Date Night Dining: Check Out These Romantic Dining Suggestions for Two



Nothing says romantic dinners more than sophisticated French cuisine served on white linens in softly lit dining rooms accompanied by the perfect pairing of wine chosen by a top-notch sommelier. While many of our suggestions are just that, we've added a bit more variety to the list of romantic dining options. Our list here includes quiet neighborhood places like Carte Blanche and restaurants serving international cuisines. We even offer a suggestion for romantic country style dining at Les Quatre Canards, an hour outside the city in the Eastern Townships complete with mountain views. All of our suggestions offer peaceful surroundings (some with great views) professional service and excellent food. Some of these restaurant menus offer items perfectly designed for sharing too. And what could be more romantic than that? So don't wait for a special occasion, grab your significant other or an attractive new friend and head out to experience the best romantic dining in Montreal and beyond. Bon Appetit!



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This fabulous French bistro can be hard to ferret out, but locals provide good directions, and the end result is definitely worth the effort. The place is as devoted to its locals as they are to it, and a familiar ambience pervades the space. The cuisine is well-crafted, based on rich flavors and simple ingredients. Steak tartare with pommes frites is a classic, and you'll also find calf's liver in tarragon sauce, salmon, well-filled ravioli, and duck foie gras. A good selection of wines, including a number of French vintages, complement the menu, and desserts add a sweet note of completion.


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No menus, no computers and recipes inspired by the home cooking of Modena, Italy - just the way the regulars like it. Cafe Via Dante never fails.The Little Italy haven has been a neighborhood favorite since it opened a few years back, but it deserves wider acclaim. Home-style pastas are sublime, but the daily specials are almost always fantastic too – standouts on the regular menu include rabbit and polenta, gnocchi, and pappardelle with lamb ragu. The wine list is short but sweet, and the staff is affable and helpful.Try the mushroom risotto, seasoned mushrooms or shitakes in wine sauce.


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Outside the city


 

Part of the wonderful and relaxing Domaine Chateau Bromont Hotel and Spa in the Eastern Townships, Quatre Canards offers romantic fine dining at its best. A little over an hour from downtown Montreal, Quatre Canards (four ducks) specializes in what else - duck, a regional delicacy. Under the skilled hands of chef Mirsad Basic, Les Quatre Canards restaurant offers a regional and seasonal cuisine featuring local ingredients when available. Recommended for a Sunday brunch, or a romantic dinner, the daily menu or table d'hote features fish and meat dishes as well as imaginative appetizers including, as might be expected, a tasty duck roll. Norwegian cod and risotto pairs well with their excellent South African Chardonnay. Be sure to ask the helpful servers for other wine pairing suggestions to complete your perfect meal.


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This stylish restaurant, aglow with polished woods and pale, sculptural walls, sits between the Ritz-Carlton and the Museum of Fine Arts on one of Montreal's most fashionable streets. The restaurant offers fine Italian dishes, including a traditional osso buco, grilled veal, roasted duck, filet mignon, pan-seared red snapper, and marinated tuna. The pasta course includes such delights as rabbit-stuffed ravioli, wild mushroom risotto, and spinach and ricotta gnocchi. If you manage to save room for dessert (you should!), look to the iced praline parfait or white chocolate mousse for your sweet fix. An array of wines and liqueurs provides the perfect complement to each dish.


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Longueuil
Laloux
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ranger

 

Despite some ups and downs over the past few years, Laloux has survived and is now helmed by wunderkind Danny St. Pierre and pastry chef extraordinaire Patrice Demers.The traditional French cuisine of yesterday has given way to a more modern taste. You might start with scallop carpaccio served with a lime and avocado vinaigrette, or a boudin tart. Main courses range from saddle of rabbit with carrots and Savoy cabbage to roasted guinea-fowl with chanterelles and white asparagus. Desserts deserve just as much attention here. From light and fruity to dense and chocolaty, standouts include pineapple sorbet with passion fruit foam, and chocolate pot-de-creme with caramel and salt.


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Commerce is a modern neighbourhood bar, the creative result of MTL Cuisine and renowned chef Martin Juneau. The shared vision of the partners was to give Old Montreal's financial district a space that would be reuniting each other's taste in matters of food, decor and ambiance.Commerce Gastrobar is best described as a chic neighborhood hangout that's set in one of the most beautiful spots in Montreal, just south of Square Victoria on McGill Street. Commerce serves as a gathering place for foodies, business people and residents of Old Montreal for lunch, dinner and the famous Montreal cinq a sept, or the after-work happy hour. The decor is contemporary yet warm, thanks to gleaming wooden tables and antique lighting.


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This venerable restaurant has been an institution on Montreal's dining scene for more than a generation. Its recipe for success includes lovely furnishings in a restored town house, attentive and professional servers, and rich, full-bodied French cuisine. A favorite of couples and those celebrating special occasions, the restaurant plies diners with luscious dishes, including pan-fried Dover sole, succulent duck, salmon and a host of other entrees. Desserts are home made and prepared in-house daily. A terrific wine list is available, as is a private room for more secluded dining.THe restaurant is known for its wine tastings and candle light dining.


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Aux Lilas


 

Arguably Montreal's best Lebanese, Aux Lilas, which opened in 1980, has earned a solid contingency of loyal regulars. You can come with a date or a small group and order nothing but mezzes (appetizers), or you can opt for the prix fixe menu. Either way, you will eat well. Be sure to try the tabouli, falafel and hummus, all of which are perfect renditions of the popular favorites. Qebbeh, sfiha and mouhammara are excellent as well. Soft lighting, delicate, antique tableware and flowing drapery create a romantic ambiance in a well-established eatery that offers dishes that are perfect for two to share.


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The Village

 

One wall of Carte Blanche is a color-field painting by Belgium artist, Andre Claes which balances the chic black and white decor. Popular with local media and Quebec film and TV stars, Carte Blanche is the ideal venue for a special occasion, a first date or a small get-together. The young owners hail from a small village in the center of France (former home of actor, Gerard Depardieu)and stick with traditional recipes like apple tarte tatin from the late 1800's. Pure, simple and traditional best describe Chef Andre's creations. Specialities include shepherd's pie made with blood pudding and carmelized apples served with a maple chutney and a perfectly seasoned duck confit cassoulet. Seafood lovers enjoy a sesame seed-encrusted salmon filet served with a lime and ginger caramel sauce or perfectly seared sea scallops dressed in a light, tangy oil topped with sun dried tomato pieces.


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Three different rooms - the largest for 70 diners, are equally created in terms of sophisticated decor. These spaces are enhanced by the addition of warm lighting and exposed brick. The historic walls, alcoves and skylights help showcase the finest epicurean delights of French cuisine which are presented on white china set on snowy linens. Snuggle into an intimate banquette for a romantic dinner of paired tastings or the table d'hote. Fine seafoods including succulent servings of lobster and shrimp set in a delicate cream sauce or delicate pastries are best enjoyed with a selection from an extensive wine list that features a range of international labels. C'est magnifique!


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Meet Sherel Purcell

Sherel Purcell is a travel writer who specializes in golf, Montreal and Quebec, contemporary art, cycling and food and wine. Her articles appear on USA Today's 10Best, About.com, Aol, Matador,...  More About Sherel

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