BEST DATING SPOTS (AND TIPS FROM NISSAN MICHAEL) IN YORKVILLE
LOOKING FOR LOVE IN ALL THE RIGHT PLACES
We’ve all been there or are in there or may return there: Dating. This is the road we seem destined to take and Yorkville is a great gathering place full of great people and great (read: “right”) places. Here’s my personal take on them.
Sorry Coffee Co.
At the back of Kit and Ace – flagship store for Vancouver-based lifestyle clothing.
Sophisticated, young, hip. Excellent espresso and a perfect Americano, deserving of an artisan coffee shop. Small space and wait between ordering and receiving is conducive to flirting, conversation and getting-to-know you’s.
Conversation tidbit: Signature cups are canvasses for local artists and change every few months.
Still lamenting that missed opportunity when that tall beauty complimented me on my tie – should have responded sooner before she slipped away. Give up the hesitation – you won’t be sorry….(couldn’t help it – since name is gentle nudge at Canadian inherent politeness).
Keep in mind their motto: Big Things Happen in Coffee Shops
102 Bloor St. W.
2nd entrance on Critchley Lane
Figures in Yorkville
This is the latest and most unique supper club/bar in Yorkville where the bar has at its helm a master mixologist. I guarantee Figures will surprise, engage and excite you with its crazy, ode-to-comic book explosion of locally-commissioned art. If comic icons like Popeye and Olive Oyl, Mickey Mouse and Superman arouse that nostalgic vibe for you, you’ll have plenty in common with the great-looking patrons; and if not you can just drop the inhibitions and get lost in the playfulness and energy of the place. You’ll have fun on the way since it is so perfectly hidden behind a secret wall in a vintage comic / toy collectible shop. Friday night it’s at its hottest; dancing included.
137 Avenue Rd.
Manulife Centre / Indigo Books
While you’re browsing for books, magazines, music, or interesting gifts it’s natural to send a smile or nod to like-minded patrons – and then easily invite them over to the in-store Starbucks for a chat or make yourselves comfortable in the many inviting chairs in this spacious flagship store. Grand piano also invites you to play if you dare to show off your skills to your new companion. Favorite place for Yorkville locals.
Free 2-hr parking if you spend more than $25 – easy to do with their endless selection of reading goodies.
Book signings and events check chapters.indigo.ca
55 Bloor Street West
iQ Food Co.
Onsite Cafe for Equinox Fitness Yorkville Equinox is a deluxe, masterfully equipped and beautifully spa-indulgent fitness center known globally with the eatery an added benefit.
The menu at iQ was created to serve the needs (i.e. delicious and health-conscious foods) of workout devotees. But whether you have just finished a toning workout with your fellow (gorgeous) gym aficionados or are there for a healthy pre-workout nibble you can meet the millennials and the establishment – all in workout mode, some sharing the inviting communal table. And you can expand your opportunities for meeting the locals by dropping in next door at the Whole Foods where a smile and a hello have certainly led to many a relationship.
55 Avenue Rd.
Even and especially when patrons are waiting 3 rows deep for their beverage of choice, STK provides an effortless opportunity for opening up a conversation. The patronage is more suburban, and the vibe flirty and electric in this sleek and ultramodern setting.
153 Yorkville Ave.
GREAT DATING PLACES
Four Seasons Hotel
Up to the standard of its namesake in caliber, ambiance, and decor, Cafe Boulud is a favorite of locals for an after-work drink, dinner or a late night out; not surprisingly, other chefs dine here. You can have a virtual tour online just to give you an idea of how gorgeous it is – then you and your partner can take pleasure in the real thing – the food inspired by French tradition is outstanding.
60 Yorkville Ave.
Hands down total favorite of locals – especially its outdoor patio on a lovely summer evening! A 20-year tradition in Yorkville, it’s always busy, vibrant, warm in ambiance; fabulous Italian food, great wine list and great people-watching. The perfect and charming cornerstone of Yorkville.
Sotto Sotto Restaurant
Referenced by Drake in 2 songs, this Italian culinary gem is the eating go-to venue for a lot of celebrities (from Brad Pitt to Oprah). Count that as a serious endorsement and make a date for an absolutely great Italian meal in a romantic, cozy space. The atmosphere is homey reflecting the fact that this is still a beloved family business (“Mama,” the mother of owner Marisa Rocco, is a legend there). This is where you are treated as family: When I returned the second night with my beautiful date I was reminded by the waiter that “she’s a keeper” – good advice and well-taken.
Times before when returning the second night with a different date, the same waiter would discreetly greet me with “It’s been a long time.” Nuff said.
120 Avenue Rd.
A few steps from the ROM (a great place to start a day’s date if both of you are so inclined) Fieramosa Trattoria is a wonderful place to head for great Italian food and great wine. The decor is classic but everything soon fades away as you journey through your mouth-watering meal. Salute!
36A Prince Arthur Ave.
Located in a classic Victorian house, you can dine or have a drink all year long on its delightful back patio; inside there’s the cocktail bar, delicious Mediterranean bites, and shareable plates – making it a perfect place to enjoy togetherness in a comfortable and charming atmosphere.
158 Cumberland St.
Informal neighborhood scene for when you have a taste for Mexican: catch-of-the-day tacos, burritos, tequila. Their seviche is excellent and so are their margaritas. A younger crowd where the experience will not break the bank. Perfect for 2 or if you want to have a couples’ or family get-together.
111 Dupont St.
Amber Restaurant and Bar
Known for its all-white interior dining room, Amber gives you a choice of separate spaces depending on your mood, whether your inclination is to boisterous or discreet. If you’re just browsing you can enjoy a cocktail at its indoor bar; if you’re looking for an intimate space for dining you’ll find it; the outdoor patio also has a bar and is fun and upbeat (especially an in-spot during TFF). And you may bump into a number of celebrities any time of the year; and some major partying goes on there all year long. The decor is Asian – lots of palms and bamboo and moody lighting.
For a perfect evening…
Start with one of the above for dining and then take a romantic stroll down Philosopher’s Walk (it runs between the ROM and the Royal Conservatory of Music), then head for the Shangri-La Hotel (188 University Ave.) and enjoy the live music and a nightcap at the bar. Beautiful. More beautiful: Book an overnight stay at this 5-star gem of a hotel.
The Morning After
The Avenue Diner
This classic artifact of almost 70 years at its Ave. and Dav. location welcomes you with a hot breakfast any time of day; so just meander in there anytime, have a seat at one of its tiny tables or at the counter and cherish the moment. Look around and you’ll see photos of all the stars who have dined there too. It’s a wonderful old-school eatery where you feel at home and the food is consistently good.
Just like the name intimates, this is the stereotypical old-fashioned diner right out of Yorkville’s yesteryear: unpretentious, charming, good conventional Canadian fare. Simple. You can get breakfast and/or wine anytime, sit out on the rooftop patio – in the summer it’s a breezy, comfortable place in the shade with lots of umbrellas – and there is bottomless coffee.
ONE Restaurant at the Hazelton Hotel
Best breakfast ever! And it opens at 6:30 for the early birds. This is a stunning (Yabu Pushelberg) dining venue; decor and cuisine true to the calibre of its founder, Executive Chef Mark McEwan. Classic French and Italian cuisine is paired with fresh, local Ontario produce. If you’re lucky enough to be a guest at the hotel you can order from this fabulous menu 24/7. You and your partner will love the beautiful tree-lined candle-lit patio.
When You Don’t Want to be Seen
The legendary Roof Lounge on the 18th Floor is the perfect spot – classy, intimate, romantic. Take in the beautiful sunset if you get a chance. There’s also a fireplace and lounge when the occasion arises for a more intimate chat.
4 Avenue Rd.
Understated, charming decor; peaceful ambiance and year-round patio.
3 Charles St. E.
Blu Ristorante & Lounge
Excellent Italian cuisine; live, soft music, warmly lit stone walls and cozy seating make it an atmosphere that is sweet and romantic.
Life Happens – “Conscious Uncoupling”
And when it comes to “Conscious Uncoupling,” some places are better than others in tamping down the painful vibes, unfortunate tears and possible hysteria.
Nespresso Boutique Bar
This coffee shop is roomy (14,000 sq. ft.), busy, commercial. The atmosphere here is more business-like and airy with patio seating available; conventional fare / all-day breakfast; huge windows provide for people-watching and distraction, soft music for calming atmosphere. In one person’s review of the experience at Nespresso and I quote it ironically: “It’s a great place for a break [! ]… from shopping or to meet friends.”
…And now we’re back to Sorry….