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Toronto Restaurants Recommendations


alanbalchin
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Thanks - yes, that was a bit of a broad-brush request wasn't it?!

What I'd be particularly interested in is any restaurants within walking distance of the CN tower serving either (a) really good bistro-type food with a decent winelist or (b) a great seafood restaurant. In either case I'm not looking for Michelin-star type places - just quality food in decent surroundings.

Anything come to my mind?!

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The area immediately around the CN tower is a bit of a food wasteland. Planet Hollywood anyone? But you don't have to go too far for what you're looking for.

For seafood, and oysters in particular, Rodney's is a short jaunt west on King St.

There's a couple of informal bisto-type places a short walk up Peter St. to Queen - Le Select and Peter Pan. There's more upscale French dining options not too far as well such as the Fifth and Thuet, which may have better wine lists (can't really comment on that though, never been to either).

Also close by is the King St. W. dining strip (roughly Simcoe to Spadina) which has quite a number of options - but I can't for the life of me remember anything I would recommend for seafood or a bisto-style place with wine. (Anybody?)

There's a few places on King west of Spadina (Rodney's among them) that might fit the bill. Crush, I believe billing itself as a wine bar, had a good buzz a couple of years back. Not far from the CN tower also offers Rain and Monsoon, Avalon and a few other options for higher end dining. And, come to think of it, Jamie Kennedy's places on Church aren't all that far away either in the other direction, offering a tapas-style wine bar and a newly opened resto. Starfish (oysters and seafood) is also in that neck of the woods, as is Hiro sushi, if you don't want your seafood cooked.

OK, so a few options, a few of them not really what you said you were looking for, but, what the hey?

Everything mentioned should be within one km of the CN tower (let's say a 15-20 minute walk, max.)

Enjoy your visit.

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

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Crush, I believe billing itself as a wine bar, had a good buzz a couple of years back.

I was there a couple of months ago for a few glasses of wine, and some apps and cheese at the bar. The wine list is very thoughtful, with a wide selection available by the glass, in fact by various-sized glasses, flights, etc.

I can't vouch for the food, but it looked good. Classic bistro stuff. Lovely space.

Menus, full winelist, etc on their website: www.crushwinebar.com

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I live here and if you are a real foodie, you will be dissapointed.

Best places in town:

Sushi Kaji, Susur, Avalon, Starfish (great oysters and shellfish in particular), JK Wine Bar (simple tapas size dishes, best value in the city).

Out-of-town (90 mins):

Eigensinn Farm (hands down best restaurant in Canada and Canada's only world-class food). Good luck getting a reservation without booking months ahead, but great food in a farm setting. BYO too, no corkage but very expensive by Canadian standards (we are cheap). Only Canadian resto I would recommend and stake my reputation on.

Enjoy!

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Thanks guys.

I really like the look of Starfish and Crush so will definitely give them a try. And good to see some of Englands best Stilton on the cheese list at Crush! we have Canadian cheddar over here (sorry guys, but it doesn't compare too well with the 'real' thing!).....but fascinated to see lots of other Canadian cheeses on the list.....any good?? I'll give them a try for sure!

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I live here and if you are a real foodie, you will be dissapointed.

Best places in town:

Sushi Kaji, Susur, Avalon, Starfish (great oysters and shellfish in particular), JK Wine Bar (simple tapas size dishes, best value in the city).

Out-of-town (90 mins):

Eigensinn Farm (hands down best restaurant in Canada and Canada's only world-class food).  Good luck getting a reservation without booking months ahead, but great food in a farm setting.  BYO too, no corkage but very expensive by Canadian standards (we are cheap).  Only Canadian resto I would recommend and stake my reputation on.

Enjoy!

All I can say is be thankful for what you do have - there are a lot of places much worse off than you

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I live here and if you are a real foodie, you will be dissapointed.

Best places in town:

Sushi Kaji, Susur, Avalon, Starfish (great oysters and shellfish in particular), JK Wine Bar (simple tapas size dishes, best value in the city).

Out-of-town (90 mins):

Eigensinn Farm (hands down best restaurant in Canada and Canada's only world-class food).  Good luck getting a reservation without booking months ahead, but great food in a farm setting.  BYO too, no corkage but very expensive by Canadian standards (we are cheap).  Only Canadian resto I would recommend and stake my reputation on.

Enjoy!

Tom, is there anything you do like? You trashed Montreal on that board, and you now say any "real foodies" will be disappointed in Toronto. Not only do I not agree with you, I don't believe your comments follow the spirit of eGullet. Your post would have been much better had you left out the first paragraph. I hope you'll get to know Toronto better in the future and be able to revise your opinion.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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He's staying near the CN tower for a week... can you recomment a further place from the CN Tower!! :shock:

I've been to Eigensinn Farm and have to disagree. I didn't think it was that good for the price ($250/person without wine or gas and time to get there). I prefer Susur or Perigee or Spendido or other restaurants in town for less than half the price.

Eigensinn Farm (hands down best restaurant in Canada and Canada's only world-class food).  Good luck getting a reservation without booking months ahead, but great food in a farm setting.  BYO too, no corkage but very expensive by Canadian standards (we are cheap).  Only Canadian resto I would recommend and stake my reputation on.

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I suppose we should add Canoe & Bymark as possibilities as well. Both on the upscalish end of things - Canoe on the 54th (something like that) floor serving "Canadian" (ie a fair amount of game) and Bymark in the basement of the same office tower. 5 minutes or so from the tower.

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

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"Eigensinn Farm (hands down best restaurant in Canada and Canada's only world-class food)."

The former part of your argument I feel has much merit.

The latter part of that argument is one of the most clumsy postings I have ever witnessed on this board.

"nil illigitimum carborundum"

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I suppose we should add Canoe & Bymark as possibilities as well. Both on the upscalish end of things - Canoe on the 54th (something like that) floor serving "Canadian" (ie a fair amount of game) and Bymark in the basement of the same office tower.  5 minutes or so from the tower.

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

The food at Canoe has gotten remarkably better the last year or so.

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He's staying near the CN tower for a week... can you recomment a further place from the CN Tower!!  :shock:

I've been to Eigensinn Farm and have to disagree.  I didn't think it was that good for the price ($250/person without wine or gas and time to get there).  I prefer Susur or Perigee or Spendido or other restaurants in town for less than half the price.

Eigensinn Farm (hands down best restaurant in Canada and Canada's only world-class food).  Good luck getting a reservation without booking months ahead, but great food in a farm setting.  BYO too, no corkage but very expensive by Canadian standards (we are cheap).  Only Canadian resto I would recommend and stake my reputation on.

Perigee is a place I still haven't made it to and want to try, have heard mostly good things about it. Splendido? No way. David is a nice guy and he is technically excellent, but many dishes come up short due to poor conception/lack of balance.

Eigensinn is expensive and overpriced, but it is still better than anything else in the GTA. Susur has generally excellent conception with the ingredient quality falling well short. Splendido has better ingredients that most, but who will put a super-strong olive paste on top of a tuna tartare (totally obliterating any fish taste) other than David Lee?

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"Eigensinn Farm (hands down best restaurant in Canada and Canada's only world-class food)."

The former part of your argument I feel has much merit.

The latter part of that argument is one of the most clumsy postings I have ever witnessed on this board.

Since when does a foodie have to be a literary scholar?

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Tom, is there anything you do like?  You trashed Montreal on that board, and you now say any "real foodies" will be disappointed in Toronto.  Not only do I not agree with you, I don't believe your comments follow the spirit of eGullet.  Your post would have been much better had you left out the first paragraph.  I hope you'll get to know Toronto better in the future and be able to revise your opinion.

Yes, there are many places that I like, but not very many of them are in Toronto. I agree it would have been a better post leaving out the first paragraph, but I'm grasping for straws when it comes to food around here! Montreal? Please, I am the first person to say that I love Schwartz' and also the first to say the raw ingredients available to chefs there are very good, but the majority of the restaurants do not reflect what is available to them (Toque and Anise come to mind as highly touted places that wouldn't even get 2 forks in Michelin).

NYC is less than an hour away and I can go to the likes of Jean Georges, Per Se, Le Bernadin, Blue Hill, Masa? Don't want high priced? How about Peter Luger, Barney Greengrass, Shake Shack, Papaya King or have a nice Hebrew National hot dog from a cart. I simply love food and seek the best wherever I go, at all price points.

I'm always willing to try new things out, which is why after a post from Gordon (on another board), Perigee is now on my to-do-list. This is a food forum and I am offering my opinion, feel free to embrace or ignore it.

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Thanks guys.

I really like the look of Starfish and Crush so will definitely give them a try.  And good to see some of Englands best Stilton on the cheese list at Crush!  we have Canadian cheddar over here (sorry guys, but it doesn't compare too well with the 'real' thing!).....but fascinated to see lots of other Canadian cheeses on the list.....any good??  I'll give them a try for sure!

I haven't been to Crush, but you will really like Starfish. Patrick (the owner) knows great shellfish and you will be able to find excellent oysters, scallops and lobster there. All simple preperations, but sometimes simple is better.

Regarding cheese, they are several cheeses from Quebec that are VG->Excellent:

Bouq d'Emissaire (ashed goat, raw milk)

Pied du Vent (washed rind cow, raw milk)

Migneron de Charlevoix (washed rind pressed cow, pasteurized)

Chateau d'Iberville (washed rind cow, raw milk)

Cheddar you are better of getting from a good purveyor like Neals Yard in England although there are some decent raw milk cheddars from Quebec that might do in a pinch.

Happy eating.

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The food at Canoe has gotten remarkably better the last year or so.

Does that mean its still bad? I had a meal there last year that was atrocious and was dissapointed even though the meal was free (AMEX GCs). Poor ingredient quality, poor execution and conception.

Compared to a year ago - my meal late spring was at least 50% better - on par with what Mark McEwan & Thuet used to do and all of what Anthony Walsh is capable of - Best Sablefish I had all year (incl Susur)

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Tom, is there anything you do like?  You trashed Montreal on that board, and you now say any "real foodies" will be disappointed in Toronto.  Not only do I not agree with you, I don't believe your comments follow the spirit of eGullet.  Your post would have been much better had you left out the first paragraph.  I hope you'll get to know Toronto better in the future and be able to revise your opinion.

Yes, there are many places that I like, but not very many of them are in Toronto. I agree it would have been a better post leaving out the first paragraph, but I'm grasping for straws when it comes to food around here! Montreal? Please, I am the first person to say that I love Schwartz' and also the first to say the raw ingredients available to chefs there are very good, but the majority of the restaurants do not reflect what is available to them (Toque and Anise come to mind as highly touted places that wouldn't even get 2 forks in Michelin).

NYC is less than an hour away and I can go to the likes of Jean Georges, Per Se, Le Bernadin, Blue Hill, Masa? Don't want high priced? How about Peter Luger, Barney Greengrass, Shake Shack, Papaya King or have a nice Hebrew National hot dog from a cart. I simply love food and seek the best wherever I go, at all price points.

I'm always willing to try new things out, which is why after a post from Gordon (on another board), Perigee is now on my to-do-list. This is a food forum and I am offering my opinion, feel free to embrace or ignore it.

I urge you to give Perigee a try - most recent meals can be found here and here

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The food at Canoe has gotten remarkably better the last year or so.

Does that mean its still bad? I had a meal there last year that was atrocious and was dissapointed even though the meal was free (AMEX GCs). Poor ingredient quality, poor execution and conception.

Compared to a year ago - my meal late spring was at least 50% better - on par with what Mark McEwan & Thuet used to do and all of what Anthony Walsh is capable of - Best Sablefish I had all year (incl Susur)

Have you had sablefish at Starfish? That was the best I have experienced in Toronto and proves that Patrick is commited to quality (as well as having a chef that can prepare it).

All Bonacini/McEwan restaurants are about the money. They will cut corners wherever they think than can get away with it to save money. They are money before passion. I am of the "build it, they will come philosophy" which Statlander proves is viable. But you probably know that Eigensinn won't serve Sablefish because its from the West Coast. He is all about the best of what is available for IMMEDIATE consumption in all its glory.

The best black cod has to be in WA/BC/AK somewhere, I just have to find it. Someone please help :)

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Tom, is there anything you do like?  You trashed Montreal on that board, and you now say any "real foodies" will be disappointed in Toronto.  Not only do I not agree with you, I don't believe your comments follow the spirit of eGullet.  Your post would have been much better had you left out the first paragraph.  I hope you'll get to know Toronto better in the future and be able to revise your opinion.

Yes, there are many places that I like, but not very many of them are in Toronto. I agree it would have been a better post leaving out the first paragraph, but I'm grasping for straws when it comes to food around here! Montreal? Please, I am the first person to say that I love Schwartz' and also the first to say the raw ingredients available to chefs there are very good, but the majority of the restaurants do not reflect what is available to them (Toque and Anise come to mind as highly touted places that wouldn't even get 2 forks in Michelin).

NYC is less than an hour away and I can go to the likes of Jean Georges, Per Se, Le Bernadin, Blue Hill, Masa? Don't want high priced? How about Peter Luger, Barney Greengrass, Shake Shack, Papaya King or have a nice Hebrew National hot dog from a cart. I simply love food and seek the best wherever I go, at all price points.

I'm always willing to try new things out, which is why after a post from Gordon (on another board), Perigee is now on my to-do-list. This is a food forum and I am offering my opinion, feel free to embrace or ignore it.

I urge you to give Perigee a try - most recent meals can be found here and here

Absolutely. Expect a review on Steve's board within the coming months. I will have their cheese supplier give them a call to make sure Pat is aware of how critical I am :)

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