Did you know that the city with more restaurants per capita than almost any other place in Canada is just a three-hour drive from Montreal? Yup, Kingston, Ontario, has plenty of opportunities to seriously amp up the flavour and the romance this season.
Locals know the vibrant food scene here is the quaint city’s crown jewel. And the super walkable, historic downtown core makes building a dinner-date itinerary effortless.
This time of year, Kingston transforms into a winter wonderland complete with glittering lights and creative window displays — ideal for a pre-and-post-meal stroll with your sweetie.
Kingstonlicious, a premier prix fixe (fixed-price) culinary festival, also returns in 2023. It takes place from mid-January to March, highlighting local chefs — and even a Michelin-star guest — with a variety of signature events and activities.
With new, yummy menus and enchanting streets to explore all over Kingston, a getaway to one of the oldest Canadian cities is sure to make sparks fly between you and your S/O.
Here are seven restos that’ll convince you to book a whimsical winter train ride from Montreal ASAP. Let the drooling (and the romance) commence.
Address: 71 Brock St., Kingston, ON
Why You Need To Go: Cheers to your partner with an extensive list of handmade, signature cocktails that pair perfectly with this spot's artisan pizzas.
This small but bustling restaurant serves fresh Mediterranean food like pasta, sharing plates and mouthwatering slices. While their pizza is a must-try, you should order a starter or two as well, like the kale caesar salad or harissa cauliflower popcorn.
On the hunt for some veggie options? Not only can you sub mozzarella for cashew cheese on your 'za, but Atomica's got an entire plant-based section on its menu.
Black Dog Tavern
Address: 69 Brock St., Kingston, ON
Why You Need To Go: Say "bon appetite" in a charming, laid-back bistro that serves everything from French faves to brunch classics.
At Black Dog Tavern, you can cuddle up in the brick interior and snack away on freshly shucked oysters and charcuterie — or go all out with larger plates such as steak frites and hot sandwiches.
Basically, this is a date setting straight from your fave Hallmark movie.
Address: 331 King St. E., Kingston, ON
Why You Need To Go: Treat yourselves to the ultimate tapas experience by feasting on smaller bites and focusing on intimate conversation.
Take your time as you peruse an impressive selection of small plates at Tango Nuevo. Inspired by the Spanish custom of socializing over tapas, this place truly encourages you to savour each moment.
You can sample global flavours, fine wine and cocktails. With bites like tuna poke nachos and Thai curry cod, this place is perfect for those who have trouble ordering just one thing.
Plus, the restaurant's refined decor and classy ambience set the stage for an unbelievably romantic night out.
Miss Bao Restaurant + Cocktail Bar
Address: 286 Princess St., Kingston, ON
Why You Need To Go: Book a reso you and your partner can feel really good about at this zero-waste restaurant and get ready for incredible eats and creative cocktails.
Miss Bao only uses local, seasonal ingredients to craft dishes you won't stop raving about. They have an in-house gardening system and a 50% vegan and vegetarian menu. They've even gone so far as to choose sustainable decor and lighting.
It doesn't hurt that their food is delicious as well. The tapas-inspired Asian fusion menu includes small bites, larger plates and an out-of-this-world bao selection.
Their cocktail menu highlights traditional Asian liquors (like sake) while innovating with other interesting ingredients. Pro tip: Try their line of tea-infused cocktails.
Address: 1 Johnson St., Kingston, ON
Why You Need To Go: Stop for breakfast, lunch, dinner or late-night drinks at one of Kingston's only waterfront dining locations.
AquaTerra is nestled in The Delta Hotels by Marriott Kingston Waterfront and looks out onto Lake Ontario. Translation: You and your boo will have a swoon-worthy view of the water while you dine.
The restaurant uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. From their signature Aqua Benedict for breakfast to their raspberry and ricotta bread pudding for dessert, you might have trouble choosing what to order.
Address: 1347 Gardiners Road, Kingston, ON
Why You Need To Go: Get adventurous and explore Kingston's West End with a meal at Mesa Fresca, home of the yummiest Mexican fusion.
Lovingly deemed "authentically inauthentic," this gem offers Latin and Mexican-inspired food in a vibrant-but-comfy atmosphere. It's the funkiest place to enjoy heartwarming dishes like hand-rolled flautas, coconut shrimp and chimichurri steak.
Mesa Fresca is dedicated to supporting local food producers whenever possible, so they offer plenty of Kingston-brewed craft beers and wine that you and your partner can have fun discovering.
The best part? All of their salsa, sauces and guacamole are made fresh daily.
The Secret Garden Inn
Address: 73 Sydenham St., Kingston, ON
Why You Need To Go: Take the romance up a notch with some high tea or a fondue experience at this bed-and-brekkie resto inspired by the Victorian era.
You and your lover can take part in an English tradition by enjoying the Secret Garden Inn's signature afternoon tea. You'll dine on savoury scones, petit fours and exquisite cakes in the library. Plus, the cake stands and crockery you'll be using are made locally.
Are you a couple of cheese lovers? Book a reso for the five-course fondue experience. Make your way through cheese fondue, fondue bourguignon (meat or veggie options), intermezzo (a palate cleanser) and dessert fondue.
Nothing can bring two people together quite like quality time spent over quality food. And just a short train ride or drive away from Montreal, there lies a city where restaurants are dishing up delicious meals around every corner.
Designing a whimsical winter getaway is a breeze with Kingston’s brunch options, tapas and iconic local craft beer. (Fun fact: the city’s home to Ontario’s first brewpub.)
If you're visiting between mid-January and March, be sure to add Kingstonlicious to the itinerary so you and your boo can experience fine dining at a lower price point.
All you need is your appetite, your love by your side and Kingston's buzzing food scene: It's the perfect recipe for romance.