Valentine’s Day: for dining, always the tricky one. Depending on your relationship status, plans will vastly differ. Just met? Already hot and heavy? Trying to rekindle (tip: leave the Kindle at home)? Making the right choices on “the most romantic day of the year” can change everything; it’s ridiculous, and it’s a fact. If you want to make the right move, whether it’s an afternoon that won’t overwhelm her or an overnight that will impress her, here are a variety of options.
Just a Spot of Tea: The Urban Tea Merchant Valentine’s Sweetheart Tea Services
Perhaps she’s the old-fashioned type. Nothing wrong with taking her to tea; it’s no longer just for grannies. From February 11, the Urban Tea Merchant offers a tea service, $48, including wagyu beef carpaccio, egg salad sandwiches, fresh-baked scones, madeleines, chocolate hearts and more. Add some champagne or sparkling wine if you want to make it more decadent and treat her to some tea for home on the way out. 1070 West Georgia St., 604-692-0071
It’s Only Brunch: “Valentine’s No Pressure Brunch” at Yew Restaurant + Bar [pictured]
Brunch is a fairly casual affair but the addition of some special aphrodisiacs can take it somewhere, well, hotter; more so when there’s a hotel upstairs and wine bottles are half-price (on the Sunday only). Chef Ned Bell’s brunch menu includes oysters (fried with foie gras and chilled with balsamic mignonette), lobster and white chocolate with almond mousse. Don’t worry, gents: there’s an Angus burger. Yew also offers a special Valentine’s dinner menu, in case the brunch leads, or continues, into another meal. 791 West Georgia St., 604-692-4939
Dinner and a Show: “Two Chefs and a Table Dinner” at The Founders’ Lounge at The Cultch
If she loves the arts as much as she loves good food, head to The Cultch for a dinner created by Two Chefs and a Table. Arrive between 5:30 and 6:15 p.m. and you’ll be finished and ready to enjoy Nina Arsenault’s critically acclaimed “The Silicone Diaries” at 8 p.m. Dishes such as the classic Italian Salmon Aqua Pazza, Coq au Vin, and a rich Chocolate Pot de Crème with Bourbon strawberries await. The four-course meal is $39 per person, or $60 with paired selections. Reservations required: 604-340-3445. 1895 Venables St., 604-251-1363
Spa Cuisine: The Shangri-La
If she’s one of the few that are serious about those New Year’s resolutions, perhaps the reward should be something other than a calorie-laden meal. CHI, The Spa at the Shangri-La, boasts a couples suite larger than most of Vancouver’s downtown apartments and offers a West Coast Wave Massage for two along with spa cuisine and flutes of champagne afterwards (a $490 value for $410). Also available are additional specials for overnight at the hotel and dinner at the property’s restaurant (MARKET), if you want to extend the romance. 1128 West Georgia St., 604-695-2447
The Overnighter: “Love” at the Loden Hotel
Really, you don’t care about dinner and probably prefer the dessert, aka. the overnighter. Post-meal, keep her out overnight and make it memorable for both of you. Although this year’s Valentine’s Day falls on a week night, you might want to move the celebration to the weekend and go for the Love at the Loden Hotel Package. A stay here includes early check-in, at noon, late check-out, at 3 pm, champagne, chocolate-dipped strawberries, sexy bath products and, of course, a sumptuous dinner, at Tableau Bar Bistro or in-room dining ($120 gift cert). Rates from $499. 1177 Melville St., 604-669-5060
Image courtesy of Andrew-Hyde.