Cornwall date spots aren’t plentiful in the city, but luckily, Cornwall is home to a few local restaurants that are perfect for first (or fiftieth) dates.
Whether it’s a first date, or a date for a long-since married couple, going for dinner is a great way to spark a flame or kindle a romance. Location is key: atmosphere, menu, wine list… all of these factors go into making a date night fun and relaxing, or not.
These 3 Cornwall restaurants aren’t too fancy: they keep it casual, but the ambience is nice, the food is even better, the prices are fair, and the wine is lovely.
Here are 3 of the best spots to go on a date in Cornwall, Ontario.
Schnitzels European Restaurant
This restaurant in downtown Cornwall is a great combination of good eats and atmosphere. It’s a popular spot, which keeps the restaurant’s mood lively, but has plenty of space for quiet talks. You can choose to sit on the bar side, in their cozy dining room by the light of their wood-fired pizza oven, or out on the patio on a warm summer night to take Cornwall’s downtown. In the summer, this is one of the best patio’s in Cornwall.
The menu at Schnitzel’s is great for dinner dates: it packs a ton of variety, including daily, seasonally inspired specials with local inspirations, and their classics that included Schnitzel (of course) wood-fired pizza, pastas, steaks, and everything in between.
While the atmosphere is relaxing and casual, the food is 5-star, so it keeps the date fun but fancy. The only recommendation here is to make a reservation, and plan parking: you’ll have to park in Cornwall’s downtown lot, which is about two blocks away.
If you’re looking for a quieter atmosphere, Edwards Bistro (just around the corner) is a top spot. This quiet and cozy restaurant has great service and great food that is all made from scratch, but limited seating. Daily specials are always amazing, and include steak and seafood. Their dessert is also amazing. On some nights, their is even live music.
Prices are incredibly reasonable for the amount of food you get, too. Their wine list is always well-selected. If you and your date are foodies, who are looking for a cozy & quiet spot to relax, Edwards is a great spot. Just like Schnitzels, there is no direct parking (except limited spots on the road), so you’ll want to park in the downtown’s main lot, just a block away.
Hops & Barley Restaurant
If you’re looking for a great restaurant that has direct parking and isn’t right downtown, Hops & Barley is a top choice. This restaurant is attached to the Best Western Parkway Inn, one of the nicest hotels in Cornwall. The intimate dining room is inviting and cozy, with a roaring fire during the winter, and a great patio in the summer. Their menu is seasonally-inspired as well, and they are passionate about craft beer (with a great and rotating selection on tap). Hops & Barley’s executive Chef, Fabien Clément-Lynch, is a young and prominent local culinary star with a passion for good food.
Though parking is plentiful at this restaurant, it’s a good idea to call for a reservation.
Dinner Date Tips: Here’s How To Have A Stress Free Date
If you’re planning a first date, here are some tips for calming nerves, coming across well, and enjoying yourself!
Relax When Eating
A lot of people are naturally a bit nervous on a first date with someone, and for some reason, eating becomes a challenge. The thing is, eating normally is a total sign of confidence, and can help your date feel more relaxed, too. Nothing is worse than not eating on your date.
If you’re just a naturally nervous eater on first dates, the best thing you can do is be mindful when ordering. Handhelds like burgers and sandwiches aren’t a great option, and neither are slurpy things like soup or muscles. Steak Frites (steak & fries) is a great choice for eating because steak can be cut and fries are super simple. So is fish & chips. Other foods to avoid are pasta (sorry!) and oddly enough, salad. Again, this is only if you’re a nervous eater. If you don’t have a problem with nerves, congrats! And order whatever you’d like!
Consider The Menu Before Picking The Restaurant
You can score some brownie points by asking your date if they have any dietary restrictions, and making sure the restaurant you choose has the appropriate menu. The good news is, most restaurants (and definitely the ones above) have vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and peanut free options. But it is always best to check or call ahead.
Always Be Nice To Servers
A huge mistake some first-daters make, in a misguided effort to seem cool, important, or some other superior quality, is being rude or dismissive to waiters. This is a major mistake, and NEVER works to impress your date. You instead just seem rude, and raise a major red flag to your date. Always be nice to servers – it’s a huge indication of your true personality.
Don’t Order The Most Expensive Thing on the Menu
Dates are supposed to be relaxing, so don’t go over the top when ordering. Always go middle of the road (if you cheap out, it could be insulting).
Always, Always, Always, ALWAYS Make a Reservation
Don’t just show up to a restaurant. Make a reservation! It shows thoughtfulness, but also avoids you running the risk of not getting a table, which is a huge buzzkill on a date.
Maybe you are a naturally fast eater, or maybe you just get nervous and wolf down your food. Either way, finishing your meal super fast can put your date on edge, make it seem like you can’t wait to get out of there, and also keep your mouth super full (which prevents you from talking). So for those fast eaters out there, slow down! A great trick is taking a sip of water after every bite. Hopefully, the conversation is enough to keep you entertained and chatting, so that you don’t have as much time to eat.
Always Order Dessert
Last but not least, always order dessert at the end (if, of course, the date is going well). It’s a sign that, for reasons just mentioned, you are enjoying the date. It’s also romantic, and a good course to split. Go for chocolate, because it’s a classic and is proven to give a rush of endorphins, which is a feel good chemical that helps with bonding.