There's nothing worse than being stranded on an excruciating first date with no escape plan on the horizon. Mile End wine bar BU solves this problem -- You can take a date to BU and order a glass of wine, share one Italian tapas-style dish, and call it quits right then and there. Or, if you haven't been fully turned off in the first 25 minutes, carry on, and see if they can hold your enthusiasm for the duration of another glass and a few more bites to eat.
After a brief hiatus from the dating world, I found myself on a double date at Phayathai on Laurier. There's no shortage of Thai food on this street - Phayathai is roughly a block away from two other more-than-decent Thai restaurants. Apparently good things do come in threes.
Misto serves up Italian, but it's a far cry from a quaint family-style trattoria where candles light the tables and soft melodies play in the background. A slick, buzzing resto on Mount Royal, Misto specialises in pasta, focaccia, and calzones. The place is casual but sleek in that plateau-kind-of-way, and every time I've been here it's been packed. Not every trattoria screams amore, but then again neither does every first date.
Outremont's newly opened Cafe Prague is small and cute, and there's almost a cubist-inspired feel to the place. Photographs of Prague line the walls, cowhide print tiles cover the bathroom floor, and a cuckoo clock goes crazy every hour.
La Louisiane always seems to be bustling. On my date here last week, the floor-to-ceiling windows were open, and we could hear jazz and blues, interspersed with some Dylan, from the sidewalk. It just seemed like a happening kind of place. The terrasse was jam packed, people were eating inside, and all the seats at the bar were taken - It was busy, but not crowded.
That exotic gem closed its doors five yeas ago, later reopening on St. Laurent just above Beaubien. Although I'll go anywhere for a good meal, this sparse, strangely-almost-industrial strip of the Main, north of Mile End just below Little Italy's arches, is not my ideal first date locale.