Valentine’s Day 2014: eight delicious ways to celebrate (or ignore) the heart-obsessed holiday

Valentine’s Day 2014: eight delicious ways to celebrate (or ignore) the heart-obsessed holiday

(Image: Renée Suen) The Chase’s elegant dining room would make any proposal memorable (Image: Renée Suen)

For a day devoted to blissful sentiments, Valentine’s Day certainly causes a lot of headaches. Participating in the love fest can feel artificial, but opting out seems sad. A dinner reservation is a happy compromise: it’s appropriately festive, but it doesn’t have to involve cinnamon hearts and plush toys. Here are eight delicious ways to mark the holidaywhether you’re a lovesick romantic or a die-hard cynic.

For Capital-R Romance: Geraldine
This candlelit room is perfect for a drawn-out dinner. The four-course Valentine’s meal includes a sexy yet sustaining mix of oysters and osso buco, and the bar stays open until 2 a.m.
Feb. 14. $65. 1564 Queen St. W., 647-352-8815. Book a table »

For a First Date: Extended F’Amelia
V-Day can put pressure on a fledgling relationship. F’Amelia’s next-door wine bar strikes the ideal balance between casualness and cozy intimacy with fresh-shucked oysters, charcuterie platters and Italian wines by the glass.
Feb. 13-15. 12 Amelia St., 416-323-0666. Book at table »

For a Group Hang: Carbon Bar
There are still a few February 14 spots left at this buzzy Nota Bene–run restaurant on Queen East. The four-course prix-fixe includes Southern-style split pea fritters, a massive multi-meat barbeque platter and, for dessert, a slice of banana toffee cream pie.
Feb. 14. $59. 99 Queen St. E., 416-947-7000. Book a table »

For a Subcontinental Feast: Pukka
Owners Derek Valleau and Harsh Chawla have built a quiet, cozy eatery on St. Clair West. Their V-Day tasting menu includes special-edition versions of their elevated Indian dishes, including sumptuous lobster byriani and sweet tamarind-glazed chicken tikka. For $40 extra, they’ll pick out French, Italian and Canadian wine pairings to match.
Feb. 14-16. $110. 778 St. Clair W., 416-342-1906. Book a table »

For Uptown Lovers: Origin North
The North York outpost of Claudio Aprile’s avant-garde tapas chain is serving a special four-course meal featuring classic dishes like steak, oysters and lobster royale. An extra $20 buys the ultimate romantic gesture: a bouquet of flowers delivered straight to the table.
Feb. 14-15. $59. 2901 Bayview Ave., Unit #3000, 416-479-8833. Book a table »

For Popping the Question: The Chase
It’s definitely a splurge, and you may have to settle for an early seating, but it’ll be worth it. The decor oozes elegance, the city views are spectacular and the seafood-focused menu is appropriately sumptuous. Your second-best bet? The Chase Fish and Oyster, the more casual seafood bar downstairs.
10 Temperance St., 647-348-7000. Book a table at The Chase » Or at The Chase Fish and Oyster»

For the Whole Family: El Catrin
The Distillery restaurant is a riot of noise, colour and Day of the Dead paraphernalia. It’s also one of few Mexican spots in the city to offer a kid’s menu. For adults, the $60 V-Day prix-fixe buys a glass of cava and a choice of ceviche, taco and main dish, plus mini donuts for dessert.
Feb. 14. $60. 18 Tank House Ln., 416-203-2121. Book a table »

For V-Day Haters (and Burger Lovers): The P&L Burger
You’re unlikely to be confronted with sappy couples and cutesy decorations at Parts and Labour’s new Queen West burger counter. The menu may be small—no desserts, no booze—but P&L’s ground-chuck burgers have been voted the best in the city.
507 Queen St. W., 416-603-9919