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Toronto Restaurants Recommendations


alanbalchin
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JKWB which is outstanding value.  Restaurant is more pricey though.  Did you make it to John's in NYC?

Alas - did not make it to John's. Ended up in a meeting that lasted 8 hours! I am kicking myself for not making it out to John's and going to Batali's Otto instead.

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JKWB which is outstanding value.  Restaurant is more pricey though.  Did you make it to John's in NYC?

Alas - did not make it to John's. Ended up in a meeting that lasted 8 hours! I am kicking myself for not making it out to John's and going to Batali's Otto instead.

too bad.

officially left egullet....

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
My husband will be traveling through Toronto and is looking for one good meal.  Not overly fussy.  Just good food.  He'll be traveling east on 401.  Something between Kitchener and Toronto would be good.  Any thoughts?

Hello,

I hope that I am still in time. I recommend two restaurants convenient to the highway in the Bayview Village shopping plaza:

Oliver & Bonacini Cafe.Grill, which is located right off the Bayview Ave. exit on Highway 401. Their website is at http://www.oliverbonacini.com/obcg_bayview.html

The other option is Sierra Grill. I like this restaurant because it offers unlimited servings of the salad bar in addition to your main course. Be sure to check that your meal includes the salad bar.

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I'm going to Toronto for a week for business/pleasure. I've been to TO one day before in my life and went to Susurs. Need recommendations in all price ranges, staying at the Royal York so downtown preferred but not necessary. Thanks!

I guess I should put something on the Toronto discussion forum, but trust west coast palates more. :wink:

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I liked Thuet's (French Bistro fare), Lee, and Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar alot. JKWB was probably my favorite - small plates, great wine list, well executed cooking. Lai Wah Heen at the Metropolitan Hotel has an extremely civilized dim sum service - though I would Vancouver the nod for chinese food.

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I trained under Thuet for 4 long years....a must eat! He is the craziest man to EVER walk the earth ~ but the things he does with food!!!

BUT, with that said ~ CANOE. The view and service are amazing. But more importantly, this is the food of Ontario, presented perfectly 100% of the time.

I have never eatten at The Fifth, but my parents swear by it. Sounds cool.

Chef/Owner/Teacher

Website: Chef Fowke dot com

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And if you're looking for something a little more downscale, take a walk to Chinatown and try Mother's Dumplings. In July, three of us ate way too much food there and walked away for $30 including everything.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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I'm going to Toronto for a week for business/pleasure. I've been to TO one day before in my life and went to Susurs. Need recommendations in all price ranges, staying at the Royal York so downtown preferred but not necessary. Thanks!

I guess I should put something on the Toronto discussion forum, but trust west coast palates more.  :wink:

There's a nifty breakfast place on Queen Far West (nearish Roncesvalles) called Easy 1645 Queen Street West 416-537-4893. They have a great funky vibe with some Mexican influenced dishes on the menu but all the usual suspects as well. Go for the Huevos Divorciados if it's still on the menu: a couple of sunny eggs on a corn tortilla, salsa, guac, beans, home fries, and a salad.

I used to live in TO and Easy was a real favourite with the locals (and still is, I am today assured by my pal T in TO). Nothing like it that I am aware of in Van but for a reference point would fit in with the feel of Main around Broadway, I think.

Bonus: you can take the Red Rocket (the Queen streetcar) to get there for an added Toronto experience. Just be sure not to pronounce the second T in Toronto or people will know you're an outlander :biggrin:

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I am in agreement with the suggestions above. I love Jamie Kennedy's Wine Bar. The items on the menu speak volumes of the great farmers we have here in Ontario. There is always something on the menu for even the most discerning palates. I would have to say that Truffles Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel at Avenue Rd. and Cumberland St. is at the top of the list of Toronto restaurants. The food is always well executed, rich in flavours, although it is not so daring. Great wine list too!

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Sorry to hijack this thread, but I'll be in Toronto for about a week too, and I don't want to start yet another thread on Toronto restaurant recommendations.

We don't really have the luxury to drop $135+ on the Splendido tasting menu, but I was thinking of doing lunch at an upscale place instead. We've already decided on JK Wine Bar for dinner. I was thinking maybe Bymark or Canoe, although Bymark's menu entices me more... that being said, Canoe's online menu is more than 2 months old.

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Colborne Lane.

Perigee.

One.

All three operating on all cylinders currently, and producing the best cuisine in the city. Especially Colborne Lane. 4 recent dinners = all stellar. Claudio Aprile is kicking some ass in that kitchen now.

One is the "new thing" from Mark McEwan, but it's beyond trendy and actually putting out really high quality food, consistantly. Prices are high as with all McEwan ventures, but considered warranted for the quality. It's what Bymark used to be.

Perigree has been phenomenal pretty much since opening, but you have no choices. You eat what the chef gives you in a tasting format. If you like that kind of adventure, prepare for a FANTASTIC experience.

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Vaughan,

Does it count that I'm a relocated west-coaster? :wink:

I would certainly say, without a doubt that Vancouver excels in Asian cuisine (unless you want high end dim sum, then Lai Wah Heen is good. But then, I make it out to Kirin on Cambie more than I do at LWH, even though I live in T.O.). Same goes with Japanese cuisine, unless you want to head to Sushi Kaji (think Tojo's without the "original creations" attitude. :laugh: ). I've mentioned Mother's dumplings to another dumpling lover who seemed to highly enjoy her experience.

If you wanted to try experimental/molecular gastronomy/fun cuisine, might as well head to Chicago or Europe, basically anywhere but here, as it is something new to the T.O. market. I'll be honest, there are very few people that I know personally who have tried Colborne Lane (myself included) who love it. It's still in the refining stages (my excuse for them) and I'll leave it to you if you want to be a guinea pig.

More refined and well executed is Splendido, that's if you want something that's Canadian cuisine (I'm thinking a little mix between Lumiere (style), West and Parkside (a dinner in Ling's company, she was recognized, so I'm not sure if that might have skewed the dining experience :raz: ), if I could be so bold to suggest). It's one of my faves in the city. I've also had a great experience at Via Allegro. It's a little out of the way (who am I kidding, it's far), but it's great for food and value. I'd equate it to Vij's but obviously it's Italian not Indian, you are able to make reservations, and it's priced a little more. However, you will come out just as happy and satisfied.

I know Perigee is much loved on this thread, and it is decent. I've just been spoiled with visits to i.e. French Laundry, Avenues, etc. so it's difficult for me to speak biasly. But Chef Riley is doing good stuff there. Have you been to Mistral in Seattle? It's kind of along those lines. If not, you might want to try out George. That's decent, and not far from where you're staying, too.

I've not (yet) tried One but have heard good things. Many love JK Wine Bar and it good for a drop by meal, or one where you can dine in the company of others. If you want to eat local, this might be where you'd like to try (for a complete immersion in this concept, maybe try out Eigensinn Farm next time). However, giving me the option, I'd happily trot (in Vancouver) to Guu for a dose of good Izakaya fare. :wink:

Good luck with your choices here. You are certainly not without options.

Update:

Just to further Jake's comment below. Chiado's is decent too, especially due to their fresh selection of fish. Even though you're coming from Vancouver, the selection could be very different from what you can get out west (their skatewing is decadent!). Other than that, I still can't get over that tower at Blue Water in Yaletown. Now that is worth a repeat performance.

Warning, this is a plug for Vancouver dining (I hope my friend doesn't mind that he got caught in this picture):

115660532_9ca036356e_d.jpg

^^ Does anyone know where in T.O. you can get a beautiful thing like this??

Edited by Renka (log)
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Okay, I am from Toronto, but hope you won't mind me adding a suggestion. (And I have eaten in Vancouver many times).

Chiado. It is arguably the best Portuguese restaurant in North America, their fish is pristine, flavours excellent and I've always had great service. It has the added advantage of being just a little different than usual.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

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

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Thanks all for the help, that's wonderful.

I actually know nothing about "eastern" palates and didn't intend to send that to you, so apologies.

Looking forward to dining adventures in Toronto. Greyelf I will make sure to pronouce the "t".....

I'm also a wine collector and scotch drinker, what's the best wine/LCBO store? To doubly show my eastern ignorance, do you have private stores?

Vaughan

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I’m not sure I’m living in the same city as many of the responders! I’ve pretty much tried all the places mentioned and differ dramatically.

First the constructive bit: All the liquor/wine stores are government owned (exception for some Ontario ‘winery’ stores). All products are on the LCBO website, so check there for products you might like. The Scrivener Square (Summerhill), just south of Summerhill subway stop, store is probably the easiest destination for Scotch. It’s theoretically an all-brand store, but because of that is a destination and is often sold out of product still available elsewhere. The LCBO website also links all products to locations (but assume that if it’s 3 bottles or less they’re all gone – inventory reconciliation only happens in Jan/Feb).

If you’re from Vancouver, avoid all seafood – you’ll just be disappointed! OK I’ll except Chiado as they have fish you don’t have anywhere else, but it’s de-luxe dining. Expensive (and nowhere near downtown).

JK Winebar gets raves – but why? Excellent wine list, yes – maybe the best in town. But the food aromas that waft from the open kitchen have destroyed several meals for me. I now only go for lunch, which is less crowded and less liable to interference from other peoples’ dishes.

Perigee – 3 visits – two disastrous and one very good. All 3 visits people were served dishes containing ingredients that they were averse/allergic to! Because the kitchen serves your dishes as a mystery, how do you match wine? Their wine choices have ALWAYS been hit or miss – mostly miss! And the other couple who were there on the ‘successful’ night went back without us. They reported it as the worst meal/service for years and are never going back! (We tightly choreographed the successful meal, even rejecting some of the potential wine matches). It’s also the most expensive ‘set meal+ wine’ restaurant in Toronto.

Thuet CAN be great – would like it if it was consistent. His bread is the best in Toronto.

Canoe, Fifth, Bymark, Thuet, Truffles, Splendido, One, Lai Wah Heen are all ‘safe but relatively unexciting’ – corporate, hotel-style, suits! Priced to match. If you go to one of these, make it Splendido.

Mothers Dumplings is OK, but has gone downhill (I think they’re now wholesaling to other restaurants). I prefer Traditional Chinese Buns (536 Dundas West) 3-5 minutes walk from Mother’s. Both are downstairs home-made owner run places. Because they serve 6 or 8 (or more) items to a serving, both are best enjoyed in a group – except both places are tiny!

Via Allegro is in the suburbs! I don’t get it! Large portions of pretty good food (but not exceptional) served in a family roadhouse atmosphere (no tablecloths). Superb winelist – except prices to match – although if you’re a real Italian enthusiast, you might be able to pick off a bargain.

Colborne Lane is indeed a little different (and not even a 10 minute walk). It’s the chef’s best effort to date, but is still trying to find its place. I think its worth the experiment – style is “small plates” so you can try different things. Hip crowd – wear black. I hear it’s undergoing ownership changes right now but don’t know the details. Lee (Susur Lee’s “small plates” operation) might also appeal – very noisy and crowded. A streetcar ride along King St from your hotel. A 10-15 minute walk to Kultura on King East. More “small plates” and a very good wine list by the glass (not as extensive as JKWB but pretty good). And if the weather’s fine, drop by Solferino (on Wellington East – you’ll walk right past it on your way to JKWB) for a gelato – one of the better places in Toronto.

I’ll also add Globe Bistro for anyone seeking a more reasonably priced alternative. Very close to Broadview subway stop.

Toronto’s strength is in its ‘ethnic’ cuisine (I know that sounds demeaning, but it’s not meant to be). Choose a cuisine and we’ll help you find the better/best. Nearly all the above are conventional business traveller places.

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I’m not sure I’m living in the same city as many of the responders! I’ve pretty much tried all the places mentioned and differ dramatically.

First the constructive bit: All the liquor/wine stores are government owned (exception for some Ontario ‘winery’ stores). All products are on the LCBO website, so check there for products you might like. The Scrivener Square (Summerhill), just south of Summerhill subway stop, store is probably the easiest destination for Scotch. It’s theoretically an all-brand store, but because of that is a destination and is often sold out of product still available elsewhere. The LCBO website also links all products to locations (but assume that if it’s 3 bottles or less they’re all gone – inventory reconciliation only happens in Jan/Feb).

If you’re from Vancouver, avoid all seafood – you’ll just be disappointed! OK I’ll except Chiado as they have fish you don’t have anywhere else, but it’s de-luxe dining. Expensive (and nowhere near downtown).

JK Winebar gets raves – but why? Excellent wine list, yes – maybe the best in town. But the food aromas that waft from the open kitchen have destroyed several meals for me. I now only go for lunch, which is less crowded and less liable to interference from other peoples’ dishes.

Perigee – 3 visits – two disastrous and one very good. All 3 visits people were served dishes containing ingredients that they were averse/allergic to! Because the kitchen serves your dishes as a mystery, how do you match wine? Their wine choices have ALWAYS been hit or miss – mostly miss! And the other couple who were there on the ‘successful’ night went back without us. They reported it as the worst meal/service for years and are never going back! (We tightly choreographed the successful meal, even rejecting some of the potential wine matches). It’s also the most expensive ‘set meal+ wine’ restaurant in Toronto.

Thuet CAN be great – would like it if it was consistent. His bread is the best in Toronto.

Canoe, Fifth, Bymark, Thuet, Truffles, Splendido, One, Lai Wah Heen are all ‘safe but relatively unexciting’ – corporate, hotel-style, suits! Priced to match. If you go to one of these, make it Splendido.

Mothers Dumplings is OK, but has gone downhill (I think they’re now wholesaling to other restaurants). I prefer Traditional Chinese Buns (536 Dundas West) 3-5 minutes walk from Mother’s. Both are downstairs home-made owner run places. Because they serve 6 or 8 (or more) items to a serving, both are best enjoyed in a group – except both places are tiny!

Via Allegro is in the suburbs! I don’t get it! Large portions of pretty good food (but not exceptional) served in a family roadhouse atmosphere (no tablecloths). Superb winelist – except prices to match – although if you’re a real Italian enthusiast, you might be able to pick off a bargain.

Colborne Lane is indeed a little different (and not even a 10 minute walk). It’s the chef’s best effort to date, but is still trying to find its place. I think its worth the experiment – style is “small plates” so you can try different things. Hip crowd – wear black. I hear it’s undergoing ownership changes right now but don’t know the details. Lee (Susur Lee’s “small plates” operation) might also appeal – very noisy and crowded. A streetcar ride along King St from your hotel. A 10-15 minute walk to Kultura on King East. More “small plates” and a very good wine list by the glass (not as extensive as JKWB but pretty good). And if the weather’s fine, drop by Solferino (on Wellington East – you’ll walk right past it on your way to JKWB) for a gelato – one of the better places in Toronto.

I’ll also add Globe Bistro for anyone seeking a more reasonably priced alternative. Very close to Broadview subway stop.

Toronto’s strength is in its ‘ethnic’ cuisine (I know that sounds demeaning, but it’s not meant to be). Choose a cuisine and we’ll help you find the better/best. Nearly all the above are conventional business traveller places.

Interesting feedback, Estufarian. As someone who hasn't lived in Toronto for more than ten years (have returned for visits, though), you are reinforcing a feeling I had that I thought might be outdated. I was always most impressed by the "world food" experiences I had in TO, and often this went hand-in-hand with excellent value. I still dream about the rice cakes in a tiny Northern Chinese resto upstairs near Dundas and Spadina, where you had to really work hard to break a twenty for 4 people.

Toronto was also where I discovered Vietnamese food that wasn't high end/French influenced. If the Saigon Le Lai is still on Dundas (434 Dundas West (416) 592-9155 north side east of Spadina up a short flight of stairs) it's worth a stop for a giganto bowl of rice noodles topped with various items including but not limited to the oddly translated but tasty "pork skin meat" and more usual fare such as bbq beef, shrimp on sugar cane, spring rolls etc. The menu is so extensive they give you a sheet of paper to note your order down by number. The staff is great too; one time we ordered an item that precipitated a conclave of all the servers and the manager, who came over and warned us that "white people don't like that" with a gravitas that caused us to reconsider our selection. Unless things have changed drastically, you will roll away with change from a tenner -- unless you are tempted by the young coconut drink! SSL isn't going to win any awards for decor or chi chi ambiance but it's the kind of place that makes me happy and a return customer whether it's in Toronto or Vancouver.

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Love all kinds of food, only hangups are goat cheese and some challenging (for me) items like tripe, chicken feet, duck tongue etc (but did try them so know they're not for me). Having said that tried tendon the other day at dim sum and liked it. So fire away! Walking distance preferred (I walked to Susurs last time, that's probably my distance limit) but we like cabs and will venture onto transit in a pinch.

And thanks for the Summerhill suggestion, one of the few things I do know about teh location of where we're staying is that the subway station is across the street so will definitely make it there.

Vaughan

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Part of my reply got deleted (Gremlins - or me)...anyway, because we have a lot of good Chinese and Japanese/sushi here we tend to try other ethnic when travelling. Eg in the US like both high & low Mexican, from Topalobompo to hole in the wall.

I gather Colborne Lane is molecular gastronomy, which interests me. Tried to get into Alinea in Chicago but couldn't (five week waiting list), and now chef/owner Grant Aschatz has cancer so who knows...so may try Colborne Lane if that's what it is.

I do hate high wine prices; because I know retail prices pretty well it drives me nuts when I see 300% or more, I tend to go to beer out of some pathetic notion of revenge. But I do like beer with food, so there's another thought if that leads anywhere.

Thanks again,

Vaughan

PS If anyone's coming to Vancouver or Victoria, I have lots of opinions!

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I've seen the raves for JKWB, any thoughts on his other location @ The Gardiner? I am also visiting Toronto for about (or aboot) a week after staying with my relatives nearby. I'm checking on a lot of the places listed here, but didn't see that one thrown around. Did I miss it?

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