The right restaurant can be your best wingman. Where you go speaks to what kind of person you are while your conversation flow is influenced by funky menu items, personable staff, and a lively atmosphere.
First dates will either be awkward or the most exciting and unexpected outing you can ask for so take control of where you go to ensure it sways towards the latter.
Uncovering the best first date restaurants to break the ice is key after a successful right swipe or after you muster up the courage to ask out the person who has been distracting you all summer.
With its laid-back vibe and unpretentious menu, Mamie Taylor’s is the perfect spot for your first date. The vibrant room in bustling Chinatown is filled with antique-store finds, so there’s always something to talk about if the conversation flags. Keep it casual in the bar lounge with vintage old-timey cocktails faithfully restored and small bites, or slip into a quiet back corner of the dining room for modern American comfort food served by candlelight.
If the date is going well: Pop around the corner to London Pub for live music and dancing or drop by recently opened Torafuku if you’re keen to keep the food adventure going.
Address: 251 East Georgia Street
Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., Friday to Saturday: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday to Sunday brunch: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Great ice-breaking appetizers? Check. Beer and bellinis? Check. A stylish yet unpretentious space to socialize? Check. Desserts that are made for sharing? Check. Mere minutes from a romantic walk on the beach? Check. If you’re living in Kitsilano or Point Grey, Browns will do a fine job taking the pressure off of your first date.
If the date is going well: and you want to go for a second dessert before home, walk across the street to True Confections to satisfy her sweet tooth.
Address: 3651 West 10th Avenue
Hours: Monday to Tuesday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Wednesday to Friday: 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday: 10 a.m. to 12 a.m., Sunday: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Looking to showcase your dark and edgy side? That you are hip to the scene and can mix it up? Then dating expert Andrea Hill highly recommends that you take your first date downtown to The Refinery. It’s an upstairs venue with a downtown vibe. Exposed brick walls, intimate little corners to connect in, and some damn tasty custom cocktails to sip while asking your date thought provoking getting-to-know-you questions. They also offer one of the best B.C. wine lists in town.
If the date is going well: You can change the scenery with limited effort by going downstairs to the conjoined Sip Lounge for a cocktail. If you want to dance with class, Twelve West and Cabana Lounge are steps away along Granville Street.
Address: 1115 Granville Street
Hours: Monday to Friday: 11 a.m. to late, Wednesday to Sunday: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The Score on Davie is the ultimate icebreaker. You probably most know them for their outrageous Caesar creations, their extremely personable staff, amazingly good “pub food”, and the crazy events they like to throw. If the sunshine is still out but the weather is a little nippy, ask to borrow a blanket and sombrero and cuddle up with your date as you share a Caesar. Any game night evening the place will be packed so if your date is a sports fan, you’ll be able to test her true dedication.
If the date is going well: and you want to score a more intimate end to the date, walk a few steps down to Lolitas for their late night happy hour and their amazing selection of cocktails.
Address: 1262 Davie Street
Hours: Monday to Friday: 11 a.m. to late, Saturday to Sunday: 11 a.m. to late
If you can’t grab a seat on the awesome patio, walk inside to find a meld of rustic and contemporary decor with a comfortable yet upscale feel. If you duck out of work early for your date, you’ll catch an unbeatable Appy Hour with $3 drinks and $6 appy’s. If it happens to be a Friday and the date is going so well that you both lose track of time, the place transforms into #PreDrinksFridays and a live DJ jumps on from 9PM until Late.
If the date is going well: By this point, the night is your oyster as you have excellent options at The Parlour or New Oxford both one block away in each direction of Hamilton Street.
Address: 1119 Hamilton Street
Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday to Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to late
Calabash Bistro is a one-of-a-kind gem guaranteed to warm up your date. Their menu is described as “food from the soul, from your heart. Food your grandma used to make.” This home cooked element will make you both feel right at home as if you stayed in. Order a rum flight or have a Dark and Stormy drink to break the ice and start talking about your past or planned trips to Cuba. The major icebreaker is the nightly entertainment that features live performances of reggae, hip-hop, funk, and poetry. You can enjoy it in their cozy downstairs lounge with beautiful artwork on the walls mesmerizing you as you walk to the washrooms to freshen up.
If the date is going well: and if you choose to duck out for a dimly lit nightcap, you have The Diamond and Wildebeest a couple blocks away respectively.
Address: 428 Carrall Street
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 5 p.m. to late, Saturday to Sunday Brunch: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Taking a curving flight of stairs down from busy Granville Street into the dark underground space One Under inhabits hints at the uniqueness and in-the-know exclusivity the food and entertainment hub provides. If you want to test how sporty (or outgoing) your date is, a round of golf is a perfect way to break the ice. Share a pizza or charcuterie while you sip on their signature drinks which are the One Under, an updated Old Fashioned with White Owl whiskey, and the Seahawk, tanqueray gin with smashed basil and grapefruit bitters.
If the date is going well: One Under is quite central so if the date is going well you can walk down to the Fairmont Lobby lounge for some live music and a cocktail or to the newly opened Royal Dinette on Burrard.
Address: 476 Granville Street
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to midnight, Sunday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Choosing this dimly lit, moody vintage ambience with bamboo and thatch canopies surrounded by Polynesian masks, puffer fish lights and custom tiki carvings is a sure way to make it feel like you met on a beach.
If the unique ambiance isn’t enough, their cocktail list is perhaps the most unique in the city. If you are both brave enough to share the “Mystery Bowl” or their “Volcano Bowl” that appears amidst smoke, thunder and lightning…it’s game over.
If the date is going well: and if the cocktails have turned the date into an adventurous one hop over to General Public on 17th and Main which has a DJ on weekends and the funkiest sushi in the city.
An absolute Kits and Point Grey classic, The Eatery has been operated by Owner Randy Lum since 1983 and if you scan the famous washroom photo gallery you’ll spot local celebrities like Vikram Vij. This place is known for its unique sushi in a unique atmosphere with unique décor – it’s simply one-of-a-kind. You couldn’t pick a better sushi joint to break the ice as the notoriously friendly staff or Lum himself will come around to chat and lighten up the mood. Sharing a mojito mason jar and a couple plates of the funkiest sushi you’ll ever see is your best bet. Come on a weekend and have a DJ help you spin game and if you get friendly with the staff and stick around, you might even get some “Miso Horny” merchandise to take home.
If the date is going well: and Lum’s charm wears off you are on Broadway so you have plenty of bar-hopping to do and if you want to dance, The Colony usually has a pretty good dance party going on weekends alongside live music, trivia, and comedy on select nights.
Address: 3431 West Broadway Street
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 4:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Saturday to Sunday: 11 a.m. to late
Miss Me Yet has a similar funky approach to The Eatery (and it’s conveniently across the street) with its cool aesthetics, friendly owners, and affordable prices. Their ribs are to die for and the drinks they make are fantastic. Their owner Duran brings the energy and will make sure he breaks the ice and keeps you entertained the whole way through. Easy conversation topics are the retro décor and the funkiest washrooms you’ll ever see.
If the date is going well: Hop to Baru Latino for dessert or a cocktail and consider True Confections for the same thing if you feel like keeping it relaxed, both are a couple blocks down 10th on Alma. If you want to go east on Broadway, you’re in for an adventure with the countless amounts of bars along the way.
Address: 3468 West Broadway
Hours: Monday to Friday: 11 a.m. to late, Saturday to Sunday: 11 a.m. to late
The Belmont Bar brings a whole new flavour to Granville Street, adding a wide selection of craft beers, specialty cocktails, wine on tap, fresh and local fare, and a beautiful décor and atmosphere. Pop by with your date for happy hour and surprise them with a nice sangria or wine for $4. If the conversation starts to run dry, luckily you have nightly entertainment to do the talking for you.
If the date is going well: Pop by to Republic just down the street for some dancing and bubbly or wonder you way into Yaletown for a cocktail at Opus Bar.
Address: 1006 Granville Street
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Friday to Saturday: 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.
ZEND Conscious Lounge has a fully plant-based, organic and nutrient-dense menu. All of the ingredients from our botanical bar and vegan kitchen are passionately sourced from around the world to provide high-quality and fresh ingredients. Their menu is 100% vegan and it is made for sharing so if your date is vegan, this is a no brainer. You will want to order the “Amour” drink, which is a blend of Zend, Vanilla almond milk, ginseng, orange zest and cinnamon. Zend is their signature beverage that relaxes the body while leaving the mind aware and engaged. Essentially it’s the perfect drink for relieving those first date jitters.
If the date is going well: Being in Yaletown you have plenty of options to try out after dinner whether it be casual beers at Yaletown Brewpub, a round of billiards at Soho Café (it’s half off on Mondays) or cocktails at Opus Bar around the corner.
Address: 1130 Mainland Street
Hours: Sunday to Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday to Sunday: 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Co-curated with Tangoo by sex and relationship writer and dating consultant Chelsea Pescitelli, and Andrea Hill, Dating expert and Founder of The Dinner Party. Find more trending restaurants, events, and special promotions on Tangoo’s free Pocket Concierge app.