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Toronto restaurant recommendation - Page 65

post #961 of 968
Summerlicious is kicking off. Would love some reports on places.
post #962 of 968
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwiffo View Post

The airport district is unfortunately better known for the high mileage strip clubs.

this is probably worth it's own thread smile.gif
post #963 of 968
Checked out Campagnolo recently. Love the vibe and decor. The staff are really nice too.

The food was a bit heavy for me but was tasty and nicely prepared. I had brisket. My wife had a pasta dish and she liked it. The bread appetizers were incredible.

I'd go back again.
post #964 of 968
Quote:
Originally Posted by bings View Post

this is probably worth it's own thread smile.gif

I haven't been going enough lately to justify a thread by itself. After the four figures spent at For Your Eyes Only I stopped.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TDOT View Post

Summerlicious is kicking off. Would love some reports on places.

That's the month I spend avoiding restaurants that feature it. Eating crème brulee created in a Toronto factory somewhere served by every other participating establishments isn't something I fancy. If you're financially challenged and you just want to see decor in Auberge or Splendido for the décor, I can see the rationale but assembly line prix fixe doesn't even come close to reflecting what the real offerings are.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tricky View Post

Checked out Campagnolo recently. Love the vibe and decor. The staff are really nice too.

I find it loud in winter time when it's enclosed. The space is nice but it attracts a lot of noise.

I haven’t posted in this thread in awhile because I wasn’t sure anyone was interested. Here are all the places I went to during the summer so far. I did go back to some old standbys: Auberge, after summerlicious, Splendido (served by Adlay Gawad, apparently he’s back not as host but as just a regular waiter), Stratus, Momofuku, Drake One Fifty, Rhum Bar, etc. I’m almost always hanging out at Dineen.

Bindia - I honestly don't think this restaurant is Indian. I tried it twice. Once for the lamb curry - too many bones, but still quite tasty. Tandoori chicken, nothing to write home about. Reviews say they have a good wine list but nothing ever caught my eye. At least during lunch times, they only have one bus boy and one waitress who doubles as hostess and bartender so service can be quite slow. Lunch date ordered channa masala at very spicy and the chef (cook?) came out to observe her and warn her. Little awkward with a man standing beside you watching you eat. Lunch date handled the spice aplomb. Might come back again.

As a corollary I had morning coffee at Balzac’s next door on Market Street. 7:30 AM is when the moratorium on construction ends so the quiet little patio across from St. Lawrence Market is ruined.

Market Street Catch – same street, but this time I was buying something at St Lawrence, realized it didn’t open on Mondays so I stopped by for fish and chips. Actually I got grilled fish and chips. Everyone got grilled fish and salad. I should have followed the young urban 20 somethings ahead of me. You get different choices for fish and they actually bring your food to you despite it looking like a takeaway place so please tip so they clean up for you. Portions are massive. I only hate half and left the rest there. I would only come again if I could share with someone and try calamari or something a bit more exotic.
Poutineville - I went here because I couldn't get into El Furniture Warehouse. I also realized I'm about a decade older than everyone else in the Annex and it shows. Poutines are all massive. You can customize your own or order from preset ones. Took awhile for the poutine to come out but we had appetizers elsewhere. Waitress from Argentina was cute and confessed she doesn't eat there to maintain her size zero shape. I have to say, I smelt like poutine, sausages and ground beef the next day. It was nice to try once but not exactly something I'd keep coming back for. At best it's a stop as you move on during the night. The rest of the menu is even more poutine. They have a nice quiet patio in the back.

People's Eatery - Chinese/Jewish food made by Jewish people in Chinatown. Most of the tapas sized snacks are tasty; whitefish crostini, latke, fried tongue sandwich and char siu bao were good. If you order any sandwich or bao, make sure you get two or you have to awkwardly try to slice one in half for your date. I might come back to try the peking duck again since I heard it's not really Chinese but an interpretation of it. It's not true you don't get cutlery. If you order the right things you get a spoon and a knife which you can horde and keep for later entrees. I read some reviews the service was indifferent but the two servers I had were prompt at refilling drinks and water as well as ordering more food. Will try it again at one point. Come early so it's not so busy. The back of the restaurant can get very loud and congested. Very pricey.

Pai - I've been here twice. First time was a week after ordering. Second time was last week. Just like Sabai Sabai, Khao San Road, Sukhothai the front of the house is a wreck. No matter how much staff these people hire, there's no dedicated host and you're left queuing up the stairs wondering what the hell is going on. Once you sit down, just like all the aforementioned restaurants - order quickly - and your food will come. Get stuck behind a big party and you're going to be sitting around an hour having green tea that makes lipton tea bags taste like a tin from Harrod's. Food is quite good though. Pad gra pow was the first one I tired. It’s like a minced meat on rice. They do something to the rice (coconut?) that makes it really addictive. It looks unimpressive – something you get from a Vietnamese restaurant but it’s quite nice. Second time I tried the massaman beef curry. At the “spicy” level with a suit jacket on it’ll make you sweat. Lunch date got green curry fish – fish was fried, very feeble. And the second time she got green curry chicken which she finished so it must have been good. I ate at the bar the second time around and our food came out faster. The people who were seated before us ordered khaoi soi chicken and were still waiting for food by the time I finished. Haven’t the foggiest idea why I was lucky but I’d hate to be him. All the papers that keep raving about the basketball net whilst you’re waiting for takeaway – I never once saw someone in that area but then I’ve only went for lunch.

Kinton Ramen 3 – This is the newest outlet at Queen and Spadina. The good news is there’s no queue unlike the original Baldwin establishment. Portions are massive compared to other ramen places (Ramen Isshin, Touhenboku, Ryoji, Momofuku) so for $15 for a bowl of noodles you could be consuming all of your day’s calories there. Don’t be like my mate staring at an “extra” noodles bowl after a dozen drinks. Truth be told I find the broth too heavy and fatty so it won’t be a regular ramen stop for me.

The Caledonian – I came here twice this summer. Mostly recently we were killing time waiting for my work mate’s cousin to drive down from uptown. It’s a nice pub. Waitresses get more attractive with every scotch you drink. Don’t look at the menu, talk to them and ask for suggestions. They have a lot of very peaty scotches but also some that are quite hard to find and aged in different types of casks. I quite enjoyed it. Scotch eggs, which they ran out of the first time I came (how does a pub run out of scotch eggs!?) were divine; or maybe like the waitresses they got more attractive after the scotches. Kitchen closes quite early – 10 PM. The other time I came was during World Cup on a weekend evening. We had to wade through about five blocks of Italian supporters to get here whilst in England kit. There’s a bartender there from Glasgow who is pretty fun to chat with. Lot of pretty birds at the bar that night and it was a Japan vs Ivory Coast game so some Japanese girls were hording tables near the television. Very eclectic mix of people. Mate who drove in from two hours away swears he wants to come by again.

Bar Isabel – I heard how difficult it was to get into this place. I was playing billiards somewhere till late and needed a bite. It was 11 PM and some random pub told me to go down the street to Bar Isabel. This is the Grant van Gameren’s restaurant that won all the awards for last year. At 11 PM, I had to wait at the door for 15 minutes to get a seat at the bar. This was on a Wednesday! Lots of very pretty people at the bar – women, and for my mate, men who look like they spend more time on their hair tan me. We had what seemed to be a very posh version of sardines and toast. I forget the other appetizer but it was quite good. He had the sweetbreads and I had the steak. Steak was really outstanding until I realized ¼ of the cut is fat. It was aged till it was melt in your mouth. You literally didn’t need a knife. Drinks were quite nice. At least at the bar, it seemed like a seen or be seen type place. We were there till about 1am and two younger girls who were either spending a month’s rent or using their father’s credit card were coming in for last call before the kitchen closed. My mate, who makes a more pedestrian salary, said my idea of a “hipster” restaurant is not where regular “hipsters” go. I’d come again but with a foodie.

Montecito – This restaurant is behind the film festival building on Adelaide. I saw it a few times during the summer coming back from the club district where it looked like they were finishing renovations and training their staff. Massive space. They have a café, a patio, a dining room, an upstairs bar and I think another dining section up stairs. I went twice for lunch shortly after they opened. The first time I tried their signature JW Chicken. Between my work mate and I, the chicken was medium done. He couldn’t eat it anymore. Somehow I ate it and survived. As for how special this $20 something chicken is, it’s not. I’d say the $70 one at The Chase is more impressive. There are very few accompaniments with the chicken so we were strongly encouraged to order the JW potatoes as a side. We ended up not finishing the potatoes so maybe we didn’t need it in the first place. The second time I brought a woman who enjoyed a soup and a smoked chicken salad. Then I noticed from two visits, most tables there seem to get the charcuterie board and the kale salad. Anyway, she liked her soup and salad. I had a very interesting zucchini, cherry tomato over a polenta. It was so neat I took pictures so I could copy it at home. For a pure vegetarian dish it was filling. Only thing that bothered me was the service. I left to go to the bathroom after ordering coffee and came back to find my napkin, which I left on my chair, taken away. My lunch date was still there so I’m not sure why the waitress thought I was done besides the espressos we ordered were untouched. There are lots of references to Ghostbusters which didn’t annoy me but I didn’t think the place needed it. I can see a lot of people booking this space up when the film festival comes to town.

Los Colibris – On a whim I decided to come to this restaurant. Mexican with white table clothes so you know it’s not authentic already. Reviews say pretty much everything is pedestrian except for the pastry because the chef used to run the pastry department somewhere else. Service was good although the hostess was hiding somewhere doing Facebook when we showed up closer to 1:00 PM. Lunch date had Huachinango a la Veracruzana (it’s just a snapper with some veg and rice). I had Ensalada Tulum which was just grilled octopus, again nothing very special. We switched in between. We were in a bit of a rush to go but were told to come back for dessert – perhaps start from dessert and work backwards. Restaurant’s in a good location across from Roy Thomson Hall so I can see using this before concerts but the food really lacked any character.

Pearl King – Another dim sum place in the theatre district. No carts here and it’s definitely geared towards the tourist crowd. I think I spotted one Asian person there and our server was an Aussie. If I remember correctly he was trying to tell us what to order on a menu that had English and Chinese characters. We had the usual har gow, siu mai, eggplant, some noodles in a soup and some Chinese broccoli. Fairly expensive for the quality we received but the place was new and I wanted to try it. They have a bbq meat section. Since I can’t see where they could possibly be hanging the meat I will assume they go up to Chinatown to source those.

Cluny – A French bistro that opened up in the Distillery District. The first time I went here, it just opened and I was just having a drink. They had a wine list for my date – it takes awhile to impress her. I had a quick bite – roasted duck poutine – duck fat fries, some shredded duck with a fried egg over some potato cubes. The second time I came here, we had something in between a late lunch and an early dinner. Service was poorer the next time around. Some entrees were forgotten in spite of the fact the restaurant is completely empty. We ordered a bottle of wine and half way through were serving ourselves from the bucket. Asparagus frites – I didn’t know sprinkling sesame and salt on some asparagus and sticking them in the oven was a replacement for fries but they are. Wasn’t really impressed with the salmon tartare. Salt cod donuts were basically fried circular pieces of fish. It came with a mayo like dressing which my date liked. The space is beautiful. I wouldn’t say as pretty as La Societe but definitely something the ladies will enjoy. It’s a lot brighter too. Service as I said spotty. I’ll definitely come again to try a full meal. It seemed like a place people took their kids to too.

Kanga – This place opened up a club district outlet to service aussie meat pies. Meat pies that the aussies copied from the British owned by an Asian lady. Anyway, queues here can get quite long. My suggestion is just to barge into the venue because there’s a lot of people waiting for pies and they get mixed up with the people trying to their order in. I had the chicken pie which was okay – wasn’t too special. You can get the pies to go and bake them at home. Coffee was rubbish. I kept looking for a knife. You get a plastic fork but the crust can be hard to cut with just a fork. Most people were eating the pies straight from the wrapper. You need to come early if you want your choice of pie. By the time lunch hour ends they’re already out half their pies. I haven’t the foggiest clue how they think they can open till late night for the club goers.

Bar Buca – I went to this place twice. First, it’s hard to find. It’s not near Buca. It’s underneath some condo building. Second, it’s hard to find a seat at night. But it’s very much worth it. We had the burrata di buca – anything with pesto and cheese tastes good. Also tried the ammazza fegato, it’s like sausage stew with an egg on top. It was raved about in the reviews and definitely worth a try. I forget what my mate tried but he didn’t want to share. The nodini is the same as Buca. Lots of garlic and butter – don’t talk to anyone the next morning. It’s loud and you’ll have to air your suit for a day afterwards but well worth the atmosphere and the food. If I went again I would try all the fritti and share one of the focaccias that people kept raving about. I went again in the morning for breakfast. We had some cappuccinos. Breakfast date and I split a gnutella croissant. Very messy. She said she would come again. Buca is the proper restaurant but Bar Buca surpasses it. The “snacks” approach which is being done to death in Toronto really works here. Lots of fun.

Portland Variety – This place opened up after Bar Buca did. It’s literally at other side of the block. We only came for breakfast. First of all, it’s supposed to open at 7 but we didn’t get in till 7:30. The barista said sorry he slept late and the kitchen staff didn’t want to open the restaurant for us. It looks more like a bar than a café although they have quite a few hot breakfast sandwich offerings. He wouldn’t set up the patio for us (because he was late). We saw some leftover shrimp sandwich still in the display. God forbid who gets to eat that. We had some croissants and cappuccinos and left about an hour later. Since Bar Buca and this place were close by, I’d choose Bar Buca. It looks like their evening menu is similar – tapas plates and cocktails.

Soos – I dragged one of my mates who likes Asian food out here. We tried the reconstructed nasi lemak, redang beef short ribs and split a tiny laksa. This is supposed to be a family Malay restaurant. Alcohol was really bad – cocktails were only ordered once (they don’t know how to make it) and hard liquor was Red Breast. The space used to be a French restaurant (Paramour) and it’s little changed. The tables are still in the same places but the decor was altered just enough.

Amsterdam Brewhouse - don't go for the service. Don't go for the food. One part of the patio is littered with bees. Even the waitress didn't want to come by to get our order. This must be how impersonal service delivered by robots will look like in the future with the only redeeming thing that the robots will be more efficient. Got two pints and left.
post #965 of 968
oh wow, that's beautiful. Seriously I'm actually going to go get myself a drink and come back to read all that properly icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif
post #966 of 968
fwiffo there is too much there to take in smile.gif

i dont get to the city enough to hit it as hard as you have been. that's nuts. i pretty much just stick to the usuals now unless my brothers find a new place i need to try.
post #967 of 968
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwiffo View Post


People's Eatery - Chinese/Jewish food made by Jewish people in Chinatown. Most of the tapas sized snacks are tasty; whitefish crostini, latke, fried tongue sandwich and char siu bao were good. If you order any sandwich or bao, make sure you get two or you have to awkwardly try to slice one in half for your date. I might come back to try the peking duck again since I heard it's not really Chinese but an interpretation of it. It's not true you don't get cutlery. If you order the right things you get a spoon and a knife which you can horde and keep for later entrees. I read some reviews the service was indifferent but the two servers I had were prompt at refilling drinks and water as well as ordering more food. Will try it again at one point. Come early so it's not so busy. The back of the restaurant can get very loud and congested. Very pricey.

Bar Buca – I went to this place twice. First, it’s hard to find. It’s not near Buca. It’s underneath some condo building. Second, it’s hard to find a seat at night. But it’s very much worth it. We had the burrata di buca – anything with pesto and cheese tastes good. Also tried the ammazza fegato, it’s like sausage stew with an egg on top. It was raved about in the reviews and definitely worth a try. I forget what my mate tried but he didn’t want to share. The nodini is the same as Buca. Lots of garlic and butter – don’t talk to anyone the next morning. It’s loud and you’ll have to air your suit for a day afterwards but well worth the atmosphere and the food. If I went again I would try all the fritti and share one of the focaccias that people kept raving about. I went again in the morning for breakfast. We had some cappuccinos. Breakfast date and I split a gnutella croissant. Very messy. She said she would come again. Buca is the proper restaurant but Bar Buca surpasses it. The “snacks” approach which is being done to death in Toronto really works here. Lots of fun.

I was at Swatow yesterday for dinner beside People's Eatery... PE was rammed out the door... I'll stick with Swatow for now smile.gif

did Bar Buca for lunch. There were 5 of us in total. We family styled a large portion of the menu. I don't drink but my table was impressed with the wine. We had the Burrata which was excellent, the Caprese which was also excellent... the tomatoes couldnt have been better. Arancini and meatballs all excellent. We had a stand with a bunch of different things on it that i cant remember and it was all good. We split the Sporessata and the proscuitto sandwiches... both were excellent. even the espresso was good which i'm pretty picky about. This place was overall pretty tremendous and i would go regularly if i lived around there. Good to people watch too on a nice day. lots of SF approved stuff walking in and out.

We were at Collette for coffee before Bar Buca... the room was gorgeous, perhaps a little too foo-foo. coffee and baked stuff was all good. some candy walking around there too smile.gif
post #968 of 968

The East end is picking up big time. Really loving the area. 

 

If you want to get away from the hipster instagramming nonsensical masses it's a good option, and much closer to downtown than the Ossington strip (though a bit grungier). T

 

he following is a list (in no particular order) of my favorite spots past Broadview.

 

Aft Kitchen has some really good BBQ and a very nice laid back vibe

 

The cocktails at the Comrade a on point and it's a nice spot for a late night drink. Their sister restaurant Goods and Provisions has a great, if a bit more simple, food.

 

Taboule is middle eastern done right. Amazing fresh flavors and a wonderful atmosphere. A favorite in the city.

 

Ruby Watch Co. has a daily set menu. A great place to enjoy some gourmet food in a non-pretentious atmosphere. Excellent

 

Further down the Ceili Cottage has some awesome Friday steak specials. A REAL Irish Tavern (don't let the outside fool you, the interior is awesome) and a great place to grab a pint or a fine scotch (or both!)

 

There's another County General and Rock Lobster in the area if you're sick of waiting 1.5 hours at their West-end equivalents

 

That's my short round-up I'm sure I've missed a few, but seriously give the East-end a try. I haven't been to the Ossington strip in 3 months, there's no need. 

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