An Okotoks dining room has been recognized for its romantic atmosphere.
In a list of Canada's most romantic restaurants published by OpenTable, Heartland Cafe made the list among just 100 Canadian and 15 Albertan establishments.
“I actually see the people and how happy they are,” said proprietor Laszlo Radi. “It’s a job where you have instant feedback. It’s satisfying.”
Since assuming ownership in 2018, Radi, along with his wife Viktoria, evolved the restaurant into its current idyllic form.
“Over the years we always added more, as of today we’re still adding more,” he said. “We try to make it more cozy, like a home feeling, so when you come here you don’t want to leave.”
A career restaurateur, Radi also operated a dining establishment in Hungary before moving to Canada and the profession is one that he relishes in just as he would entertaining guests in his home.
“It’s like when somebody comes to your house for dinner, and they leave feeling good and with a full stomach, you know they had a good time,” Radi said, adding he likes to offer an experience to his patrons, as opposed to the simple utility of feeding them.
“It is a pleasure. It’s about entertainment; they come here, they have a glass of wine, have some great food, and they have a nice time.”
The placement on OpenTable’s rankings is based off aggregated reviews and rankings by actual diners, and Radi credits the community for their patronage over the years.
“I want to say thank you to all of our customers, because without them we could not do it,” he said, adding the good will has carried them through the roller-coaster of the pandemic. “It’s not just us, it’s whoever is supporting us, and who supported us when we were closed.”
On Valentine’s Day, Heartland Cafe offers a set menu with an entree of either braised lamb or chicken, with a shared dessert.
Seatings are at set times of 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
In past years, the Radis had no shortage of guests at Heartland and encourages booking early for Valentine’s Day, but space can often be found around the day.
For the full list or to find a table at Heartland Cafe, visit blog.opentable.com/most-romantic-restaurants-canada-2022.