Romantic Hideaways for V-Day Dins

Valentine's day is nearly upon us, and at StuteKitchen, we're busy prepping recipes for home-cooked dinners that are perfect for feeding the one you love (or were lucky enough to entice into your dining room this V-Day - you lucky dog), even if that one is yourself and a smug I-Hate-Valentines-Day smile (hey, we've all been there). BUT! If the kitchen's not your thing, why not check out one of these sexy Ottawa venues? There are lots of great options for special dinners out that don't involve a 25$ chewy steak and a merlot, so go off the grid a bit this year!

Stella Osteria has all the glamour and cozy somehow whipped up nice and the food there is great, and they have an impressive wine list. Check out CK's review here.

Fraser Cafe is located at on Mackay just north of Beechwood
Though you'll want to make your reservation early, New Edinburgh's Fraser Cafe is a great option for diners who want delicious food and awesome service without the added pressure of special-occasion shmantz. Offering a casual friendly atmosphere,  5-star service, and masterful creative powers, the Fraser brothers never fail to provide a dining experience that is both intimate and impressive. Their emphasis on local ingredients and inspired flavor combinations will make you fall in love. Mains usually run between 20-28$, but check out their seasonal menu here. Reserve early: this place will book up fast!
(613) 749-1444

Love Thai food? So do I. One NYE M and I ventured down to The Green Papaya's then-new location on Preston at Gladstone, and it was a perfect little spot for an intimate dinner (...things can get spicy there, if you know what I mean). Warm and inviting, the enticing scents of coconut curry and Jasmine rice will warm your stony heart if you're a V-Day hater. 
256 Preston Street, Ottawa, ON KIR7Y4
(613) 231-8424

Live West of downtown? The Silver Spoon at 1775 Carling is a totally under-celebrated Thai haven. Cheerful and hip, both casual and sparkly, it's teeny interior creates a perfect atmosphere for a night with your coolest special someone. 
Reserve at 613-667-3198

If you're living on the Quebec side, or simply yearning for a little italian fare without the hype of Preston street, try Aylmer's lovely Bistro Ambrosia (100 rue 819-682-5333 for reservations). Old Aylmer is really charming at night, and the food at Ambrosia is always worth the trek over. Elegant atmosphere, hearty servings and good company make for a winning combination every time. In the summer, Ambrosia has the advantage of a lovely side patio looking onto what used to be Aylmer's main street, and is a great place for happy hour cocktails. The menu is available online.

Love pizza? Wellington Village's recent culinary explosion has brought us two happening pizza joints in Tennessee Willem's and the Back Lane Cafe. Though I have yet to try a slice of Willem's, I had the distinct pleasure of eating at Back Lane a few weeks back. It's style is a blend of old and new world Italian bistro, and though it's prices range in the high end for bistro fare, Back Lane delivers freshness and creativity that you can't always count on in pizza. Even traditional standbys shine in this adorable cafe. Again, reserve early: the word about Back Lane is getting around!

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