Valentine’s Day: These Toronto restaurants are offering multi-course takeout meals, bagel brunches and charcuterie bouquets
There are several ways to react to the second Valentine’s Day of the pandemic: scattering rose petals and buying sweet treats for your person (to prove that yes, you still love them even after being stuck together for countless isolation periods); staging a protest holiday with your besties; sulking over a glass (or bottle) of wine all by your lonesome; or ignoring it altogether. However you choose to celebrate (or not), we recommend taking advantage of these limited-time menus, conveniently designed for takeout for those who still feel more comfortable dining at home.
Alo’s little sister operates in the happy middle ground between haute cuisine and familiar favourites. Case in point, this menu that features cheesy bread with roasted yeast butter, burrata with pistachio and lemon, strip loin with crab hollandaise, and ruby chocolate mousse with freeze dried raspberry and lemon balm. $80 per person. Order online for pickup.
Treat your beloved/friend/self to fresh pasta—with Nova Scotia lobster and cream sauce, no less. Also on the menu is a salad of radicchio, smoked beetroot and robiola (a soft Italian cheese); for the main, there’s a scrumptious chicken supreme with tomato, rapini and parmesan. And for dessert, there’s a dark chocolate torta with a molten-chocolate centre. There’s also the option to tack on a perfectly paired wine flight. $110 per person, $70 for the wine flight. Order online for pickup or delivery.
Primrose Bagel Company
The good people at Primrose say that bagels are a love language, and we’re inclined to agree. Their fully loaded bagel brunch spread includes a half-dozen bagels of your choice, a selection of schmears and spreads, a quarter-pound of gorgeous beet-citrus lox and smoked trout salad. It also comes with cold-pressed orange and grapefruit juice from The Village Juicery, and heart-shaped cookies from the Bake Shoppe. $75. Order online for pickup or delivery.
This isn’t just a menu—it’s a whole experience complete with a pre-recorded instructional food demo (don’t worry, it’s just light prep) and a live Q&A. For $230, you get two bottles of wine and three courses: a pasta crown stuffed with smoked ricotta and beets to start, brioche-crusted chicken or cauliflower, roasted mushrooms and herb salad. For dessert, there’s a chocolate raspberry tart and assorted chocolate bonbons. If that’s not fancy enough for you, there’s an option to add on luxe items like oysters, black truffles or prosecco. Order online for delivery (Toronto delivery is included in the rate).
This beloved cafe and bistro is rocking a serious appetizer spread to kick off their Valentine’s Day dinner: marinated seafood (octopus, mussels, shrimp), stracciatella with castelvetrano olives, a crisp celery and fennel salad, and sourdough with butter. The hearty main is beef cheek with peppercorn sauce, collards and twice-baked potatoes; for dessert, a chocolate custard pie with peanut butter cream. Tip: Donna’s has a stellar bottle shop, in case you’re looking to pair dinner with the perfect wine. $80 per person. Order online for pickup.
For an uncompromising vegetarian option, look no further than Gia, a mostly plant-based restaurant known for its creative takes on Italian cuisine. Start with Barese-style potato focaccia, baby gem salad with enoki mushrooms and crispy shallots, and sautéed rapini with roasted garlic olive oil and peperoncino. For the main, choose from aged gouda and porcini agnolotti, vegan lasagna with cashew bechamel or spaghetti funghi with Tuscan kale. Wrap up with the chef’s (vegan) surprise for dessert. $120 for two. Order online for pickup or local delivery.
Inspired by their favourite things to eat in Montreal, the couple behind this supper club is doing up a French Canadian brunch extravaganza. It includes a loaded smoked salmon platter with all the fixings, like house-cured salmon and bagels; house-smoked brisket with rye, yellow mustard, pickles and coleslaw; and a pillowy sour cream coffee cake with cinnamon sugar. You’ll need to reheat the brisket, but everything else is chilled and ready to serve. $90 for two, $170 for four, with the option to add on a whole gruyere and caramelized onion quiche and/or French toast (perfect for little ones). Order online for pickup or delivery.
This modern Middle Eastern kitchen is serving a stunning three-course prix fixe. Start with labneh adorned with honey, sumac and baharat-roasted salsify (among other things) before moving on to a main course of kreplach dumplings, smoked eggplant, a roasted garlic tofu skewer and other goodies, then finishing with baked meringue almond cream and pistachio ice cream for dessert. There’s even an option to add on a bouquet of flowers. $65 per person, plus $55 or $105 for flowers. Order online for pickup or delivery.
An ultra-creative special occasion menu is par for the course at this much-loved Danforth spot. Choose your own adventure from a bevy of a la carte options: charcuterie, secret recipe meatballs with garlic bread, oysters with mignonette and hot sauce, or a cheeky “throuple” chocolate cake with ganache and white chocolate frosting. Round it out with bubbles from their bottle shop or cute stuff from the shelves, like a ’zine of Tinder tips or a sexy crossword puzzle. $5-$42. Order online for pickup.
Maple Leaf Tavern
A seafood-forward feast for two is on offer from this Leslieville institution. There’s smoked Kolapore Springs trout choux, a Fogo Island snow crab salad, black truffle arancini with herb crema and whole sea bream with fennel and celery en papillote. Finish with a white chocolate raspberry bavarois, and make the night extra special by adding on a cheese and charcuterie board and/or wine, champagne or a cocktail flight. $195 for two. Order online for pickup.
Harken back to precedented times with an ’80s-inspired Valentine’s feast, complete with a link to a retro playlist. Start with a “lunchable” of miso kielbasa, house-made aged cheddar and crackers before diving into a seven-layer dip and a modern take on a Waldorf salad. Swedish meatball stroganoff is the main event, and for dessert, there’s miso chocolate bread pudding. You even get movie snacks for your screening of Dirty Dancing or When Harry Met Sally (VHS tapes not included). $130 for two. Order online for pickup or delivery.
Start your romantic (or otherwise) festivities with gruyere gougeres and endive salad with Beemster and honey croutons; then, tuck into a braised beef shank with truffle polenta and hand-cut macaroni cacio e pepe. There’s dessert, of course: cocoa meringue, assorted chocolates and a bottle of sparkling Pinot Meunier from Kew vineyards. $199 for two. Order online for pickup or delivery.
Lamesa gives you the option to customize a Filipino prix-fixe menu for two. For a small bite to start, choose from longanisa sausage wonton or adobo duxelle. The appetizer is milkfish rillette, chopped papaya salad or ukoy (crispy shrimp and vegetable fritters). Spicy kare kare noodles, chicken adobo with chimichurri and garlic purée, and lechon liempo (roasted pork belly) are your main event options. Cap it all off with mango or ube tiramisu. $60 per person. Call or email firstname.lastname@example.org to order for pickup.
Say it with… meat and cheese. For $125, get a meticulously arranged assortment of Italian salumi, fresh formaggi, grissini and other conveniently skewered bites. (There are also multi-course meals on offer if you need more than a charcuterie cone.) Order online for pickup.