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Best CRMR restaurant for anniversary dinner?

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My husband and I were given a gift certificate for the CRMR restaurants - Divino, Cilantro, The Ranche, Velvet and are thinking about using it for our upcoming anniversary dinner - probably also our last dinner out before the arrival of our second child.

He has been to Divino and wants to try something new, Velvet looks very clubby and obviously I'm not drinking at the moment, so I guess I'm wondering which is better... Cilantro or The Ranche? The Ranche is closer to home, but either is reasonable, would love opinions on which would be better for a nice atmosphere and a tasty dinner.

thanks!

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  1. I haven't been to Cilantro but I have been to The Ranche a few times now. I hope someone else will chime in with info about Cilantro. I love the ambiance at The Ranche it's a world away from the city - the house is beautiful, the setting - especially this time of year - gorgeous, and the food is flawless. I can't say I was surprised by anything but every dish we've had have been perfectly cooked, seasoned and presented. I'd definitely go back.

    About #2 - Congrats! I hope his/her arrival is quick & easy :)

    2 Replies
    1. re: maplesugar

      Thanks so much for your posting good opinion of The Ranche. Still interested to see what others say about Cilantro (a lot of the posts mentioning it are pretty old now), but I am leaning toward The Ranche for what the lovely atmosphere and proximity to home.

      And thanks for the congratulations. Currently waffling between excited to meet him/her and terrified about having 2! :-)

      1. re: a_s_mackay

        You're welcome. DH and I actually celebrated our 8th anniversary at The Ranche and I've been there for a couple of larger corporate events. Very nice all 'round.

        As for the transition from 1 to 2 - don't sweat it....just make sure your first gets some attention while #2 is napping This is OT to the board, I am a mother of three (3, 4&1/2 & 8yrs) if you have questions feel free - my email is on my profile.

    2. I would choose The Ranche over Cilantro. Cilantro is wonderful on a summer evening on the 17 Ave patio, enjoying a night out with the beautiful people. But The Ranche has a more interesting and focused menu, especially if you or your husband enjoy game, and the setting is more romantic. I have entertained out of town guests at the Ranche over the last couple of months and each time dinner was perfect.

      1. I have always liked the food at Cilantro's. It also has a wonderful ambiance, that of a character home. It is far more intimate than the Ranche. And I think a bit more urban.

        1. Velvet looks clubby, but it certainly doesn't have a club clientele, or the feel of a club when you're dining there, assuming it isn't a theatre night (in which case it will feel very clubby). that said, it certainly isn't what I would call a cozy room. But the food there is very good, up to the standard set by the other company establishments.

          given the timing, maybe you should try and eat at the Mount Burgess dining room at Emerald lake lodge, and make it an anniversary weekend...

          1 Reply
          1. re: marcopolo

            I usually second Mount Burgess at Emerald Lake Lodge, but I found the service fairly lacking this summer, which is disappointing. The food continues to be fantastic, though. But I wouldn't recomend it for something special right now such as an anniversary dinner.

            We had a fabulous dinner at Velvet recently, and for my taste, I would go for Velvet, but I could see the Ranche would be more appealing to some people. If your gut says "The Ranche" then go for it. Wishing you all the best for your second one!! As a mother of 5, I can tell you it only gets more fun ;o) Never a dull moment.

          2. oh the Ranche is so wonderful and romantic! I adore it especially in the fall or in the snow! Cilantro is fine.. but it is missing the park and the magic that the Ranche has.

            My vote is Ranche!

            2 Replies
            1. re: CookieGal

              Thanks everyone, appreciate all the comments (and well wishes). I think we'll go with the Ranche this time. Hopefully when the kids are older we'll have the chance for a weekend away at Emerald Lake Lodge, it does look lovely.

              Happy Thanksgiving, Chowhounders!

              1. re: CookieGal

                I tried The Ranche for the first time last night and was very impressed. Our group was all happy with their food. Appetizers were nice, our group shared the scallops, mushroom ragout and a charcuterie ($24) platter. The platter was huge with air dried bison, boar pate, duck, ham, sausage, two smoked fish, pickles, apricots and cranberries. It really did put FARM and Taste's portion sizes to shame. The service was excellent, very attentive and informative but not 'hovering'. My Arctic Char dinner was nice but slightly dry but nothing a little sauce or coin of flavored butter wouldn't solve. Others in the group had Bison striploin, elk steak and chicken, all cooked perfectly.

                Desserts were superb; Molten chocolate cake with pistachio ice cream, sweet potato cheesecake (tasted like pumpkin) and banana rum sticky toffee pudding. No complaints, plates licked clean.

                The Christmas decorations were beautiful.

                My only complaint was the smell of the room. I smelled as though they had stained some wood and not let the place air out enough. It was giving me a headache. But it didn't bother my friends.

                Overall a 'hit' for us! I will definitely go ago and recommend to others for special occasions.

              2. Gotta go with Divino. Great food. Eclectic, interesting wine list by the one and only Brad Royale.