Special occasions cry out for that just right spot, the place you start looking forward to on the morning of the reservation. It’s going to be a memorable night. The lights are low. The volume is kept to a minimum and the menu encourages a shared forkful and close conversation. It might be posh and contemporary or a historical haven, but either way, romance finds a way. Here are Winnipeg’s five finest spots.
There’s something truly magical about watching the twinkling lights of Winnipeg’s Old Market Square on a frosty night from a window-side seat at French-inspired Peasant Cookery. Go completely overboard on dinner in this Exchange District favourite, starting with mussels and fries, moving on to tourtière and finishing with chocolate pot de crème. Then take a seat in the cozy lounge with its vintage fireplace and marble floor for a stiff Maple Manhattan made with Forty Creek Copper Pot Rye and a splash of maple syrup.
The Palm Lounge
A stroll through the historic lobby of the century-old Fort Garry hotel delivers lovers to the Palm Lounge, arguably Winnipeg’s finest cocktail destination. Settle in to plush club chairs arranged beneath three tiers of windows, a domed ceiling, and gold accents and listen to live music every night. Order sharing plates—perhaps the Italian antipasto plate or the brûlée chicken liver parfait—and a classic cocktail on the first stop of your romantic evening.
Resto Gare Bistro
They say French is the language of love, so for a night of romance, let your server at Resto Gare recite the specials en français. Not to worry, they’re bilingual, so you can switch over to English at any point. Dinner is served in the traditional dining room that began life as the St. Boniface train station in 1913. Plush scarlet draperies, dark wood accents, and twinkling overhead lights set the scene for a feast of plateau de fruits de mer or Chateaubriand steak for two. For a fun finish to the evening, take a nightcap in the converted train car.
Love is a mysterious thing and this restaurant pairs wonderfully with that sentiment. At Sous Sol, there is no phone, no sign, and your treads downstairs will certainly be tentative as you wonder if you’ve come to the right place. Your reward is a cozy space, lit primarily by candlelight, with antique mismatched chairs and equally mismatched china. Roasted bone marrow, mushroom ragout, and smoked duck breast are standouts, along with oysters every Thursday.
Café Ce Soir
Loyal followers of Café Ce Soir love the snug space (just over 20 seats) that serves up reimagined classic French dishes with Prairie twists—namely bison tartare and Saskatoon berry tarts. While everything is house made and outstanding, it’s the starters that encourage intimate sharing. Think escargot in Parmesan and garlic butter, blood sausage with fried potatoes, Granny Smith apples and deep-fried parsnip, and a particular treat offered by few other Winnipeg eateries: frog legs. Always leave room for the crème brûlée—chef and owner Cam Tran recently released his first cookbook extoling the virtues of the classic finisher.
Find the rest of Canada’s most romantic restaurants, here.
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