Love is in the air

The Journal presents a Valentine’s Day guide for lovers everywhere

The cozy and classy atmosphere at Le Chien Noir is perfect for a romantic dinner for two.
The cozy and classy atmosphere at Le Chien Noir is perfect for a romantic dinner for two.
Photo: 

The perfect love stops

This Valentine’s Day, everybody will have a different idea of what makes a perfect romantic evening. For some, this could be a spot of fine dining, while for others this could mean nachos and beer at one of Kingston’s fine drinking establishments.

A place can be romantic because of its atmosphere, but also because of the special memories it invokes.

Perhaps it was where you went on your first date, or where you first had thoughts of love. Maybe it’s a special place you visit every week, becoming romantic simply because it’s where you go to spend some time together.

Either way, the atmosphere should enhance a couple’s ability to connect with one another and help them to forget everything else—except each other.

I began my search for the most romantic date spots in Kingston inevitably on Princess Street, where I hope to find lovers strolling hand in hand whom I can interview for this article. However, no such sight awaits me there.

According to those I do talk to, the most romantic date spots in Kingston are not located on Princess Street, but just a few steps away. Opened in 1979, Chez Piggy’s warm and inviting atmosphere has long been a favourite for the residents of Kingston.

Ruby McClenaghan, a manager who has worked at Chez Piggy for four years, said a lot of restaurants today feel very “sterile and contemporary.” She said she feels that Chez Piggy’s warm and comfortable atmosphere works in its favour.

She also said the staff at Chez Piggy help to create an intimate and positive experience for guests by greeting them all individually and striking up engaging conversations.

Caitlin Lloyd, a server at Chez Piggy who has worked there for a year and a half, said it’s a combination of many things that give the restaurant its romantic reputation. The stone walls give the restaurant a “European sort of feel” which, combined with the restaurant’s warm colours and the coats hanging on the wall, help to create a very cozy environment.

The restaurant has created a special set menu for Valentine’s Day, for which it is almost fully booked. Some of the items include beef tenderloin with pistachio olive pesto, and a phyllo cup with blood oranges and mixed berries.

A few steps away from Chez Piggy sits an equally romantic date spot on Brock Street, Le Chien Noir.

The restaurant opened five years ago and serves a diverse menu of updated French bistro cuisine.

According to one member of its charming staff, the romantic atmosphere of the restaurant is most obvious at night when candlelight sparkling off the tin ceiling creates a twinkling sort of ambiance.

Fresh flowers on every table and jazz music are two things you can count on if you dine here. The restaurant serves up a little of everything from rack of lamb (carré d’agneau) to steak (filet de boeuf) and an interesting twist on the traditional poutine, which is made here with sheep’s milk cheese.

Le Chien Noir, which features more than 80 different bottles of wine, is fully booked for Valentine’s Day.

If fine dining isn’t your cup of tea, The Toucan offers an equally intimate setting for those desiring a more laid-back atmosphere. Although it tends to get livelier than the latter two restaurants, it still offers a cozy atmosphere on any one of its three floors.

The Toucan features 20 beers on tap and offers half-priced wings on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Loran Eisely, author of The Immense Journey, once said, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” What better way to end a romantic evening than by taking a stroll along Kingston’s waterfront?

A couple can walk slowly, hand in hand, along Lake Ontario’s waterfront path while listening to the sound of the waves gently licking the shore.

For Josh Kunder, ArtSci ’06, Lemoine Point on Front Street, just past Kingston’s airport, is a very romantic spot for those who love the outdoors.

He says the spot is “withdrawn,” and there is almost always nobody there.

“The only other people around are boaters, and you can swim or sit by the rocks,” he said.

Of course, with the right company, any setting can be a perfectly romantic one.

—With files from jperret.tripod.com

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