13 romantic restaurants for any kind of date night in Vancouver

The garden of The Botanist, one of Vancouver’s most proposal-worthy restaurants. Credit: The Botanist

Whether it’s on February 14 and you’re toasting love with everyone else or it’s just the two of you marking an anniversary, ocean-flanked Vancouver has you covered for romantic restaurants. 

A Silk Road-inspired spot with locations in Kits and Mount Pleasant regales couples with live music. In the Stadium District, a swanky hotel restaurant is a group hang hotspot thanks to extravagant, shareable desserts such as crème brûlée doughnuts and hot whiskey cake. In Fairview, a tiny but mighty bar with a solid tapas selection was made for no-pressure first dates. 

At these top Vancouver restaurants, romance isn’t just about candlelight and wine. Here are 13 romantic restaurants designed for you and your sweetheart to adore.

 

Best for a first date

Grapes & Soda (Fairview)

This tiny, unpretentious bar with just 22 seats is tailor-made for a casual first date. Eat with your fingers while sharing cheese and charcuterie boards. Pair snacks such as cauliflower tempura and dry-aged beef tartare with BC and European wines, inventive cocktails, sake, mezcal, or whisky. Like its partner restaurant next door, Farmer’s Apprentice (which you can check out on your next date if the initial one goes well), Grapes & Soda has an evolving menu rooted in a farm-to-table philosophy.

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Torafuku (Chinatown)

Pan-Asian dishes and shareable plate with rice, pork, mushrooms and more on a dining table at Torafuku, a restaurant in Vancouver

Pan-Asian dishes on shareable plates at Torafuku. Credit: Leila Kwok

Torafuku’s menu of ever-changing, pan-Asian dishes centres on shareable plates. You could warm up with roasted sweet potato or smoked BC sablefish with a dashi-flavoured melted butter sauce, or select the seven-course tasting menu for two to stretch out the evening. Torafuku is known for its original cocktails; the Passion Libre is made with mezcal, passionfruit, lime, and an oolong tea syrup. The lighting is dim and the booths are cozy. But if you want to drop the pressure for romance, opt for seats at the communal table.

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Best for a second date

Yuwa Japanese Cuisine (Kitsilano) 

A dish from the ever-changing Yuwa’s à la carte Japanese menu. Credit: Yuwa

At sophisticated Yuwa (included in MICHELIN’s Vancouver guide), you’re likely to find quiet jazz and dramatic white orchid arrangements that provide a great second-date backdrop. Choose a seat at the counter to watch the sushi chefs in action or ask for table 12, tucked in a corner, to focus on your partner. Chef and co-owner Masahiro Omori offers ever-changing à la carte Japanese dishes spotlighting what’s freshest, such as sockeye tartar with pine nuts and a bamboo culm. Learn your date’s flavour preferences by browsing through the sushi and sashimi menu together. Co-owner Iori Kataoka, a certified advanced sake professional, can recommend pairings from Yuwa’s award-winning artisan sake and wine collection.

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East is East (Kits, Mount Pleasant)

This trans-Himalayan spot is owned by Afghan siblings who immigrated to Canada via India. On the menu, expect regional favourites such as steamed Tibetan mantu dumplings and curries of chicken, lamb, and salmon, plus several vegan choices such as mango butternut squash. The rich cuisine captures the essence of the small dhaba eateries that dot the Silk Road in Turkey, Iran, Tibet, India, and Mongolia—and sets the stage for discussing potential getaways together. There’s often live music in the evenings, with sounds and instruments from all over the globe to accompany your conversation.

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Best for an anniversary or romantic milestone date

Kissa Tanto (Chinatown)

Close up of a dish with crispy bites, garden leaves and red sauce from Kissa Tanto, a restaurant in Vancouver

A dish from the Japanese-Italian fusion menu at Kissa Tanto. Credit: Mark Yammine

Japanese-Italian Kissa Tanto is the perfect spot to mark the beginnings of your marriage or celebrate years of togetherness. The place received its first MICHELIN star in Vancouver’s inaugural guide to best restaurants in 2022. While kissa has nothing to do with smooches (it’s the name for a Japanese jazz café, and, yes, this spot spins a mean vinyl collection), tanto means “so much” or “a lot” in Italian. The latter could describe how much you adore your dinner companion—or executive chef Joël Watanabe’s exquisite fusion plates, such as dandelion pappardelle and pressed rice with mushrooms and Parmesan.

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Botanist (Downtown)

Botanist’s decor with bright interiors with hanging plants makes it the ideal spot for celebrating an anniversary. Credit: Botanist

Helmed by executive chef Hector Laguna, Botanist’s kitchen transforms ingredients that are “hooked, hunted, and harvested” from British Columbia into beautifully plated creations. This is one of Vancouver’s most proposal-worthy restaurants, thanks to dreamy interiors featuring a white baby grand piano and a 180-foot-long origami light structure. The duo of lamb belly and rack of lamb served with foraged mushrooms, cauliflower, and chickpea panisse is ideal for couples, as are desserts such as buckwheat honey cake with riesling-poached pears. If you want to be wined, dined, and surprised, opt for the We’ll Take it From Here tasting menu, a way to raise the bar on any proposal.

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Best for a group date

Mott 32 (Downtown)

A restaurant table filled with a variety of Cantonese dishes and a glass of red wine.

Mott 32’s menu features traditional Cantonese cuisine with a twist. Credit: Leila Kwok

If you want to take full advantage of Mott 32, you’ll have to order several dishes, making it an ideal setting for a group date. You’ll likely be able to see the open kitchen from your table, so the chefs in action at the dim sum, barbeque, and wok stations can spur conversation if needed. Mott 32’s menu focuses on traditional Cantonese cuisine but takes detours to the Sichuan province and Beijing, plus Vancouver, featuring British Columbian bounty. Premium ingredients including lobster, Iberian pork, and truffles feature prominently. Plan ahead for the applewood roasted Peking duck served tableside—it takes 48 hours to prepare. 

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The Victor (Stadium District)

Three plates containing different sorts of sushi with soya sauce and sushi sticks, at The Victor, a restaurant in Vancouver

The Victor’s menu highlights seafood, and a sushi and raw bar. Credit: The Victor

Servers will grant all your dinner wishes at this steak and seafood paradise at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver hotel. Share the hot seafood pot for the table with king crab, lobster, scallops, jumbo prawns, and mussels. Or choose a steak cooked to perfection under the 1,200-degree broiler. Save room for outrageous desserts such as Sticky Fingers, a hot whiskey cake or crème brûlée doughnuts served with a cloud of housemade maple cotton candy. The Victor has live music on Wednesdays. Before or after dinner, take a romantic stroll around Parq Vancouver’s sixth-floor 30,000-square-foot park, complete with its own lake.

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Best for an adventurous date

Moltaqa Moroccan Restaurant (Yaletown)

A meal at this transportive spot is the closest thing you’ll get to a Marrakech getaway in Yaletown (the Gastown location is currently closed for renovations). Bookend your Middle Eastern feast with Moroccan tea, served traditionally with a high pour from a delicate silver pot, and impress your dining companion by ordering the rack of lamb, flambéed tableside. The menu is halal with lots of vegan and gluten-free options. For more adventure, book a night when there’s a live belly dancer performing

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Best potential for a regular date

Osteria Savio Volpe (Mount Pleasant)

This classic osteria is the place to claim as your go-to date spot if everything works out (and you can bring any future kids, too). The restaurant makes an ideal romantic dinner choice when you’re craving a warm and convivial atmosphere. The kitchen churns out Italian comfort food such as wood-fired rosemary and lemon chicken and cappelletti with squash, brown butter, and pumpkin seed. If you just want to concentrate on each other, dine alla famiglia to remove the challenge of choosing from the menu.

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ARC (Downtown)

A restaurant table with brunch dishes, apples, cocktails, avocado toast and strawberries at ARC, a restaurant in Vancouver

West Coast-inspired dishes paired with creative cocktails from the Bottomless Brunch Experience. Credit: ARC

Harbour and mountain vistas from ARC’s two-storey windows set a sultry mood, particularly at sunset. Date-night tip: the best tables for views are near the gas fireplace. The restaurant offers West Coast-inspired cuisine such as oysters and Asian-flavoured sablefish in both its dining room and lounge at the Fairmount Waterfront Hotel. To make a night of it, zip up the elevator to one of the hotel’s luxe rooms after dinner, then return to ARC in the morning for the Bottomless Brunch Experience, bookable through OpenTable.

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Best for an entertainment date

Frankie’s Jazz Club (Stadium District)

Live jazz and blues will have you grooving together at this buzzy club, which serves housemade dishes from neighboring Frankie’s Italian Kitchen & Bar. Share arancini (Silician breaded risotto balls) or an antipasto platter, then go all Lady and the Tramp with the family-recipe spaghetti and meatballs. Save room for the especially decadent tiramisu, best devoured with two spoons.

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Bells & Whistles (East Van, Dunbar)

Sundae dessert with crumbs at Bells and Whistles, a restaurant in Vancouver

Sundaes desserts at Bell & Whistles are perfect for sharing. Credit: ARC

Bells & Whistles—there are now two, one on Fraser and a newer Dunbar location—offers a low-key spin on romance. The casual burger joint goes beyond the usual pub grub menu, courtesy of a gluten-free fryer and options such as chicharrones and an arugula, quinoa, and chickpea salad. The playful dessert selection evokes a summer fair: choose from warm mini-donuts, soft-serve ice cream, or sundaes (and yes, there’s a boozy version). Add low-tech arcade games, and there are many opportunities to celebrate a high score with a hug or end-zone dance.

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