Get up-close and personal with this charming west-end Toronto neighbourhood.
A junction is a point where two things are joined. And with its winning combination of great food and easygoing nightlife, the Junction is a west-end Toronto neighbourhood where two people can enjoy joining up for an evening out.
Whether you’re making quality time with a partner of many years or getting to know the latest prospect served up by a dating app, you can create your ideal Junction date itinerary by mixing and matching from the possibilities below.
The pre-dinner meetup
For a casual start to date night, get together at one of the neighbourhood’s most bustling gathering spots. A pint and a nibble at Indie Alehouse (2876 Dundas St. W.) will help you start to get to know someone—starting with: are they an IPA fan, or more of a porter person? Or, for a date kick-off that goes beyond the tried-and-true of a drink and conversation, book a pair of spots at an adult art class at ARTiculations (2802 Dundas St. W.) or Pinot’s Palette (2866 Dundas St. W.). If you’re already a couple, getting creative together might paint your relationship in a new light.
The main event: dinner
The Junction is the kind of neighbourhood where you could just pick a spot at random and eat pretty well. These three restaurants, however, offer certain advantages for a date night.
Seafood: Show ’em you’re the catch of the day at Honest Weight (2766 Dundas St. W.), a restaurant that doubles as a fishmonger—undoubtedly the most romantic fishmonger around. By candlelight, feast upon the bounty of the sea, from a creamy New England-style chowder to okonomiyaki (a savoury Japanese pancake topped with bonito, aka thinly shaved skipjack tuna) to a whole fish, simply but expertly cooked. While you’re far from any foamy seashore, there’s a terrific little selection of bubbles.
Eclectic: The vibe and the ingredients are all about small-town Ontario, but the shifting menu at the Farmhouse Tavern (1627 Dupont St., just east in the Junction Triangle) mashes together dishes and flavours you’d encounter at a French bistro or an English pub. Ask for the cosiest table available and order up a plate of oysters and steak frites for two.
Italian: If you’re not sure what kind of cuisine your date is into, play it safe with something the whole world enjoys—Italian. The dishes at Nodo (2885 Dundas St. W.) run the gamut of popular Italian cuisine, from Sicilian-style arancini to classic tiramisu for dessert, all of it prepared with simple panache. The only drawback, as date spaces go? The tables are close enough for others to eavesdrop if your conversation turns steamy.
What to do next? It all depends on your mood …
Luck of the draw: If you’re feeling like going with wherever fortune takes you, pop into the cavernously proportioned 3030 Dundas West. It’s a bar with a stage and kitchen, where a millennial crowd might be gathered for anything from a band to a DJ to trivia night.
Live music: Smaller than 3030 but no less lively, Junction City Music Hall (2907 Dundas St. W.) likewise hosts local bands on the regular. Step up to the row of pinball machines and impress your date by showing them how fast you can make a few quarters disappear.
Cocktails: The lighting is sultry and the drinks stiff at famous last words (392 Pacific Ave.), a classic cocktail bar with a literary theme (which nicely complements this bookish neighbourhood). The live music, if any, is as low-key as the atmosphere, so you’ll be free to exchange final pleasantries with your date.
Or hey, maybe they won’t be the last words of the night?
Getting to the Junction
- Take the subway to Dundas West station
- Or take the Junction 40 bus to Keele Street