In case you’ve forgotten, part of any healthy relationship is wining and dining with your loved one. While Montreal winters are a hazard better avoided, and provide a perfect time to overindulge in the luxury of home-cooked meals, you’ll likely be eating in the doghouse if you expect dinner to be on the table on Valentine’s Day. One of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, you’ll want to make reservations well in advance. Most likely at one of these fine establishments.
What seems cliché to the uninitiated is actually a rather tried-and-true formula: load up on the aphrodisiacs and reap the benefits. Pioneering Montreal’s surf-and/or-turf scene is favourite Joe Beef — the oyster bar on the island. Sister restaurant to the Liverpool House, the dining experience and quality of food is simply unbeatable. An intimate and rustic ambiance only furthers your cause; just be sure to keep the gin and sodas flowing as well. 2491 Notre-Dame St. West, 514-935-6504.
Casa de Mateo
As if the Old Port wasn’t romantic enough, Casa de Mateo is hosting an exotic, Mexican-style twist to Valentine’s Day. Sure, there’s a berry tart, but the rest of the menu looks to shock the system with an abundance of spice, and sweet Daiquiris. If you’re looking to break a sweat without breaking a bedframe, we recommend their Camarones à la diabla: shrimp with rice and halved avocado, bordered served with signature Diabla sauce. 438 St-Francois-Xavier St., 514-286-9589.
Papas Tapas Martinis [pictured]
Renowned for its lively cinq à sept — two-for-one martinis — this resto-bar aims to take the monotony out of Valentine’s Day. For couples looking to escape the stereotypical and overly “Hallmark” celebrations, join the rest of Papas Tapas Martinis‘ attractive clientele for drinks and Portuguese-inspired tapas food. Reservations fill up quickly, here. 3547 St-Laurent Blvd., 514-526-8787.
Girl of your dreams, or flavour of the month? It matters not: if you want to give her the Valentine’s Day she’s always dreamt of, search no further. Verses Restaurant is a contemporary take on traditional French cuisine, set in the Old Port, with all the elegance of Gay Paree. For Valentine’s Day, they offer a prix fixe menu with champagne and chocolate fondue — surely, this occasion’s version of “icing on the cake.” (prix fixe $75) 100 St-Paul St. West, 514-788-4000.
Méchant Boeuf Bar & Brasserie
A little on the casual side of things, this gastro pub has live DJs spinning classic rock as tasteful as their St-Valentin table d’hôte. Functioning more like a cocktail lounge, Méchant Boeuf Bar & Brasserie may serve as a last resort for newlyweds, but it’s also a good way to take things less serious for the newly dating. Nonetheless, the food is impeccable with bar chef Jason Nagy heading the kitchen; we recommend the steak and frites. 124 St-Paul St. West, 514-788-4020
Image courtesy of Papas Tapas.