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bigred93

toronto help?

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Hi all,

I am going to be in Toronto this Saturday and am looking for a recommendation for a place I can take two friends. We've been to the Jamie Kennedy wine bar before, and enjoyed it a great deal; I'm tempted to go back, but it seems a shame to not branch out if other places are deserving. That said, the kind of quality (lots of care), cost (moderate) and vibe (casual, hip, fun) seen there is what we're looking for.

Any ideas? Cowbell?

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Hi all,

I am going to be in Toronto this Saturday and am looking for a recommendation for a place I can take two friends.  We've been to the Jamie Kennedy wine bar before, and enjoyed it a great deal; I'm tempted to go back, but it seems a shame to not branch out if other places are deserving.  That said, the kind of quality (lots of care), cost (moderate) and vibe (casual, hip, fun) seen there is what we're looking for.

Any ideas?  Cowbell?

Places I considers casual and good values - Bite Me, Grace, Trevor, etc

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Not sure if you are looking to stick to a particular area but I would add L'Unita to the list.

whiskey

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You might consider Mildred's Temple Kitchen; I had a really enjoyable meal there last week.

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Hi all,

I am going to be in Toronto this Saturday and am looking for a recommendation for a place I can take two friends.  We've been to the Jamie Kennedy wine bar before, and enjoyed it a great deal; I'm tempted to go back, but it seems a shame to not branch out if other places are deserving.  That said, the kind of quality (lots of care), cost (moderate) and vibe (casual, hip, fun) seen there is what we're looking for.

Any ideas?  Cowbell?

I liked my meal at Cowbell- if you like meat and are ok with a fairly limited meat-based menu (maybe 4 or 5 starters, 4 or 5 mains, changes daily. even by the hour depending on what cuts he has in the kitchen), this is a great place. My friends I was dining with were relatively picky so they all got the steak frites, and were a little taken aback when they saw he was offering offal. It had a good vibe, and Mark came and talked to each table the night I was there, which I liked. Some people aren't used to the texture/taste of grassfed beef, so the reception to Cowbell has been mixed.

Nyood has a hip/fun vibe, and has share plates. I thought the price was fair, roughly the same price as JKWB. http://www.nyood.ca/

Coca is great place if you like tapas, with a laidback atmosphere, warm vibe, and good food. I really liked the atmosphere. Coca is less expensive than JKWB and more casual. http://www.dine.to/profile_features.php?fe...=website&id=174

Harbord Room also has a great vibe. I've only tried the cheeseburger, but they have some interesting dishes on the menu. Breakfast poutine on the brunch menu, and a lightly smoked salmon with potato/apple pancake and red cabbage on the dinner menu are dishes I hope to try soon. Great atmosphere and vibe. http://theharbordroom.com/


Edited by phoenikia (log)

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I am a big fan of Quince (Yonge and Eglinton) although I do not know if its a Hip Fun Vibe, their gnocci with braised lamb and wood oven roasted fish are great, as are some of their Apps. You should be able to eat there for $35/PP no wine easily.


Edited by sadistick (log)

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Of all the places mentioned I think Nyood best fits the bill. It buzzes, the food is good (better than JKWB in my opinion) and the wine list is also good (for Toronto). May need a reservation on a Sat night - especially later in the evening.

Although I've never really been a fan of JKWB's food (wine list is best in town) there are several recent reports that the food has declined.

I was at Trevor recently on a Sat night - it certainly buzzed - but the food and service were pretty bad! Haven't tried Bite Me - wasn't impressed before the downscaling - always preferred Lee next door.

Cowbell is 'very serious' - if you want conversation, then this may be a better choice on another night. Service seems to suffer when they're busy. And Quince also isn't 'Hip/Fun/Vibe' as sadistick freely admits. L'Unita should be fine - I don't recommend it for two people as the 'couple' tables tend to be in Siberia.

Coca used to be fun - but has changed hands (all round) in the past few months and I haven't tried the 'new' version - good pedigree though as they also own Globe Bistro, which is always solid and reliable.

I'm a little conflicted with Harbord Room. To me it gives a vibe of 'everybody knows everyone else' - and as a newcomer I felt ignored. I also struggled to find anything of interest on the menu (basically ended up with steak frites - which I almost never order) - but have to admit the food was good.

And haven't been to the 'new' Mildred (Pierce) Temple Kitchen or Grace.

And I'll add Kultura - which has beeen around a while now. Same ownership as Nyood - but the trendy crowd moved to Nyood, leaving Kultura a little more placid - and hence more amenable to conversation.

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I tried Harbord Room for brunch a few months ago and found the service quite welcoming -- possibly just different vibes on different days. It did take us awhile to get a seat but that was just due to volume. Foodwise pretty good but again, it was brunch so not a good comparison.


Edited by Endy' (log)

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I tried Harbord Room for brunch a few months ago and found the service quite welcoming -- possibly just different vibes on different days.  It did take us awhile to get a seat but that was just due to volume.  Foodwise pretty good but again, it was brunch so not a good comparison.

The vibe at Harbord does probably change on different days, even different times of the day. Rereading my earlier post, I think I might have been a little overly enthusiastic about the great vibe. I found the atmosphere was down-to-earth and welcoming (talking at length to one of the owners as well as one of the managers as we ate), but just as my friend and I paid our bill, around 11pm on a Friday night, the crowd seemed to change (less of an eating crowd, more of a drinking crowd), and the vibe changed along with it. I'm guessing I wouldn't have felt as welcome or comfortable if I had ordered my burger after the drinking crowd arrived.

I've only eaten at Coca since the ownership change, but I enjoyed my meal, even though the tapas didn't really resemble any I've ordered in Spain or anywhere else. Came across as contemporary tapas with some Spanish flavours made by someone who has never visited Spain. I found our server to be exceptionally friendly for W Queen W. Coca is now serving a Sunday brunch, which I hope to try sometime soon.


Edited by phoenikia (log)

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Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the feedback - just wanted to let folks know where and how we ended up. We went to Emerald Chinese in Mississauga for dim sum lunch, which was tasty and a lot of fun. For dinner we went to Trevor, and had a really great meal there - I was able to twist my friends' arms to get the tasting menu, which they were glad for in the end. It was a great opportunity to sample the breadth of their cuisine as well as to get a few whimsical tastes (foie wrapped in chicken skin, served with homemade wing sauce and quebec blue cheese; a blt consomme, which was tremendously impressive: a clear liquid blt in a demitasse.) Great way to spend the evening. Certainly none of the service issues that another poster had referred to... we felt like we were treated very well.

Thanks again everyone for the feedback - you've given us great ideas for next time too!

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You might consider Mildred's Temple Kitchen; I had a really enjoyable meal there last week.

What dishes did you enjoy at Mildred's Temple Kitchen?

I don't know if we ordered badly, but we certainly had a surprisingly disappointing meal at Mildred's Temple Kitchen last night.

We had a 6:30 pm reservation, and ordered shortly before 7 pm. My friend ordered the daily special of sardines, which she was really looking forward to since she has been fasting for Lent, and it was one of the few starters that didn't contain meat, dairy or egg. A few minutes later, our server returns to let my friend know that the restaurant was out of sardines. At 7 pm? On a Friday night? When fish deliveries are usually made on Fridays? In the middle of Lent, when demand for fish on Fridays would be up?

The rocket, pear and almond salad was fine (the one dish I would order again), but the gnudi were merely ok (soft gnudi, with chewy & very salty bacon, and a little fried sage- cute but quite boring, really). The side of brussels sprouts with roasted pear was very plain.

One of the two orders of scallops with leeks (a daily special) was inedibly salty. I rarely leave food on my plate, but I couldn't finish the 1/2 scallop from my friend's plate, and she left at least one of her 3 scallops on the plate, defeated by the salt. My friend who received the not-as-salty order tried a bite of scallop from the salty scallop order, and mentioned her scallops hadn't been nearly as salty. The salty scallops were delivered to the person who ordered the scallops and leeks without bacon, so maybe the kitchen decided to compensate for the lack of bacon, by brining the scallops?

We decided to go elsewhere for dessert, rather than chance any more dissappointments.

The service was friendly enough but somewhat sloppy. It was difficult to flag down our server as the restaurant got busier. We initially hoped to remind her that our frites had not yet arrived, but by the time we were able to get her attention, we were mostly finished our very mediocre second courses, so we decided not to bother. Our server seemed concerned and somewhat apologetic when we told her how salty the scallops were, and comped one $9 glass of wine, to the person who received the salty scallops.

When our bill arrived, there was some sort of scanning error, and the scallops came up as $32, instead of the $28 price on the menu. We asked the busboy to bring the menu with the daily specials on it, to confirm the price of the scallops before asking our server to correct the bill. The busboy brought the regular menu. So we asked to see the menu with the daily specials again. This time, the busboy responded a little attitude- "Oh, the special menu". Yes, that is what we asked for. He returned, dropped the menu on the table without a word, and turned away quickly.

Just as we tried to flag down our server again, to have her correct the bill, another server came to our table, asking if we'd like more bread, to which we replied, somewhat bewildered, "No thank you." Our server returned, explained that there had been some sort of programming error in the computer which had been corrected, and the bill was corrected. It seemed to be one more indication that the restaurant isn't on the ball.

The sparkling water we were served came in a carafe (no label of any sort), but we were charged $2 per person for the water on the bill. Not a big deal, but I've not been charged for water that has come from an unidentified source before.


Edited by phoenikia (log)

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Wow, sorry to hear you had such a disappointing experience! When I was there, I ordered the whitefish fritters with pickled spruce tip remoulade, which I really enjoyed. Crispy exterior, soft interior, good flavour. I also had the special that night of roast partridge on lentils. The lentils were slightly overseasoned, but still tasty. To share with the table, I also ordered the brussels sprouts and apples, which were very good (though the presentation was a bit weird), and the mashed potatoes. We were told the mash had been overseasoned and couldn't be served - I'm sensing a theme here - so they comped us the frites instead. I thought the mayo/aioli/whatever that came with the frites was incredibly delicious. Desserts were good, but not memorable.

My companions had a variety of other dishes, and the standout of the evening was the squid salad. Definitely something I'd order if I get a chance to return.

Personally, I found the service to be good: friendly and unobtrusive. But we never had any reason to flag down our server, which certainly could have affected my perspective.

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Wow, sorry to hear you had such a disappointing experience! When I was there, I ordered the whitefish fritters with pickled spruce tip remoulade, which I really enjoyed. Crispy exterior, soft interior, good flavour. I also had the special that night of roast partridge on lentils. The lentils were slightly overseasoned, but still tasty. To share with the table, I also ordered the brussels sprouts and apples, which were very good (though the presentation was a bit weird), and the mashed potatoes. We were told the mash had been overseasoned and couldn't be served - I'm sensing a theme here - so they comped us the frites instead. I thought the mayo/aioli/whatever that came with the frites was incredibly delicious. Desserts were good, but not memorable.

My companions had a variety of other dishes, and the standout of the evening was the squid salad. Definitely something I'd order if I get a chance to return.

Personally, I found the service to be good: friendly and unobtrusive. But we never had any reason to flag down our server, which certainly could have affected my perspective.

Thanks for your comments;) I would like to try their smoked whitefish fritters at some point. But I'm planning to wait a few months before giving MTK another try.


Edited by phoenikia (log)

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