Top 5 Romantic Asian Restaurants in Toronto
By: Andrea Hayley-Sankaran
1. Miku — For Premium Seafood and Aburi Sushi
105-10 Bay Street (at Queen’s Quay, entrance through RBC Waterpark Place lobby)
Reservations: 416-716-1501 Online
Friday, 11:30 am – 10:30 pm
Saturday, 12:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Sunday, 12pm – 10 pm
Monday-Thursday, 11:30 am – 10 pm
The decor at Miku is stunning and modern, with soaring ceilings and white furniture trimmed with black. Each menu item is presented with the care and attention to detail that you would expect from a premium Japanese restaurant.
At Miku, you will find something very, very special, a “flame-seared” raw seafood sushi, known as Aburi. The innovative technique creates new textures while enhancing natural flavours.
Miku is offering a special Valentine’s Day Kaiseki (traditional multi-course Japanese dinner) menu from February 14-16 for dinner only. See the menu here.
The first course is a Kaiseki Zensai, featuring an array of fresh ingredients and flavours served in a cute peach bento box.
The second course is Roasted Halibut with Wild Garlic Miso Glaze. The third is the chef’s signature Aburi Oshi premium sushi. Fourth is Wagyu Short Rib served with Yukari pomme paillasson, soy shiitake gel, charred baby onions, caulini, and pin peppercorn mirin jus.
Finally, to complete the evening’s romancing, enjoy a Ruby Chocolate Fondant with strawberry ice cream and hibiscus.
And no worries if you miss Valentine’s here. The daily menu offers a number of options that are just as special.
You can still have a unique kaiseki experience of Aburi cuisine, or a menu of the chef’s favourites served in fine Japanese pottery and plate ware.
Or if you prefer, create your individualized experience with appetizers, small plates, sustainable seafood platter, oysters on the half shell, entrees, and/or individual rolls.
2. Lake Inez – For Sharing Plates and Craft Drinks
1471 Gerrard Street, East Toronto
Friday, 6 pm – 2 am
Saturday, 5 pm – 2 am
Sunday, 5 pm – 12 am
Wednesday-Thursday, 6 pm – 12 am
Go to Lake Inez for classy-cute decor—a piano and all—in what looks like a converted house, with an eclectic pan-Asian menu inspired by French cooking techniques that adventurous eaters will love.
The food here is designed for sharing. Standouts include Fried Green Tomatoes (with a light, crispy, coating of puffed rice and quinoa), Pork Fried Rice, Beef Tartare with Nori, “succulent and so juicy” Wings with teriyaki and Ontario red plum sauce, Tuna Tataki, Pork Ribs, and an Asian Style Sausage Roll.
A fan favourite is definitely the Chicken Liver Mousse. A customer said she: “would 100% go back for. This was the game-changer for me. Such a smooth, rich and flavourful mouse and the accompaniment of shmaltzy sourdough and the onion jam were top notch!”
Expect an exciting collection of unique cocktails, including a zesty South African blood orange-tinged one.
Do be careful though, because apparently, the “special cocktails” come with 3 ounces of alcohol.
This place is also notable for their natural wines (wine from the Canary Islands even) and 14 Ontario craft beers on tap.
Finally, what could be more romantic than a sweet Strawberry Shortcake for dessert?
3. Dailo — For “New Asian Cuisine” Downtown
503 College Street
Tuesday to Sunday, 5:30 pm – 11:30 pm
If you are looking to show love and respect to your loved one this Valentine’s Day, then this is the place. Dailo is a Cantonese term of endearment to show love and respect to a “big brother,” and love permeates the culture here.
If you’ve never been, then you are in for a culinary treat worth this restaurant’s 18th spot on Canada’s Top 100 restaurant list.
Dailo’s Chef Nick Liu grew up in Canada the son of Hakka parents. His self-proclaimed “New Asian Cuisine” is predominantly Chinese, yet made in the classical French tradition.
Westerners especially will be thrilled by how Chef Liu has updated ancient favourites to suit a Western palate, as well as his respect for local and sustainable ingredients.
Pescatarians, vegetarians, or even vegans need not fear this Chinese restaurant either; it’s holistic and friendly as it gets in that department. You can even satisfy dietary restrictions such as nut-free and gluten-free.
Would you like to try Roasted Penang Pork Chop with sautéed water spinach, shrimp chips, pickled papaya, umami bone broth topped with a fried egg?
Or you may enjoy Burmese Tofu, with mushroom duxelle black bean sauce, wing beans, and pear pickled honey mushrooms tossed in a Sichuan mustard vinaigrette topped with chilli peppers.
But if it’s the Singapore Chilli Crab you are after, it’s by special request only, so speak up when placing your reservation for your special Valentine.
Do be warned though that this is not the place to whisper sweet nothings into your lover’s ear. Dailo has more of an upbeat and exciting vibe. However, there may be some cozy nooks upstairs that are suitable for quiet conversation.
4. 360 CN Tower Restaurant – For an Unforgettable Experience
CN Tower 290 Bremner Boulevard
Daily, 11 am – 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm – 10 pm
If you haven’t been here yet, then a romantic dinner evening at 360 CN Tower Restaurant would make for a perfect unforgettable first time.
While the food is excellent, the 360 CN Tower Restaurant is about having a 5-star fine dining experience, (emphasis on experience) with a distinctly Canadian flair.
Imagine that you are walking to your table, and the city below appears through glass floor tiles. And if rotating as you eat wasn’t enough to take it all in, you can walk onto an outdoor viewing deck to peer at the city lights to your heart’s content.
The Prix Fixe menu is popular and offers plenty of choices for starters, mains, and desserts. Choose from two or three courses. Add on a la carte side dishes or even specialty mains, such as Prince Edward Island Grass-fed 45 Day-Aged AAA Steaks or Poached Atlantic Lobster.
The starter Duck Confit and Bosc Pear salad starter gets rave reviews, as do the Aged Roast Beef Prime Rib, Braised Lamb Shank, Pork Tenderloin, and Seared Fogo Island Cod for your main course.
If you make it in time for Valentines, check out their special menu with optional wine pairing.
5. Kamasutra Fine Indian Restaurant
1522 Bayview Avenue
Monday – Friday: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm; 5 pm – 10 pm
Saturday – Sunday: 12 pm – 3 pm; 5 pm – 10 pm
According to restaurant owner Vandita Verma, Kāma” which is one of the three goals of Hindu life, means sensual pleasure, and “sūtra” literally means a thread or line that holds things together.
However, the Kama Sutra also happens to be an ancient Indian guidebook to the art of finding a life partner, maintaining one’s love life, and generally enhancing pleasure in all forms.
It is not surprising, then, that Kamasutra offers a dinner for 2 called “Lovers Thali.”
What’s particularly special about this thali, or a platter of items, is that after the chef’s choice of appetizers, you get to pick your 3 main dishes, and for an extra charge, you can add prawns and biryani.
Kamasutra is famous for its Butter Chicken (moist chicken pieces slow-cooked in a flavorful, buttery sauce), its Saag Lamb (oven-roasted lamb cooked over a slow fire in a braise of seasoned, tempered spinach), and Chilli Garlic Prawns.
The decor here is elegant and upscale, with evening candlelight, chandeliers overhead, white table linens, and fresh flowers on each table.
If succulent, aromatic spices, and an allure of forbidden romance, is what you’re feeling, then Kamasutra might be just the place!
Andrea Hayley-Sankaran is a passionate vegetarian chef and digestive health coach who helps people with sore tummies find relief through the self-healing wisdom of Ayurveda. Andrea founded her blog, Buttered Veg, to teach people how to use food as medicine to nourish both mind and body. You can find her @buttered.veg