Canada offers up unique experiences that you won’t find in any guidebook — you just have to know where to find them. To help you explore like a local, we’ve asked friends from across the country to share their top spots and experiences from the cities they call home. Bundled by interest or passion, consider this your local’s guide to travelling through the country’s vibrant cities and boundless wilderness.
Thanks to Scott Bakken, Tamara Elliott, Jeff Frenette, Kael Rebick, Jason Fitz, Callum Snape, Ali Inay, and Stoked for Saturday for their local tips.
Whether you’re exploring natural wonders or embarking on a romantic vacation, Canada’s cities are full of remarkable restaurants and cafes for a memorable time with your special someone.
Una Pizza + Wine - Calgary
Original pizza on 17th Ave
Locals cite Calgary’s 17th Avenue as the city’s most festive avenue for a night out. And for the best food on 17th, check out Una Pizza + Wine, a place where great food and incredible atmosphere make for an unforgettable evening. The pizza selection is as original as it is delicious — they even have a pie with walnut-stuffed Persian dates, wrapped with prosciutto and finished with vin cotto.
Maesmi - Montreal
Picnic like a local
Embark on a picnic for a true Quebec experience. Locals love picking up sweets and coffee from Maesmi, a brand new bakery in the Rosemont neighbourhood, and wandering to Jardin Botanique down the street for a nosh and a romantic stroll through a world-class garden.
Red Door Bistro - Whistler
Where French meets West
Looking for a place where the service and ambiance are outstanding? Red Door Bistro has you covered. This cozy restaurant rivals other Whistler Village favourites through its fine French fare that’s both delicious and accessible. With an open kitchen, it’s basically dinner and a show watching the skilled chefs prepare dishes like cassoulet and bouillabaisse. If you have room for dessert, tuck into the peanut butter bombe for some true decadence — just make sure you make a reservation.
Ramen Koika - Vancouver
Ramen like you’ve never experienced
Vancouver's ramen scene is fierce, but Ramen Koika is tops for many locals. “Koika” is Japanese for “Love Song” — the perfect description for the symphony of flavours in every spoonful of the restaurant’s soup. Locals say the Chiba Black Ramen will make you dream of the hand-rolled noodles and homemade broth for days.
Grumman ‘78 - Montreal
Taste the authenticity
The exterior may be unambiguous, but Grumman ‘78 is one of Montreal’s most delicious eateries. Enter and you’ll be greeted by an energetic atmosphere and modern industrial decor. Think taco truck turned into a massive, full-service restaurant and bar. Yes, please. Locals swear by the bahn mi tacos and duck chilaquiles.
Saving Grace - Toronto
Toronto’s best waffles
Brunch is a meal not to be scoffed at in Canada. Saving Grace’s waffles are serious business. The atmosphere is chill, the brunch tasty, and the service friendly. Afterwards, locals suggest meandering through the picturesque Trinity Bellwoods neighbourhood.
deer + almond - Winnipeg
Say yes to sharing
If share plates aren’t perfect for a meal for two, we’re not sure what is. This Winnipeg favourite serves up tapas that draw inspiration from cuisines around the world. The ambiance is on point, with art hung on the walls and sleek furniture — plus the lighting is just perfect. Nestled in the Exchange District, this spot — with its dishes like upscale coffee-crusted tenderloin and faux pho tartare — is the perfect introduction to one of Winnipeg’s hippest areas.
Food Tours - Calgary
Where variety might actually be the spice of life
What better way to fully embrace Calgary’s best cuisine than a big ol’ food tour? These walk-and-taste tours through five neighbourhoods give visitors the full Calgary food scene experience in all it’s very delicious glory. It’s an unconventional and original way to spend date night.
Fonda Lola - Toronto
From pop-up to popping
This Toronto favourite started as a pop-up food stand in 2012, earning a cult following and developing into one of the city’s top restaurants. Fonda Lola’s margaritas may earn all the headlines, but the warm decor and exquisite Mexican dishes make it a great place to enjoy a night out for two.
Nightingale - Vancouver
Romantic, tucked-away gourmet
In the centre of Vancouver’s Coal Harbour neighbourhood, new guy on the block Nightingale is really turning heads. With a menu chock full of distinctly Canadian cuisine, the diverse menu and charming atmosphere are quickly earning accolades. Their pizzas are a must-try.
Lot Six Bar & Restaurant - Halifax
Happy hour for your appetite
Sometimes stereotypes are true. Like how Halifax has really, really good seafood. Lot Six is a local favourite for its enticing daily oyster happy hour special. The atrium and stylish atmosphere make going out at Lot Six a real treat.
Canada’s restaurant scene offers fine or relaxed dining day and night, inside and out, for whatever mood strikes. Canada does date night right.