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Oct 25, 2002 02:53 PM


  • b

Any comments on:
George Bigliardis
Canoe(Toronto Dominion Bank Building)
Auberge du Pommier
Any other downtown suggestions

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  1. All the above are 'safe' but relatively uninspired (and expensive). OK for business meals or taking important relatives.
    But for food you can do better (or at least the same at lower prices).
    Search the site - or at least give us an idea of what style (and price?) you prefer.

    15 Replies
    1. re: estufarian

      thanks for reply.looking for continental/french.value more impt.than price. want GREAT food and atmosphere. will be staying near eaton ctr.
      Also,how is Noce on Queen St?

      1. re: bruce

        Here are some suggestions for French restaurants fairly close to the Eaton Centre:

        Biff's (4 Front Street East, at Yonge) is a very good French restaurant, although a bit pricier than the ones mentioned below. Accomplished service, reliable and comforting food (especially in this chilly weather...).

        There's also Le Select Bistro at 328 Queen Street West (east of Spadina), a charming and cozy place that's been a Queen St. fixture for over 20 years. Great place for a date, although the tables are located uncomfortably close to each other.

        Matignon at 51 St. Nicholas Street is another comfy bistro, tucked away in a brownstone on a side street just one block away from the sleaze and noise of Yonge Street. Their menu offers nothing unusual or spectacular, but everything I've had there has been good.

        This one will require a short taxi ride, but Le Paradis (166 Bedford, just north of Davenport)is the closest thing you can get in Toronto to real Paris ambience. Feels like a laid-back neighbourhood restaurant, and it's reasonably priced, too. This is my personal favourite.

        For something more continental/general, there's the Courthouse Restaurant at 57 Adelaide Street East (west of Church). The food won't blow anyone away, but the place has beautiful surroundings (yes, it used to be a courthouse), and it's a great place to hold a party or business dinner.

        I can't comment on Noce, as I've never eaten there.

        Hope you report back on your chosen restaurant! Enjoy.

        1. re: Nick

          I heartily agree about Le Paradis. To this list, I'd also add the Corner House which is more or less in the same area as Le Paradis. The chef does sweetbreads like nobody else.

          1. re: mike

            The Eaton centre is tourist central – not much in direct area. But within a $5-10 cab ride there are many choices.
            For bistro-style I second Paradis (comes complete with French attitude). Le Select used to be OK but haven’t been there recently. Matignon is patchy, sometimes excellent but not always up to par. I would also add Dennisons (on Victoria) a brew pub with several rooms. They have excellent specials for casual dining.

            Moving more upscale, haven’t been to Biff’s (it’s a corporate restaurant) but Courtyard (and its sister Rosewater Supper Club – same kitchen) is one to avoid. Expensive and the former excellent chef (the only reason to go) has now left.

            Another possibility is Azul (181 Bathurst, N of Queen) – more Mediterranean than continental but an interesting menu that’s not quite vegetarian. And if you’re on Queen, don’t ignore New York Subway (520 Queen St west, probably best sandwich in Toronto – reviewed many times on Chowhound) and Shanghai Cowgirl (538 Queen) a bistro cum burger joint. They do most things well.

            Moving more upscale, the ‘College Street strip’ (runs west from Bathurst) has many choices. My current favourite is Xacutti – sort of continental, but with a Caribbean twist. Also has excellent choice of wines by the glass. Even more upscale is Splendido (88 Harbord). My one visit was excellent.

            For a world class blowout the only choice is Susur (601 King St). Allow $200 Cdn per person. He now has his act together, after some bumpy times, and on a recent visit the tasting menu ($110) was superb – especially the foie gras course.

            I also haven’t tried Noce!

            And don’t forget Chinatown – around Dundas & Spadina. Many choices there, including Vietnamese and many SE Asian cuisines. And Kensington market is nearby too.

            For lunch, see NY Subway or, more formally Agora in the Art Gallery Of Ontario (317 Dundas West) although I haven’t been there recently either.

            1. re: estufarian

              I don't quite understand the hype over New York Subway. I've been there several times, and it's good, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat their stuff.

              Xacutti is great if you enjoy confusion (as opposed to fusion) food and ciao-baby pretension (terribly nubile black-clad servers with Palm Pilots). My reaction to the place is: why?

              Le Paradis rocks!

              For lunch, I recommend Jules (on Spadina at Richmond) -casual but real French food (quiches, salads, spuds, tarts etc.) at reasonable prices. JK-ROM is pricy but gorgeous.

              1. re: Chris

                Need to choose between these 3

                1. re: bruce

                  i have to add one restaurant to the toronto list here. OYSter boy is fantastic, a little hole in the wall west of spadina on queen with awsome fresh oysters fresh grated horseradish and also the best deep fried ones i have ever had. this place blows rodneys away for several reasons to me. Waitresses can actually hear you speak, and its notnot such a scene just good fresh food. opens at 5 pm tho and no reservations so i always go early and nosh on some oysters.I have been to noce but it has been quite some time tho it was very nice and i remember the food being nice but obviously not something i couldnt live without or i guess i would have gone back more often. hope this helps

                  1. re: bruce

                    Marcel's? That place has been around for years but I don't know anyone who's eaten there - probably because it's located on a particularly touristy strip, surrounded by touristy restaurants Chowhounds would never touch.

                    Dhaba is on that strip, but they've REALLY gone downhill since they moved there from Rexdale - the prices have gone up, the food quality has gone down, and the joyful atmosphere (endearingly kitschy decor, kind staff, Indian families, tabla & harmonium musicians) is all gone. Sadly, even in their present state they still garner some raves, which tells you something about the dearth of great Indian restaurants in Toronto.

                    Somebody suggested Bodega - now there's a charming restaurant in a charming neighbourhood.

                    I have never tried Noce, but a foodie friend of mine likes it. If you like old-school Italian, consider Trattoria Giancarlo on College St.

                    1. re: emq17

                      yes i have to agree at this point, dhaba the food i have had within the past year a couple times was actually quite good i guess i was lucky but i must say the service was horrendous. slow slow slow

                2. re: estufarian

                  biffs bistro may be a corporate restaurant (peter oliver & cast?), but so what, they're still good. they also do sumptuous weekend brunch. it's been several years since i've eatn at le paradis, but i remember it was pleasing. definitely try susur if you can get reservations on short notice - incredible, over teh top food, esp. the tasting menu. wasn't too thrilled with their service, tho - initially several people were hovering and fawning, but once the food and wine orders were taken they all disappeared. if i'm paying $400 for a dinner for 2, i'd at least appreciate getting my water glass refilled or being asked how everything is.

                  1. re: estufarian

                    Labelling Biff's a "corporate restaurant" is a bit of a knee-jerk reaction, no? I've eaten at two Nobu locations (New York, London) and they were both stellar. I've also eaten at several of Mark Miller's restaurants, also great.

                    1. re: E. Cohen

                      Normally don't respond to disagreements, but as several people don't like my description of Biff's, thought I should expand a little (or try and explain). Obviously my opinion is just that, so try and give helpful reviews for the Chowhound readers.
                      First, I've never been there - hence no formal review. Now, why should I dismiss it? Because I have been to the others in the same group (Jump, Canoe, Auberge du Pommier) and found them all the same. Patronising service - the serving staff/chef all know "better than the customer". Specific example: Had an incredibly salty meal at Auberge du Pommier, and tried to send it back. Was accused of having added salt before tasting the food (a crime second only to using ketchup in my book - I make 'Peppiers' wait until I've tasted the food before deciding on added pepper - which I like). When I pushed back, they brought the chef out, who insisted they had not oversalted in the kitchen.
                      The surroundings/ambience at the restaurants are excellent - I would rather the money go into the food. I consider myself knowledgeable on wine, and have run into the Biff's wine people at several functions (didn't know they were from Biff's when I formed an opinion)- they did not impress me with their wine knowledge.
                      So it's simple (for me) - 3 restaurants in a formula that obviously works for some (but not me). Reviews that indicate the same formula for Biff's convinced me not to bother.
                      The other 3 would be suitable for a business lunch/dinner where the conversation/business are more important than the food. And if it's an expense account that works too. But not with my money.
                      And this is Chowhound - not Expense Account Hound.
                      If anybody has had a good meal/dishes at Biff's please tell us about it. I'm always looking for good chow.

                      1. re: estufarian

                        Bland, bland, bland is all I can say about Peter Oliver's establishments. Sure, go eat at Jump, Canoe etc. if you're a moneyed suit who doesn't know any better. I've found their service to be efficient (Peter Oliver apparently resembles a drill sergeant in running his staff) and fawning, as opposed to genuine and warm.

                        Me, I'd rather seek out the perfect divey restaurant - it'd be more interesting, and it would have some soul.

              2. re: bruce

                Terrific French food. Not very pricey (dinner at $40-50 per person). It's on Baldwin Street, which runs parallel to Dundas, just west of University. So fairly near you Eaton Centre location.

                Closer to you, if you want a fantastic steak, is Barberian's on Elm Street off Yonge just north of Eaton Centre. A little pricey, $50-70 per person for dinner.

                A little more downscale, good Mexican food and a tasty but not very boozey maragarita at Margarita's on Baldwin not far from La Bodega. Good for a quick lunch for sure. Maybe $15 for lunch.

              3. re: estufarian
                Anne Bradford

                I prefer Bistro Tournesol on Dupont St. Small space with lots of familiar dishes cooked well, the kind of food you would normally avoid ordering because you'd think it's boring like Ceasar Salad. There's no experimental/innovative food, it's a bistro after all. Lots of neighborhood regulars there. Biffs is more upscale, I ate there once and thought it was wonderful but out of my price range to be a regular haunt. If you want a "scene" there's that new-ish place Brasserie Aix I think it's called on College St. I hear it's beautifully decorated but I'm not sure about the food.