Coming to Toronto next week...
Hi all Toronto 'hounds! I'm a 'hound from Los Angeles, and will be in Toronto starting on Saturday until Thursday. The first few nights I'm staying downtown at the Park Hyatt, and won't have a car, and the last night I will be in Mississauga and will have a rental car (renting downtown). Any recommendations within walking or easy cabbing distance from my hotel?
Is Susur close by? Does anyone have any feedback on the likelihood of getting a table there or being seated as a single?
Recommendations to both high end dining options as well as great ethnic places that would be great. Good, fresh, traditional sushi places that do Omakase would also be greatly appreciated. I am a wine collector, but realize that corkage is not allowed in Toronto/Canada, so won't be bringing wine with me, but a good wine list is always appreciated.
Thank you for your help in advance, and I'll make sure to post any reviews of my dining experience.
Hmmm... park hyatt is at Bloor and University, I believe...
I can't speak for susur (other than it's generally considered to be one of the best in the city...) But you're pretty close walk to my favourite Ethiopian cuisine resaurant: Ethiopia House north of Wellesley just off of Yonge, 4 Irwin Ave, 416-923-5438...
I generally get an order of "Of Each Kind Vegetarian" (just say that, and they'll know what you're talking about... a delicious collection of stews served on a large platter with injera), with an order of Tibs (beef spiced with berbere). They might have wine, but it's not for sommeliers! If you like coffee, opt for the coffee ceremony after dinner (but you have to order it before so they have time to prepare it).
By the way, you're a little too early for bringing your own wine: Ontario passed a corkage law just recently, but I don't know when it is to be implimented. Perhaps for your next trip!
Generally, if you're feeling adventurous, try going to Little Italy (bit of a misnomer: it's become more cafe-like, kind of international cuisine, where all the beautiful people go... college street between bathurst and Ossington, it's a nice walk and you can't throw a stone without hitting a good restaurant).
Generally, consider walking everywhere in Toronto.
Yes, Ossington is the 'centre' of little Ethiopia, but I stand by Ethiopia House as the best of the bunch. But there's apparently a little place along the Danforth that's very well regarded, haven't been there yet. I think there's a thread on this a bit further down.
So far as little Ethiopia is concerned, Lalibela (Bloor west & Shaw St., east of Ossington station, south side) used to be my favourite, but descended in quality to the point that I stopped going. That was a few years ago. Queen of Sheba (usually stated as being "the best ethiopian" by the uninitiated, Bloor West, east of Dufferin, south side, dufferin subway station) is OK, but lacks the stronger textures of Ethiopia House. Also, the service is spotty and somewhat surly and lacks any semblance of ambience.
Addis Ababa just east of Queen St. W. and Dufferin has apparently been renovated and has traditionally been recommended, though I thought it was a tad middling when I went a couple of years ago.
Other areas: Little India, gerrard st. east, around Pape (? not sure of the cross street). St. Clair between Bathurst and Lansdowne ("Corso Italia") is the new 'little Italy', but I can't say what restaurants are great or not as I don't frequent the area. Eglinton west of the Allen Expressway is Jamaican cuisine.
Be sure to have pre-dinner drinks in your hotel bar. The roof top bar in the Hyatt has an incredible southward vista of the city.
Susur is not quite within walking distance, but a quick cab ride away (King and Portland). You might have some success getting a table on a weeknight. For a Toronto food experience on the complete other end of the spectrum, go to Gandhi Cuisine (554 Queen St. West -- just east of Bathurst) for roti. Awesome curry wrapped in a thin indian wrap. Don't be scared off by the lack of decor -- turnover is high, the food is fresh and the people are friendly. Then for dessert, wander a couple of blocks down Queen St. to Dufflet's Pastries. Dufflet's make desserts for many of the restaurants in the city, but you can tap directly into them at this storefront/cafe (787 Queen St. West). Happy Toronto-chowing!
If you go early in the week, Mon or Tues, you shouldn't have a problem getting in at Susur as a single diner. I have done that and as a bonus you won't be rushed out as they have two seatings only on Fri and Sat. As a warning, wine pairings are not a strong suit here with his "backwards" menu concept. About 10-15 min cab ride. (601 King St. W.)
Opus is walking distance near your Hotel on Prince Arthur, and has received the Wine Spectator's Grand Award of Excellence, and thus has an extensive cellar (about 1,600 wines - 23,000 bottles) Cuisine is French/Continental - good, not as creative as Susur. (37 Prince Arthur Ave.)
Chiado is a high-end Portuguese restaurant that has wonderful seafood. It also has the largest collection of fine Portuguese wines in North America, and superb Vintage Ports and 19th-century madeiras. About a 15 min cab ride. (864 College St.)
If you are going to be in Mississauga, then you might want to try Via Allegro even just to check out the wine book. They have 4,600 wine selections with about 47,000 bottles. The cuisine is contemporary Italian - nothing too special. (1750 The Queensway)
Hashimoto, also in Mississauga, serves refined multi-course kaiseki dinners ($50-$100/person). See link below for explanation of the experience. (6435 Dixie Rd.)
Sushi Kaji is located in Etobicoke which is close to Mississauga, and is considered to be one of the best in Toronto. The omakase ranges from $65, $95, $120. The $120 version offers more deluxe selections of sushi and sashimi. (860 The Queensway)