Real talk: Dating can be v. stressful. Between picking the perf outfit and keeping up flirtatious conversation IRL, it’s totes normal to be intimidated about meeting up with that hottie from Tinder or getting back into the game after a breakup. We got you, sis. Here’s one thing you can check off your date night to-do list: finding a cozy, romantic restaurant that doesn’t have an uptight atmosphere (which can be a total buzzkill). I mean, fearing that you’ll spill your glass of Pinot on an expensive white tablecloth is a stress you don’t need in your life. So if you and your new flame or longterm bae are looking for a laid-back spot that brings intimate vibes with a side of top-notch cuisine, book a table at one of the best unfussy fine dining restaurants across Canada for your next date night.
Best Unfussy Fine Dining in Vancouver
Burdock & Co.
Find it: 2702 Main St., burdockandco.com
The vibe: This Mount Pleasant eatery is a brunch hot spot by day and a cozy, romantic locale by night. The intimate seating encourages close conversation, and the unfinished wood and white brick add a rustic touch to your dining experience.
The menu: Small, shareable plates inspired by the Canadian Pacific Northwest’s rugged landscape; bright flavours and diverse ingredients; plus vegan and vegetarian options, like braised burdock salad with shaved carrot, mushroom, soy and sesame tahini or Arctic sourdough bread made in-house with cultured butter
Average cost: $15 to $26 per dish
Find it: 568 Beatty St., chambar.com
The vibe: This trendy, spacious restaurant has ample seating, plenty of exposed wood and brick, and a gorgeous patio (once the warm weather hits, of course). Tufted black leather seats line the restaurant, and a colourful art installation of blown-glass bulbs hangs above the centre of the space.
The menu: Innovative Belgian fare with upscale twists on classic cultural dishes, like braised lamb shank with honey, figs, cinnamon, cilantro and an almond couscous, and moules-frites (mussels and fries)—our current fave is the version with tomato coconut cream, smoked chili, lime and cilantro
Average cost: $18 to $35 per dish
Brix & Mortar
Find it: 1138 Homer St., brixandmortar.ca
The vibe: This upscale Yaletown restaurant, which is located in a historic brick building, has a glass-covered courtyard for dining outdoors, even during the colder months. Fresh foliage fills the space, and an opulent chandelier takes centre stage, producing a dimly lit, ultra-romantic atmosphere.
The menu: Modern yet rustic Canadian dishes made with local ingredients. We recommend the local ling cod with curry-spiced cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Dungeness crab and toasted almonds, and topped with kaffir lime chili aioli. Bonus: All main dishes come with wine pairings for next-level wining and dining.
Average cost: $15 to $32 per dish
Find it: 120 W. Hastings St., wildebeest.ca
The vibe: Housed in a 19th-century building, this warm locale is accented with exposed brick, large tables for communal seating and a chic cocktail bar at the front. The bustling yet intimate atmosphere is the perfect backdrop for your next date night.
The menu: As the name would suggest, meat plays a pivotal role in the farm-to-table menu. The fare is a carnivore’s feast, from the bone marrow with roasted leeks and oyster mushrooms, grilled sourdough bread and mushroom vinaigrette to the confit duck leg with parsnip purée, handmade gnocchi, roasted parsnips and bordelaise sauce.
Average cost: $18 to $34 per dish
The Acorn Restaurant
Find it: 3995 Main St., theacornrestaurant.ca
The vibe: With botanical touches from the fresh plants and moss green seating, this simple, trendy eatery, complete with marble-topped tables, is almost as cool as its innovative menu.
The menu: Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes, like raw celery root with celeriac cashew remoulade, fermented stinging nettle mustard and rosemary confit carrots, topped with tarragon vinaigrette and sea buckthorn berries. Clean eating has never been so delish.
Average cost: $13 to $20 per dish
Best Unfussy Fine Dining in Calgary
Find it: 105–550 11 Ave. SW, avecbistro.com
The vibe: This trendy French bistro is bright and airy thanks to blonde wood panels, mirrored walls and punches of colour from the cherry red chairs along the zinc bar.
The menu: Modern bistro cuisine inspired by the flavours of Paris. Think: decadent French onion soup topped with gooey Gruyère cheese to start, and coq au vin with a confit leg, smoked bacon, mushrooms, onions, carrots and red wine jus for the main event.
Average cost: $16 to $29 per dish
Yellow Door Bistro
Find it: 119 12 Ave. SW, yellowdoorbistro.ca
The vibe: Located in the Hotel Arts, this whimsical spot has everything one would want in a classic eatery (an inviting atmosphere, communal seating and a buzz-worthy menu) but with quirky extras, like animal-shaped lamps, mismatched furniture and, yes, a sunshine yellow door.
The menu: Contemporary French bistro fare, such as smoked mozzarella and duck confit flatbread topped with caramelized onions, honey mustard, apple and pea shoots; and lamb shank with merguez (sausage) bolognese, Parmesan polenta, sautéed Swiss chard and romesco (a nut and red pepper sauce)
Average cost: $15 to $35
Find it: 308 17 Ave. SW, modelmilk.ca
The vibe: This culinary hot spot, which calls a converted dairy plant home, strikes the ultimate balance between rustic and chic. The exposed brick wall, etched with an old-school print of the resto’s logo, gives the space a vintage touch, while the sea of cool-toned lamps hanging over the main dining room livens up the space.
The menu: An ever-changing selection of comfort food, made with sustainable methods and local ingredients. Our current must-try: the drool-worthy tower of spicy fried chicken with a side of fresh biscuits, pickles and a wedge salad (ideal for sharing).
Average cost: $17 to $38 per dish
Find it: 718 17 Ave. SW, marketcalgary.ca
The vibe: This minimalist café is all about monochromatic hues. The white interior contrasts beautifully with the black bar decorated with white drawings. Every inch of this space is an Instagrammer’s dream, proving that muted tones are just as gorg as bold brights.
The menu: Farm-to-table grub that highlights the beauty of Alberta’s meat, veg and dairy, like bison short ribs with heirloom carrots, maple apple and fennel, and fresh herbs, or Market salad with watermelon radishes, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes, drizzled with feta-herb dressing
Average cost: $18 to $35 per dish
Best Unfussy Fine Dining in Edmonton
Find it: 10359 104 St. NW, baijiuyeg.com
The vibe: This trendy cocktail bar and restaurant calls its interior “old-world Shanghai chic,” and for a good reason. A long wooden bar dominates the space, while red mood lighting that gives off a club-like vibe and lush botanical prints lining the back wall add a touch of freshness.
The menu: Shareable Asian-inspired dishes, like pork and shrimp Lion’s Head dumplings with ginger-soy dipping sauce or green papaya salad with roasted peanuts, Thai chili and lime juice. The resto’s name means “booze” in Cantonese, so you know ordering a bevvie from the extensive cocktail menu is a must.
Average cost: $10 to $18 per dish
Find it: 10643 123 St. NW, rgerd.ca
The vibe: Rustic and modern are two words that come to mind when we think of this eatery, which has concrete walls, unfinished wood tables and throw pillows. We recommend sitting at an intimate corner table—the perfect spot for cozying up with your cutie.
The menu: Celebrating Canadian cuisine, the farm-to-table menu consists of local favourites from all across Western Canada. Dig into albacore tuna from B.C. with a fava bean succotash, tomato tapenade and corn dust or goose rillette tart with mascarpone cheese, grilled stone fruit and roasted onion.
Average cost: $15 to $35 per dish
Find it: 10220 103 St. NW, sabor.ca
The vibe: With wooden tables, black leather chairs and lavish chandeliers, the simple decor at this upscale resto ensures all attention is on the standout fare inspired by the Iberian coast. The dining room also doubles as a stage for live music, which immeds sets the mood for your romantic dinner.
The menu: A tapas-style selection of Spanish and Portuguese eats (plus, a mouth-watering array of seafood, cured meats and vegetarian dishes) that are just begging to be shared with your SO. Order the salt cod fritters with a red pepper purée to start and the decadent black paella (which gets its colour from squid ink), stuffed with prawns, scallops, calamari, mussels and clams in a Spanish-style saffron rice, for your main.
Average cost: $9 to $34 per dish
Find it: 10345 Jasper Ave., corso32.com
The vibe: This intimate, minimalist space, which seats only 34 people, is decorated with light wood, sleek white chairs, bulb lighting and a wall that features an old black-and-white photo of the owner’s Italian family.
The menu: If jetting off to Tuscany for date night just isn’t in the budget (when is it, really?), delve into the delicious authentic homemade pasta, like agnolotti cacio e pepe, with ricotta, black truffle pecorino, butter and black pepper—a simply decadent dish.
Average cost: $15 to $35 per dish
Best Unfussy Fine Dining in Saskatoon
Little Grouse on the Prairie
Find it: 167 3 Ave. S., littlegrouse.com
The vibe: With sage green booths, plenty of natural light and a bright, fresh interior, this contemporary restaurant is reinventing Italian cuisine one dish of pasta at a time.
The menu: Modern Italian eats with a gourmet twist. If you and your love don’t want to limit yourself to one choice, order your meal alla famiglia ($70 to $90 per person) to sample smaller portions of the menu’s standout dishes.
Average cost: $17 to $37 per dish
Ayden Kitchen & Bar
Find it: 265 3 Ave. S., aydenkitchenandbar.com
The vibe: Rustic-chic vibes abound at this trendy eatery, which boasts a globally inspired menu in a stylish space. Sink into one of the plush blue velvet booths and stay into the night while sipping on one (or two) of the artisanal cocktails.
The menu: Upscale comfort food made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, like four-cheese perogies stuffed with potato, butternut squash, sage, cremini mushrooms and button onions; Thai chicken wings with lemon grass, lime and garlic oil; or roasted hen with hazelnut vinaigrette, creamy polenta and herb mayo
Average cost: $15 to $32 per dish
Taverna Italian Kitchen
Find it: 219 21st St. E., tavernaitaliankitchen.com
The vibe: This unfussy casual Italian restaurant is the ideal spot if you’re looking for a warm, inviting atmosphere and a feel-good feast.
The menu: A vast selection of classic Italian comfort food highlighting the beautiful simplicity of fresh ingredients, like homemade pasta, pizza, seafood and meat. Start with bruschetta alla napoletana, with chopped tomatoes, basil, Parmesan and garlic on flatbread. For your main, indulge in pesto gnocchi or pollo al marsala with porcini mushrooms and marsala red wine.
Average cost: $16 to $28 per dish
Best Unfussy Fine Dining in Winnipeg
Find it: 283 Bannatyne Ave., peasantcookery.ca
The vibe: The spacious multi-room resto has high ceilings, large windows draped with silk curtains, statement-red tables and sleek black leather seating. The atmosphere is inviting, yet sophisticated, making it a hot spot for both day and night.
The menu: An expansive selection of modern French comfort food, with homemade breads and from-scratch sauces. From decadent onion soup topped with gooey Swiss cheese to tourtière made with local pork to classic vanilla bean crème brûlée, the dishes are the perfect accompaniment to a cozy winter day.
Average cost: $12 to $24 per dish
Deer + Almond
Find it: 85 Princess St., deerandalmond.com
The vibe: This under-the-radar locale, in the Exchange District, is all about family-style dining, in which food is meant to be shared. The space has that same laid-back, come-as-you-are feel, with plenty of natural light, potted plants and abstract paintings lining the walls.
The menu: A diverse lineup of small plates packed with international flavours and gourmet flair, like deer tartare with blueberry, buckwheat and hollandaise; grilled halloumi with romesco, lentils, lemon yogurt and a sherry reduction; or salmon for two with mustard-mayo sauce
Average cost: $12 to $28 per dish
Find it: 83 Garry St., prarie360.ca
The vibe: With 360-degree views of the Peg, this upscale rotating restaurant is one of the must-try spots for date night. The panoramic scenery speaks for itself as you dine 30 floors above the city.
The menu: Steak house fare, with delicious salads, bowls and burgers, too. We’re currently drooling over the pan-seared duck with polenta, white balsamic pear and gooseberry gastrique (caramelized sauce) and fresh veg, as well as the classic house steak with garlic mashed potatoes.
Average cost: $16 to $40 per dish
Best Unfussy Fine Dining in Toronto
Find it: Toronto Dominion Centre (66 Wellington St. W.), canoerestaurant.com
The vibe: Watch the city illuminate around you and see the sparkling CN Tower from the floor-to-ceiling windows of this 54th-floor resto. The swanky atmosphere, delectable dishes and sweeping views offered by this sophisticated locale are perfect for treating yourself on date night.
The menu: Upscale Canadian cuisine, with a menu shaped by the country’s ingredients and landscape. Start with the Ontario burrata salad, with birch pickled cucumbers, toasted seaweeds, squid ink lavash, and prairie seeds and grains. Then order the tea-smoked duck breast with radicchio, duck liver mousse, parsnips and poached Niagara pears for your main. If you still have room, try the assortment of après-diner Canadian cheeses.
Average cost: $19 to $48 per dish
Find it: 35 Tank House Ln., clunybistro.com
The vibe: This spacious French bistro in the Distillery District offers an opulent escape to Paris without ever leaving #the6ix. Between the glistening golden appliances, elaborate Mediterranean-inspired tiled floor, and navy and white leather chairs, the interior is almost as jaw-dropping as the scrumptious eats.
The menu: French small plates and mains, like steak frites, lime salted yellow fin tuna croissant with an endive salad, and goat cheese and roasted black fig tartine with cured ham, sea buckthorn and a hazelnut crunch topping. Plus, there’s a raw bar, stocked with tuna and spicy salmon tartar, kingfish ceviche and a seafood tower.
Average cost: $12 to $36 per dish
Find it: 243 King St. E., ardorestaurant.com
The vibe: With an open kitchen, bright turquoise bar and sleek, minimalist furniture, this modern, trendy Italian eatery is a hip first-date spot for getting to know each other without that formal dining atmosphere. Sit near the window to people-watch or dine in front of the kitchen to see chef Roberto Marotta make culinary magic.
The menu: Sicilian dishes inspired by the chef’s homeland, like salsiccia with orecchiette pasta, rapini, heirloom cherry tomatoes, and Sicilian spicy sausage and provolone made in-house. Or try the Crudo & ’Shroom pizza, with fior di latte, 24-months-aged prosciutto crudo and preserved mushrooms.
Average cost: $6 to $19 per dish
Find it: 231A Roncesvalles Ave., theacetoronto.com
The vibe: The close quarters of this sophisticated diner ooze old-school romance, with vintage appliances, a long bar lined with maroon leather stools, and petite booths for intimate conversation. Don’t let the term “diner” turn you off—this spot is more cozy eatery than tacky 1950s joint.
The menu: Comfort food classics, cocktails and late-night snacks, so you can nosh and sip into the evening. For a hearty meal, try the Southern-inspired Ace Country fried chicken with collard greens, cornbread and ham gravy, or Ontario charcuterie with local meats, warm crostini, pickles and Dijon mustard for an after-dinner nibble.
Average cost: $11 to $28 per dish
Find it: 797 College St., barisabel.com
The vibe: We’re just gonna say it: This spot exudes a fiery, sexy atmosphere, with its warm red lighting, tapestry-like floors and old-fashioned Spanish tavern vibe. Book a table if you want to heat things up with that new cutie or long-term love.
The menu: Spanish-style small plates and a creative roster of cocktails, suited to a late-night nosh or light dinner. Try the assortment of Spanish meats and cheeses, the grilled half octopus or the refreshing beet, goat cheese and hazelnut ensalada (or all three and share with your SO).
Average cost: $9 to $25+ per dish
Best Unfussy Fine Dining in Ottawa
North and Navy
Find it: 226 Nepean St., northandnavy.com
The vibe: From the outside, this contemporary Italian restaurant looks like just another house on Nepean Street. But step inside, and you’ll be greeted with brick-red leather booths, vintage wooden furniture and an open kitchen, where you can see the chefs craft their culinary creations.
The menu: Northern Italy meets Eastern Ontario. Start with the light corzetti pasta with walnuts and honey, and then order the seared eggplant topped with homemade yogurt. Finish off the evening with tortella al vino rosso, which is fresh trout baked in red wine.
Average cost: $12 to $42 per dish
Find it: 62 Sparks St., dineriviera.com
The vibe: Named one of Canada’s top 10 new restaurants by enRoute magazine in 2017, this swanky restaurant has made its home in a renovated bank building with an art deco interior. The 70-foot granite bar, high ceilings and luxe brown leather seating exude trendy yet old-world charm.
The menu: Innovative Canadian cuisine, like venison tartar with sour cherries and toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds); mushrooms on toast with shaved black truffle and a poached egg; and rabbit pappardelle with pancetta and cremini mushrooms
Average cost: $20 to $40 per dish
Find it: 276 Preston St., menarestaurant.com
The vibe: This newly renovated French restaurant screams Instagram chic, with succulent-topped tables, statement light fixtures and an ultra-cool minimalist colour palette. The resto’s mantra—“one always eats with the eyes first”—really shows in the decor and culinary presentation.
The menu: Choose between a five-, a seven- and a nine-course tasting menu, made with seasonal ingredients. This selection is ever-changing, but click here to get a sneak preview of what you can expect. Some recent offerings: Quebec venison tartar with bitter mustards and greens, sweet blueberries and crisp taro root chips; and crab tian, with Pacific crab, caviar, heirloom tomatoes and shiso (greens).
Average cost: $95 to $135 per person; $65 to $135 extra per person for wine pairings
Find it: 109 Clarence St., tomorestaurant.com
The vibe: With intricate murals, blonde wood seating and geometric decor, this modern Japanese resto is a hip destination for couples looking for a buzzing atmosphere and Asian-inspired eats. After dinner, the space develops an electric nightclub atmosphere, with bottle service to keep date night going into the early hours.
The menu: Japanese sushi, small plates and seasonal seafood. Order up the tomo roll, with tempura shrimp, avocado, cucumber and spicy mayo, topped with seared beef and scallions. For something lighter, dig into slaw with green papaya, mango, cabbage, carrots and fried taro root.
Average cost: $11 to $15 per dish
Find it: 7 Springfield Rd., frasercafe.ca
The vibe: This neighbourhood fine-dining restaurant has a colourful array of muted blue and leaf green chairs, wooden tables and an open kitchen. The creative plates, local flavours and seasonal fare truly take centre stage.
The menu: A diverse selection of seasonal plates that use locally sourced ingredients, like beef kofta with pomegranate, pine nuts, eggplant purée and mint yogurt to start; and fresh seared tuna with celery root mash, glazed beets, endives, white anchovies, shaved fennel and blood oranges
Average cost: $18 to $36 per dish
Best Unfussy Fine Dining in Montreal
Find it: 112 McGill St., #1, restaurantikanos.com
The vibe: This modern Mediterranean restaurant, located in Old Montreal, has a warm and friendly atmosphere, a sleek leather and beige interior, and gorgeous bulb lighting hanging above the dining space.
The menu: Contemporary Mediterranean cuisine, such as mezzes (Greek-style tapas), raw delicacies, and grilled meat and seafood. The saganaki (fried cheese) with ouzo, dried fruit and fennel is to die for, as is the lavraki, a sea bass topped with seasonal garnishes. If you still have room, sink your teeth into the sweet baklava, with dried apricot, yogurt and mountain tea.
Average cost: $13 to $70 per dish
Find it: 1504 Sherbrooke St. W., ristorantebeatrice.com
The vibe: This urban Italian restaurant brings the creative cuisine and contemporary atmosphere. The enclosed terrace is the most noteworthy part of the interior, with its foliage wall, grand wooden beams and twinkling fairy lights overhead. Fun fact: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Penelope Cruz have dined here, so this resto doubles as a hot spot for celeb sightings.
The menu: Italian cuisine made with seasonal ingredients, like burrata salad with prosciutto, basil pesto, country bread and fresh tomatoes to start; and linguine with clams, nduja (spreadable spicy pork salumi), garlic and olive oil for a simply elegant main dish
Average cost: Prices subject to change
Find it: 1414 Notre-Dame St. W., hvor.ca
The vibe: This airy, minimalist space takes a simple approach to its decor, with an all-white interior, plenty of fresh greenery and subtle touches of geometric prints. During the summer months, fresh veggies, fruit, spices, herbs and flowers are picked from the outdoor garden for farm-to-table eats.
The menu: An eclectic mix of fine-dining fare, with touches of Quebec. Try the beef tartar with spicy mayo, corn tortillas and juniper, and then order the chickpea miso–crusted cod with pistachios and black garlic aged soy sauce. For something sweet, the Japanese cheesecake with blood orange, confit chestnut cake and white chocolate is a must.
Average cost: $16 to $40 per dish
Find it: 312 Saint-Paul St. W., barroco.ca
The vibe: With its stone walls, rustic decor and dim lighting, this intimate eatery embodies the old-world charm of Old Montreal. When the harsh weather and cold temps inevitably arrive, warm up in this homey tavern-like oasis.
The menu: Hearty, comforting Québécois eats, like beef short ribs braised for 12 hours with celery root, truffle purée and maple and vintage balsamic glaze, or quail ragoût fusilli with foie gras torchon shavings, wild mushrooms and green olives
Average cost: $13 to $28 per dish
Find it: 361 St Paul St. E., crownsalts.com
The vibe: World-renowned executive chef Chuck Hughes (you might recognize him from binge-watching the Food Network) owns this fine-dining restaurant, which boasts a cozy atmosphere, brick walls and exposed wooden beams.
The menu: Seafood-centred, with both raw and grilled options, like snow crab kimchee, halibut cheeks and beet butter, or oysters of the day
Average cost: $15 to $30 per dish
Best Unfussy Fine Dining in Moncton
Find it: 184 Alma St., manukaresto.com
The vibe: Located in a striking sunshine yellow house, this unique gem makes you feel like you’re eating at home. With green placemats, plenty of fresh foliage and adorable swings outside for summer dining, Manuka brings the character, charm and cuisine.
The menu: Dishes are constantly on rotation, but the two constants are the use of local ingredients and the innovative presentation.
Average cost: $8 to $22 per dish
Find it: 245 Collishaw St., littlelouis.ca
The vibe: This refined restaurant has a somewhat traditional dining room atmosphere, with white tablecloths, fresh greenery and unique wooden accents around the space.
The menu: Contemporary French fare with Atlantic Canadian influences, like Rockefeller-style oysters; braised lamb shank with squash risotto; and smoked salmon on rye toast with apple and fennel salad, sliced radish, pickled onion and pork bacon, drizzled with a buttermilk dressing
Average cost: Prices subject to change
Best Unfussy Fine Dining in Halifax
Find it: 1740 Argyle St., fivefisherman.com
The vibe: This upscale restaurant, which is a staple in the Halifax restaurant industry, has made its home in a 19th-century building. With its rich history, grand pillars and breathtaking stained glass windows in the dining room, this spot is understandably a local gem.
The menu: From the wood-grilled fish with an assortment of sauces (pineapple salsa, maple brown butter, chimichurri and more) to the classic lobster dinner, seafood takes centre stage on this menu, which comes as no surprise, given the resto’s name. You’ll also find vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, so no one has to miss out on the scrumptious eats.
Average cost: $12 to $44
Find it: 2053 Gottingen St., ednarestaurant.com
The vibe: This trendy restaurant fulfills all of our Instagram requirements: statement lighting, sleek minimalist furniture, white brick and unique wood-panelled walls. We dare you not to snap.
The menu: This brunch hot spot also has a killer p.m. menu, highlighting gourmet takes on classic seafood faves. We’re currently drooling over the seared scallops with butternut squash purée, grilled leeks, spinach butter and caviar, and the cold-smoked trout with preserved lemon aioli, pea shoots and bread crumbs.
Average cost: $12 to $26 per dish
The Press Gang
Find it: 5218 Prince St., thepressgang.ca
The vibe: Housed in a historic building that dates back to 1759 (so vintage, amiright?), this rustic space in downtown Hali has a beautiful fireplace and plenty of brick and wood, creating a cozy, seemingly underground oasis.
The menu: Dishes from the land and the sea, plus an oyster bar stocked with shellfish from all over the Maritimes. Carnivores will be in culinary heaven with the unique elk tenderloin and signature scallop risotto.
Average cost: $16 to $42 per dish
Best Unfussy Fine Dining in Charlottetown
Find it: 86 Queen St., simscorner.ca
The vibe: This steak house and oyster bar offers an inviting atmosphere that is giving us maj vintage ski chalet vibes (in the best way possible). Hear us out, OK? The rich red leather chairs, exposed brick and intimate vibe are just what we want in a go-to neighbourhood joint.
The menu: Meat eaters, rejoice! The menu has a decadent selection of speciality steaks, like filet mignon, rib-eye, New York strip loin and more, plus a mouth-watering oyster bar, where you can dig into fresh or baked oysters.
Average cost: $16 to $62 per dish
The Brickhouse Kitchen & Bar
Find it: 125 Sydney St., brickhousepei.com
The vibe: From the pop art paintings to the modern light fixtures to the wooden furniture, this centuries-old two-storey building has touches of old and new. After your meal, head upstairs to Marc’s Lounge, where you can spend the evening soaking in the sounds from local musicians.
The menu: Stocked with a little bit of everything, the menu has options for sharing (we’re looking at you, fish tacos) or indulging on your own, like decadent lobster mac and cheese, a buttermilk fried chicken club sammie or crab cakes with a chipotle aioli and sweet corn relish.
Average cost: $12 to $25 per dish
Claddagh Oyster House
Find it: 131 Sydney St., claddaghoysterhouse.com
The vibe: Located right next to a traditional Irish pub (run by the same owners), this casual eatery makes for a cozy escape from the brisk ocean breezes. With its fully stocked bar, dim lighting and intimate tables, everything about this spot encourages you and your bae to get closer.
The menu: Satisfy your seafood cravings with the standout menu, featuring swimmers fresh from the sea. Whether you order the award-winning Island chowder, the jerk-spiced crab legs or a creamy bowl of lobster risotto, you’ll truly taste the seaside flavours of P.E.I.
Average cost: $13 to $36 per dish
Best Unfussy Fine Dining in St. John’s
Find it: 5 Becks Cove, evoorestaurant.ca
The vibe: Located in the delightful courtyard of the old-fashioned Murray Premises Hotel, this cozy eatery brings vintage flare and East Coast charm to your date-night dining. The chic beige and dark wood chairs contrast beautifully with the exposed-brick walls, wooden beams and photos of St. John’s lining the walls.
The menu: Mediterranean-inspired eats, like wood-fired pizza (chock full of chorizo, chickpeas and sun-dried tomatoes), meaty mains and fresh apps. If you have dietary restrictions or are looking for lighter options, don’t fret: You’ll find plenty of gluten-free dishes and a specialized vegan menu that delivers on flavour.
Average cost: $7 to $20 per dish
The Adelaide Oyster House
Find it: 334 Water St., @TheAdelaideOysterHouse
The vibe: With mood lighting, black and unfinished wood seating, and brick walls full of character, this local favourite is a homey yet modern dining destination, ideal for unwinding and indulging after a long week.
The menu: Worldly flavours grace the menu, with influences from Atlantic Canada, Mexico and Asia. Considering the name of the restaurant, you just have to try the fresh-shucked oysters. If you’re craving something with international flair, order the Mexican street corn topped with jalapeño queso, crema and crispy tortilla bits, or the albacore tuna sashimi with lemon, truffle oil, local honey, popcorn and almond crumble.
Average cost: $7 to $15 per dish
The Fifth Ticket
Find it: 171 Water St., thefifthticket.com
The vibe: Although more of a casual eatery than a fine-dining resto, The Fifth Ticket is a top option for couples looking for a laid-back date-night spot. The chic black and dark wood palette, geometric light fixtures and killer views of Water Street make the space a modern-industrial escape in the city.
The menu: Casual Newfoundland-inspired grub that is meant to be eaten with your hands, like the juicy Newfoundland burger, with local beef, Gruyère cheese, house-cured bacon, caramelized onion jam and burger aioli, or the shareable moules-frites (with mussels fresh off the boat), which are steamed in local Port Rexton beer.
Average cost: $12 to $28 per dish