HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Beach Eats: Let's Be Honest

  • m

Most Beachers I know (and respect) will admit that while the nabe is awesome when it comes to walks, coffee options, views and kid-friendly everything, the local restaurants aren't all that good. I would be curious to know what east-enders consider a GOOD restaurant in the hood. I wonder if this is an area packed with people who really don't care about quality chow or if we're missing decent eats by driving out of the area.
Your thoughts on this random mix of positions:
Why do the servers at Mersini try to behave as if they're serving a 5-star meal downtown? The food is over-priced and the coffee is HIDEOUS, yet Beachers continue to flock: same goes for the Beacher Cafe, where undercooked food is an ongoing (scary) problem...I will NEVER eat there again, especially since complaining about said scary meal was met with a shrug and zero attempt to make us return...They must just know they can count on the locals for brunch biz...We always head for Leslieville for brunch now.
Your vote for the best sushi place out this way: we now have LOTS but Akane-Ya was always my fave.
I have heard mixed reviews of Eric's Kitchen (jerk strudel appeals to my sensibilities), yet see it packed every week-end for breakfast. I've been told the front of house is problematic while the chef has his heart in the right place--his stomach! I have to admit that my dislike for too-crowded rooms with no apparent atmosphere prevents me from jumping in. I tend to hit The Goof because the staff there give me suggestions about what to have and I have never had a bad meal there: Jackie is bossy as hell but he's the menu-man for sure. OK: I lie: the non home-made burger there is truly awful...I hate to say so, as I eat there weekly...but I did say so to the owner so...
The West-Beach offerings, especially the over-rated, nasty-smelling Whitlocks amaze me when they remain in business. For some reason the mixed aromas of wet carpet and spilled VQA wine don't make me hungry...
Also: please direct me to a decent old-fashioned burger in the Beach if you can. I have never once eaten at Lick's without feeling ill (not sure why), so other options are what I'm after.
Anyone been brave enough to hit Happy Sailor for a burrito and if so, what's your opinion?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I watch this thread with interest because I feel the exact same way. Akane-Ya is the only restaurant my husband and I would risk getting a parking ticket for (and you always get one at the Beach -- it's a fact of life). To be fair, we have not tried Peppino's or that Ci V... whatever the name is where the old Wickerhead Cafe used to be (remember the Wickerhead? That was a nice place for lunch). I also miss Tejas -- the original before they turned tapas bar -- at the end of Queen St. near Neville Park.

    My husband and I now head over to Leslieville for food -- brunch, lunch or dinner. Way more variety, imaginative menus and better quality.

    1. I totally hear you. The only place I have found to be truly parking-ticket worthy is the small Italian place on the north side beside Il Fornello which is usually packed with a line out the door. I love their pasta.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Shiro Miso

        I think it's closed. I walk past it on my way to work. Very sad.

        1. re: lissar
          Guy Middleton

          Not closed, but moved a couple of blocks west. It's called "Ci Vediamo", now at 1910 Queen St E.

      2. g
        Guy Middleton

        The best burger close to the Beach (or anywhere else in Toronto) is at the Tulip.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Guy Middleton

          I second that motion but wish they'd offer sour pickles for the burg...Proof that I do not have an overly sensitive stomach:)

          1. re: Guy Middleton

            I second that motion but wish they'd offer sour pickles for the burg...Proof that I do not have an overly sensitive stomach:)

            1. re: Marmalady

              Let us not forget Whyte Brothers Fish and Chips. The room isn't ideal but the fish is darned good and you can have it grilled or deep-fried, you health-conscious chow-folk.

          2. I’ve lived in the Beach for almost a year now. I have yet to have a good meal. I have given-up on the idea of getting great food in the Beach. I search the streets for something, anything that resembles the quality of food available all over our great city. Yet each trip along the Queen strip leaves me wishing I had made the trek down town – even for pizza.

            If you find something, please be sure to let us all know.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jenna

              Like most others, I have to agree that most of the restaurants in the Beach are just awful. I have lived in the beach for three years now, and am always amazed by how all these truly mediocre resataurants stay in business. This being said, I have identified a handful of restaurants that offer consistent value with their offer.
              This list includes Spiaggia, Queen & Kingswood: decent seafodd/pasta, Corvina: Stick to your ribs Hungarian cooking on Kingston Rd in a truly charming room, Sauvignon: Good French bistro food, even though the owner is a snotty so and so, and finally the Goof: great greasy breakfast.

            2. Lick's serves a pretty decent burger. If you become ill after eating one, I'd say you have an overly sensitive stomach. Aside from that, your remarks about the sad state of food in tbe beach is right on.

              1. There is one favourite: Corvina on Kingston Road at the top of Beech (across from the Y). It's Hungarian food so a little on the heavy side but great for cold winter nights when you need that stick to your ribs kinda meal. Everything on the menu is awesome, but do try the chicken paprika. Lots of vegetarian alternatives as well -- I love the stuffed eggplant and the spinach crepes, which I've had on two different occasions.

                This place is awesome because you feel like you've gone out to dine. The decor is tasteful and the service, wonderful. Everything that is brought to your table is brought to you on a tray, not plopped down on your table like in diners. It's not formal, but there is an elegance about the place. They have linen tablecloths and napkins. Also, up until recently, they placed a fresh flower bud in a vase on every table (maybe if they get busier, they will ditch the fake flowers again). It's a great little place.

                1 Reply
                1. re: gbsm

                  Does Corvina have a takeout menu. I work nights not too far from there and would enjoy a break from the traditional offerings. The chicken paprika sounds like a good place to start.
                  Is it expensive there?

                2. What about Antionette's? Havn't been in a couple of years but used to be good. Anyone tried Blu Lobster bistro?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: beth

                    Found Antoinette's to be overrated in the classic "it's in the beach and it doesn't completely suck so it must be good" way. But I only went once and she seems to have her fans.

                    1. re: julesrules

                      I agree with the Antoinetta's reviews: it's VERY over-rated. I can make pasta like that myself, with half the salt:)

                    2. re: beth

                      I like Antoinette's a lot - the angelhair with black olives and feta is super. Yeah, I could make it at home, but why should I ;-)

                      Apart from that I totally agree with this thread; the Beach sucks for food.

                    3. This is so sad. I live in the Beach, too, and the food is really bad. We do have Ed's Real Scoop, and the Tulip, I guess. Has anyone been to Lakeview Fish and Chips or the new Thai/Vietnamese place at Queen and Coxwell?

                      1. t
                        The Keithster

                        I read all the replies and cannot believe Sauvignon was not mentioned. Easily the best place out here, Queen just west of Woodbine.
                        The place beside Il Fornello moved to where Wickerheads was and is called Ci Vediamo.
                        For sushi we like Aki Da, perhaps because it's so close, maybe because the owner is very friendly or just because they have good sushi.

                        1. When Ci Vediamo was in its smaller locale, it could sometimes be called "good" and sometimes even wonderful. Our first visit to the new location was our last. It's packed, but that never means much in this hood. One must eat, so...
                          I do enjoy Sauvignon. We splash out there on rare occasions: why not more often come to think of it: six bad meals in the Beach or three very fine ones at Sauvignon? I think I'm too salt-freaky though, because I never cook with it and yet local chefs seem to lay it on.
                          I'm actually hooked on some of the dishes at Quigley's where the service is so mixed you can't know from one night to another if you're in the same place. I think they make a policy of hiring brassy mean brunettes who wish they were Demi Moore and then they throw in a sweet, attentive blond every so often to keep you coming back for the peppery farfalle which well, is like heroin for some of us:)
                          We live here because we love children and dogs in large packs, of course.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Sook

                            Yeah - for a while I kept going back to Quigley's because once in a while I had something great there, even though it was more miss than hit. But the night we paid $12.95 or something for pub Pad Thai with two shrimps on top, I realized it was overpriced & ordinary. I've also moved out of the area though so I've really had no reason to go back.
                            Ed's Real Scoop is good ice cream.
                            I've heard from a young hound that the Indian Food at the former diner at Munro Park (?) and Queen is "okay". Anybody tried that place?

                            1. re: julesrules

                              I made it to this Indian place a few months ago and I thought it was good for the area. Open kitchen (a plus IMO), very basic decor. Consider this a qualified "if you're stuck in the Beaches and want to walk to dinner" rec!

                              1. re: julesrules

                                yep - we live very close and have had take out a few times -always good. I like sitting at the bar waiting for my food, watching them bake the naan!

                          2. The Lions pub has a good prime rib that I'd recommend. Although, it has been a couple of years since I have eaten there.

                            I agree that Ci Vediamo used to be better quality before it moved locations. There aren't many good choices in the Beaches unfortunately. What a shame.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: chowgirl

                              Yah, actually one of my favourite things to order at pubs is the 'beef dip' sandwhich, and the LIons pub actually does a really good one, and their fries are good. but , alot of places have good fries haha.. I guess our standards are lower in the beach

                              1. re: hungryabbey

                                Sigh. The Lion has switched to frozen fries. I am saddened. I think they switched in the summer.

                                1. re: lissar

                                  Noooo.. i LOVED their fries. whyyyyy..

                              2. re: chowgirl

                                The prime rib at the Lion is okay, I guess, but I've never had any luck in getting it served cooked any way but well-done. I prefer the Sunday dinner roast at Murphy's Law.

                                1. re: The Berserker

                                  oh dear, i just cannot handle prime rib done well. Its roast beef, it cannot be tough and dry. Really? See, I havent had their roast, I think when I went to Murphys Law I had fish and chips. Nothing wrong with it of course, just nothing that really stood out.

                              3. Well, we do have Zane and Konditor, too. So, no reviews of Lakeview? Maybe this weekend I'll try it- but be warned, I like almost any Indian food and don't know much about how to tell quality stuff from junk- so the review might not mean much except 'it tasted good to me'.

                                1. if beachies want to head a little bit West (ok, a lot west)..there is a great new brunch at Dominion on Queen (just west of River)...I also like Casa Digorgio on Queen across from the Alliance Atlantis movie theatre....Riverside (just east of Broadview) is also great for mussels (although a bit overpriced)

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: lisa

                                    What do you recommend at casa digorgio? I usually go to that theatre and wonder if that italian place is a gem, or just plain mediocre pasta

                                    1. re: hungryabbey

                                      I am going to chime in here and say I tried Casa diGorgio a few months ago for the first time and was impressed with the service, and the food was good. I had salad and pizza, can't remember the details (not the most AMAZING meal I have ever had) but definitely very good, and I will go back. Nice option for where to have a meal before/after movie, intead of Murphy's Law!

                                      1. re: cord

                                        definetly, I went to Murphys Law once, and never ever again. It wasnt BAD but it really was soooo mediocre

                                        1. re: hungryabbey

                                          Murphy's Law has the best pub food in the Beach(es), IMO.

                                          1. re: The Berserker

                                            really? wow, I was not really that impressed. Maybe I ordered the wrong thing. I prefer Feathers (though not reallly beach), or even the lion in my experiences

                                            1. re: hungryabbey

                                              Feathers also gets my vote for best pub food in the Beaches.

                                        2. re: cord

                                          I used to dine at Casa DiGiorgio when it was on Lower Jarvis. In those days it was a gang o' friends favourite for a delivery Italian joint. You could get better than average pasta delivered to your door on evenings when you didn't feel like cooking or going out. I don't know if they still make is as well, but in the day their Tortellini alla Crema was to die for. It is just your basic, old-fashioned pasta place and I mean that in a good way.

                                          1. re: Googs

                                            Back then they also had amazing garlic bread...do they still?

                                    2. Lissar--Yes to the Thai/Viet place. I was impressed, the pad thai is as good as I've ever had. Good size portions and great prices. Only been there at lunch.

                                      1. Has anyone ever been to Thai House Cuisine for thai food? Any good?

                                        1. I think the best Thai in the Beaches is the Urban Thai Bistro. It is on Queen across from Lick's. The decor is nothing great, but acceptable for a quick meal. The food is great, best I have had in the Beach and way better than a chain like Springrolls. They have fantastic jasmine and ginger teas as well. If you go try the mango chicken. I have friends who drive from North York to do take out for that dish alone!

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: cream

                                            I must have gone on a bad night then because with the greatest of respect for your personal taste, I thought it was some of the worst Thai food I have ever had. Every dish was over-sauced and over seasoned, overly sweet or just plain bland. It was definitely not cooked by a Thai chef (I confirmed this when I went to the washroom and saw three Sri Lankans in the kitchen) and my comment to my husband was that it felt like it had beeen cooked for white people -i.e. - Beachers. If it compares more favourably to Spring Rolls that is because Spring Rolls is not real Thai either; it bills itself as 'Pan-Asian". There are other, better places. I haven't tried Bow Thai or Thai House but they look to be far more authentic and therfore possibly better.

                                            1. re: Higgette

                                              Bow Thai is actually pretty good. I've had it a couple times and no complaints from me. They are consistant, unlike Urban Thai across the street which is garbage. Bow Thai also has very good prices and a pretty authentic taste.

                                              1. re: Fetter

                                                That's good to know. When I'm ready to venture out again after my Balsam adventure I'll bear it in mind. Are they licensed? The last time I checked they did not appear to be.

                                                1. re: Higgette

                                                  On Sunday, my wife and I just had a wonderful Brunch at Balsam.

                                                  Fresh squeezed orange juice, double smoked bacon (yum!), a delicious potato and carrot pie, spicy chorizo and egg, 2 pates (both delish!). Very reasonable prices and friendly staff. A much better and different breakfast than you'll get elsewhere in the Beaches.

                                                  Everyone there I spoke to enjoyed themselves very much! We didn't have room for dessert, but they choices were really tempting (three types of fresh baked cookies, cheesecake, and a key lime pie I think).

                                                  The chef is very creative. I would highly recommend Balsam (which you might accidentally pass unless you knew where it was).

                                                  I also liked the fish and chips shop near Willow St., run by a friendly European couple. Fresh seafood chowder. And heavenly home made tartar sauce for those yummy fries and delish fish. Very reliable.

                                                  I agree that the restaurant scene at the Beaches is pretty sparse.

                                                  One note: we tried a small Lebanese restaurant (looks a bit like a cafeteria + there is a sign with combo and lunch specials outside the place) and we were enjoying our food consisting of falafel and chicken shwarma (and my wife usually finds middle food a bit bland in Toronto) when suddenly the only employee there leaves the front of the restaurant to go to the kitchen. About 2 minutes later, the most horrific, noxious smell comes wafting out of it!

                                                  It was so incredibly horrendous. We had to stop eating immediately as we felt like throwing up - and would have run out of the restaurant if we'd already paid. We bolted to the cash and after holding our breaths for a minute the chef came up to us. We told him about the smell and he seemed surprised. He said he'd look into it. Horrors! A chef that can't smell putrid food (or something else) ... is not one I'd trust. He never apologized or offered to comp us. A totally ruined lunch! To me, it smelt like sewage. My wife thought it was putrid food. Not good in either case.

                                          2. It's true, good restaurants in the Beach are lacking...HOWEVER I have found two hidden gems...

                                            #1-Pomegranate-located at Queen St E near Beech Ave
                                            #2-Thai House Cuisine-on Queen St E, south side

                                            The most horrible restaurants have to be:

                                            #1-Yoga Spice and Rice-on Queen St. E, south side
                                            #2-Nevada-Queen St. E, south side
                                            #3-The Goof-Queen St.E, south side....disgusting!

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: starvin

                                              What do you recomend getting at thai house ?

                                              1. re: starvin

                                                Starvin - ever been to Peppino's? Seems everyone goes everywhere else but. I hear great things.

                                                1. re: ChowChow2343

                                                  We had one dinner at Peppino's last year. It was very good, but also extremely expensive and not THAT good. They were also doing game dinners at that time, though we didn't try these.

                                                  They no longer have the same chef and may have lowered their ambitions and prices since then. I don't know whether they are better or worse, but there have been changes.

                                              2. I totally agree with all the above. Love the hood but I learned my lession when some Beach residents suggested Whitlock's as the "best" restaurant in the area. Unbelievably BAD food, surly service and $150 later we wondered why we just did not go to Lick's!
                                                A good friend of mine went to Nevada's last month for a b'day and she told me easily the most horrid resto food she ever had.
                                                Too bad but prime oportunity for a real restaranteur to come in and kill the competition.

                                                1. I've never been to Peppino's but I have been intrigued...what do you recommend there?

                                                  1. I agree with most others that good food is hard to find in the Beach area. We have always preferred going a little bit west to Edward Levesque's Kitchen or Little India or even up to the Danforth to Gerrard Pizza or El Sol.

                                                    1. We just tried the new restaurant Green Eggplant, and it was AMAZING. We tried the bbq butterflied chicken breasts and the night special, filet mignon shish kabobs, and they were incredible. The chicken was so tender, I wanted to ask them for the recipe! When you first arrive there is complimentary bread and 3 different dips, hummus and 2 others with an eggplant base. We didn't order appetizers because of this, but with our meals, a bottle of wine and a desert (banana split) our total came to $70 incl. tip. Great place, we'll definitely be going there again!

                                                      12 Replies
                                                      1. re: sleepygirl

                                                        I also tried it for the first time this week and while it was good, and fresh it was still average? The service was decent and the food was okay as well. I have lived down in the beaches all of my life and there have never been any good restaurants, even licks now that it has franchised out is not what it used to be. I remember when it open as a hole in the wall with 4 stools and 2-3 booths. The Neveda amazes me that it stays open, whitlocks is terrible, Michelles Brasserie is another flop. Does anyone know what evr happened to Amuse Cuisine that was supposed to open at Queen and Waverly? It was moving along doing wine tours last year and now it seems to have been abandoned.

                                                        1. re: Jonaton

                                                          Have you ever eaten at Pomegranate? I had a wonderful brunch there awhile back.

                                                          1. re: pescatarian

                                                            No i haven't yet but I will be trying it out now that the weather is nicer. I am just never up at a time for brunch, it goes with working nights for the last 18 or so years. If someone has 100K to spare I would be happy to help them open up a good restaurant in the Beaches.

                                                          2. re: Jonaton

                                                            I tried Green Eggplant a couple of times and agree it's the usual mediocre Beach offering. I had some hope for ViVetha but you eat there and you can close your eyes and believe you're also at Nevada, Quigley's, Ci Vediamo ... I guess Beachers love homogenization. Ali's Tandoori House was great when they were small, then they moved into bigger quarters (where the always-empty Blue Lobster was) and immediately quality declined. Samosas that are cold in the middle? Soggy prrecooked papadums? C'mon guys...

                                                            Remember Loons? Now that was a gourmet destination. And the first Gio's the Nose, round behind the burger joint that is now ho-hum Whitlocks... I do not understand my neighbourhood.

                                                            1. re: DylS

                                                              Look at the people who live in the Beach (except us Chowhounds, of course) and you'll understand why the food's so pedestrian. Ugh. So sad.

                                                              1. re: mummy2Luna

                                                                I read in the paper (sorry can't remember which one Post or Star) that a new restaurant is opening soon in the Beaches, called Balsam. Anyone heard anything about this? Hopefully it will be great and put an end to our misery.

                                                                1. re: cream

                                                                  It's in the old Pepinos spot. I can't wait to see the menu.

                                                                  1. re: dragonflygrl

                                                                    Just had to weigh in on a couple recommended places in this thread...I don't understand what people see in the Tulip, I think the steaks are overpriced and the one I had was tough...will never return. Edward Levesque is another that I'll never return to, went for brunch on a Sunday and the service and food was so bad it was almost comical. If we're mentioning places that are west of the Beach (like Levesque's) I'd have to say I like Giu Rana's really really nice restaurant.

                                                                    1. re: dragonflygrl

                                                                      The menu looks pretty good - if you can get in there. I still can't figure out why they would turn us away from what appeared to be an empty house. My companion thought maybe we weren't dressed appropriately. Let's hope that kind of attitude hasn't invaded the Beach yet.

                                                                  2. re: mummy2Luna

                                                                    I'm not sure what that means. A mix of classes but mostly white? You mean like the Annex, Bloor West, Yonge & Eg, which somehow manage to support good local restaurants?

                                                                    1. re: DylS

                                                                      Isn't part of the problem with the Beach not just the locals, but the daytrippers? "Tourists" are always looking for safe & predictable, which would explain a lot about the bad, lowest-common-denominator pubs and anglicized ethnic spots.

                                                                      I don't live in the Beach; maybe I'm just bending over backwards to be generous to those who do.

                                                                2. re: Jonaton

                                                                  Hey Jonaton....there appears to be lots of activity at Amuse Cuisine now. What's the story behind them? Do you know?

                                                              2. Thank you, thank you, thank you !!! - for having said what I have said about this culinary wasteland for the 20 years I have lived in it. Let me add to your mild rant by saying Spiagghia is over-priced and over-rated. Last time I checked lamb chops cooked with mint weren't exactly Italian, nuevo or otherwise. Whitlocks is pure hell. The Beacher is for tourists, likewise The Lion on the Beach. It was the first of the franchise pubs to arrive here, now we have a Firkin too. If you want chicken wings and bad caesar salad there are no lack of places to go.

                                                                But on the bright side, have you tried Sauvignon? It's actually very good. It's in the newest stretch of beach occupied by the housing development which was once the Greenwood racetrack. The interior is kitschy and a bit funky - it could really do with a makeover, but maybe that's part of it's charm. It manages to look like it was always there instead of the actual seven years of it's establishment, which is more than long enough to have proved itself. The wine list is extensive and reasonably priced. The service is friendly and extremely competant. In my two visits there (wish I could afford to go more often) we have had the rack of lamb which was gorgeous - it comes with a dynamite harissa condiment, although the yogurt and almond dressing on the couscous is a bit much. The New York Strip loin my steak-loving husband said was garlicy and good, while my confit de canard was crispy and heart-attack-enducingly rich. My plain-eating in laws enjoyed the paillard of chicken, once I explained what a paillard was and my father-in-law had the roast loin of pork of which he said "Everything tastes different!" Meaning, I guess, that it had flavour, as opposed to his wife's cooking.

                                                                Seriously, it is real cuisine in the Bleach - I mean - Beach. Try it.

                                                                8 Replies
                                                                1. re: Higgette

                                                                  what are the prices like at sauvingnon?

                                                                    1. re: Googs

                                                                      oh thank you i did look for it on google but i couldtn find it

                                                                    2. re: hungryabbey

                                                                      About ten dollars less than what you'd pay for the same food downtown.

                                                                    3. re: Higgette

                                                                      Sauvingnon is truly the most pretentious restaurant in the Beach.
                                                                      A few years ago my husband and I decided to try it out. We were celebrating his 40th birthday. When we arrived the place was empty and we were seated at the front window table for 3 which we liked very much. We were given our menus and were about to order a bottle of wine when 3 women came in who were obviously friends of the Owner. Much to our surprise we were asked to move to a different table. I replied that I did not wish to move and was told with great attitude "we are just trying to accomodate everyone". To which I replied "well, you are not accomodating us". He then just stood there looking at us, waiting for us to move to another table. He humiliated us and ruined our evening out. Needless to say, we left and will NEVER return.

                                                                      1. re: Lolla

                                                                        That's disgusting. I was going to try the place the next time I was forced into dining in the beaches. Hey we all know favouritism happens everywhere, but you're not supposed be made to feel like 2nd class patron because of it. Moving you after seating you is truly unforgiveable. Don't care if the food is good or not.

                                                                        1. re: Lolla

                                                                          That is awful. Same thing happened to me at Peter Pan about 20 years ago -- in between mains (with a bottle of wine) and dessert. I told the manager I'd never go back, and I never have (though it pains me to see I didn't put them out of business LOL).

                                                                          That said, I will hope you give Sauvignon another try. The blunder was unforgivable, but they do remain one of the better choices in the neighbourhood. They make a few slips but the food is generally better than average. Hopefully that staff person has learned his lesson.

                                                                          1. re: Lolla

                                                                            Your story trumps mine - I never even got a table!! I arrived at the wide open door, at 5:55 p.m., the place was completely empty, just the servers standing around. I asked for a table for one, or a seat at the bar was fine, and I was curtly told "we don't open until 6".
                                                                            Reeling from that record breaking lack of hospitality, (and mind you this is in Toronto, the world champion of rude, cold attitudinal behaviour by servers) I had the one consolation that there was $80 bucks still resting in my pocket, not theirs.

                                                                        2. Mersini's owner and the resto have been dead for months. Eric's has been gone for more than a year and the new resto in its place is called Pomegranate.

                                                                          Also new on the scene is Balsam, in the place where Peppino's used to be. Same upscale with some new and delectable twists.

                                                                          Pomegranate is definitely a refreshing brekkie/brunch destination. The brunch is all the best of Eric's brunch menu. The regular weekly dinner selections deliver deliciously at moderate prices. Other brunch choices you may have missed since you last had Beaches sand in your flipflops are as follows.

                                                                          At the far eastern reaches of Queen E, Vi Vetha has a marvellous brunch selection with lots of toothsome takes on the pancake theme including crispy potato pancakes with apple and sour cream. It's busy for a couple of good reasons. Price point is one of em and scrumptious selections are another. For dinner,reservation are generally a must to avoid the disappointment of discovering no tables available.

                                                                          More central and opposite Whitlocks, Cottage in the Beach serves up excellent value priced breakfast and brunch fare with a bonus plate of tiny perfect warm muffins as a starter.

                                                                          Happy Sailor burritos are a treat BTW and there is plenty of ice cream to sample there afterward.

                                                                          If Indian buffet brunch suits your palate, try Ali's on Queen East near Kingswood.
                                                                          It's a beautfully sunlit room with saffron hues and an atmosphere perfumed with sultry spice. Easy on the pocket book, with spiced tea accompaniment it's about 12 dollars per person. The buffet includes soup and dessert selections.

                                                                          You'll be pleased to hear that very soon your trusty old standby Goof will have a liquor license for beer and wine. Since last spring they have had a patio and an updated restaurant. I mention this because you clearly haven't seen much in the way of beach pavement in a year or more.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: beachdiva

                                                                            Hello Beachdiva,
                                                                            Have you eaten at Balsam and what would you recommend? I am going there next week with friends and wonder what is good and how high to set my expectations?
                                                                            Thanks, Culinarydelight

                                                                            1. re: culinarydelight

                                                                              Balsam recieved the worst review I've ever seen in the Star today. Amy Pataki reported she would rather stab a fork in her eye than be forced to eat the pappardelli with cream sauce again.

                                                                              1. re: dragonflygrl

                                                                                I just finished reading that review. Ouch. As a chef I would have to put my knives to good use and kill myself after that review. Just another Beach restaurant with no clue what so ever. Not many 26 year old chefs are ready to run their own restaurnat.

                                                                                1. re: dragonflygrl

                                                                                  I saw that review and was surprised at its vitriol. My experience was nothing like that. It is definitely a kiss of death review and that is a tragedy for a restaurant that was beginning to fledge out a following.
                                                                                  The review doesn't in any way resemble the restaurant experience that I had in the same establishment.

                                                                                  1. re: dragonflygrl

                                                                                    do you always believe what you read or do you go and find out for youself.
                                                                                    myself I think the food there is quite good and I can't understand the extremity of Pataki's review

                                                                              2. What a shame... when Whitlock's opened years ago it was my favourite restaurant. I am sorry to hear it has gone so far downhill from then. (perhaps they need "Restaurant Makeover?")

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: missmouse

                                                                                  This is in response to an above posting re: Quigley's.

                                                                                  Just so you know, I was one of those mean brunettes (no desire to be Demi Moore however) for quite some time and you don't start out mean working at Quig's. You become mean while working at Quig's. I became mean shortly after starting there and having to apologize to my tables over and over because their brunch was taking over an hour. I became really mean when I learned that my tipout to the kitchen was actually going to the owners, on top of tipping out 'the house! Not the customers fault, I know, but the nicer I am, the more often customers will come back and I don't want them to succeed.
                                                                                  Nice enough customers but ragingly rude lunatic sometimes twice daily regulars, and even more raging, lunatic owners. I wouldn't eat there knowing what I know. Love the staff, outside of work they're all really good people but Holy Dysfunction! Don't even get me started on the blonds they hire.
                                                                                  Needless to say, one day I decided not to go to work and never showed up again.

                                                                                  1. re: torontofunk

                                                                                    Thank you for your entertaining and enlightening rant! It explains a lot. I used to like going to Quig's a long time ago just because of the patio, but was never impressed with the food. I don't think I'll go there again.

                                                                                2. I just got my "beaches living" magazine in the mail and it had an ad for a little place called Cottage on the Beach.. I looked at the menu and it just seems like comfort, cheap bites near the beach.. but Im wondering if anyones tried it? Not for a special meal, but you know, maybe just for some quick pub food or all day greasy spoon breaky.. www.cottageonthebeach.ca

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                    Haven't tried The Cottage yet only because on the surface it doesn't look enjoyable. The decor is quite poor. Decor doesn't usually sway me when I'm looking for a quick lunch but this is just so bland that I don't go in. I walk by it all the time and its empty. I think there's a trend in the hood that business owners from outside the neighbourhood think 'the beaches' it's always busy and I'll make a fortune and that's just not true. This neighbourhood is cheap (unless we're talking mortgages) and has a hard time welcoming 'newbies' that don't come with a well established brand name. This neighbourhood, in my opinion, is reaching a crisis point as far as business goes so I although I'm all for new restaurants coming in, if you want to make it, either you're well branded through-out the city (I love the beach but remember who you're talking too...that silly squabble of 'the beach' or 'the beaches' This hood is very trendy and 'wannabe' even though most living here would fight me on that statement.) or you have to offer something original. And even then, if you're not 40.00 for dinner, good luck.

                                                                                    1. re: torontofunk

                                                                                      haah i figured such a response, thanks for the heads up!

                                                                                  2. Happy sailor Burrito - not bad , but not that special. I think they make it without using a grill or anything. . . . sort of like a wrap with burrito ingredients.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: JaPe

                                                                                      I remember back when happy sailor used to make a mean buritto. My kids dragged me in there the other day and the new owners should b ashamed.

                                                                                    2. I'm usually a lurker but thought I'd post today. We've lived in the Beach for four years now and usually leave the neighbourhood to "dine" because we agree there's not much that's good. We do patronize The Goof a lot. Lately we have gone to Green Eggplant a number of times. With that name, you'd think it was Thai, but it's not. Varied menu: pasta, fish, burgers. Good value for money with decent wine by the glass. Also very kid-friendly. They have a $5 special for children that's really good (for example, a nicely cooked chicken breast with yummy mashed potatoes). The desserts leave something to be desired but the atmosphere is pleasant, though go late if you want to avoid children.

                                                                                      1. I've been to Sauvignon a few times, and always had a good meal, and good service. That said, had I had an experience like a few recounted above, I'd have torched the place.

                                                                                        Is Arax, the Armenia restaurant on Queen E, no longer open? I had've had a few wonderful experiences there over the years, but haven't been there since 2005.

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                                          Regrettably Arax is no more. Cottage on the Beach which occupies the same space is a good breakfast/brunch destination for wholesome food at a reasonable price.
                                                                                          Lunches there are diner style with daily specials. I've only been once for dinner. It was moroccan lamb and my dinner companion agreed with me that it was excellent and budget friendly.

                                                                                          1. re: beachdiva

                                                                                            ViVetha does a great brunch, best in the Beach, IMO. They also do a great dinner, the grilled calamari ($8) is tender and delish! The ribs ($15 with yummy grilled veg and a starch, either potatoes or risotto) are to die for, and the Seafood Delight pasta (also $15) is jammed with jumbo sea-scallops, shrimp and smoked salmon. Great value for your dollar.

                                                                                            Spiaggia has a good prix fix, the salmon is fantastic.
                                                                                            Ichi Ban sushi near the Fox Theatre is very good, they have huge rolls.
                                                                                            Yumei takes the sushi cake for me, though, near Wineva/Queen.
                                                                                            Bow Thai is consistantly good.
                                                                                            Lick's for a burger, no doubt.

                                                                                            Those are pretty much the only places I eat in the Beach, and I've lived here over 25 years.

                                                                                            1. re: DiscoDon

                                                                                              ViVetha's 15$ for ribs is a pretty good deal. Is it a small portion?

                                                                                              1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                                It is for sure not a full rack, however, it really is good value for money. If you get an appi (and again, I highly recommend the GRILLED calamari) you will be more than satisfied. The grilled veggies are perfect that come with the ribs, and the ribs themselves, well, they are scrumptious. I used to eat at Phil's BBQ (and yes, you get more at Phil's, but you pay more as well) - but these are much better, I'll never give money to Phil's again.

                                                                                                Worth a try, and for $15, you cannot go wrong. If you don't like them (but you will) you are only out $15...


                                                                                              2. re: DiscoDon

                                                                                                I just ate at Ichiban last night. The food was great. The only dissappoinment is that once we were seated and starting drinking our tea we were asked to move. We had a group of 5 and a group of six wanted to sit but there wasn't enough room. They asked us to move to a table of four and stick a chair on the end making it a rather cozy dinner. Not that big of a deal but impossible to say 'no' given that the servers were all standing around and the group of six hovering at our table waiting for us to :"decide".

                                                                                                That being said that food was delicious. They brought out a number of small complimentary apps - agedashi tofu, endamamae, onion pancake, and a small dish each of spicy somen noodles. We shared the lion roll which is beatiful to look at and almost impossibel to eat - there is a nest of sweet potatoe shavings on top of a spicy roll. Three of us had udon. I am hesitant to get udon in restaurants because it ultimately comes down to the broth, but this did not disappoint. Mine came with a side of chicken katsu, my father had a side of tempura and my husband had veggie. Definitely worth checking out.

                                                                                                1. re: professor plum

                                                                                                  Wondering if anyone saw the killer review that Pataki gave Balsam in the weekend star. Absolutely brutal, have yet to read a review quite so damaging. Not sure if this spot will survive after that....


                                                                                          2. I moved to the beach two years ago now and here's my 'two-cents'.

                                                                                            A lot of the restaurants in the area are overpriced and bland. However, there are some 'hidden gems' and some great spots which also deliver! Note that most of my faves are actually really inexpensive....there isn't much in the way of 'fine dining' in the area, that's for sure.

                                                                                            Best finds:

                                                                                            Bow Thai - inexpensive, consistent thai food, free delivery.

                                                                                            Siddhartha - not in the beach but delivers and is only a short drive/walk. Fantastic Indian

                                                                                            Udupi Palace - Great Dosas, no delivery, very affordable.

                                                                                            Relish - at Woodbine and Danforth, inventive cuisine, hip atmosphere

                                                                                            Sauvignon - not five star Cuisine and not very inventive, but generally reliable/reasonable for the price

                                                                                            Middle of the Road:

                                                                                            Green Eggplant: This place gets rave reviews from most beachers but this is largely a symptom of a lack of good eats in the area, in my opinion. HOWEVER, while their lunch and dinner is okay their brunch is AWESOME! The french toast is to die for!

                                                                                            Spiga: My mother in law really likes going here when she visits, and it's a nice place, but really nothing special. When we go I always feel I spent more than it was worth.

                                                                                            Aki-Da: Good Japanese, but overpriced for what you get, in my opinion

                                                                                            Stay Away!:

                                                                                            Happy Sailor: Have been a few times as I'm a frozen yogourt fan . Went there recently, though, and as I gazed around the room I wanted to be sick to my stomach - it was filthy! I actually had to leave it was grossing me out so much. I will steer clear from now on.

                                                                                            On my 'must try' list:

                                                                                            Jean's Vegetarian Cuisine
                                                                                            Quattro Ragazze
                                                                                            Ali's Tandoori House

                                                                                            1. So, I was in the beaches today and thought I'd try out the Boardwalk pub for some beer and dinner.. never, ever again, no matter how convenient it is. Not that I was expecting anything spectacular, but there are a lot of pubs out there that can manage a crowd and still deliver somewhat acceptable service and food...First of all, beer orders took ACTUALLY 25 minutes with no appologies..We were starving so we ordered some garlic bread and pita with hummus.. The garlic bread was dry , tasted like it had been toasted and then RE toasted when it was ordered. The pita was served, not with hummus, but with tzatziki instead. When I asked, the server said "oh sorry, the kitchen is all out" and then took off.. No asking "is that okay?.. do you still want it? should I take it off the bill?" No. Then, after eating the garlic bread we realized, hey we dont even have cutlery to eat this unwanted tzatziki with.. so I asked a server because ours was MIA and it took ACTUALLY another 10 minutes after trying to flag a couple down to actually get a knife.
                                                                                              The mains were okay, we tried the wings (burnt and yet strangely undercooked tasting?), ribs (very tender, but really dry and completely black on the outside), fries were cold.. you get the picture. We asked for water basically as soon as the food hit the table, and never got it. Once we were finished the server remembered and when we told her to forget it, she again, didnt appologise, but rather seemed pretty anxious to just go get us our bill.
                                                                                              The whole thing was a nightmare and cost us 100$ for crap. So just a warning to everyone. Its really not worth the wait,and definetly not worth the money even if its the most convenient option and you just want a beer and burger. Stay away.

                                                                                              1. On our visits "up north" we usually find our way to the Beach (I liked Beaches more). We have passed a restaurant on Queen directly across the street (beach side)from Nevada and liked the look of it but haven't had the opportunity to try it. I can't recall the name-help and critiques please.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: TPRJIMMI

                                                                                                  The place is Whitlock's. It's pleasant, but hardly special. We haven't been in ages, but they had been relatively consistent for several years.

                                                                                                  We've been happy with the Washington State rack of lamb and some old fashioned meat dishes like Steak Diane. Pastas have been okay, but no better than that. Fish specials were sometimes all right and sometimes served in ripoff portions.

                                                                                                  They often have a strolling musician on weekend evenings. He isn't terrible, but his repertoire is very limited and he sometimes doesn't take the hint to leave a table alone. I don't know whether he's still there.

                                                                                                  Brunch is very popular, but we haven't been.

                                                                                                  All things considered, one of the better places to dine in the area, but not worth any special effort. It was definitely better than Nevada, but Nevada has just reopened after a reno under new management, so it isn't fair to compare. Reports wanted.

                                                                                                  If you have a Whitlock's half price coupon, do use it. Don't make a special trip.

                                                                                                  1. re: embee

                                                                                                    Mr. Clicquot and I went to the 'new' Nevada a couple of weeks ago. It was for a late dinner so the restaurant was pretty empty (we were the last to leave). We used to go there years ago for the patio but were never impressed with the food so we figured maybe their reno and re-branding as a steakhouse might be worth trying. Unfortunately, it wasn't super. I had a basic filet which came with some potatoes and veg. The steak was properly cooked but the sides were pretty ordinary. My husband had the veal which he described as 'mushy'. It was covered in quite a bit of mushroom sauce. I can't remember much else about the food and it was only a couple of weeks ago so that probably tells you something. One thing that did stick out however, was when we ordered a bottle of wine (a Tuscan red of some sort) the waitress attempted to put the cork back INTO the bottle after she opened it. After watching her struggle for a few seconds, I politely told her we could let it breathe for a while without the cork. I have never seen something like that in a restaurant before. The service was otherwise polite and efficient and the new reno is an improvement over the old decor. I'd be interested in hearing other reports - I didn't find it terrible, but it wasn't rave-worthy either.

                                                                                                2. - Thai: Green Basil R*O*C*K*S*

                                                                                                  - Seasonal Haute Cuisine: Amuse @ Waverley (not to be confused with 'Amuse Bouche', downtown). Wonderful food, lovely atmosphere & meticulous ingredient selection, right down to the artisanal cheeses...

                                                                                                  - Best Burger: Licks- the inimitably Fabulous burger selection! variety of great patties & fresh toppings. BUT - Terrible decor, with obnoxious noise & irritating kitch. They'll wrap a separate patty off your 'double' burger to hand to one's Best Friend; yet, amazingly, they don't even provide a place to tie one's dog on the less-congested traffic side of the building so they don't get run over by the snotty 'SUV-stroller' Mothers.

                                                                                                  - Akane-Ya is wonderful as well as the 'way down East' & highly under-appreciated Otabe run by Jeff. Jeff makes the best California roll in Toronto!

                                                                                                  2034 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L1J4, CA

                                                                                                  Green Basil
                                                                                                  2120 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E1E2, CA

                                                                                                  1975 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L1J1, CA

                                                                                                  2326 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E1G9, CA