You may have already checked off everything from your darling’s wishlist this season, but adding in a good meal amongst the Christmas parties and holiday shopping seems almost necessary. Should you have a budget like Santa Clause, there are plenty of high-end options where lavish meals are just an order away. However, if your funds are looking more like Bob Cratchit’s (pre-Scrooge raise, of course), but romance and the Christmas spirit are still high on your list, street meat and walking by the Christmas lights aren’t your only options in Vancouver. In no particular order, these five spots will be sure to dish out romance and a fabulous meal.
Les Faux Bourgeois
A trip to Paris may not be in the cards any time soon, but a visit to Les Faux Bourgeois will temporarily take your taste buds there. Vancouver has a few long-standing French establishments that are known for excellent food and impeccable service, but they do come with a heftier price tag. Les Faux Bourgeois gives you the great service and delicious French service, while staying within a comfortable budget. The sweet French servers start your meal off with amiable service and are happy to run through the menu and give you advice, based on your tastes and their personal favorites. The atmosphere is cozy, dimly lit and perfect for a date night, while the food is exceptional, especially for the value. Enjoy plates like steak frites, moules mariniére, coq au vin, and crème brûlée.
Cafe Il Nido
Right at Robson and Thurlow is an Italian gem that’s worth putting on your must-visit date night list. Everything about Cafe Il Nido is charming; the atmosphere, the service, the food and owner Franco Felice. Walk through the covered courtyard and into Franco’s kitchen. An impressive side note is that Cafe Il Nido has been creating beautiful food since 1988. It’s one of those Vancouver-classics where you will see regulars on a daily basis. The menu is set up to enjoy your own meal, but sharing is caring, so take advantage of the tempting starter menu. When you’re ready to move onto some pasta, it’s useful to know that you can order a half portion so that you can taste a bit of this, and a bit of that. The forty seat dining room is cozy, intimate and ideal for sneaking a leg graze under the table.
On West 4th Avenue, you will notice an foliage covered building that appears to be a restaurant you might see in LA. Q4 Restaurant has built a mini-empire of Italian eateries that serve traditional cuisine with a healthy dose of old-school swank; think rich wood, mood lighting, crisp table cloths, bold Italian wines and stellar service. This is a more than fabulous date spot any day of the week, but on every Monday and Tuesday night, you can get a $10 bowl of pasta from a list of ten to choose from. They’re the same filling portions and nothing is different about the quality and great taste.
If we were to classify one of these five restaurants as the sexy sister, Chambar would definitely be her. The exposed brick and beams, mixed with the modern black and red decor, mingle with good tunes and amazing food. The atmosphere is intimate, yet hip, and lends itself well to a night out with the girls, or a hot date. The lamb tagine and Congolaise mussels are unforgettable.
Rodney’s Oyster House and Joe Fortes
Our fifth spot is based around oysters, and depending on the atmosphere you’re after, you’ve got two choices. Rodney’s serves up an impressive variety of oysters with a half dozen sauce options that are all made in-house. The atmosphere is fun and lively, and feels much like the interior decorator just got back from a trip to the East coast and brought along plenty of trinkets from the trip to hang on the walls. The all male serving staff may give you something to laugh about with their somewhat abrasive and jokey demeanor.
Joe Fortes ups the ante when it comes to how restaurant service should be, and looks like a well orchestrated dance. On the oyster front, they also offer a plentiful variety of fresh and delicious gems to choose. Moving onto their dinner menu, you will find a number of lovely options to choose for you main meal. When you think of a classic seafood and steakhouse, Joe Fortes stacks up in all categories across the board, and a date there is an indulgent reprieve away from the kids.