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Hugh's Room: Eat There Or Where?

  • i

Going to see Lori Cullen at Hugh's Room on Saturday. The menu looks nasty, but a friend told me it's okay and I won't get a decent seat if we don't eat dinner there.

Has anyone eaten there?

If I shouldn't eat there, then where? The only restaurant I can think of nearby is Silver Spoon. Is it even still there?

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  1. I can't imagine looking at the Hugh's Room menu and thinking it looked nasty, so I'm not sure what my opinion is worth here, but the food at Hugh's Room is fine. The menu isn't especially exciting, but the food is well prepared and tasty.

    As for seating, it's a small room. There are no seats in the place that are more than about 20 feet from the stage, so I can't imagine how any of them could be considered 'bad'.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Jacquilynne

      I had another look at the site and I had been looking at the concert menu, which was pretty much mussels and frites or pasta primavera, and it seemed like what Brad Long on an episode of Restaurant Makeover called "Fat Bastard Food". We ate at Montreal Bistro once and were quite disappointed and I wanted to avoid the same thing happening again.

      The main menu looks...fine, if executed well. A bit pricey for what it seems to offer.

      1. re: Ice Queen

        With respect, Ice Queen, one doesn't go to places like Hugh's solely for the food--which happens to be perfectly acceptable if a little pedestrian. IMHO it's a rare place that delivers great entertainment and stellar food in equal portion sizes.

        1. re: Ice Queen

          I've eaten there several times, but only because we were making an evening of it for the music. The food isn't great but frankly, we couldn't be bothered to eat elsewhere in a mad rush and then try to get to Hugh's Room in time for the show. Word of advice: skip the mussels.

      2. The advantage of eating there is that you get a table reserved that's close to the stage. Food is 'forgettable but edible'.
        Good choice in the area if you eat outside is Fat Cat Bistro on Roncesvalles.

        1 Reply
        1. re: estufarian

          I meant to say Fat Cat Wine Bar. The Bistro is on Eglinton at Avenue Road.

        2. d
          Dinin' and Dishin'

          It is definitely worth over looking the lack of food choice to reserve a good seat (talk to them when you book the tickets for availability). There are quite a few tables that have poor sight lines. If you are a twosome, they will likely sit you with a twosome who were there for dinner.

          If you go after the meal service, I generally prefer to sit in the bar area because the stools are raised and offer a better view, especially if you can get a seat near the rails.

          You'll forget the food if have a great view of a favourite artist and a bottle of wine.
          Enjoy

          3 Replies
          1. re: Dinin' and Dishin'

            Thanks, this comment made me decide not to go at all.

            For a rare night out alone with my spouse, I don't want to sit with another couple.

            1. re: Ice Queen

              If you go to any small music venue, where the music is foremost, you're liable to be seated with others. After all, you're buying a seat to see the show. In a large venue, you're sitting in a row surrounded by other rows. So what if you have to sit near someone else at a cozy little spot like Hugh's Room. My wife and daughter were there last night to see Lori Cullen. They loved being able to appreciate the music, and didn't worry about sitting with anyone else.

              1. re: Ice Queen
                d
                Dinin' and Dishin'

                Oh, I didn't mean to turn you off Hughs and nice night of music. I just meant to have you take the time when you make reservations to get a table you like, which you can do when you have dinner. Your choices are more limited if you don't eat. There are a couple of well placed deuces, you just have to do the work to get them up front.

                But when you are looking for good spouse time, I guess you have to carefully plan your environment. After the show starts, there is not much room for talking. It's really all about the music at Hughs.

              1. I'd agree it's not worth dining there. However, Ice Queen, it's a two-tiered room so there's good sightlines right to the back of the room. You don't need a reserved dinner seating to get a view. Besides, who really wants to sit near the P.A. anyway? Much like other dinner with a show places it resides in a virtually restaurant-free neighbourhood. I'd suggest the two of you go to the restaurant that pleases you most then get a nice cab driver to whisk you to the show.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Googs

                  I see this was an old post, but have to add that I would recommend eating at Hugh's Room if you are really there for the show. I've eaten there numerous times before shows (Ron Sexsmith, Men of Steel, Kevin Breit and many others) and it's fine. If you are expecting Canoe, you won't get that but it is decent (pasta, risotto, chicken etc.) and not burgers & fries or roadhouse fare. I think it might be a daily changing menu (don't remember exactly, but it's been different every time I've been there). I agree with the above post that it's all about the music.

                  Note: the sound at Hugh's Room has been great whenever I've been there and the acts that book there don't typically blow your eardrums. Sitting close to the stage is real treat for you if you can get it, and few venues but Hugh's Room can offer such nice, close table seating (with wait service!) for a show. We were front & centre for Kevin Breit, basically right on the edge of the stage, and it was fantastic (plus we got to ogle his (guitar) gear up close which is sweet if you are a gearhead).

                  We've also been seated on the second tier near the ledge behind the sound guy several times, and the view was great). I've usually gone either as a pair or group of 4 and have never had to be share a table with anyone else (we made reservations of course).

                  All this is to say that if you're going for the show then I've found it worth it to dine & not have to schlep there in a hurry from somewhere else. I appreciate being able to relax & chat before the show with a decent meal, then sit back with my wine when the show starts and not have to move or jostle with others, and you're guaranteed a comfortable, good view. And the food is fine, though not "fine dining" (reminds me of By the Way cafe on bloor, that level of dining).

                  In other words, I would dine there not because of the food, but because I'm there to see the artist and want a good table/seat, but know I'll be decently fed too so it's all good.

                  1. re: balthazar

                    More on the "sharing table" question: when we saw Kevin Breit, we were a twosome and were given a table for two, centre, right against stage (we could have reached over and grabbed his guitars). In fact some of the best seating we've had has been as a pair (they can shove the smaller tables next to the stage, or against the ledge on the second tier so you have no one in front of you - nice. Again, we've never had a to share a table.

                    But I recommend booking early. When we book there, we buy our tickets and make our dinner reservation at the same time, and as early as possible, and if we have a request for position make it known at the time of booking, they usually try to do their best.

                    I know I'm going on and on, but I can't stress enough that Hugh's Room is a great venue for seeing shows and wouldn't want anyone to miss out on that for fear of the dining experience. Yep, I'm there for the music obviously first and foremost, but if you don't live near there and are dragging yourself out to the venue then you probably are too.

                2. Just to be clear - I have two main hobbies these days: Eating out and attending small live music venues across Toronto (Lee's Palace, The Horseshoe, The Boat, The Mod Club, Drake Underground, etc.). I am a supporter of all things independent and will generally cross 8 lanes of busy traffic with my eyes closed before giving my money to chain stores or chain restaurants.

                  That said, I don't suffer fools easily and know a bad meal when I am forced to eat one. My last meal at Hugh's Room made my list of top 10 all time worst dining experiences. In fact, given the price of the debacle, I am putting at the very top (bottom?) of that list. Yes, Hugh's Room, December 2006, is officially my absolute worst dining experience of all time. I promise that isn't something I am proud of.

                  CK

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Cereal Killer

                    Last time I ate there was summer 2006. Sounds like something has gone seriously downhill!

                    1. re: Cereal Killer

                      Wow. That's a shock. I suddenly very much regret the reservations I have for before Boys do Girls (or is it Girls Do Boys? I forget!) tomorrow night.

                      I've always found the meals at Hugh's Room to be more than adequate - they've never been mindblowing, but certainly more than edible and usually quite enjoyable. The last time I ate there was October. Is it really possible it's gotten so bad so quickly?

                    2. If going to Hugh's on Fri or Sat, you can also try Blue Bay Cafe a couple of doors down for Mauritius Island food (kinda french/indian fusion). Pretty inexpensive, amazing samosas and great value on fish (my fave is the fish Vinday), also great noodle dish called chicken (or veg) min frire (?sp). Not sre why this place is only open fri/sat, but great value here. Wine list needs improvement.