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wenus2
05-25-2012, 05:41 PM
The Mrs. and I will be spending 6/2-6/10 in Toronto and we need to line out some meals!
:hungry3:

I know we have several members that reside in Toronto, so I trust I will find some really great advice in them.
We are really looking forward to the variety of ethnic cuisine as well as some finer dining, but there are so many choices.
We have a lot of time in the city, so we can go to several places, I just don't want to "waste" many meals.
:hungry:
Also, if possible, I would like the chance to eat at establishments where members work.

So have at it guys. Where should we go? What is a "don't miss?"

Thanks in advance! :thumbsup:

shankster
05-25-2012, 06:05 PM
where abouts are you staying?
My T.O faves are-Chinese Rol San for dim sum and Swatow for wok hay style,both on Spadina/Chinatown
Burgers Holy Chuck and Burgers Priest,crazy good burgers(In n' Out style)
Steak- Jacobs & Co
Kensington Market-Tons of funky South and Central American joints,plus it's a cool neighborhood.
Places I haven't been to but come highly recommended-Buca,Gusto.Enoteca Social.

Most of these places are downtown,near all the major hotels.
So many places to choose from...high end to cheap and cheerful.
Have a great trip!

Peter

shankster
05-25-2012, 08:34 PM
Here's a recent chowhound thread about Toronto "do not miss/must try" restaurants.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/845296

Hattorichop
05-25-2012, 08:35 PM
If you are in the Kensington Market there is a little restaurant called the Kensington Cornerstone Restaurant.
It's a gluten free restaurant. They also have 10 or 12 pieces of my art on display there.

There is also a great little mexican place in the annex called Playa Cabana.
it's a tequila bar and the braised beef short tacos are to die for.
Chef David Aggie frequents there quit a bit.

Hope that helps!

shankster
05-25-2012, 10:02 PM
Also,if you have time check out "KNIFE' 658 Queen St West and Toso Knife Arts-602 Markham St(lower level). 2 amazing purveyors of fine Japanese steel..

http://knifetoronto.com

http://toshoknifearts.com

Hattorichop
05-25-2012, 10:35 PM
Just to clear things up, the braised beef short tacos are not all that short. But they are made with beef short ribs.

cnochef
05-25-2012, 11:40 PM
Some of my favourites:

Beast, for inspired nose to tail eating/local/sustainable cuisine and great Sunday brunch. Amazing breads and desserts too (chef's wife is the baker/pastry chef).
Cava, for reasonably-priced tapas and great Spanish wines. Plus, they have a relaxing courtyard patio and an awesome dessert place next door called XOCOCAVA.
Nota Bene, for the best $22 burger I've ever had. A great choice for your fine dining option and heavenly desserts (chef's wife is the pastry chef here too!).
The Stockyards, for the best fried chicken and BBQ in town. The lineup for ribs begins at 5pm Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.
Sukhothai (Thai), Butter Chicken Factory (Indian) and F'Amelia (Italian), a few of the best reasonably-priced neighborhood restaurants in TO and all in Cabbagetown.

shankster
05-25-2012, 11:53 PM
Great suggestions cno! I love Stockyards fried chicken!!

slowtyper
05-26-2012, 02:37 AM
Toronto has a lot of great chinese/cantonese food, but to get to the good ones you will need a car.

If i was sticking around downtown area and looking for ethnic, I like sukho thai (as already mentioned).

For Japanese, Guu is an izakaya (japanese tapas/bar) that is super fun, two locations downtown. Also the ppl who run Guu have just opened up a ramen shop which is pretty good and also funky and fun called Kinton Ramen. For other Japanese, not really known for their sushi but rather their other cooked dishes, I like ema-tei.

Around Bloor and Christie (on the subway line) there is a small korea-town with many restaurants. I think its a fun place to check out. Many restaurants open during the day (just look for the busy ones) and even late night till 1-2am there are a few that open where you can eat and drink cheap.


I also like kensington market. There is a little building where 5 or so vendors have tables set up selling things like tacos/empanadas/ etc.

There is also a little india. I'm not quite sure its worth visiting as the strip is a bit boring IMO. There is a popular restaurant there called Lahore tikka house....but when in that area I prefer Udupi Palace, a vegetarian restaurant that is pretty good.

There is a lot going on in Chinatown but I don't really like the stuff there much...all the good chinese stuff is out in the suburbs. But there is a very popular restaurant supply store called Tap Phong that is worth checking out.

Non-ethnic, a couple of "snack" type places that I like quite a bit are County General and 416 snack bar. Black Hoof is also really good (charcuterie) and they just recently opened a place next door called hoof raw bar that is seafood-centric.

Oh yeah and if you're ever stuck at yonge/dundas (eaton's center mall), I'd take a 5-10 min walk to Queen/Jarvis where there is a big parking lot where some food trucks set up shop during the day. They aren't all there everyday, but you may see trucks from these guys:
http://caplanskys.com/
http://www.bustersseacove.net/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Food-Cabbie/137387466356927

(the last one is my fav).

slowtyper
05-26-2012, 02:52 AM
Oh yeah there are also a ton of ethiopian restaurants on the subway line close to greektown (also on the subway line). Don't know much about that but keep it in mind if its something you may want to try. There isn't much else around there, but its easy to get there and head back on the subway.

wenus2
05-26-2012, 02:59 PM
Thanks guys, this is awesome.
We are staying at the University of Toronto, so we are pretty centrally located. At Spadina between Bloor and College I believe.

Kensington Market was definately on our list. Hattorichop: how may I identify your work?

Slowtyper I would like to hear your opinion of the best Cantonese places, it would be worth a cab ride for us, as that is the Mrs.' native tongue. It's always fun to try things other than what her mother makes.
And dim sum is most likely on the menu at least twice so thanks for your suggestion there shankster. It's not a dining option in Reno, so we are always sure to enjoy that when it is available, usually in SF and Portland.

We will definately try to make it to Sukho Thai and Kinton Ramen, those sound right up our ally.

Cnochef, you made all of your suggestions sounds amazing. I will have to make it in to Beast and Stockyards at a minimum.

I had Tosho Knife Arts on my list, but didn't know about Knife, so thank you for that.

Can somebody give me an idea of Chinatown vs East Chinatown?

Also, what's the swank espresso joint?

Thanks again everybody, I'm more excited now then ever. We do live for food at my house!

wenus2
05-26-2012, 03:04 PM
Manic coffe looks good, and close. Any experience there guys?

Hattorichop
05-26-2012, 04:05 PM
Wenus, I use copper tubing and stained glass as my medium.
Most everything at the Kensington Cornerstone Restaurant is mine.

Have fun on your trip!


Karl

VoodooMajik
05-26-2012, 04:19 PM
Detroit eatery West of Pape and Danforth has some amazing souvlaki (sp?)

The Old Nick at Broadview and Danforth is a comfortable little place, everyone is super friendly. The owners Pam and Chris are Really great people.

shankster
05-26-2012, 05:41 PM
Thanks guys, this is awesome.
We are staying at the University of Toronto, so we are pretty centrally located. At Spadina between Bloor and College I believe.

Kensington Market was definately on our list. Hattorichop: how may I identify your work?

Slowtyper I would like to hear your opinion of the best Cantonese places, it would be worth a cab ride for us, as that is the Mrs.' native tongue. It's always fun to try things other than what her mother makes.
And dim sum is most likely on the menu at least twice so thanks for your suggestion there shankster. It's not a dining option in Reno, so we are always sure to enjoy that when it is available, usually in SF and Portland.

We will definately try to make it to Sukho Thai and Kinton Ramen, those sound right up our ally.

Cnochef, you made all of your suggestions sounds amazing. I will have to make it in to Beast and Stockyards at a minimum.

I had Tosho Knife Arts on my list, but didn't know about Knife, so thank you for that.

Can somebody give me an idea of Chinatown vs East Chinatown?

Also, what's the swank espresso joint?

Thanks again everybody, I'm more excited now then ever. We do live for food at my house!

If you like good Pho,Pho Tien Thanh on Ossington(57 Ossington Ave North of Queen St) is excellent.Actually the Ossington strip has quite a few good restaurants.
Chinatown(Spadina&Dundas) is much bigger than Chinatown East(Broadview&Gerrard),with more variety and Kensington Mkt is a stones throw away.I think the Chinatown slowtyper mentioned is more than a cab ride away,probably a rental car drive from the downtown core,but some really excellent restaurants can be found there.

echerub
05-27-2012, 12:39 AM
Most Cantonese in the city live outside the core now, so Chinatown and East Chinatown aren't really too popular any more for Cantonese food. Most of the Cantonese places are out in the suburbs. However... "siu sa teen" which is... frick, I don't remember what it's called in English, on Spadina halfway between College & Dundas is alright.

Dynasty now just west of Bay & Yorkville was alright before they moved, so I presume they're still good at their new location. Lai Wah Heen (http://www.laiwahheen.com/) at the top of Metropolitan Hotel at 108 Chestnut (just east of University & Dundas) is very good but can get a little pricey. Lai Wah Heen is probably your best choice in terms of quality for Cantonese food without leaving the downtown core.

slowtyper
05-27-2012, 02:34 AM
Lai Wah Heen is very good quality (only been there for dimsum once and dinner once) but its not a place I'd like to go back...just so you know, its a hotel restaurant so its pretty quiet, excellent service, and fancy. When I want to eat cantonese food I want noisy and bustling and slightly dingy.

+1 for pho on ossington, the one mentioned is my fav in the city. Ossington can be a fun strip. A lot of hipsters there though.

slowtyper
05-27-2012, 02:39 AM
Oh yeah, and forget east chinatown. Nothing there worth going to see. Its close to little india though.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/yangs-fine-chinese-cuisine-********-hill this place has good dim sum, but it is far out in ******** Hill.

For more accessible, you could go check out Pacific Mall (accessible by bus...I'd guess an hour ride from downtown toronto?). Its an asian mall with food court, shops, bootleg dvds, and a lot of chinese restaurants close by (a few options for dimsum within walking distance). There is also a CCK store in that mall if you want to pick up a cleaver.

I love real spicy szechuan food and there is a restaurant close by there that I really like https://www.google.ca/search?q=ba+shu+jia+ren&rls=com.microsoft:en-GB:%7Breferrer:source?%7D&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&redir_esc=&ei=is3BT_CxE8TLgQeW_J3bCQ.

echerub
05-27-2012, 02:52 AM
Yeah, for good Cantonese (and Sichuan) most options are indeed out in ******** Hill, Markham, or north-end Scarborough :)

shankster
05-27-2012, 08:55 AM
I'm tellin' ya..no need to schlep all the way put to the burbs for good Chinese/Cantonese. I was at Swatow on Spadina yesterday for lunch and it was great(as usual).Nothing fancy,plain interior,good fast service and great wok hay style food.3 of us pigged out for $40.ish.
Steamed oysters w/black bean sauce
Pan fried dumplings
Shrimps & eggplant
General Tsao Chicken
Steamed rice.
If you feeel like driving out to the burbs for something a little fancier/high end,great if not check this joint out..

Their noodle soups are awsome

slowtyper
05-27-2012, 02:01 PM
Ok, I will agree to disagree!

shankster
05-27-2012, 05:41 PM
Ok, I will agree to disagree!

Agreed! :-D

Craig
05-29-2012, 11:59 AM
If you want a decent little bit of Indian curry, you could check out Gandhi Cuisine, on Queen near Bathurst. It's just a little Roti shop, but it's killer. Saag Paneer and Malai Kofta are my favourites.

For the best burger in town, go to Allen's on the Danforth. Places like Burger's Priest are fine and all, but not worth travelling for or really anything special compared to what you can get in other towns. Allen's grinds their own beef and sources from local cows. Very cool.

If you're interested in Greek, my choice of those on the Danforth is Pan. I've never really been all that wowed by the Greek places though, to be honest. I live on Danforth by the way. Detroit Eatery and Old Nick aren't bad places, but they're hardly can't miss.

For the best beer selection in town, try Bar Volo some night. Not cheap, but if you want a good sampling of what Ontario beer is about they're pretty good. If you're looking for a lower-rent sort of night try The Only, again on the Danforth. Aleens then The Only is a not uncommon evening of bliss for me.

Do you want expensive options too? I could provide a few if you're interested.

wenus2
05-30-2012, 03:57 AM
Thanks Craig, looks like some good suggestions. Bar Volo is only a few blocks from my room, I'd say it's a safe bet more than one evening comes to a close there.
A fine dining suggestion would be appreciated, thank you.

Also, does Toronto have a "last call for alcohol?" My bedtime is already about 2 am here on the Pacific, spot me three hours on the time difference and I will likely be awake all night.

Craig
05-30-2012, 09:51 AM
Technically I think last call is 1:30 or 2 am. Many places will close earlier, depending on the night etc.

Black Hoof (http://theblackhoof.com/) has been getting a lot of good press lately. Bone Marrow, blood custard, tendons, tongue, sweetbreads, etc. They also just opened up a cocktail bar next door that I assume you can drink in while waiting for a table (they don't take reservations) that sounds like fun, but I haven't been to. Think like, classic cocktails, not 17 different flavours of vodka martinis.

Cowbell on Queen West is a good spot, but maybe a bit out of the way for you.

Origin (Church and King) is worth a look. Nice patio too, if I remember right. Word of caution - In the evenings during the week this place is packed full of corporate douchebags, so its best for weekend lunch or dinner. If you do that and want a place to go afterwards for a beverage or three, try C'est What? which is a short walk away. Outstanding beer selection, but really average food.

There are a bunch of nicer places on Harbord street, just West of Spadina. I like Tati, which is a French bistro, but other people will tell you Splendido is the best place along there. There are a few other decent options like Loire that are good too. There's also a Peruvian place along there called the Boulevard Cafe that's pretty unique for Toronto. I suspect that Reno has more/better Latin options than Toronto does, so it might not be as interesting to you as it was for me.

Another thing I should have mentioned before that is decidedly not fine dinning is the distillery district. The Mill Street (a regional brewery) pub is decent enough pub grub and good beer, but really the whole district is just an interesting vibe to walk around. There are little art and jewelry shops and the like that the Mrs. might enjoy.

If you want to shell out 40 bucks for ethnic food, I have (ethnic) coworkers who swear by the curry crab at Saigon Star in ******** hill. It's a Thai/Vietnamese place that has plenty of cheaper stuff on the menu, but that's the dish people keep telling me about. It would be quite a ways out of the way for you, but how can you not want one of these?

http://www.saigonstartoronto.com/photogallery/pic04.jpg

wenus2
06-01-2012, 07:44 PM
Hey guys, I've got questions on dining etiquette in Canada.
How is tipping/gratuity handled?
Here, we have come to pay with plastic a lot.. is that the case there? or is cash still king?

Anything else I should be conscience of?

Thanks.

echerub
06-02-2012, 10:05 AM
Tips are normally at 10%... of pre-tax or after-tax total, that's up to you. I do after-tax. Unless you've got a big group going, tips are not included in the presented bill.

You'll be okay with Visa/Mastercard at the vast majority places, but regular-to-small Chinese restaurants you'll want/need to pay cash.

Other than the tipping %, I can't think of any differences between dining out in Canada versus the USA.

wenus2
06-03-2012, 03:06 AM
Thanks Len, much appreciated.
I dont want to offend anybody nor make an ass of myself (not that I avoid the latter often).

Just got all settled in here aboot an hour ago. Looking forward to some dim sum at Rol San tomorrow then maybe the Jays game?

echerub
06-03-2012, 03:19 AM
Have fun! :D

shankster
06-03-2012, 07:04 AM
<Looking forward to some dim sum at Rol San tomorrow then maybe the Jays game?>

Try to get there early(10:30ish)before the line up starts.
Hope you enjoy your stay!

wenus2
06-03-2012, 03:47 PM
Well, no dice on the Jays game, got too late of a start, but Rol San was very good.
Reat reccomendation, thank you. The pork spare ribs in black bean were the best I've had anywhere.

shankster
06-03-2012, 04:09 PM
Glad you enjoyed it!
Sorry about the crappy weather though....Hope it clears up for the rest of your stay.

wenus2
06-03-2012, 05:03 PM
Reat reccomendation

Beware of hurried replies, thay can make one appear illiterate. :)

Craig
06-05-2012, 02:08 PM
10%? 15% is standard in Toronto and the rest of Canada.

echerub
06-05-2012, 02:15 PM
Uh... not from anyone I've gone out to eat with and certainly not what friends and family who have worked as servers have observed.

echerub
06-05-2012, 02:17 PM
Then again, my friends and I don't typically go to swanky places so maybe it's different with nicer joints. Certainly none of them or family who worked as servers worked in anyplace special.

jm2hill
06-05-2012, 02:23 PM
I think it really depends what restaurants your at. Most of the Asian restaurants that I frequent have tip somewhere included in the bill, the rest of the places I go I usually tip 15% min. Unless service was terrible. I don't eat out much though, my most frequented place is probably Cora's for breakfast or a local place for ribs. The rest of the time it's business dinners and work picks up the bill :)

Craig
06-05-2012, 03:11 PM
I think it really depends what restaurants your at. Most of the Asian restaurants that I frequent have tip somewhere included in the bill, the rest of the places I go I usually tip 15% min. Unless service was terrible. I don't eat out much though, my most frequented place is probably Cora's for breakfast or a local place for ribs. The rest of the time it's business dinners and work picks up the bill :)

Asian is the exception to the rule in Toronto. Even in pubs 15% is expected.

echerub
06-05-2012, 03:20 PM
One Chinese joint my family and I got to know some of the servers and one of them whispered to us once "Don't bother adding a tip. We don't get any of it. The boss takes it all." I think that's changed since then though, and I think they were an exception.

Chinese joints operate on a pooled tipping system, so typically no one individual ever feels particularly concerned about the tip... or the service. This is really why you don't get attentive service at chinese joints. Uh... at least not if you're Chinese. They may treat non-Chinese customers better.

My grandmother used to make up for this with some servers who were really good by slipping them red envelopes with cash in them during Chinese New Year's. I don't know how to do anything like that with her gone now, as only someone senior gives someone junior those envelopes. Peers don't, and I'm not old enough to count as senior to the servers. No idea if this way will even remain with the current generation.

Anyhow, I'm getting off-topic. I guess I've ended up tipping a bit over 11.5% most of the time since I calculate on after-tax totals.

wenus2
06-05-2012, 06:59 PM
Last night we ate at Khao San Road, based on your Sukhothai suggestions, as it seem to be the same owners. The meal was exceptional, easily the best thai I have ever experienced.
Lunch was Bannock's at the Bay, for a "taste of authenticity," we had poutine and a smoked salmon bannock. While not the magical thai we had the night before, it as quite good comfort food, like a Thanksgiving pita.
Then we went on to Little Nicky's for mini doughnuts and a cappuccino, those hot little doughnuts are magical. This should be on everybody's must-do list!

There were some foodie locals at Khao San Road that were seated next to us at the community table, their bill was around $110 and they tipped $10. I've been paying close attention elsewhere to what people are tipping because I feel weird only tipping 10% (been tipping 15% here, I usually do closer to 25% back home) but 10% does seem to be what people are doing from what I have seen.

shankster
06-05-2012, 08:30 PM
<I've been paying close attention elsewhere to what people are tipping because I feel weird only tipping 10% (been tipping 15% here, I usually do closer to 25% back home) but 10% does seem to be what people are doing from what I have seen>

Tip what you feel like tipping..It's no different here(Toronto)then anywhere else in North America.
Bad to horrible service= stiff em'
Acceptable service= 10%
Good to excellent= 15%++
It's up to you..

Craig
06-05-2012, 10:43 PM
Funny, I work across the street from Bannock and I still haven't gotten around to going in.

Messy Jesse
06-06-2012, 08:21 AM
Not sure if it's been mentioned but I love The Black Hoof! Very charcuterie and game/offal based.

mr drinky
06-06-2012, 09:51 AM
I haven't been, but I read that Grant Achatz loves the $45 smoked Manhattan at BarChef. So if your pockets are too fully of money, you can try that ;)

k.

slowtyper
06-06-2012, 12:20 PM
Actually I think 10% in Toronto is considered pretty low. At least 15% for acceptable service has been standard for a long time I'd say. I used to serve in a not so busy place, with older and richer clientel and a 10% tip came occasionally but would definitely be considered low compared to the avg.

Now I"m in the kitchen, but the place is busy with young people and the wait staff make good tips. If someone tips a flat 15% its definitely on the low side of the avg.

I think a lot depends on the type of restaurant and type of clientel as well.

slowtyper
06-06-2012, 12:28 PM
One Chinese joint my family and I got to know some of the servers and one of them whispered to us once "Don't bother adding a tip. We don't get any of it. The boss takes it all." I think that's changed since then though, and I think they were an exception.

Chinese joints operate on a pooled tipping system, so typically no one individual ever feels particularly concerned about the tip... or the service. This is really why you don't get attentive service at chinese joints. Uh... at least not if you're Chinese. They may treat non-Chinese customers better.

My grandmother used to make up for this with some servers who were really good by slipping them red envelopes with cash in them during Chinese New Year's. I don't know how to do anything like that with her gone now, as only someone senior gives someone junior those envelopes. Peers don't, and I'm not old enough to count as senior to the servers. No idea if this way will even remain with the current generation.

Anyhow, I'm getting off-topic. I guess I've ended up tipping a bit over 11.5% most of the time since I calculate on after-tax totals.

Ha, my mom also has a few special servers she loves and gives the red pockets as well. I love that and wish I can do that one day. I'll feel like a gangster in Goodfellas.

shankster
06-06-2012, 05:43 PM
I haven't been, but I read that Grant Achatz loves the $45 smoked Manhattan at BarChef. So if your pockets are too fully of money, you can try that ;)

k.

My niece's husband had one a while back and said it was weird(too smokey) and not worth $45.00....to each their own.

slowtyper
06-07-2012, 01:33 AM
If you're still looking for an authentic cantonese experience outside of downtown, a good suggestion (that takes reservations also) is Maple Yip in scarborough.

Solid food there

Eamon Burke
06-07-2012, 02:00 PM
Yo. Wenus. Your pms are full.