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Dining alone is the best date you’ll ever have

There’s something I’ve been indulging in quite a lot recently that certainly deserves more exploration than it currently receives among the masses. Taking myself out on a date is what I’m talking about, and I insist you all do the same immediately.

Yes, sharing with others over a deep bottle of red is one of life’s most cherished enjoyments – don’t get me wrong – although a few hours in silence for a change with the greatest company of all (yes, that would be yourself) is exactly what you need, and you probably don’t even know it.

So, pack your novels, put on your nicest shoes, and take yourself out on the best date you’ve ever had. To help you get in the mood, here are my three top picks down Carlton way.   

Proud sibling of Lincoln Square’s Kaprica and newest eatery on the block is Mr. Pietro, yet another brilliant Italian eatery Carlton can now call their own. The restaurant is named after Pietro Barbagal himself, owner and chef of both iconic venues, and isn’t dissimilar to Kaprica when talking flavour and feel; fine quality produce cooked carefully by kind souls within warm wooden décor. When I dine at Mr Pietro, I do feel a slight difference between the two. At Mr Pietro, the sauce is a little richer, and I notice more fish on the menu. I’ll usually order bread and oil to start, with a glass of Sangiovese, before moving onto the cannelloni filled with the world’s softest ricotta. Next, I’ll ask for my second or third glass of the delicious, earthy red along with the ultimate Italian dessert – tiramisu. Sometimes, I’ll even order a take away for extra indulgence after hours.

Just a short walk down the road lives Heart Attack and Vine who marry bar and eatery together seamlessly; you’ll forever leave feeling equal parts social and satisfied. Upon entrance, a shiny glass cabinet filled with the most delicious ‘cicchetti’ – meaning small snacks – will certainly catch your eye. Get lost in their wine list and choose your feel for the evening, I usually go for the Nero D’avola – one of the important red wine grapes in Sicily – or the Tempranillo which holds similar flavour qualities. Try their arancini (porchetta or broccoli), stuffed olives or other pickled treats. Their ‘Nduja’, (that’s almost like spreadable spicy salami) traditional to the Calabrian region is noticeably delicious laid on top of toasted panini with cheese and other Italian delicacies. This venue is great for sitting outside and watching Lygon street sweep by. Plus, with a board of cicchetti to accompany you and your wine, an evening couldn’t be more perfect.

Carlton Wine Room 
have brand new parents, and the magic they’re sparking on the sweet corners of Faraday and Drummond Streets are capturing hearts all over. Another great venue to street-sit and let life pass by, and it feels particularly comfortable snuggled between Carlton’s other lively restaurants – D.O.C Gastronomia Italiana is just across the road. Try their duck and pork croquettes or stracciatella and mushrooms with potato focaccia. It’s essential to pair your meal with a splash of something special here as their wine selection has always been on the impressive side (Weingut Werlitsch Ex Vero is lovely). If by now, you’ve had enough you time – you’d like to get some friends together – their Cellar and Faraday rooms are ready for all your events.