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Fun Toronto Restaurant for 4 Adults

s
spaghetti o Jul 5, 2006 09:00 PM

Headed to Toronto for the first time with the family (2 25-year-olds, two 53-year-olds) and looking for people's favorite restaurants for a good time. Money is no object, and all types of food are heartily appreciated. Any ideas?

Thanks!

  1. TorontoJo Jul 5, 2006 09:14 PM

    Can you define what you mean by "good time"? Do you want a mind-blowing gastronomical experience in a fine-dining establishment? Or a fun, casual atmosphere where you can soak up the surroundings and have lots of loud conversation amongst your family?

    And can you let us know where you're staying and whether you'll have a car?

    All this will help us make sure you have a good time!

    1. s
      spaghetti o Jul 5, 2006 10:11 PM

      Let's see. I'm one of the 25-year-olds, so I'm looking for a fun, loud, interesting place. My parents are total foodies looking for fine dining (not seven courses with pairings fine, but definitely on the nicer side). And while I understand, these two rarely go hand in hand, I'm trying to find some places with a good balance. I'm a wine enthusiast, and my father's a single malt man, so anything with an extensive drink menu is also a plus. We're staying at the Cosmopolitan and plan on travelling by taxi, so downtown is better, but not essential.

      Thanks so much for your help!

      1 Reply
      1. re: spaghetti o
        TorontoJo Jul 5, 2006 10:56 PM

        Agreed that Perigee might be the closest to your description. It's fine dining in a slightly funky setting. 5-, 6-, or 7-course chef's tasting menu only (no a la carte), wine pairings optional. Each person gets a totally different menu, after being asked about allergies and food aversions. Seating is around a sunken, open kitchen, so you can watch the chefs in action. Interaction is encouraged, and the head chef normally presents each course to the table. Not cheap, but well worth it for a long, enjoyable evening. Great scotch and wine lists, too. :) In the Distillery District.

        On the more casual side, Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar (JK Wine Bar) is a lot of fun with excellent food (all small plates). It's definitely more fun when you sit at the chef's bar or the wine bar, rather than at a table. Though with four people, it's a little tough to interact with each other unless you're seated on the corner of the bar. On Church, just south of Front.

        Beer Bistro is good food in a great atmosphere. The drink specialty is obvious, so it may not be the right place for you guys (but it otherwise fits the bill). At King and Yonge.

        Le Select is a wonderful, classic French bistro with a truly amazing wine list. I believe they have a good scotch selection as well. The atmosphere is fun and slightly rowdy while still being quite elegant. On Wellington, west of Spadina.

        Good luck, enjoy your trip and please report back!

      2. f
        francelonian Jul 5, 2006 10:33 PM

        Perigee in the Distillery District.

        http://www.martiniboys.com/Toronto/Pe...

        1. p
          peppermint pate Jul 5, 2006 11:00 PM

          For fun/cool atmosphere, good food, good wine list and downtown, my short-list of suggestions would be...Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar (only drawback is no reservations policy - suggest you factor in a 45 minute wait, put your name on the list and then have a drink in the sitting area or at one of the nearby watering holes like Beer Bistro), George (a little more sophisticated/elegant and a little less loud but still fun and great food) and maybe Lee (Susur Lee's baby bistro - great tastes, great atmosphere though sometimes service can be spotty). Another spot you may like is Czehoski's on Queen West -another very funky area, hip spot, cool vibe, good food and, if I recall, a great scotch selection (though maybe I'm mixing it up with Rosebud?). Another spot that I haven't tried (but there have been lots of recent, good posts about it) is Torito, a tapas restaurant in Kensington Market - very cool area - get there early so you can walk around (though a Kensington walkabout/chowtour is worthy of a separate daytime detour).

          Have a great trip with your family and if you have a chance, please post a report.

          2 Replies
          1. re: peppermint pate
            pinstripeprincess Jul 6, 2006 12:11 AM

            in terms of good food, you can't go wrong with a single suggestion thus far. there are however three different reasons i would advise you ahead of time about some of them...

            lack of wine/alcohol list:
            torito
            beerbistro (for obvious reasons... but they offer fantastic beers)

            no reservations available:
            jamie kennedy wine bar
            torito
            (if you're here on a weeknight it's a bit less of a problem, or just show up early)

            quieter/calm atmosphere:
            perigee (this was my own personal experience, others may say something different)

            additionally, i'd love to tack on la palette in kensington market as one of my favourite places to go. great food, great staff, amazingly long wine list and a very wonderful french bistro feel.

            although... my favourites following your parameters would be jamie kennedy wine bar (if you end up here they have a MUCH more extensive list of wines by the bottle and other liquors than they give you up front) and czehoski (they definitely have the great scotch selection).

            1. re: peppermint pate
              f
              francelonian Aug 7, 2006 11:51 PM

              JK will take reservations at lunch.

            2. Charles Yu Jul 5, 2006 11:20 PM

              I totally agree with Francelonian's recommendation. As a dining experience, the 'fun' factor provided by Perigee's open kitchen and Chef interaction concept is hard to beat. However, just to provide a different option, Senses' 'El Bulli' style multi-course tasting menu also features some very interesting and surprising dishes catered for 'all senses'! You won't go wrong with either choices. Have fun!!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Charles Yu
                f
                Frenchie Jul 6, 2006 06:15 AM

                I'm one of the lucky few who have been to El Bulli... and Senses is nowhere near there....I don't think they should even try to compare themselves to Ferran Adria or El bulli....quite a high standard they are giving themselves...

                1. re: Frenchie
                  p
                  paul6519 Jul 8, 2006 04:48 PM

                  I agree with you.. for any restaurant in Toronto to try and compare themselves to ElBulli is laughable. T.O. restaurants have a long way to go before they get to that level. The good restaurants in Toronto play it smart and do what they do best and not try to give themselves a false and misleading sence of credability.

              2. t
                tasoid Jul 7, 2006 02:40 PM

                Get a reservation on the patio at Thuet.Excellent Alsatian chef, great food and lots of wines..

                1. f
                  Frenchie Jul 7, 2006 02:56 PM

                  I second Thuet! I havent been for dinner though, but I went for brunch and loved it!

                  1. a
                    annette Jul 7, 2006 11:32 PM

                    How about a really fun night: First restaurant for the appetizer, second restaurant for main course and third restaurant for dessert. Price would be comperable and it takes the whole evening.
                    What are your suggestions?
                    We did Rodneys for appetizer, Pasta Bar at Scaramouch for main and Panagea for dessert.
                    and another special night:
                    Giancarlo Trattoria for appetizer, Chiado for main and Senses for dessert.

                    1. c
                      canuck Jul 8, 2006 09:25 PM

                      When my family gets together in Toronto, we enjoy Fieramosca, on Prince Arthur, just a couple blocks north of Bloor near Yonge. Great Italian atmosphere and food.

                      1. s
                        spaghetti o Aug 7, 2006 09:50 PM

                        THANK YOU!!!!!

                        We ended up trying Perigee, Thuet, Beer Bistro, Jamie Kennedy Winebar, and Sotto Sotto- ALL WERE WONDERFUL. Thanks for all your help in making it such a wonderful trip- I can't wait to get back to Toronto!!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: spaghetti o
                          TorontoJo Aug 8, 2006 12:21 PM

                          spaghetti_o, glad to hear your trip was a success! Thanks for reporting back, it's always nice to hear what folks ended up choosing. Can you give us any more detail on your experiences at the different restaurants? Best food? Service? Overall experience? Were there restaurants your parents liked more than you and vice versa? It's so helpful to get other people's perspective on the restaurants that we recommend. Cheers and come back soon!

                          1. re: TorontoJo
                            s
                            spaghetti o Aug 14, 2006 05:22 PM

                            Let's see. I think our favorite was Perigee- the service was impeccable, the food exciting and having four people recieve different plates over four courses was impressive. I think that was everyone's favorite.

                            Thuet was nice for brunch, although not astonishing food-wise or service-wise. I would go back there though to sit outside, I can never turn down and eggs benedict either!

                            Beer bistro was more fun to drink at than eat. Everything I ordered was mediocre, but other family members had more luck. The beer tasting menu was great though and I even tried my first actual Beer Float with coffee flavored beer and heath bar ice cream- definitely better than the garlic ice cream I had in Gilroy!

                            My parents were dismayed when they saw the limited menue at Jamie Kennedy winebar and it's apparent trendiness, but everything we ordered was fantastic and the service friendly and prompt. I would go back with a group or on a date, you really can't go wrong there!

                            Sotto Sotto had great atmosphere and wonderful service, but the food was nothing spectacular- although totally fine (just didn't stand up to the other wonderful meals of the trip)

                            Thanks again for all the advice!

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