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toronto recommendations please


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#1 mongo_jones

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Posted 26 March 2019 - 02:35 AM

part 2 of my meal planning for my brief canada trip in the second half of june.

 

my montreal dinners are set--well, the ones in which i ditch the group are set (joe beef on the tuesday, damas on the wednesday); hoping the group will go to l'express as i recommended on the monday night.

 

now i need toronto recommendations:

 

1) a place good for a group dinner (10-12 people). this will be on a thursday night. a good cantonese seafood place will be excellent.

 

2) places good for solo dining on the friday and saturday nights. tasting menu'ish places preferred. budget: not too far over $100 us all-in.

 

and suggestions for good indian and chinese places for lunch in the u. toronto area also appreciated.


my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#2 Sneakeater

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Posted 26 March 2019 - 02:43 AM

1) Fisherman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant!!!!!!!!
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#3 Sneakeater

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Posted 26 March 2019 - 02:52 AM

For 2), I’ll be curious whether Adrian says Alo or Edulis.
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#4 Adrian

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Posted 26 March 2019 - 02:59 PM

If your group is willing to travel to Markham (call it 30 minutes from downtown or U of T with normal traffic, a bit shorter from York) Fishman Lobster Clubhouse for sure. O'Mei and Casa Victoria are also great. Reality is that the Markham Chinese world is its own restaurant ecosystem with new places popping up all the time and is among the most vibrant (if not the most vibrant) Hong Kong and Cantonese dining community in North America. If you have to stay downtown, Crown Princess is pretty close in quality to the equivalent Markham places. With a few exceptions, Chinatown proper is hit or miss.

 

Will have thoughts on 2 but, Sneak, what makes you think that I'll say either of them?


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#5 Sneakeater

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Posted 26 March 2019 - 03:22 PM

The severe limitations on my knowledge.
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#6 Adrian

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Posted 26 March 2019 - 03:51 PM

U of T

 

Lunch options depend on where your conference is, where you are staying. The options down towards College St (south on campus) are more in line what you are looking for. In Chinatown, Dumpling House has my favourite fried dumplings in town (they are really, really, good and better than what I've had in NYC), while Mother's Dumplings is good for not fried dumplings. Hand pulled noodles at Chinese Traditional Bun if you are looking for a walk. There are a lot of hit or miss places, but Swatow and King Noodle (roast meats) have their merits.

 

Down on Baldwin Street, Matahari is fund for Malaysian and Wah Sing is good for cheap Chinese seafood.  

 

Over in Kensington, hipster tacos at Seven Lives do the trick, but I've actually really been enjoying the tortas at San Cosme recently. Mille Cafe does that Japanese crepe cake thing which is a lot of fun.

 

You could hoof it to Raval if you have a longer break and you're near the College St. end of campus.

 

Bloor to follow on a subsequent post.


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#7 Adrian

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 05:53 PM

The north, Bloor St., part of campus is a bit weaker from a cheap and good perspective. Brothers is really nice for lunch, but very European and at a slightly higher price point. The Oxley is a slick (but still cozy) pub serving better than average pub food. Wow Sushi is decent for cheap sushi (the hamachi collar is actually excellent). Further afield, but probably too far a walk for lunch, is K-Town, which as lots of good Korean options, with House of Soon Tofu being a personal favourite. Piano Piano is good red-saucy Italian, though maybe not what you are looking for, with Cafe Cancan across the street doing some nice bistro food. The Host is an Indian restaurant fairly close to campus, and used to be pretty well regarded, but I have not been in years. May be worth a shot but it's a large menu with meat options.

 

A non-Chinese dark horse for the group dinner would be Lahore Tikka House, a wonderful Pakastani/North Indian restaurant in the east end. No booze though. 


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#8 Adrian

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 03:30 PM

I guess the first question for the solo tasting menu meal is whether you want to eat at the bar/pass or whether you are comfortable doing it at a table. I would find it somewhat odd to do the solo meal at a table, but this is a preference and perhaps a weird one, so I will not judge. If you are comfortable with a table, Edulis is probably the choice. Not that it's "better" than Alo - the cooking is not as precise, it's more rustic - but it is unique. I can't say I've been anywhere quite like it in North America. The cooking is a modern interpretation of fairly European country cooking with an intense focus on ingredient quality. It's very special, but also cozy and romantic and has no bar. 

 

The pass at Alo is the natural option, though the price point is a bit high. It's very good, though the food itself will be something you've seen before, it is a very good version of food that you've seen before. It's the consensus best restaurant in town, which also means that it's the restaurant that most resembles an international modern fine dining experience, though the food is mostly French with Japanese and Italian touches here and there. It's pre-New Nordic, if you will. This may sound tepid, but it's not. Alo is a very good restaurant.

 

Actinolite is kind of the opposite of both Alo and Edulis. Highly Canadianized New Nordic-ish cooking in a further flung neighbourhood in a more rustic room. Recent meals here have been very good. The food, despite the New Nordic touches, is actually very comforting. It's further afield, but you can eat at the bar and they are at the top of their game.

 

Canis is also doing some nice things. My last meal there had some misses (an inexplicably sous vided short rib in an onion broth) and some home runs (the roasted duck) and it generally fits nicely into the progressive tasting menu in a small restaurant with natural wines space. The duck itself is worth the visit. 

 

There are the thoughts. 


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#9 mongo_jones

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 11:25 PM

thanks! i am fine with eating solo at a bar. canis' sample tasting menu seems enticing, so i think i will try to snag a reservation there for one night. don't want to go too far flung or too expensive so i will give edulis a shot for the other night.

 

thanks, adrian--and i'm sorry i've chosen 3 nights when you're out of town to blow in and out of toronto. but i hope to be back.


my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#10 Adrian

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 11:31 PM

Of course. Maybe to finish the list off, I've stuck closely to the tasting menu request but, for a solo meal, I would probably choose the bar at Quetzal, Bar Isabel or La Banane over any of them. 


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#11 mongo_jones

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 11:32 PM

hmm actinolite is not very much further away from the u. toronto area than the other places. maybe that instead of edulis then.


my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#12 Adrian

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Posted 02 April 2019 - 11:57 PM

I think actino would be better as a solo meal than edulis, even if I like edulis more.

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#13 mongo_jones

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 02:23 PM

Of course. Maybe to finish the list off, I've stuck closely to the tasting menu request but, for a solo meal, I would probably choose the bar at Quetzal, Bar Isabel or La Banane over any of them. 

 

 

hey adrian, i'm considering dinner at quetzal one night. but then i came across this. i assume the restaurant has re-opened but i'm wondering if your opinion of it dates from before or after the presumed chef change.


my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson


 


#14 Adrian

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 02:32 PM

 

Of course. Maybe to finish the list off, I've stuck closely to the tasting menu request but, for a solo meal, I would probably choose the bar at Quetzal, Bar Isabel or La Banane over any of them. 

 

 

hey adrian, i'm considering dinner at quetzal one night. but then i came across this. i assume the restaurant has re-opened but i'm wondering if your opinion of it dates from before or after the presumed chef change.

 

 

Yes, been to Quetzal both before and after the chef change. The original version was something special, but the new version is good. There is a collection of people who think that 2.0 is actually better than 1.0 - I think that they are a bit off their rocker - but it remains a unique and worthwhile restaurant. 


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#15 mongo_jones

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 03:06 PM

in what order would you recommend quetzal, la banane and bar isabel? (will probably be a group of 2-4.)


my annoying opinions: whisky, food and occasional cultural commentary

 

current restaurant review: house of curry (sri lankan in rosemount, mn)

 

current whisky review: glen ord 28

 

current recipe: white bean curry with green peppers

 

 

facts are meaningless. you could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
~homer simpson