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Romantic restaurant in downtown TO on a student budget?

Hey all,

Looking for a semi-romantic/romantic resto located in downtown TO on a student budget! GF is going away for a couple of months and we're looking to have a bit more fancy than usual night.. we're both very low maintenance/budget oriented - but willing to spend more for this night!

Ideally we are looking to spend no more than 30-35 per person, pre tax, pre drinks. Prix fare seems to probably fit the bill the best in this price range.

Food options - we pretty much like everything, but probably something besides Asian/Indian.

Le Select, Weezie's I've seen seemed interesting and decent choices.. but are there any more? We may consider Nota Bene and the likes (but that's obviously going out of our comfort zone!)

Not even sure if something like this exists.. but if it does awesome. Small restos/hidden gems are more than acceptable! I'll continue to search among threads here, but it would be great if you all could give me personal, recent recommendations. Thanks!!

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  1. I spent about $80ish for 2 (tax/tip included) @ Nota Bene tonight w/ a post 9pm reservation. No corkage fee meant I cracked a vintage bottle from the cellar tonight.

    We shared a starter and dessert, + 2 mains. Left comfortably full.

    Harbord Room or 93 Harbord could be options too. Susur has $1 corkage on Mon-Wed and a $35 prix fixe dubbed "susurlicious".

    1 Reply
    1. re: aser

      I second both Harbord Room and 93 Harbord. Both great little spots. You might also want to consider Rosebud. All charming, romantic and won't break the bank if you don't go overboard when you order.

    2. Sidecar's $24 (Sun-Wed) prix fixe might suit - www.sidecarrestaurant.ca. Excellent cocktails and pretty back patio too!

      I also really like Le Select.

      1 Reply
      1. I heartily recommend the aforementioned Weezie's. It is romantic and cozy with great food, but without the pretension or high price tag. Not sure I can think of another place that embodies all those qualities so well.

        Southern Accent near Bloor and Bathurst can be great for two so long as you don't go during Summer or Winter-licious. The restaurant is "nice" but with a fun, relaxed atmosphere (who said romantic == stuffy?). Service is stellar. The front patio has some beautiful tables, and inside there are curtained "snug" tables designed for couples, if you're into that kinda thing. I've always really enjoyed the food, and I think there's only one main over $30, most are in the low $20s. Drinks will add up, though, because they are delicious.

        Rosebud on Queen West might come in just under your budget. Lots of mains in the $20s. Small bistro-ish place with a bit of an upscale vibe, and decent food.

        354 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1K9, CA

        Southern Accent
        595 Markham St, Toronto, ON M6G2L7, CA

        669 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1E6, CA

        2 Replies
        1. re: Gary

          I'll happily second Weezie's for being romantic and quite affordable both for food and wine. My two recent visits within the last month were both stellar. Book the table in the southeast corner for the best canoodling by candlelight with complimentary AND complementary view of the parkette.

          1. re: Gary

            Please do not waste you time or money at Southern Accents. Bad food, bad service and an ugly decor!


            Please read the feedback from Jamesm on his recent visit there.... The report it typical.

          2. Fressen. It is vegan, but incredibly romantic with delicious food tapas-style and it won't break the budget.


            1. i really like pomegranate at bathurst and college, very cute resto, great food, but i dont think they serve drinks

              1 Reply
              1. re: chillihigh

                drinks aren't 100% needed.. we'll probably be skipping the alcohol @ dinner, maybe even the night due to other reasons!

                i'll check out some of these places... knowing drinks isn't a 100% needed must, any other recommendations?

              2. cafe la gaffe on baldwin. delish and a lovely ambience.

                edit: just looked at some reviews -- it may not be what it once was - I haven't been in 2+ years.

                Cafe La Gaffe
                24 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T1L2, CA

                1. One of a Kind Pasta & Grill on Queen and Niagara. I usually spend about $60 there after tax.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: wackchin

                    I found this place kinda bland. But very, very reasonably priced.

                    1. re: wackchin

                      I also like one of a kind.. but order simply, I find that their meat sauce is some of the best Ive ever had (and spaghetti with meat sauce is under 10$).

                    2. Agree with Pomegranate or Fressen. I've celebrated romantic occasions at both. Other options to consider (note that my choices are mostly a touch cheaper than your bounds - I'm a student too!):

                      Kalendar - VERY romantic, leaves you comfortable financial room for drinks/dessert (the martini list is very good)
                      Queen Mother - The patio is romantic, the interior not so much.
                      DT Bistro - aka Dessert Trends, they have a prix fixe. Save room for the glorious berry box dessert.
                      Tati Bistro - Haven't been, but I loved the patio space when it was Kensington Kitchen, and it's supposedly the same. Resto gets mixed reviews on here, but it seems to have a prix fixe.

                      Queen Mother
                      206 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V1Z2, CA

                      124 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G8, CA

                      546 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B1, CA

                      Dessert Trends
                      154 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S, CA

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: humuhumu

                        the food at kalendar has been slipping, I hear, and might not meet expectations. I love it there though, and am now married to the guy who took me there on a first date :)

                      2. Back in my active dating days (wow, that makes me sound old), I use to take my dates to Gio Rana's. It's a really fun date place, always a blast. I must say, I have not been in the past 2 years so not sure of the quality now.

                        But the dishes are small to share, 6-13 bucks, so you get a few each and you can feed each other. Pretty good cocktails and in such a unique space.

                        1. How about El Torrito. Great tapas. A very romantic room. Sharing food is romantic!

                          1. i actually love insomnia on bloor east of bathurst for romance - esp if you get one of the couches or comfy seats in the back, and the food is great, esp if you like pizza!

                            1. Thanks for all the suggestions. I think I'm going to be going w/ Kalendar simply due to the combo of looking very nice + location (we're going to be staying @ the Delta Chelsea). I'll report on my experience afterwards!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: robocho23

                                Kalendar does NOT have good food. But it looks nice.

                                1. re: gastronom

                                  Agee. Absolutely horrible. But students like it for some reason. Oh right, it's cheap and "romantic" although being crowded into a small room with a bunch of cheap dates and some old antiques (the furniture) isn't my idea of romantic. I'd go to Sidecar across the street - OK food, fancy drinks and a quiet backyard patio.

                                  1. re: ChalkBoy

                                    Agree with the two previous posters. Kalendar has a nice-enough atmosphere, but it's really one of the least-good options for food. Sidecar is just a tiny bit further west and with much better food. Le Select or Weezie's (two of your original suggestions!) would also be much better.

                                2. robocho23, stick with your original instincts and go to Weezie's. From the Delta Chelsea you can walk down to King Street and grab an eastbound streetcar for a 5 minute ride to Power St or you can take a 10-12 buck taxi from the hotel. Go somewhere where they care about food and romance.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Googs

                                    Weezie's is also closer to the hotel than krappy Kalendar.