (Downtown)

In the spring of 2019, the Fairmont Palliser replaced its Rimrock Room restaurant with the new Hawthorn Dining Room & Bar, a restaurant designed to attract diners beyond those staying overnight at the hotel. The restaurant’s decor is a combination of contemporary elegance and old-school charm, paying homage to the hotel’s history while providing a grand backdrop to a special occasion date. The food is contemporary Canadiana fare with classics such as raw oysters, fried Brussels sprouts, and premium steaks, all elevated with beautiful plating and creative flavours.

Dining in the restaurant: Hawthorn’s footprint extends into the lobby of the Palliser with a proper high-end hotel bar. The gorgeous bar area is a great place to see and be seen while enjoying a cocktail made with the restaurant’s exclusive house gin made in collaboration with the local Eau Claire Distillery and honey from the hotel’s apiary.

Takeout: Takeout is available, and the restaurant also offers “Hawthorn at Home” meal kits for pick-up.

Safari Grill (Meridian)

An upscale restaurant specializing in East African cuisine, Safari Grill is the perfect venue for couples looking to celebrate with a taste of Tanzania. The key draw here is the expert use of spices: Every dish, from the famous barbecued short ribs to Indo-African curries, are seasoned with house-roasted spices, earning the restaurant many fans from both within and outside of the local East African community. The restaurant also has a robust wine list and a selection of African beers, making it ideal for a special night out on the town.

Dining in the restaurant: Safari Grill’s decor matches its name — the room is decked out in tasteful animal prints to add a little festivity to the food.

Takeout: Takeout and delivery is available.

Modern Steak (Downtown/Kensington/Southport)

A classic Alberta steakhouse with light, contemporary decor that lives up to the restaurant’s name, Modern Steak has made a name for itself with an exclusive selection of locally sourced ranch-specific beef. The restaurant even owns its own bull, which produces its signature Modern Benchmark Black Angus dry-aged tomahawks for two. The emphasis on date-appropriate sharing is a hallmark of Modern Steak — in addition to those big steaks, the menu features large-format share plates and has a weekly Wednesday date-night event. All three locations are also offering a four-course Valentine’s Day experience through OpenTable. Vegan and vegetarian options are also available for couples who don’t share a love of meat.

Dining in the restaurant: Each of Modern Steak’s three locations offers a slightly different atmosphere and are also home to adjacent sister restaurants Modern Ocean (at Kensington and Southport) and Modern Rooftop (at the downtown Stephen Avenue location). 

Takeout: Takeout and delivery is available. 

Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant: Valentine’s Day menu. Book the Experience here.