Rooms with Views: Romantic Restaurants for Valentine’s Day in Vancouver

Sourced from The Boathouse website

Whenever I return to Vancouver from a trip, I’m always struck by the phenomenal scenery and views of the city that I often take for granted during my day-to-day life here. It takes being away, as well as special occasions, like dinner out, that make me see and appreciate Vancouver anew.

Luckily, there are many excellent restaurants with locations that make them perfect for admiring what the city has to offer, whether it’s a waterfront view or sightlines of the mountains. Twinkly lights, blue gray mountains, and shimmery water – paired with great food and drink – make for an unforgettably romantic evening, especially with someone special.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, here are five recommendations for restaurants with views for the 14th, or for your next date night:

LIFT Bar Grill View
333 Menchions Mews

Sourced from LIFT website

I lived in Coal Harbour for over a dozen years and loved the location because not only was the whole of the downtown core nearby, but Stanley Park and its seawall, and the Coal Harbour marina and seawall were only a few blocks away. LIFT is perched on the water, with floor-to-ceiling window views from the dining room of the surrounding area, including the North Shore mountains and the downtown core (eg Canada Place). The patio space is also one of the best in the city. The menu showcases superb west coast cuisine, with items like Salt Spring mussels with garlic, bacon, leek, and white wine cream, tempura prawns with spicy mayo, and mains like kuterra salmon with a Mediterranean bean medley and daily vegetables.

Photo Credit: Tara Lee

This year’s Valentine’s Day menu is $85 per couple (plus tax and tip) and begins with half a dozen Ocean Wise oysters with red wine mignonette and freshly shaved horseradish before moving onto a spicy tuna roll with grilled pineapple and avocado sweet soy and a 10 oz AAA tenderloin with lobster, truffle tagliatelle and winter vegetables.

Photo Credit: Tara Lee

Choose from the dessert list (eg brandied cherry dark chocolate mousse), as well as enjoy two chocolate dipped strawberries.

Salmon House on the Hill
2229 Folkestone Way, West Vancouver

Sourced from Salmon House on the Hill website

I have a soft spot for Salmon House since it’s the first restaurant I went to for a proper, romantic dinner date. The restaurant has been around for forty years, which is impressive given the challenges of running a dining establishment. Located in West Vancouver, Salmon House overlooks the expanse of downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park, as well as Burrard Inlet. Windows wrap up around the dining area, and its wood accented, west coast styled space makes for a very welcoming eating experience.

Salmon House showcases west coast seafood; Sourced from Salmon House website

The food is seafood and local focused, with all sorts of excellent starter options, like smoked wild BC salmon on rocket salad; and togarashi seared rare sashimi albacore tuna with quinoa salad. Mains range from alder grilled Haida Gwaii smoked sablefish with a crab and spinach dumpling and a vegetable medley, served with lime coconut broth; to pan seared Fraser Valley duck breast with goat cheese potato purée, baby spinach sauté, warm sour cherry compote, and honey passion fruit vinaigrette. If you want to go all out, share the seafood tower for two. Molten chocolate tart with raspberry ganache and caramel Bailey’s gelato would be a classic and very satisfying last course. On February 14, there will be a special three-course menu, with details to be released this weekend on the restaurant’s website.

Beach Bay Café and Patio
1193 Denman Street

Sourced from Beach Bay Cafe website

One of my favourite go-to romantic spots in the city is English Bay. It’s lovely in the summer with all the crowds and the buzz, but I also really like it in the winter time since you really get to appreciate the natural beauty of the beach area. Beach Bay is situated right across from English Bay, giving you great views of the ocean front. The dining room is bright and airy, with a contemporary design aesthetic.

Sourced from Beach Bay Cafe website

The food focuses on fresh, local ingredients, with items such as wild salmon poke, with avocado, charred scallion, pickled ginger, and sesame cracker; seared arctic char with beetroot, pea purée, crème fraiche, and trout roe; and grilled beef tri-tip with roasted squash, hand cut fries, corn salsa, and demi glace. The curated wine list also celebrates the best of the local.

Sourced from Beach Bay Cafe website

The Valentine’s Day menu ($49 per person) consists of four courses, starting with a kusshi oyster amuse bouche, followed by grilled octopus with shaved fennel, pickled fennel, lime, and herbs; Salt Spring mussels and manila clams with house made pasta and vodka rose sauce; roast pork loin with seared scallops, fingerling potatoes, kale, and apricot relish; and, finally, chocolate truffles, chocolate strawberries, and chocolate mousse.

The Boathouse Restaurant
1305 Arbutus Street

Sourced from the Boathouse Kits Facebook page

Go for a walk along stunning Kitsilano Beach before heading to dinner at The Boathouse Restaurant. This chain, started in Vancouver in 1981, specializes in seafood and in unbeatable location dining. I really like their English Bay location, but am a particular fan of their Kits restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling windows that are ideal for catching the beach sunset as you enjoy your meal.

Sesame crusted ahi tuna and coconut pacific cod; Sourced from the Boathouse Facebook page

The menu is accessible and consistently delicious, with crowd pleasers such as Thai crab cakes with lemon aioli and mango salsa to start, as well as simply grilled wild sockeye salmon with roasted potatoes, seasonal vegetables, pernod beurre blanc, and your choice of sauce accompaniment for a main. Other mains include crab stuffed prawns with wild rice and seasonal veggies, as well as baby back ribs with smoky BBQ sauce.

The Valentine’s menu is a $49 or $59 per person three course menu with a choice of starter (eg coconut shrimp), entrée selections like an 8 oz prime rib or fire grilled sirloin and snow crab, and three desserts to choose from (eg New York cheesecake with berries).

The Observatory and Altitudes Bistro
Grouse Mountain, 6400 Nancy Greene Way

The local mountains have had an incredible season this year with our continuous snowfall, making them truly into winter wonderlands. Grouse Mountain itself makes for a fabulous Valentine’s Day idea since you can go skiing/snowboarding together, as well as skating on their Mountaintop pond, and snowshoeing (the Light Walk is a magical stroll).

Sourced from The Observatory website

The Observatory is the ultimate in romantic fine dining. Basically, you’re in a mountaintop Chalet at the peak of Vancouver (3700 feet), overlooking the city. With advance reservations, admission to Grouse Maintain is included. Unfortunately, Valentine’s Day itself is booked up, but there are still times available for the nights before and after the 14th for those wanting to celebrate on other days.

The kind of local, seasoning cooking you can expect; Sourced from The Observatory website

The kitchen excels at the local and the seasonal. Begin with BC side stripe prawns with crispy pork, sea urchin vinaigrette, and carrot top pesto, and then sup on Shaw Farms pork with rye spatzle with sauerkraut and bacon or Pacific Provider salmon with ikura, radish, black garlic dashi, and seaweed fritter. Conclude your meal with the Golden Ears cheese platter or chocolate beet cake with fennel sorbet.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a similar breathtaking 3700 feet high view, but somewhere more casual, Altitudes Bistro on Grouse Mountain is a good option. It’s found on the upper floor of the Peak Chalet, with tables available on a first-come first-served basis. You’ll need an Alpine Experience ticket or Annual Local’s pass to access the Chalet.

The menu is accessible and satisfying with grilled marinated flank steak tacos, truffled mac and cheese, BBQ ribs with jalapeno and corn bread pudding, and an albacore tuna Vietnamese baguette sandwich. The chocolate pudding with chocolate, cinnamon, and whipped cream is heavenly high above the city.

Note: Make your reservations at these establishments as soon as possible as they are booking up quickly. Consider also going before or after the 14th to celebrate your love when the restaurants are less busy.

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