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Toronto Restaurants Recommendations


alanbalchin
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In case you didn't already know, the Toronto International Film Festival is going on into this weekend so it'll likely be difficult getting last minute reservations to some of the top restaurants here unless you happen to be one of the many movie stars here for the festival. ;-)

Nevertheless, assuming you can still get a table...

For overall food excellence, I'd recommend one of Splendido (416-929-7788) at 88 Harbord or Susur (416-603-2205 ) at 601 King Street.

For interesting wine experience, try Via Allegro (416-622-6677) at 1750 The Queensway (in Etobicoke which is closer to Oakville) with it's 50,000+ bottles earning them Wine Spectator's Grand Award, or Jamie Kennedy (416-362-1957) at 9 Church Street.

For a good view of the city, try Scaramouche (416-961-8011, closed Sun) or Canoe(416-364-0054) at 66 Wellington St. W., 54th Floor, TD Bank Tower. Make sure to request a table by the window when making a reservation.

Enjoy your stay in Toronto!!

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I second the vote for Scaramouch, but the dining room can sometimes be stuffy. if you are looking for a wine experience i would also recommend Opus. as SYoung mentioned the film festival will be in full swing friday night and Opus is a celebrity hotspot but if you can get in then do. the food is impeccable and the wine list is 2,200 deep with a cellar of 35,000. there are some true gems tucked away in the dizzying bound book of wine and if you ask Tony (one of the two borthers who own and manage the joint) there are a few more that only he will know about.

cheers

Edited by Enid (log)
"They tried to stay in from the cold and the wind making love and making their dinner" - Fiest
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Almost forgot, here's the info for Opus

Opus

37 Prince Arthur Avenue

Toronto, ON M5R 1B2

Phone: 416-921-3105

"They tried to stay in from the cold and the wind making love and making their dinner" - Fiest
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Sorry to keep hijacking this thread but any suggestions for chinese (dinner)?

Thanks for the great recs of bakeries too!

Depending on what you feel like and where you're willing to travel to, I can really only provide you with the downtown recs, just because that's within my realm of knowledge (and physical travel distance).

People who enjoy finer dining would tend to suggest Lai Wah Heen, and although lovely, it's almost a cop out. Safer bets are always King's Garden or Golden Leaf, however New Sky is very tastey. :smile: If you don't mind the decor, Xam Yu (the stir-fried lobster with chili and garlic aka "Fung tong long ha" in Cantonese is mega delicious) for seafood. Although there are always line ups, Lee Gardens has some very nice dishes, but with the new Westernized plating (what's with the Spring Rolls attempt of Susur styling and decrease of portion size?) and increased costs, I'm a little hesitant to suggest that place as the one and only restaurant to try. I do enjoy theire Grandfather smoked chicken and the Schezuan fried chicken dish (whatever it's called, I just know it's spicy nuggest of lightly battered and fried chicken bathed in a scrummy chili sauce).

On the side, if you were looking for a Northern Chinese experience, dishes such as Xiao long baos can be found at Asian Legends, however there's debate regarding the best ones (look for the other thread) where you might need to travel a little away from the DT core.

Anyway, these are my picks if you stay within downtown. I'm curious if there are other places that will be recommended that I have yet to try (or in need to try again).

Edited by Renka (log)
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Adelade,

I've just moved to Vancouver from Toronto and I'd like to suggest you check out a couple of T.O.'s more hidden gems. Canoe, Susur, JK Wine Bar etc. are really great but they are not really that different from any big, popular restaurant in any big city. If you want to get a sense of the more unique, single (read poor) owner type restaurants with tons of personality in the big smoke, here are my suggestions:

The Niagara Street Cafe near Bathurst and King, tiny room, great food, amazing prices, excellent (small) winelist. The warmest service in the city, ask for Anton. Tell him Rookie Sensation sent you.

Le Paradis on Bedford St. near Avenue Rd., this is a very traditional style french bistro but it is so jam packed every night of the week and so unapologetically devoted to it's own thing, it was one of my favourite spots when I lived there. The food is nothing special and the service at times is downright rude, but the experience, I don't know, it is a special place. The wine list is excellent and all prices amazing. And yes (to avoid any call outs), I understand that the owner of Le P is not poor. Moving on...

Amuse Bouche on Tecumseh, north of King. Another french spot, the prettiest patio in the city, wonderful food, excellent service and an amazing wine list. Great for a romantic evening.

Torito in Kensington market, had my two last dinners there. Everything is amazing. Rustic Spanish tapas, fantastic service, incredible ambiance- just laid back fun. I would recommend Torito to anyone looking to open their own small place, they've hit a home-run.

Lastly, a few places I can't seem to find adequate replacements for here in Van:

The Owl at Christie and Bloor for Pork Bone soup (don't bother having anything else, you'll only be depriving yourself. If you go with eight friends, have eight Pork Bone Soups - "Eight GamjaTang please.)

Pho Hung at Spadina and College for Pho- go nuts, everything is good.

Jumbo Empanadas in Kensington Market- Just go, trust me.

A warning (probably obvious): DO NOT HAVE SUSHI. It will seem (how can I put this gently?) un-fresh to you, I guarantee it. Since arriving here, I have had $6 combos at places on Commercial drive that out-freshed Sushi Kaji and Hiro in Toronto (these are fantastic restaurants by the way).

Have a great time in Tahranna!

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The Owl at Christie and Bloor for Pork Bone soup (don't bother having anything else, you'll only be depriving yourself.  If you go with eight friends, have eight Pork Bone Soups - "Eight GamjaTang please.)

I'm going to have to call this one out...yes, the Owl (I'm not sure what it's actually called...might be Owl of Minerva but everyone seems to just know it as "the Owl") is convenient, being 24/7, and the food is good, but if you actually want to go for Korean, you can do better if it's not in the middle of the night. Try any of the places that offer table-cooking -- Sejong and Korean Village are good, but I don't think I've had a bad experience yet in the 10+ K-food places I've tried in that strip. If you do end up at the Owl, though, the hae jang guk (the fabled "hangover soup") is quite good...I'm not saying the gam ja tang is BAD, but it's just kind of a lot of pork, and you can find better balanced versions elsewhere.

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I second The Owl as a great Korean joint, their Gam ja tang (Porkbone and Potato Soup) is to die for, and the Kimchi jjigae (Kimchi soup) is also excellent.

New Sky on Spadina is great for Chinese (put yourself into the hands of your waiter, and you'll get some amazing food that itsn't on the English menu.

For more high-end (without necessarily blowing the budget) I'd recommend Senor Antonio {Portugese tapas bar attached to Chiado} - same great wines and excellent service in a more relaxed situation and less $$$; and Rosebud, a tiny hole in the wall on Queen at Bathurst: the winelist is small but very carefully chosen with some real gems (and reasonable mark-ups), and exceptional food.

Torito provided one of the best Toronto dining experiences I've had. Food was excellent, the room is great, the service knowledgable and friendly (so rare), the sort of place you drop into for 'just one glass' and then stay for hours chatting with staff or with your friend(s). It is tapas, so you could make it or SA an afternoon snack / sip stop on your way elsewhere.

Enjoy your time in Toronto, it's certainly the time of year to go!

(Edited to add that I love Gam ja tang too!)

Edited by Maenad (log)
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Thanks for all ur suggestions! I will definitely check out the restaurants' website before I go (I like to do detail research first)

I've heard of Susur, didn't he come to Vancouver to do an event w/ Rob Feenie or something? I have yet to go try Lumiere (tho I did go to Rob Feenie's lower end restaurant "Feenie's"), it's a little bit out of my budget right now, so I'm guessing Susur would be too :sad: Hopefully I'll have the $$ to try it next time.

I love Sen5es, we have it here in Vancouver too. Thomas Haas is the master in chocolate. We don't have Sen5es restaurant here tho. Is it any good?

Perigree's foie gras menu sounds amazing.....I just cannot resist foie gras! Tho it's probably not too good for my health, but I don't eat it that often anywayz, so I'm probably gonna go all out for foie gras this time :biggrin:

Thanks Little Blue House for the pastry question, I completely forgot! Pastry is my other lifeline (besides foie gras). I've heard good things about Clafouti from other threads, so I'll definitely check it out.

Btw my current favourite restaurant here in Vancouver is West. Chef Hawksworth does all the dishes perfectly, and they have a great pastry chef too. Tho I did like the original version of the name "Ouest" better.

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Almost forgot, here's the info for Opus

Opus

37 Prince Arthur Avenue

Toronto, ON M5R 1B2

Phone:    416-921-3105

I would seriously recommend Opus, for all the reason's Enid did, and more.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

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

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Almost forgot, here's the info for Opus

Opus

37 Prince Arthur Avenue

Toronto, ON M5R 1B2

Phone:    416-921-3105

I would seriously recommend Opus, for all the reason's Enid did, and more.

But if you only had one night in TO, would you really choose Opus over Splendido?

Edited by sadistick (log)
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Almost forgot, here's the info for Opus

Opus

37 Prince Arthur Avenue

Toronto, ON M5R 1B2

Phone:    416-921-3105

I would seriously recommend Opus, for all the reason's Enid did, and more.

But if you only had one night in TO, would you really choose Opus over Splendido?

I would love a point by point comparasion of your recent meals at Perigee, Susur, and Splendido - their strengths and weaknesses specifically

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Sadistick, not necessarily, but if it is to be a wine night, then yes, Opus.

Gordon, shall I assume your question is for Sadistick? I have not eaten at two of the 3 lately, therefore any comparison I would make would be lacking. That being said, while Splendido is excellent, if someone were coming to Toronto for only one night and it was all about food, I would recommend Perigee hands down.

Caveat: I have personal connections with Opus, and still feel completely comfortable recommending it, in particular for the wine cellar and the hidden gems.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

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

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Sorry to keep hijacking this thread but any suggestions for chinese (dinner)?

Thanks for the great recs of bakeries too!

You are not interesting in dim sum (only lunch)? If you are, Dragon Dynasty (Scarborough North), King's court (downtown), and the Empire Court (Hilton - Hwy7 and Warden). LaiWahHeen in metropolitan is not good anymore.

For dinner, there are many types of chinese in Toronto... don't know what you prefer. Do you want casual or more upscale? Northern chinese, canton province, seafood meal, taiwan type, just fried rice/noodle type....?? Any location preference?

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LaiWahHeen in metropolitan  is not good anymore.

MUST disagree with this. Took out-of-towners there last month (after warning them about potential cost).

It was superb (as always) - about $140 including taxes and tip (for 4) and we couldn't eat everything we ordered.

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Also if Lumiere is out-of-your budget, then just note that perigee is now the most expensive place in town (prix-fixe is $15 more than both Splendido and Susur).

Also Sen5es in Toronto is 'between chefs' and not performing well (on my visit last month).

RookieSensation (above) has some solid recommendations where you can stretch your budget further, and if you want to try the 'latest trend' in Toronto, give a thought to Kultura - sort of upscale tapas so you can graze several dishes at reasonable prices.

Edited to add: Another place (20 min walk) is George. Upscale dining at fair prices.

Edited by estufarian (log)
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MUST disagree with this. Took out-of-towners there last month (after warning them about potential cost).

It was superb (as always) - about $140 including taxes and tip (for 4) and we couldn't eat everything we ordered.

I was in Toronto in May and visited LWH twice. I don't think it was as good as before. Two other friends of mine dine there recently felt the same way too. Fine, before it was really good, now it is good. Well, maybe we are biased as all three of us are chinese....... hmmm, but it is a chinese restaurant. :wink:

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My all time favourite for-special occasions restaurant in Toronto is Bymark -- it's a bit too far to walk (on Wellington, west of Bay).

If you need a fast cheap lunch, there's a great veal sandwich to be had at Sweet Pepper which is a block and a half south of Sutton. One block west of Sutton, is Not Just Noodles -- cheap and cheerful chinese.

k!

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  • 1 month later...

Hello all.

I am wondering if anyone could suggest any great places for ethnic dining that are not very well-known. I drove by a place on Bathurst St. called Istanbul, which looked interesting, but I know nothing about it.

I am interested in Asian, Middle Eastern, African.

As an aside, I found a great family pizza restaurant (with delivery!). Tomato Pie on Marlee. Their pizza is quite good (not as salty as some of the chains). The service is fantastic and sincerely pleasant. I hope to go in one of these days, but so far we've been ordering weekly. Their caesar salad is a step up from any pizza joint I've tried.

Thank you!

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