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First Date... Need help

Criteria: Intimate, cozy, romantic, exotic and date-ish. Looking for something downtown or west end. something different. The Sultan's Tent, looks like the right concept but terrible reviews

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  1. Trattoria Giancarlo at College & Clinton. Dark and intimate - make reservations!

    1. La Palette

      La Palette
      256 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L9, CA

      3 Replies
      1. re: JamieK

        Second La Palette, nothing but good things to say about the service and the food. Sharing their flourless chocolate cake sealed the deal.

        1. re: cabernet05

          I used to really like La Palette, but the last time we were there (and it was quite a while ago because we forswore ever returning) the service was wreck-your-dinner bad. At the time, others were reporting similar trouble. Have they cleaned up their act?

          1. re: Rabbit

            I believe they have turned around the service. From taking our reservation to paying the bill, the service was outstanding. Our waiter (forget his name) was very knowledgeable about all of the dishes and my date loved his recommendations for wine. Refills of water only stalled once, but he held back on the dessert/random stuff when he saw we were having a bit of a moment... which for me (at least as a CH newbie) is a good sign for any restaurant's service.

            Food came and went without any lingering plates or long waiting times. There was no rush with the bill even though the place was bustling. I would recommend just one more shot at redemption.

      2. Amuse-Bouche or Rosebud would both be fine choices.

        3 Replies
        1. re: childofthestorm

          I agree that they're both great date spots, but they're definitely not exotic.

          1. re: torontofoodiegirl

            Yeah, I missed the "exotic" stipulation...although I think it disqualifies La Palette as well. Then again, they do serve horse.

            Can't go wrong with Ethiopian food for an exotic date night. Eating with your hands can be pretty sexy. Maybe Ethiopian House?

            1. re: childofthestorm

              Yeah, I decided to focus on romantic as I don't think there's much in the way of decent exotic+romantic in downtown TO. ;->

              Besides, French always works well with a first date.

        2. Tapas at Torito?? Still not super-exotique, but it's fun and the food is great. Plus, sharing small plates can make for endless ice-breaker talk if you're both into food.

          PS -please do let us know where you end up!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Rabbit

            The basement of Torito is dark, romantic and much nicer than upstairs. Only Friday and Saturdays I'm told. Identical menu.

            1. re: Rabbit

              i've had a first date at Torito and ended up dating that man for almost 2 years! (sangrias did the trick for me)

            2. Trat Giancarlo is good, but I don't know if they're open yet, they were doing some heavy reno's. Gatto Nero for a bite and long lingering coffee. Silver Spoon or Boho on Roncie. Sidecar is very good - flawless service and great food with a killer cocktail list and a nice dark cozy atmosphere.

              For good and more exotic, Ethiopia House where you can share food or Mezzetta up at St.Clair and Christie. It's tapas style and made to share. Good first date food, nothing heavy or huge portions and best of all, something for everyone....

              Bonne Chance!

              3 Replies
              1. re: escoffier

                I agree with Escoffier and SylvrGrl above, Trattori Giancarlo is a good recommendation. It is open again - re-furbished. It is lovely and expensive.

                Two other suggestions that would meet the 'intimate' and 'first date' criteria but not the 'exotic' criteria would be Gamelle and Fat Cat Bistro. Both small with good food and service.

                There is a thread on almost the same subject with 93 responses posted just this summer.

                Have fun

                1. re: escoffier

                  I agree with Silver Spoon recommendation. Have not been myself, but I've heard very conflicting reports on service at Sidecar, ranging from good to horrid.

                  1. re: millygirl

                    I ate at Sidecar a few weeks ago and had great service but a terrible table (right at the front windows) - we were freezing. You must request the bill at Sidecar - they won't bring it until you ask for it, which we didn't realize. Food was fantastic - the duck confit with risotto was an absurd amount of food for the price. Highly recommended.

                2. Mengrai Thai, if you get the little cushioned booth at the back.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Full tummy

                    Looks great but not very comfortably (pillows on plywood).

                  2. 93 Harbord, tables set fairly well apart, very attentive service, and extremely good Moroccan influenced food.

                    Tablaa, on Yonge north of Eglinton, nice dimly lit room with really good Indian food.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Snarf

                      As a Spaniard I have to say Torito is not good. They serve ceviche! I didn't even find it cozy. However it is not expensive in case that's what you're looking for.

                      I agree with Snarf: 93 Harbord is a great suggestion. It has a romantic, kind of exotic atmosphere; also every time I have been there the food has been great.

                    2. If you arelooking west end, it is pretty sad. But for a first date, I'd consider Cafe du Lac on Lakeshore just west of Palace Pier. I have only heard good things. The menu is cute Quebecois (I know not that exotic) but it really feels like a cute bistro and is hopping. I get takeout Indian next door at Everest all the time. It reminds me of the way Cafe Brussel used ot be when it was on Broadview. Great date place.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Westwardho

                        I totally disagree with the Cafe du Lac recommendation. I'm guessing that Westwardho lives in the Mimico area - both Everest and Cafe du Lac are fine recommendations if one does live in the 'hood, but I would not consider either of them destination restaurants, by any stretch of the imagination.

                      2. I have to admit that if I were looking for a romantic dinner destination, the first thing I would do is check out escoffier's posts.

                        1. How old are you? Different criteria, etc.

                          1. La Pallette on Augusta -- cozy and romantic and won't break the bank.