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Make this Valentine's Day unforgettable with these exclusive dinners from some of Vancouver's best restaurants
There are certain occasions when TV and takeout just won’t cut it – and for many, Valentine’s Day is one of them. Whether you’re hoping to impress a new flame or treat the love of your life to a special night, chances are you’re on the hunt for the best place to wine and dine. Of course, Vancouver is well-known for its wealth of fine dining options, but a number of restaurants have gone the extra mile this year. Click through for our guide to the best Valentine’s Day dinners in Vancouver.
You’ll feel like you’ve escaped to Paris at Jules Bistro, where fine wine flows freely and live music sets a casually amorous tone. It’s the perfect setting for a Valentine’s Day rendezvous, non? Experience the indulgent flavours and subtle nuances of French bistro fare while pianist Kurt Von Hahn serenades you and your date from 7 to 9 p.m. Von Hahn will even be taking special requests, so be sure to come with your sweetie’s favourite love song in mind.
February 13 to 15
216 Abbott Street, Gastown
If seaside seafood, fine wine and ambience are what you envision as the perfect date, then book your reservation at Dockside Restaurant. Seated in the spacious dining room, you’ll be treated to a spectacular waterfront view and a three-course meal of fresh seafood and seasonal ingredients crafted by Dockside’s culinary team. If you choose to celebrate on Saturday night, you’ll also be serenaded by Vancouver-born singer/songwriter Melanie Dekker.
February 14 and 15
$89.95 per person
1253 Johnston Street, Granville Island
If you haven’t yet experienced the private dining room at L’Abattoir, Valentine’s Day might just be the ideal excuse to treat yourself. Not only will you enjoy the quiet, chandelier-lit retreat, you and your party will be treated to a French-inspired three-course meal specially designed by Chef Lee Cooper, along with selected wine pairings and a starter cocktail created by bartender Shaun Layton. Think smoked salmon and fresh sourdough, roasted prime rib and potato gratin, sauce perigord, crème fraiche and roe. Délicieux! Reservations for parties of two to six between 7 and 10 p.m. are available in advance.
$125 per person (includes beverage pairings, tax and gratuity)
217 Carrall Street, Gastown
Café Medina owner Robbie Kane and Executive Chef Jonathan Chovancek play Cupid this Valentine’s Day, serving an eclectic Mediterranean-inspired menu to long-term lovers and budding romances alike. Usually closed by 3 p.m. daily, the European bistro will be open for a one-night-only evening service, serving an exclusive five-course Valentine’s dinner at 7:30 p.m. A limited number of seats are available, so visit EventBrite and book your reservation early.
$125 per person (includes wine pairings, tax and gratuity)
780 Richards Street, Yaletown
Here’s your chance to recreate one of the most heartwarming Disney moments with that special someone: this Valentine’s Day, Nicli’s Next Door is serving their signature house-made spaghetti and meatballs – one plate per couple. Before and after you meet in the middle of this Italian treat, Nicli’s will also serve a vibrant beet and stracciatella salad as well as a chocolate tart for dessert. Choose from three available seating times: 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
$25 per person
68 East Cordova Street, Gastown
The sanguine staff at Salt Tasting Room promise a “hedonistic evening” for any who attend their My Blood Alley Valentine dinner, an array of shared plates, bubbles, mead and wine. Begin with a starter, then proceed to a tasting plate laden with an assortment of fine cheeses, cured meats and condiments. There may actually be bloodshed over the shared dessert, but flights of bubbly are sure to take the edge off. Otherwise, the wine-savvy servers are happy to recommend selected wine pairings throughout the evening.
$60 per person
45 Blood Alley, Gastown
The Eiffel Tower, The Empire State Building, the CN Tower and even the Space Needle may all be a bit far away for this year’s Valentine’s Day celebration. However, you can still pull off an equally romantic soiree at Cloud 9 Revolving Restaurant. Here, on the 42nd floor of the Empire Landmark Hotel, you and your date can watch the sun set over English Bay, Downtown Vancouver, and the distant mountains while dining on award-winning Pacific Northwest cuisine. Violinist Cameron Wilson will also be performing on the 14th between 5 and 10 p.m. to set the mood. As a special Valentine’s Day bonus, Empire Landmark Hotel will treat you to a special rate of $75 per room (in conjunction with dinner at Cloud 9) so you can make a whole night of it.
$95 per person, or $85 per person in a couple
1400 Robson Street, 42nd Floor of The Empire Landmark Hotel, West End
Wildebeest Chef Wesley Young offers up three courses that are sure to set the mood for romance. But how to choose between the brandied foie gras parfait and coconut lobster bisque with heritage bacon? Will it be the handmade pappardelle with fresh zucchini, marinated eggplant, basil pesto, ricotta and confit yolk, or the pan-seared salmon with bergamot, honey and crispy cod brandade? Pitting chocolate ice cream with dark chocolate honeycomb and grated white chocolate against toasted marshmallow, hazelnut ice cream and macerated strawberries proves that sometimes choice is the toughest form of freedom. Hard decisions aside, you’re in for an unforgettable meal.
$49 per person, $180 for 4 guests
120 West Hastings Street, Gastown
The folks at Pidgin are all about blurring the lines – bringing together concepts and experiences that are often isolated. The menu features a range of ingredients, such as beets, anchovies, mushrooms and beef, treated with an elegant Asian influence (think soy yuzu brown butter, pomegranate red curry oil, octopus chips and pickled kombacha). A marriage, if you will, between east and west, simple and extraordinary – and what better occasion to honour such harmony than Valentine’s Day, sharing an exclusive meal with your one and only?
350 Carrall Street, Gastown
Pay tribute to both romance and region this Valentine’s Day at West Oak, where everything on the menu comes directly from local farms and oceans daily. Dine on B.C.’s best grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and eggs, Ocean Wise seafood and fresh produce beneath giant heritage wood beams. Or, find a pair of seats at the sit-up bar where you can watch the chefs work in the open kitchen. February 14th bonus: whether you’re enjoying the à la carte menu or executive chef Tim Cuff’s four-course Valentine’s Day special, your meal comes complete with a rose for your sweetheart.
1035 Mainland Street, Yaletown
Dinner and a movie may sound too mundane for Valentine’s Day, but Movies at MARKET are anything but. Even the gourmet popcorn – served with champagne during the movie – outclasses the run-of-the-mill Cineplex variety. For Valentine’s Day, guests will fall head over heels with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp in Chocolat, then savour a five-course dinner inspired by the film, created lovingly by Chef de Cuisine Montgomery Lau. With only 36 seats available per screening, it’ll be a perfectly intimate evening.
February 13 and 14
$128 per person
1115 Alberni Street, 3rd Floor
Set sail with your sweetheart and dance the night away amid fresh sea air and candlelight on Spirit Cruises’ Valentine’s Day Dinner & Dance Cruise. Aboard the elegant Spirit of Vancouver, you’ll be plied with champagne and shown to an intimate table for two, where you’ll have unlimited and ever-changing views of the sunset and the glittering city. Fill your plate from the lavish gourmet buffet, then hit the dance floor and sway with the rhythm of song and sea. You may never want to return to shore.
$120 per person
450 Denman Street