In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, food and sex are listed as two of the pillars for physiological survival. Listed among other needs like sleep and water, food and sex -side by side on this primary list of basics- are deeply correlated. Specific foods have been identified as aphrodisiacs to boost the libido (don’t worry, this isn’t a list of “foods to get her in the mood”). Conversely, when you are in the stage of infatuation, certain chemicals in the brain are released to eliminate the sense of hunger. The connection between food, sex and- hopefully- love is cyclical, so it should come as no surprise that the most common ritual for couples, on Valentine’s Day, is to go out for a dinner for two. Hopefully you’re past the stage of infatuation and can actually enjoy a meal with your loved one- and if that is the case, below is a list of romantic stops throughout the capital city:
Dinner for two:$120-$150
Since their opening in 2008, the Fraser brothers have captured one rave review after another and every time I visit their restaurant I love it even more. It’s cozy, lively and the food is often sourced locally. The foodie couple won’t leave here unsatisfied as Ross and Simon Fraser put an emphasis on delicious, seasonal fare. Try the albacore tuna, the scallops or the roast chicken for two.
Dinner for two: $100
I know I said I wasn’t going to rhyme off a list of foods that act as aphrodisiacs but it’s commonly known that oysters are one member of this particular food group. Enter Whalesbone Oyster House, that usually fills up weeks in advance for Valentine’s Day reservations, so if you can get in, count yourself lucky. Aside from their selection of briny oysters, Whalesbone Oyster House is the perfect stop for the hipster couple. The atmosphere is funky with tunes like Paul Simon, Barry White and, even, Meatloaf spinning off the behind-bar record player. And if the thought of slurping oysters turns your stomach instead of turning you on- try some of their other seafood offerings that the house is renowned for- the mackerel and the walleye to name a few.
Dinner for two:$80
Maybe you’re the couple who can’t get enough of exotic destinations and are damning the fact that Valentine’s Day this year is being spent in – what seems like- the coldest capital on earth. Siam Bistro is the perfect escape for a duo who loves to travel. The thai food is unbeatable and completely affordable, allowing room for you and your loved one to budget for your upcoming jaunt around the world. Try the Tom Kha Goong (hot and sour coconut soup) to start.
Dinner for two: $100-150
I’ve mentioned this spot for many reasons in the past, but I never thought it would pop up in a Valentine’s Day post. This year, the boys behind Brother Beer Bistro have decided they will offer a 3 course dinner for Valentine’s Day, at $50 a head. The meal, I can only imagine, will be infused with a variety of unique, craft beers. For a casual, fun night out, this restaurant will not disappoint.
Dinner for two:$300+
For some people, Valentine’s Day is that special day of the year to splurge on a nice meal. Or, some people ball out no matter what the occasion. Either way, Beckta is the spot for you where service, food and atmosphere get five stars. Try the five course tasting menu for a unique culinary experience, at $85 per person. Or, try the mouth-watering Wellington County Beef.
For the “FOMO” couple: Town.
Dinner for two: $130-150
We all know them: the couple that suffers from the fear of missing out and can’t bare to miss a celebration, special occasion or party. This couple should take a peek at Town. Located on the main drag of Elgin Street, Town is always bustling, lively,energetic and will leave you feeling like you’re in the middle of a metropolis. Not to mention, the food is awesome.
Self proclaimed as “smart upgrades on Italian classics”, Town is far more than a pasta house. Try the restaurant’s signature stuffed meatballs or graze upon a few different small plates like the burratta and the grilled octopus.
For the starry eyed couple: Oz Kafe
Dinner for two:$80-125
Sadly, many couples struggle to alter their behaviour from the privacy of their own homes, to the external, public domain. They hold hands over the dinner table. They knock knees below the the table cloth. Or, heaven forbid, they sit on the same side of the booth (this particular move always perplexes me). All confusion of unnecessary PDA aside, these couples do exist and for them, I suggest Oz Kafe. Another one of my favourite spots for a variety of reasons, I specifically suggest OZ for its dim lighting. Tiny candles adorn each white tablecloth and twinkling lights shine above the bar. And the best part is: no one has to visibly witness you and your lover’s googly eyes. The food is also a selling point, with a couple of plates meant to be shared between two. Try the “Seoul Food” sharing platter, a korean style barbeque wrap.