Whether it’s on the same day that everyone is toasting romance or just the two of you marking your anniversary, Vancouver’s got you covered for romantic restaurants. And since romance comes in all shapes and sizes, they’re not all candlelight-and-wine. You could celebrate at a burger joint with a dessert that evokes an engagement ring, opt for international cuisine that stands in for a honeymoon trip abroad, or go all out at one of the city’s top dining rooms. Here are a dozen romantic choices that you and your sweetheart are sure to love.
Yuwa Japanese Cuisine (Kitsilano)
At sophisticated and intimate Yuwa, you’re likely to find quiet jazz and dramatic white orchid arrangements setting the tone for romance. Chef and co-owner Masahiro Omori offers ever-changing à la carte regional Japanese dishes and a kaiseki menu, focussing on what’s freshest. You might find teapot-style soup with British Columbia pine mushrooms, Pacific cod, prawns, mitsuba (Japanese wild parsley), and yurine (lily bulbs) in a clear kelp and bonito flake broth. Or dazzle your date with a dish that releases smoke when the glass cloche is dramatically removed. Co-owner Iori Kataoka, a certified advanced sake professional, can advise on pairings from Yuwa’s award-winning artisan sake and wine collection.
Dining in the restaurant: Sitting at the counter gives you close views of the sushi chefs intricate work, ideal for a first date. If you want to focus exclusively on your partner, ask for table 12, tucked in a corner.
Takeout: Yuwa offers both takeout and delivery.
Bells & Whistles (East Van)
Bells & Whistles is the spot for a low-key twist on romance. The casual burger joint goes beyond the usual with a gluten-free fryer and options such as tuna poke and an arugula, quinoa, and chickpea salad, drizzled with lemon-tahini dressing. And if you can’t afford an engagement ring just yet, share the 14 carrot chi-mond sundae (with carrot cake, chai caramel and vanilla soft serve) for dessert instead.
Dining in the restaurant: While you’re waiting for your royale with cheese, play a low-tech arcade game such as skee ball for the perfect opportunity to celebrate a high score with a hug or an end-zone dance. As a response to the pandemic, you can make a reservation at Bells & Whistles with a $5 donation to local charities that support the hospitality industry.
Takeout: Takeout and delivery are available.
Chefs transform ingredients that are “hooked, hunted, and harvested” from across British Columbia into innovative, exquisitely plated dishes at one of Vancouver’s best restaurants, sure to leave you starry-eyed. Vegan options include king oysters — the mushrooms, not the seafood — served with a pan-roasted beet steak. Hint at your desire to become a couple by ordering the duo of lamb belly and rack of lamb, served with tomato fondue and puffed grains. Botanist’s delectable desserts include apple honey mille-feuille with pink lady apples poached in Riesling.
Dining in the restaurant: Though the restaurant has four distinct dining areas — the glass-walled garden is a summertime favourite — the romance potential is the strongest at the Champagne lounge, splashed in an array of charming pinks.
Takeout: Takeout and delivery are not available.
Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant: Valentine’s Day Tasting menu. Book the Experience here.
The Victor (Stadium District)
Servers will grant all your dinner wishes at this steak and seafood paradise, nested inside the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver hotel. Opt for the seafood selection for two with king crab, lobster, scallop ceviche, jumbo prawns, and oysters or a steak cooked to perfection under the 1,200-degree broiler. Save room for outrageous desserts such as a hot whiskey cake or crème brûlée doughnuts, served with a cloud of housemade maple cotton candy. There’s live music on Wednesdays.
Dining in the restaurant: Before or after dinner, take a romantic stroll around Parq Vancouver’s 30,000-square-foot park, outfitted with its own lake.
Takeout: The Victor does not offer takeout or delivery options.
Osteria Savio Volpe (Mount Pleasant)
This classic osteria transforms local ingredients into handmade deliciousness, such as wood-fired rosemary chicken and cappelletti with squash and pumpkin seed. Meaning “clever fox”, Savio Volpe is an ideal romantic dinner choice when you want a warm and convivial atmosphere surrounded by others loving their food and company. If you just want to concentrate on each other, dine alla famiglia to remove the challenge of choosing from the menu.
Dining in the restaurant: The restaurant’s earthy farmhouse vibe — complete with playful upholstery, plenty of millwork, and brown-toned quarry tiles — allows for plenty of spirited conversation.
Takeout: Takeout is available.
Torafuku’s menu of ever-changing, pan-Asian dishes is centred on shareable plates that are innovative and affordable. You could warm things up with steak Diane, served with a creamy shiitake sauce and a housemade Japanese milk bun or select the multi-course tasting menu to stretch out your evening. Torafuku is known for its innovative cocktails, such as the guava blossom with 10-year-old whiskey, tequila, and guava chrysanthemum syrup. Or try the restaurant’s new bottled cocktails and take home both the aloha that’s spiked with coconut-infused vodka, (Hawaiian for “love”) and the cloud 9, made from chrysanthemum-infused gin.
Dining in the restaurant: The lighting is dim and the booths are cozy; if you want to drop the pressure for romance, opt for the communal table.
Takeout: Takeout and delivery are available, including bottled cocktails.
Grapes & Soda (Fairview)
Eat with your fingers while sharing cheese and charcuterie boards at this intimate wine bar, and pair snacks such as heirloom corn polenta with BC and European wines by the glass and bottle, or with sake and whisky. To up the ante, toast your love with the elope cocktail, crafted from cognac, cava, wormwood, and flavours of orange, lemon, basil, and dill. Like its partner restaurant next door, Farmer’s Apprentice, Grapes & Soda has a regularly evolving menu rooted in a farm-to-table philosophy.
Dining in the restaurant: With just 22 seats, this unpretentious bar is tailor-made for a date or long overdue catch-up.
Takeout: Grapes & Soda does not offer any takeout options.
Moltaqa Moroccan Restaurant (Gastown)
Feel like you’ve jetted to Marrakech at this Moroccan hideaway in Gastown (and the soon-to-open second location in Yaletown). Its name means “a place where people meet and enjoy the whole experience,” a good descriptor for the ideal lifelong relationship. Bookend your meal with traditional Moroccan tea, served in a delicate silver pot, and impress your dining companion with the rack of lamb that’s flambéed tableside. The menu is halal with lots of vegan and gluten-free options.
Dining in the restaurant: Lanterns cast rippling patterns on the ceilings, while intricate Moroccan tiles and tagine displays infuse an unmistakable sense of place.
Takeout: Both takeout and delivery are available.
Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant: Valentine’s Day Moroccan dinner or 7-course menu. Book by heading to the Experiences section here.
Frankie’s Jazz Club (Stadium District)
Live jazz and blues will have you grooving together at this buzzy club, which serves house-made dishes from Frankie’s Italian Kitchen & Bar. Share an antipasto platter, then go all Lady and the Tramp with the spaghetti and meatballs, or split an old-world pepperoni pie. Be sure to save room for the especially decadent tiramisu, best devoured with two spoons.
Dining in the restaurant: Enjoy live jazz here on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Takeout: The restaurant offers a daily takeout menu, also available for pickup.
Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant: Jazz! Live from New York: The Anthony Wonsey Trio. Book by heading to the Experiences section here.
Harbour and mountain vistas from ARC’s two-storey windows set the mood, particularly at sunset. ARC offers West Coast-inspired cuisine such as squid and Asian-flavoured sablefish, plus classic comforts in both the dining room and lounge. At dessert time, don’t forget the tradition of kissing your companion (or buying another round of drinks) if you drop your fruit or coconut macaroon into your molten Belgian chocolate fondue. ARC can also prepare a romantic picnic lunch for you featuring artisanal foods from the Granville Island Public Market. Or make a night of it, and zip up the elevator to one of Fairmont Waterfront’s luxe rooms after dinner, then return to ARC in the morning for its bottomless brunch, bookable through OpenTable.
Dining in the restaurant: Though patio dining is available at ARC, for the best table views, grab a seat near the gas fireplace.
Takeout: ARC offers takeout.
Experiences: Check out the special experiences available at this restaurant: Heart after Dark. Book the Experience here.
East is East (Kits, Mount Pleasant)
Owned by Afghan siblings who immigrated to Canada via India, the cuisine here is trans-Himalayan, spotlighting regional favourites such as boulani, or grilled and stuffed wholewheat roti, and an array of spiced rice-and-veggie bowls. The rich cuisine captures the essence of the small dhaba eateries dotting the Silk Road in Turkey, Iran, Tibet, India, and Mongolia. Both locations aim to have a light carbon footprint and use local and organic ingredients as much as possible.
Dining in the restaurant: You’ll find all the prerequisites for romance here: candles on the tables, mandalas on the ceiling, ornate carpets on the floor, and, in the evenings, live music and dancers on the central stage.
Takeout: Takeout and delivery are available from both locations.
Jules Casual French Bistro (Gastown)
Take a virtual trip to France’s cobblestone streets and nibble on shareable dishes within this bistro’s Paris-like setting. Choose from traditional dishes with some West Coast flair, such as mussels with frites or confit made with duck from the Fraser Valley. At lunch, there’s a three-course table d’hôte and dinner has a tasting menu, featuring hearty stalwarts like beef bourguignon and seared scallops, in addition to the à la carte selections.
Dining in the restaurant: Dine underneath chandeliers dripping with crystals, framed by an exposed brick wall. The checkerboard floors and dark wooden furniture add to a quintessentially Parisian ambiance.
Takeout: Jules’s takeout menu is available for same- or next-day pickup.