Oh Saint Valentine’s Day. Intimate candle-lit dinners, slow and seductive gazes over the rim of a wine glass, the smoldering glow of a crackling fireplace, the delicate smell of rose petals as snow slowly falls in love with the ground… Montreal has always been a hopeless romantic, here’s how to make the most of it on February 14…
Let’s start with the basics. Some call this cliché, I call it classic: Chocolates and Flowers. Suite 88 has the most divine chocolate in town. True craftsmanship and artistry goes into each batch, so they are always fresh and beautiful. As for flowers, Westmount Florist are not only the largest family-run florist in Montreal, but their website claims that they’re one of the best in North America! They’ve been in business since 1962, so I don’t doubt them. From the chocolates to a stunning flower bouquet, your lucky Valentine will be swooning all over come February 14. Let’s take a look around the city to see where this perfect night could take you…
Downtown: Montreal being the hopeless romantic that it is, many restaurants are preparing special Valentine’s Day menus for two. Wienstein & Gavino’s is preparing a very affordable three-course table-d’hote, but if you want to really splurge, then the incredible DECCA77, with a $75 per person special menu, is the place for you. If you call and reserve a table, you have the chance to win a romantic dinner for two, a one-night stay at Loews Hotel Vogue complete with breakfast in bed. Sounds blissful!
After an amorous meal, a place to end and really start the night is in order. Most hotels in Montreal are offering a Valentine’s Day Package throughout the weekends of February. My personal favorite is the “Bare Your Heart” Package at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Starting at $219, you get one night accommodation, breakfast in bed for two, and two “En Coeur” cocktails to enjoy at night. The unexpected and heartfelt twist is that for every package sold Fairmont Hotels will donate $10 to the Fondation En Coeur, which brings comfort, warmth and hope to children born with heart disease.
Old Port: The most exclusive Valentine’s Day option is taking place near the Old Port at the world-renowned Toque!. Discover true gastronomical love with a special eight-course tasting menu with carefully selected wine pairings. Their Valentine menu is available on February 11 and 14 in the evening and will be the only menu offered on those nights.
XO in the Hotel Le St-James also has a special menu created by Executive Chef Michele Mercuri. Just a teaser: Scallops, salmon, foie gras, venison and grapefruit custard. Enjoy this decadent meal for $115. The Old Port is one of the most enchanting and romantic places in Montreal, so a walk through the snow with your lucky someone is an idyllic way to spend an evening.
Gay Village: Nothing is more adorable than seeing gay and lesbian canoodling on Valentine’s Day in the Village. Saint-Catherine Street in the Village is dotted with amazing restaurants; it doesn’t matter where you go, as all will be tender if you’re with someone you love. Try out a few classics, which are sure to be filled with couples: Le Saloon, Mozza, Steak Frites, Nuvu, and Bato Thai.
Le Carte Blanche on Ontario Street is doing a special Valentine’s Day menu. For only $55 you get a four-course meal including frosty raspberry prosecco, lobster bisque, some equally delicious sounding mains and a revised maple and caramelized pear cheesecake. The quality of Carte Blanche, and with such an appealing price point, I’ve already made my reservation for Valentine’s Day here. For one, the reservation is for one. Carte Blanche is also offering a very cute “take away gourmet box” for only $35 a person to enjoy at home. While it would be less humiliating for me to just get the $35 gourmet-to-go box and watch Modern Family at home in my underwear, I’ll hold my head high and go to the full restaurant service sans accompaniment.
Plateau/Mile End: The White and Dark Chocolate Duo Fondue at Juliette et Chocolat is the harmonic Ying Yang of yum and intimacy. This can only truly be appreciated when shared between two star-crossed lovers. You might have to wait in line for a bit, but it’s well worth it. Juliette et Chocolate is easily accessible from three locations in the Plateau and Mile End. The Italians know romance better then any of us. Le Petit Italian on Bernard is no exception. Cozy corners and dim lighting are perfected for whispered conversations and sneaking a kiss or two.