It doesn’t always have to be white table cloths, Champagne and roses for Valentine’s Day. Not that there is anything wrong with being a little spoiled, but sometimes, all of this romantic pressure can put a damper on things.
Keep things casual, but still cute and cozy at these six places that might not be the first that come to mind when February 14 is just a few days away.
Cafe Koi has plenty of casual dishes perfect for sharing on Valentine’s Day.
Always a popular spot for a light bite over the lunch hour, Koi really comes alive at night with subdued lighting and either live tunes or a DJ spinning some great background music (Katy Perry need not apply). Have a cocktail and dance if you feel like it or just sit in the corner and be in your own little world. (1011 1 St. S.W., 403-206-1564, cafekoi.com, @koicalgary)
There’s something about nestling up with someone in front of a big fireplace with a hot chocolate in the dead of winter that feels romantic. Couple that with a stroll down the Memorial river path and some good ol’ fashioned hand-holding and you’ve got yourself a pretty nice evening for two. (3303 3 Ave. N.W., 403-283-6820, extremebean.ca)
If you’re at the point in your relationship that it doesn’t matter if you have garlic breath, then your love is clearly unconditonal. This teeny spot in Mission is often overlooked, but is as cozy a room as they come. Couples that eat garlic together stay together … and also successfully keep vampires at bay. (2206 4 St. S.W., 403-228-0866, garlicclove.net)
Built into an old theatre, The Ironwood boasts a lot of character. Catching dinner and a show is easy here since they have musicians taking the stage almost every night of the week. The food is simple and approachable so if your other half is not quite as food-adventurous as you are, then a date night here is a good choice. (1229 9 Ave. S.E., 403-269-5581, ironwoodstage.ca, @IronwoodStage)
This sushi restaurant is pure fun. If you’re the kind of couple who likes to be entertained and have a laugh or two then this place is for you. There may not be candles or a violin in the background, but there is a Kiss Dragon Roll for two. (5005 Dalhousie Dr. N.W., 403-452-8389, kinjosushiandgrill.com)
Head out to Prince’s Island Park in the early evening to catch the sun setting. Set your stroll on the southwest exit of the park and head up to the quiet corner of 2nd Avenue and 7th Street S.W. to find this lower-level restaurant. Candles, comfy banquets and spicy, fragrant dishes make for a great dinner for two. (739 2 Ave. S.W., 587-353-0733, spice7.ca)
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