Food & Drink

10 new no-reservation restaurants and bars perfect for last-minute Valentine’s Day dates

This one goes out to all the lovers who have left everything very last-minute, yet again. You know who you are. Here, 10 new restaurants and bars that only take walk-ins—perfect for people who didn’t plan ahead.

Assembly Chef’s Hall

111 Richmond St. W., 647-557-5993,

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The massive Assembly Chef's Hall is finally open. Here's everything you should order
Food & Drink

The massive Assembly Chef’s Hall is finally open. Here’s everything you should order

What: The Financial District’s new 18,000-square-foot fully-licensed food emporium with 18 vendors from some of the city’s top chefs and restaurants, plus a beer hall and a wine bar. Seating situation: You will most definitely have to share a table with people you don’t know. Perfect for: Directly-after-work dates for Bay Streeters who can basically wheel their ergonomic chair around and fall into the food hall. Lucky last-minuters may even score a spot at Tashi’s stand-up sushi bar: the 30-minute meal is the ideal dinner for awkward Tinder dates or hard-workers who have to get back to the office.    

Express Bar

269 Dunn Ave., no phone,

What: The party in the back to Superpoint Express’ business in the front. Seating situation: Four-tops and bar seats. Perfect for: first dates, or if you’re at that point in your relationship where you’re comfortable enough with making a night out of pizza slices and cans of Labatt Crystal.    

Konjiki Ramen

5051 Yonge St., no phone,

What: The first North American location of Tokyo’s Michelin-endorsed ramen shop. Seating situation: Be prepared to line up., but this will give you time to make a “canoodling” joke that will hopefully come off as endearing. Once you get in, there are a few tables-for-two. The rest is bar seating. Perfect for: People willing to wait in line for noodle soup, and those who are comfortable enough in front of each other to get all slurpy. Note: Konjiki isn’t licensed, so you won’t find any liquid courage here (only clam-based broth).    


60 Kensington Ave., no phone, @juanm0t0

What: Leemo Han’s (Hanmoto) new Asian–South American restaurant in Kensington’s recently renovated Cold Tea Seating situation: Be prepared to share a communal table with strangers. Perfect for: Anything except first dates, because leading someone down a creepy hallway to a door marked with nothing but a red light could set off some alarms.    


163 Spadina Ave., 1st floor, 416-260-3444,

What: Alo’s more-casual (but still fancy AF) sister diner downstairs. Seating situation: Cozy booths and bar stools. Perfect for: People who would like to be dining at Alo but aren’t in the position to drop serious coin on a dinner for two.    

Pinky’s Ca Phe

53 Clinton St., no phone, @pinkys_caphe


What: A Vietnamese-diner-meets-snack-bar from the people behind Hanmoto. Seating situation: Four-tops and bar seating. Perfect for: The moody room is equally conducive to romance or bacchanalian behaviour. Or both.    

Mythology Diner

1265 Queen St. W., no phone,

What: Parkdale’s new vegan diner from chef Doug McNish. Seating situation: Lots of two-tops and bar stools. Perfect for: Vegans. Or people who want to treat their vegan dates to meat- and dairy-free nachos. No matter what their dietary restrictions, everyone should have access to good nachos.    

Poor Romeo

1029 Gerrard St. E., no phone, @poor_romeo_bar

What: Pinkerton’s slightly divier beer-and-burger joint across the street. Seating situation: Split between four-tops and bar seating. Perfect for: Getting crunked on boozy slushies and throwing back some smash burgers with a bunch of your best single friends for Palentine’s extravaganza.    


1279 Bloor St. W., 416-535-1717,

What: The Emerson’s sister red-sauce joint. Seating situation: Four-tops decked out in checkered tablecloths, and a few bar stools. Perfect for: Pulling off that spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp.    

The Cheesecake Factory

3401 Dufferin St., 416-781-4477,

What: You know what. Seating situation: Table of all kinds. So many tables. And chairs made of the most-comfortable chair-making material: wicker. Perfect for: Those in rock-solid relationships. Relationships that can withstand a potential three-hour lineup in the middle of a crowded mall. Yes, those kind of relationships. Also good for people who like cheesecake.


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