DC hound visiting Toronto
We will be visiting Toronto next week and staying at the Cambridge Suites downtown. Looking for a few places, well 4 or 5, that have great food and permit corkage. I'll be bringing a bunch of wine with me, mainly small production CA Pinot Noirs or high end Aussie Shiraz or GAMs so they won't be on anybody's wine list. Of course if there is someplace that we just have to go that won't permit corkage and has a great list, that is ok too. My wife wants at least one place to have a great view of the city, preferabley from high but NOT the CNC Tower. We like eclectic foods, what with DC being so good for ethnic food, andmy son will want a good steak at least once. I m not looking for a beer joint or anyplace that is so loud that I have to shout. Price is not a big factor, but I'd like a mix of types of places for both dinner and lunch. Any suggestions would be appreciated. If there is someplace that is uniquely Toronto that would be great too.
I'd say for breakfast/brunch/lunch one day, head down to the St. Lawrence Market www.stlawrencemarket.com and get yourself a peameal on a bun. They have a bunch of other great vendors as well but a POAB will be uniquely Toronto(Canadian actually). Upper level on the west side about midway.
Here's a link to a lot of the restaurants that allow you to bring your own wine in Toronto.
As you will see there are quite a few.
However, something you may want to look into is how much wine you are allowed to bring over the border with you, you may end up paying a lot of taxes and duty.
I am not sure how current the prices and restaurants are on that list is. I think your best bet is to pick a couple of restaurants that you want to visit and then call.
For old school steakhouse, you could try Barberian's. It's a 10 minute walk from your hotel. Stick to the steaks. The steak is excellent and the places has a colourful local history. IRC they don't do corkage, but their wine list is extensive. You can check it here http://www.barberians.com/
I see you know to eat before or after you visit the CN Tower. Very wise. Toronto doesn't have a lot of great view restaurants. Scaramouche might be your best bet. It has a nice view due to its location on the crest of a hill. It's located a short cab ride north of the downtown area. Ask for a window seat. Last I heard they do corkage, but call to confirm. Either way I can tell you that Peter Boyd, their sommeilier, knows his stuff. He taught at some wine classes that I attended. He loves to talk and talk knowledgeably about wine. Do checkout the photos on their website http://www.scaramoucherestaurant.com
If you are here on the Saturday morning, do check out the St Lawrence Farmers Market. It is in the building north of the permanent market--just follow the crowds jaywalking. They have lots of great stuff, depending on what's fresh. You might want to grab a butter tart of two if you see them. They are uniquely local.
Since you're a wine guy, you probably know this, but they do make wine east of Toronto toward Niagara on the Lake and Niagara Falls. Also ice wine. Just as a reminder.
If you want a good view of the city from up high, try Canoe on the 54th level of the TD building, call ahead and reserve a window seat(not open Sat nights, FYI), but the food is better at North 44 (street level, Yonge & Eg).
The suggestion to check the limit of duty-free wine you can bring across the border is a good one. Check out this link for the information you need.
Click on the link "Information for visitors to Canada and seasonal residents" to find what you are looking for. Also check out the link for getting back any goods and services taxes you incur while here.
For an interesting view of the city, check out the roof top bar at the Park Hyatt. It is on the corner of Avenue Rd and Bloor. Walk east on Bloor or up to Yorkville for high-end shopping if you are into that as well.
My favourite Italian place is Zucca on Yonge St, south of Eglinton. Their service is always fantastic, they have an interesting wine list as well, but it is mostly Italian. You can view their menu and wine list on line at
For great Portuguese food, try Chiado at College and Ossington.
menu and wine list on line at:
Try their grilled whole fish and/or their fresh sardine appetizer. MMmmmmmMmmMMMmmmm
But again, they mostly serve Portuguese wines. However, the one's I've enjoyed their have been very good.
For some very upscale cuisine and service, try Auberge du Pommier.
A couple of small, kind-of quirky places I've enjoyed lately include:
Avant Gout (Yonge and Summerhill - right across from our flagship liquor store if you want to browse the local wine selection)
Pop Bistro (Queen St. E) - We had an excellent grilled whole fish their the other night.
(both of these I reviewed on this site a couple of weeks ago - before the chowhound format change.)
Bar Mercurio on Bloor St near St. George subway station also has some good wines and they make an excellent thin crust pizza.
Recommend reservations for all.
Summerlicious is on until July 23rd. You can see a list of participating restaurants at http://www.menupalace.com/menupalace/...
and I recommend reading fellow foodie feedback on the event and the participants on this board. The event does make these restaurants busier than usual.
Also read the recent suggestions posted to similar visitor requests on this board.
Enjoy your stay.