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Restaurants to take a date...

I'd be interested in some restaurant suggestions to take a woman for a first date, second date, or a third date.

I have a few restaurants I like that have seemed to go over fairly well in the past, but I would be interested in hearing what some of the people on this board would recommend. I'm looking for a restaurant that has a nice quiet atmosphere, is clean, is downtown (or near downtown), not really a family restaurant (I have nothing against babies, but crying babies can disturb the mood! :| ), and of course, first-class food.

I'm open to any kind of cuisine as long as the atmosphere is nice. I'm not sure about the price range, I guess it depends on how nice the place is, whether she would like the food, and for that matter, whether I would like it myself. :)

I once had a friend who always said "If you want to impress a girl, take her to Barberians steak house!".

Any other suggestions?

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  1. Rent a car, pick her up, and take her out of downtown.

    Via Allegro fits the 'third date' philosophy that a lot of men seem to live by. Plenty of aphrodisiacal ingredients! Impress her with great wine, excellent servers, good food (not perfect but still tasty), and lots and lots of phallic symbols on display (world's tallest pepper grinders are just the start!) Be prepared to empty your wallet - the right woman is worth it!

    If the car rental is out of the question, then stick to oysters at Starfish or Oyster Boy.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Food Tourist

      Weezie's would be a great 'early' date place. Good food, not too expensive, quiet, small. Also has the benefit of being near the Distillery District - take her for a walk over there before/after dinner, sit under the stars, chat, have a coffee/ice cream.

      1. re: georgebell11

        I disagree with Weezie's. Though it would impress a Chowhound, it would not impress anyone else, particularly a woman on a first date. Complete lack of decor and deceptively simple food.

        If you want something along those lines (read 'affordable yet romantic'), try Batifole (though it's not downtown).

        Better yet, get the corner table at Canoe at sunset.

        Speaking of fantastic views, has anyone been to Toula at the top of the Westin Harbour Castle? It's an Italian menu, and the restaurant hasn't rotated in years, but seems like a good spot if you want a great view of the island. Can't vouch for the food yet.

        Fressen is also a great date place, though it's 100% vegetarian. Lovely romantic atmosphere and terrific food. Mengrai Thai also has a romantic atmosphere with great food.

        1. re: Food Tourist

          I guess I was under the assumption that a 'date' involved talking, getting to know someone etc....not wowing them with fripperies;) I think Weezie's has a lovely, understated decor and beautiful large windows facing the small park - perfect setting to have a long, drawn-out conversation. You don't want to go overboard with either expense or 'wow, this is so ostentatiously romantic' on a first date. Play it cool!

          1. re: georgebell11

            No, you're right, expensive and overtly romantic are not necessary for the first date, but definitely could be considered for second/third dates.
            However, all the subtle non-verbal cues that come from the surroundings are important on a first date -- and having a 'conversation piece' ("isn't that an interesting grapevine chandelier?" or "wow, can you believe they have pig's head on the menu?") is good for any awkward silences!

            On another note, many people prefer the "coffee" first date to play it cool, but why not go half-way and pick a quiet lounge instead of a coffee shop, like the cozy bar at the top of the Park Hyatt.

            By the way, tartare354, women are impressed even if you make a mistake in your choice of restaurant -- as long as you show etiquette, thoughtfulness, and complete interest in her! So, don't worry about Barberian's or Canoe, just focus on taking good care of her and pick up the tab no matter what for the first 3 dates.

            One final word of advice. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, go to Milestone's if this woman shows interest in eating good food.

          2. re: Food Tourist

            Yes, I have been to Toula. It was several years back, and I remember it being nice, particularly the view. I remember the food as being good, but standard. Nothing in particular stands out in the memory.

            1. re: tartare354

              I figured "standard" and unmemorable would likely be the case. Thanks.

              1. re: tartare354

                One of my favorite date spots is Starfish....not to loud and very romantic.

                1. re: millygirl

                  I agree - I think Starfish would be a greatplace for a first date. Mr. Cheeze and I often have "date night" there

                  JKWB in the dining room area (you can reserve a table) is lovely - the roome is nice, not asloud as the bar and the tables are nicely spaced apart so no one is too close

                  Kalendar on College is quite nice as well

                  1. re: mac n cheeze

                    i don't think you can make reservations for dinner at JKWB anymore

                    1. re: pinkprimp

                      Really? That's disappointing. It was only about 2months ago that I last did. Ah too bad

              2. re: Food Tourist

                I've tried Toula a couple of times, both times with clients (and they chose). The view is good as long as you sit on the right side. The food, not as spectacular. I've had much better food at much better value.

          3. I 100% agree with georgebell11. Weezie's is one of may all time favourite places to go on a date. It is very romantic. That simplicity you refer to, Food Tourist, in food and decor makes relaxation easy and therefore makes for a better date. Candlelight, great food, a delightful and unobstrusive server, the lovely view of the park, and the tete-a-tete southeast table. These all make for a great night.

              1. re: Dimbulb

                Was just taken for dinner at George this past week and would have to admit it put me in a romantic frame of mind. Cost is higher end but so worth it. Our bill with tip was $280 including 2 bar drinks and 2 glasses of wine.

              2. I like the coach-house at Red Tea Box on Queen West for an afternoon gambol.

                1. Kalendar at College St. Very romantic and intimate.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: merlot143

                    I love Kalendar, because it's not TOO romantic - cute, but no pressure.

                    You might want to try Grace, on College/Bathurst, too.

                    1. re: merlot143

                      Second Kalendar. My SO and I had a date there once (some time last year) and I really enjoyed their Nobilo wine (white), it's hard to find at LCBO but I did see it at Food & Wine show (from NZ) and it's great to introduce it to a girl. It will be memorable. I wonder if they still have it.