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Do you know a delicious but not-too-pricey restaurant?

Howdy Hounds,

My birthday is on Wednesday and I'm desperately seeking a good place to eat. I have to be kind of picky, though, and really need help. I'm looking for entrees between $17-25 (a risky price range, I know) and can't do anything particularly ethnic - no Thai, Chinese, Ethiopian, Japanese, Greek etc. What's left you say? Well, I really don't know. I need a comfortable but classy and delicious restaurant where my ultra-picky family will all find something to eat. I live around Bloor and Spadina but would happily travel pretty much anywhere to get a special meal. Please help!

Thanks,

Barbara

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  1. What about the Bloor Street Diner? They have pretty good selection, not too ethnic, in your price range.
    I believe it's on Bloor, just west of Yonge.

    1. Try Batifole, a great little French restaurant on 744 Gerrard St East of Broadview. All the appetizers are $8, and the mains are almost all $16, with a few at $20. My favourite appetizer is the sauteed mushrooms on brioche in a yummy sauce. They also have lovely dessert crepes for $6.50- a Jack Daniels crepe, and a banana stuffed crepe with chocolate sauce.

      1. You have lots of options in that price point! If you don't mind going to Yonge & Eg there's Zucca Trattoria, which I don't get to often enough because I live in the Beaches.
        http://www.zuccatrattoria.com/ One of my most fav. special event places is Fat Cat - you can never go wrong here! But it's around Avenue & Eglinton: http://www.fatcat.ca/ - I've never had a bad meal here!! Closer to home for you is Messis,
        on Harbord, just west of Spadina. It's probably the best bang for your buck - I always have the Halibut & it's always supberb. The only thing they don't do so well is pasta - there never seems to be enough salt. But their food prices and wine prices are great, and they have a lovely side patio that is perfect for a wonderful summer dinner. Reservations are a MUST here! And if none of these work for you, try The Rosebud at Bathurst and Queen. Now that the hype has subsided I think this could be a great choice for you. Nice, intimate room with great food, wine list and service. It's quite hip, but not too much so. http://www.toronto.com/restaurants/li...
        (Sorry, can't find their website, but I gave you some contact info.)

        1. don't despair, there are definitely options!

          le paradis is just a touch north of where you are and a very well priced french find. i haven't been... but it's very well rated. you'll have to ask someone else about the atmosphere.

          my current favourite that fits perfectly into your conditions would be mirabelle gasto winebar south of yonge and eg. nothing is over $23 and you get some really wonderful food for it. the decor is an upscale casual without too much fuss. their concept is essentially mastered old favourites. service is fantastic and i'm sure they'll treat you marvellously for your birthday. previous reviews a la chowhounders ici:
          http://chowhound.com/topics/show/106303

          zucca is also very well received and practically right beside mirabelle. they cater to italian stylings.

          but, if you want to stick really close to where you live... can't go wrong with via oliveto. incredibly reasonably priced italian food considering the portions and delicious with a fantastic wine menu and great staff.

          hope this helps!

          1. I've been to Le Paradis and don't really get what all the hype is about! The food is cheap, that much it true, but it has the look of a place stuck in the '80s, and the staff/patrons look as though they've been there the whole time. The food is quite pedestrian, and it's not the place for a nice night out!

            1. I love Le Paradis for the value of the food, but gigi is correct in that the atmosphere is probably a bit too casual for a celebratory dinner. The decor is dated, but that is not an issue so much as the open kitchen is not well ventilated and you often come out smelling like what you and the other hundred or so patrons ate.

              I would disagree with the Bloor Street Diner recommendation. Frankly, you can get much better quality food for that price. Actually, I can't think of a bistro that is a worse value than the Bloor Street Diner... but I digress.

              Both Zucca and Fat Cat are good recommendations. I would also consider Niagara Street Cafe a good option.

              1. Have you considered Bar One on Queen Street W - it is pretty reliable - and there are pretty safe selections - pizzas and pastas among others - still cool atmosphere and depending on how many there are - you could sit at the raised bar.

                1. I would suggest my personal fave: Hair of the Dog.

                  It's probably best described as an upscale pub. The environment is very comofortable with great service and a great atmosphere. The food is amazing, and a great value, with dinner entrées weighing in between $10-$20. It's on Church St., just north of Carlton.

                  1. I would not recommend Bloor Street Diner. It's Tourist Food. Expensive and mediocre.

                    1. Via Oliveto... very close to where you are, in the right price range, really good honest italian food!
                      They were also on restaurant makeover, so its much more modernized.

                      1. Ah, Via Oliveto's gnocchi are sublime!

                        1. I too suggest Via Oliveto and Fat Cat as your best choices.

                          I do not advise:

                          Zucca - mediocre food and we got *instant* coffee to cap off the ho hum dinner and indifferent service

                          Batifole - horrendous service topped off with a generous helping of attitude. Very negative response to a diet restriction concern which we voiced (on behalf of one of our guests) upon our arrival (before asking for a table or sitting down). Only 2 of the four appetizers were great, the other 2 were nothing special. Same applies to the mains.....my confit wasn't warmed ALL the way so I ended up with some big pieces of cold gelatenous duck fat flecked upon the accompanying salad greens. The displeasure about the diet concern was made clear by our server throughout our entire meal.

                          Hair of the Dog - you'll have nice eve here - IF you and your guests are all gorgeous people....ensure you have at least one very handsome male dinnerguest in your party - the waitstaff will make a special effort for them.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: winnied

                            "Hair of the Dog - you'll have nice eve here - IF you and your guests are all gorgeous people....ensure you have at least one very handsome male dinnerguest in your party - the waitstaff will make a special effort for them." -winnied

                            I respectfully disagree with the above comment. I've had nothing but friendly and attentive service at HotD, in fact, that's a major reason why I go. And trust me, I wouldn't describe myself as gorgeous by any means. Vaguely interesting, with nice eyes perhaps, but not gorgeous. :)