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restaurants in etobicoke

I recently moved to the lakeshore and islington area, and have yet to find decent restaurants. I was hoping someone could offer suggestions on Indian, Thai and other cuisines that stuck out.

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  1. Hmmm...save a penny for Kaji Sushi. Just around the corner from you. (860 The Queensway, 416-252-2166

    You are close to California Sandwiches too (1603 The Queensway, 416-201-7392).

    1. If you're looking for a nice French restaurant, try Merlot at Royal York and Bloor. There are actually quite a few nice spots on Bloor between Islington and Royal York, so if you're willing to trek a bit North, I suggest you go there - there's a good selection of Thai places, Greek, a French Bakery and a lot more.

      1. It's a great and upcoming area you just moved to. I have lived south of lakeshore for more than 4 years now and have had the same problem as you are experiencing. Here's my list of places we frequent that are close, but not necessarily in the hood. Of note, however, on the north west corner of lakeshore and 8th, (the old polish village), there will be a new traditional french bistro, looking forward to that in a few weeks.

        Otherwise, for the time being, here is where we go for good food that kinda close.

        For Greek - head west on the lakeshore to Collossus in Port Credit - best authentic greek in Ontario

        For Indian - A bit of a drive or street car, but Shala-mar on Roncevalles in high park is your best bet. Go past Mt. everest in mimico- food is overpriced and poor consistency.

        For Pub - head to the kingsway and check out Henry the 8th, on the north side of Bloor just west of Royal York.

        Thai - The cozy thai on lakeshore between 10th and 11th - Authentic thai, excellent food, not greasy or fried all the time like some other places.

        The albatros next to the cozy thai is alright, heavy polish bar, so i'm sure the polish food is good, the rest is passable for a pub and the beer is cold, mostly eastern euro beers.

        For Brunch - head to Rocket fuel for a fancy brunch (it's on the south east corner of islington and lakeshore, service is slow but the food is excellent.

        For a greasy spoon - the lucky dice on the corner of 5th and lakeshore- looks a bit dodgy from the outside, is a bit on the inside, but aren't all good greasy spoons. It's quite large in the back and familly safe unlike the other places I have not mentioned on the strip.

        Enjoy the neighborhood.

        3 Replies
        1. re: TCB

          Ugh. Just had dinner at Cozy Thai on Lakeshore (south side) and it's just plain awful. The decor is lovely and the service is terrific, but the food is hopeless. Three "3 C" crab cakes were huge and crispy, but dry rubbery filling implied pollock instead of flaky crab. Dipping sauce (sweet chili) was excellent, thankfully. "Chinese sausage" fried rice actually contained Thai "sausage" reminiscent of firm tofu cubes, but made with chicken and pork. This has to be the worst fried rice ever - I knew not to expect Chinese-style fried rice, but this was disappointing and wierdly flavoured and textured. Also tried the pad mama (special egg noodles instead of rice stick) with chicken, a huge mistake, as the chicken was horribly overcooked with less-than-firm broccoli. At least the spiciness covered a multitude of sins. Both the noodle and rice dish contain sliced carrot, and they insist on garnishing every dish with a pile of grated carrot.

          Ginger tea ($2.50 for a small pot, no refills) was excellent.

          I'm never going back! Incidentally, when asked if any dishes are "authentic", the server launched into a huge speech about "authentic" meaning 15-years-ago-Thailand, versus food found today in Thailand which is not consistent from place to place. He kept emphasizing their slogan "same but different" to show Cosy Thai's creativity and huge selection of dishes not found elsewhere in Toronto (e.g. no ketchup in their pad thai).

          1. re: Food Tourist

            Cozy Thai's slogan is "alike but different". They are at 3039 Lakeshore West. Crab cakes $6.95 for 3 hamburger-sized patties, Pad Mama with chicken $9.95, and Chinese sausage fried rice $8.95.

          2. Sorry, forgot one fabulous place if you like seafood and creole. Go to Sammy's on Lakeshore in Long branch. 3409 Lakeshore west. Walk in and ask to sit in the back, the back of the place is set up like the French quarter and has great food and better service.

            2 Replies
            1. re: TCB

              Thanks very much for the replies. I will have to try a few of these and get a full report back.

              Incidentally, I have been to Via Allegro Ristorante. Fine Italian place around queensway and browns line, very good wine tasting menu.

              1. re: TCB

                I second Sammy's. Great for seafood (try the shrimp etoufee) and it's quite reasonable.

              2. San Remo Bakery on Royal York Road has a great Italian steam table (lunch only). Best espresso too. Don't forget to try a raised doughnut, I remember the coconut ones in particular.

                1. Welcome to the neighbourhood! We've lived here almost 20 years and the last few have shown positive signs of restaurant life!

                  A couple of comments and additions to above.

                  I buy my coffee beans at Rocket Fuel - used to buy them at St. Lawrence Market but Rocket Fuel has very good continental dark beans - I don't care for their brewed coffee as it's not strong enough for my tastes but the beans are very good and reasonable at 10.95 a pound.

                  There's a nice Thai place at 5th and Lakeshore Blvd on the north side - good food and very friendly service.

                  There's a new take out sushi place at about 6th and Lakeshore on the south side of the street - very fresh and reasonably priced (simple) sushi and really good dumplings.

                  There's an Indian restaurant in Mimico called Everest (I think) on the north side - haven't eatern there in a couple of years though.

                  Another diner is the Canadiana in Mimico next to the beer store - good breakfasts and a superb Clubhouse.

                  Sammy's is a fixture on the Lakeshore but I fear it won't be there much longer - there's never anybody there it seems. Try the Gumbo Ya Ya - very spicy and delicious.

                  There's a good german deli in Long Branch (Lien's or Leins) at about 23rd - across from the Humber Campus - very nice couple and their sons own and operate it - good meat and german foods.

                  The Village Butcher at Islington and Lakeshore is also good - and next door is the martial arts studio where I work out - inexpensive place to join.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ElizabethS

                    I think you're referring to Thai Spring Roll on Lakeshore near 5th...if so, avoid the curry pad thai. I had it a year ago and it was really awful. Other dishes there were decent though not good enough to make me want to go back.

                    1. re: ElizabethS

                      Sammy's is still there! Went twice in 2008. Fabulous. Definitely sit in the back section

                    2. I concur on the sushi place as well. Not overly complicated, but the food is fine, she is a very nice lady and I go as frequently as possible because I don't want places and people like that in our neighborhood to go out of business. Regarding the dumplings, we always pick up a couple of trays, they are fabulous and underpriced.

                      Keep it up in our neighborhood and restaurants will start coming. See you at the opening of Elements Bistro at Eight and Lakeshore!

                      1. TCB - I'm like you - I'm trying to frequent the sushi restaurant alot (which isn't hard for me because I love all sushi!)

                        I forgot to mention the Blue Goose next to the Mimico Go Station off Royal York - a Mimico fixture for years - old style beer parlour atmosphere cold beer and remarkably good chicken wings (and NTN trivia which we enjoy)- many of the residents of Lakeshore Drive go there the last Wednesday of the month for wings and beer - we're there this Wednesday so if you're in the neighbourhood pls join us - also one of our residents has started a web based newsletter for the area which promotes local businesses - would you like to be on the mailing list?

                        We also try to frequent as many local businesses as possible in addition to restaurants - this will probably result in my post being yanked but Faulkner's Appliances at about 5th and Lakeshore on the north side is a very good community booster and has very competitive prices on appliances; Lakeshore Lumber on 8th is a Home Hardware affiliate with good quality lumber and flexible delivery policies; Harvey's Paint at 6th and Lakeshore are very helpful and used to open on Sunday for us if we phoned in desperation (before Sunday opening was legal and we were renovating our house!); Video Deal (in Mimico across from 7-11) is a small independent who has struggled to compete with Rogers and Blockbuster - and is largely winning.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: ElizabethS

                          ElizabethS, is the last Wed of the month group still going at Blue Goose?

                          1. re: Food Tourist

                            Sorry just saw this now - yes in fact we'll be there tonight (June 28th) after 6pm

                            1. re: ElizabethS

                              Oops, just saw this now...this thread doesn't stay in "my chow". Any plan for October gathering?

                              1. re: Food Tourist

                                Hi - it's usually the last Wednesday of the month - on rare occasion moved to the last Thursday of the month - so I'd bet it will be October 24th - will post again sooner to the date - love to have newcomers!

                        2. I forgot to mention that I have been to Lemongrass (just west of humber college on the south side). Very good panang curry and pad thai. The Decor is cute, but the restuarant is very small. I think take out is their thing.

                          I will give an update when i have tried the new thai place that just opened up by lakeshore and 11th

                          1. Well foodio, hope you are finding places alright. I just wanted to post because we went for dinner the other night at the new Indian restaurant - Bombay on the Lake - on the south side of lakeshore between 9th and 10th street I believe.

                            Indian food would have to be both mine and my wifes favorite style of food and in terms of food quality, Bombay was probably the best Indian we have ever had. We ordered three different dishes (butter chicken, lamb curry, and pea curry) and all were fabulous, and all the sides, including the naan and samosas, were also excellent.

                            We are for sure going back for the food.

                            Now, onto the service. We went in the first 10 or so days of them opening so there were some kinks to work out. But it did take 2 hours for our meal and about 20 minutes for our first drinks (only two other tables were seated in the restaurant at the time, one of them left). So I would have to say they do need to work on that, and I did mention it to them because the food was incredible and I don't want them to go away, so hopefully they will start to pick up the pace.

                            Next time, we will make sure we have lots of time, and I would recommend that for anyone else until they get all the kinks worked out. But one good thing about it taking that long, and you could tell from the food, was that it was fresh and from scratch when we ordered it.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: TCB

                              Thanks for the info, I noticed the indian place but have yet to try it. I'm very surprised that this is the first indian restaurant in the area. I Will probably try it sometime this week. How are the prices?

                              On anothernote, I went to a butcher on lakeshore between kipling and longbranch and bought some Cowboy steaks , and they are incredible. They just melt in your mouth. If you buy a bag they end up being about $4 each (which i thought was very reasonable).

                              1. re: foodio

                                The prices there are typical of most indian resto's in TO. I would say the prices are similar or slightly less than Everest in Mimico. Enjoy, I'll probably be back this week as well.

                            2. There are some great places on Bloor between price edward and islington - Barcelona, Vibo, Le Petite Fance, and Mai Tai Kitchen (excellent Thai).

                              1. There is a strip of restos on Bloor between Royal York and Islington.

                                1. For Wings avoid Wingemporium on Islington. Found them to be very dry and lack of flavor. They advertise 55 flavours but we were very disappointed in them. I like Heads or Tails. Alderwood Plaza (Browns Line and Evans Ave). The Hearty Skillet also has good wings. The are on Kipling just south of Horner.

                                  Il Paesano is good for Italian. Fresh pasta and not too bad of a Pizza. (Browns Line & Horner).

                                  Aslo great Italian food is Rocco's Plum Tomato. They have 2 locations. Islington north of Queensway and also on the Queensway around Royal York or Parklawn(I think). They give MAMA Martino's a run for their money.

                                  Haven't been able to find a good fish and chip joint but there is a not to bad of a place on 5th Street just north of Lakeshore.

                                  Greek I like the Greek Cuisine on the Queensway. Also there is a new place on Dundas between Dixie and 427 called ASTORIOS.

                                  The best Veal Sandwich in the city is California's on the Queensway.

                                  1. Thanks for the tip about Hearty Skillet - I pass it all the time and have often wondered about it! (I also had a bad experience at Wingporium and do not recommend it.)

                                    I too love California Sandwiches!

                                    The ham from Lein Deli is phenomenal!

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: Food Tourist

                                      Tried Hardy Skillet's wings yesterday...$8.99 for one pound (got two flavours!) including huge pile of fries. This is not a chowfind, but it's better than Wingporium, which isn't saying much. HS wings are juicy but the sauces aren't the greatest. Plus, they close at 4 pm as they don't have an evening cook.

                                      Lein's hunter ham wasn't ready yesterday, much to my disappointment (I didn't have time to go back today to get some). Just to be clear, their black forest ham is NOT the ham I'm promoting here! The BF ham is rather ordinary and a bit dry. The beef tongue and smoked sausage were pretty good.

                                      Ducky's doubles were too spicy and rather watery.

                                      Olenka's Sweets has terrific ice cream (one small cup with two flavours squeezed in is only $1.75!!!) Tried peach cinnamon cobbler, ginger, and creme brulee. I'd rank them close to Greg's.

                                      Rocket Fuel - sorry, but they don't roast their own beans, the owner seemed less than enthusiastic, and the latte was pretty dull.

                                      Birds and Beans has terrific, organic, fair trade coffee, and I loved the latte I had there on Saturday morning! They also have great chocolate bars for sale!

                                      The tamale lady at the 5th mini-mall has moved out, but there is a new latin american take-out counter opening on Oct. 23. Last week, an organic coffee shop opened in the basement, and it's gorgeous - they have italian sandwiches and coffee drinks in a cosy, spa-like atmosphere.

                                      1. re: Food Tourist

                                        The new coffee shop in the 5th mini-mall is called Latte Caffe.

                                        1. re: Food Tourist

                                          Thanks Food Tourist - I scouted around for the Tamale lady last week but couldn't find her - will try new counter.

                                          1. re: ElizabethS

                                            ElizabethS, did you see who has moved into the first stall on the left in the mini-mall?

                                            1. re: Food Tourist

                                              oops - replied in the wrong place - didn't see who was in that stall

                                          2. re: Food Tourist

                                            Went by today, and got a pork tamale ($2) at the mini-mall. The upstairs booth sells tacos and tamales (including chicken, pork and pineapple-raisin) and you can eat down in the lovely cafe lounge area. Unfortunately, the pork tamale only contained 3 small shreds of meat. Would not go back. (2862 Lakeshore - you can book private parties in the lounge) The mexican stall and Latte Caffe are run together.

                                            Tuesday's special ($2.99) at Falafel Royal is tasty, better-than-average shish kebab small pita. Would definitely get it again. The place is authentic Lebanese, though not always good.

                                            Sweet Olenka's was closed all afternoon, yet again. Sign said "will open at 2:30" at 4:30.

                                        2. I haven't been in a while, but I always liked Pazzia Osteria for simple Italian food. It's just a coupla doors east of Sushi Kaji at 848 The Queensway.

                                          1. Thanks for the tip TCP. We tried Bombay on the Lake last night. We had Butter Chicken - quite decent, Curry chicken - excellent (on the recommendation of the owner), Veg. Biryani - I thought was good, my wife thought it was quite mediocre (our gold standard is the veg Biryani at Biryani House yonge and Bloor). The nan is also quite good. They didn't have Raita on the menu, but we asked for some and they made some up which didn't quite make the grade, but at least they tried (they said they would have some for next time). We also had some daal which was very tasty.
                                            It was not very busy at the time...the service was actually quite quick, we were in and out in about an hour. They were very friendly and were obviously trying hard to please. This is not a 'white tablecloth' type place...all in all, fairly spartan decor, but that's not what I generally go for when going for Indian food.
                                            I would definately be back, I haven't found much other decent Indian food the west end (usually go either downtown/east or Mississauga). It's nice to have the option in this area.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: DDD

                                              That's good to hear that they can be quick when not busy. We went by again this past Saturday night with another couple, dinner took just over 2.5 hours! Slow once again, but we did enjoy the food, as did another couple that were there drinking. But the other couple that was not drinking while we were there were not impressed.

                                              Hopefully they will get the hang of it, we need more restauants like this in the neighborhood.

                                              Note on the old polish village. I have heard that the guy who was building the french bistro there could not get his liquor license because of the zoning by-laws not allowing a license in a place that small??? The government sure isn't helping turn the neighborhood around if they won't allow someone to put a nice restaurant in a building that formerly had a liquor license, we need more nice stores and restaurants in the neighborhood to help it continue to turn around. (As opposed to another dollar store or cash mart). Not happy about that one.

                                            2. There's a brand new Indian take-out place on the south side of Lakeshore at Islington near the CIBC, called Bombay Kitchen. They don't make their own sweets, so I tried the hot food. Some of it is terrible (naan), but some isn't bad (kebabs, okra, lamb). I think I paid $13.00 for 3 small samosas; a "thali" of butter chicken, okra, naan and eggplant (and some lamb) - though he charged me $1 more than the listed price; and 2 kebabs with tiny salad. I'm looking forward to trying Bombay on the Lake.

                                              1. Artisano on Islington N of The Queesnsway is excellent for breads, pastries and tasty sandwiches!

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: bestandworst

                                                  I was surprised it isn't a chain. They have obviously set themselves up for franchising ease. Pizza was actually tasty. It's a big step up from a Williams Coffee Pub, that's for sure!

                                                  1. re: bestandworst

                                                    I second Artisano Bakery & Cafe. Great atmosphere and decor. Good place for lunch or afternoon tea/pastries.

                                                  2. Has anyone been to Sesame bakery on the south side of Lakeshore closer to the LCBO and Shell? What about Falafel Royal? Their food looks tasty and possibly authentic. Does the Lakeshore/5th mini-mall still have the tamal lady?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Food Tourist

                                                      Sesame bakery is a Polish bakery with the usual plum jam donuts, cookies, and some lunch items (chicken soup, sauerkraut mixture, etc.) Cookies were bland and dry even though filled with a bit of jam. Plum jam donut was fresh and yeasty, though unexciting. Donut and 2 cookies cost 95 cents.

                                                    2. I have been to Falafel royal, the food was good, nothing to complain about. I haven't had much Lebanese food, so I'm not sure if it's authentic. It's worth a try.

                                                      1. No - but I wasn't paying very close attention in my search for tamale lady!

                                                        1. I found out the scoop on the Bombay by the lake from the guys at pizzaiolo. The good chef was only there for a week or so then the owner fired him because he was too slow. It's a tough call, his food was amazing and much better than the current guy, but he was very slow.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: TCB

                                                            I went to Bombay on the Lake last night for a solo dinner and it turned into a hilarious experience. First of all, the young woman server was terrific. The owner couple didn't do much as they hung out behind the bar or at a table loudly talking on a phone. Lots of loud conversations went back and forth from the kitchen to the dining room. The owners mentioned that they would like my feedback at the end of the meal. The food took ages to come out and the server apologized, saying the chef was angry.

                                                            The food was average. Too-sweet mango lassi was crunchy with sugar. Okra was too soft which makes it slimy. Dhal makhani was disappointing.

                                                            Tandoori roti was actually a whole wheat pita grilled and cut into wedges. I had to send the lamb chops back because they were so tough I couldn't cut them with the knife supplied -- plus the portion was tiny. The server happily replaced the dish with my choice - chicken tikka masala. The tiny cubes of dry chicken were overwhelmed by huge pieces of crisp greenpepper. I didn't send it back. When the owners came to get my report, I mentioned the dry meats. They said they would get the chef to come out and speak to me. When he eventually arrived, he sat across from me and talked to me for about 30 minutes.

                                                            The short version is that he's only been there for a week and he and the owners are butting heads. The owners want him to cook the way I experienced the food. Chef wants to cook bigger pieces of juicy meat in the tandoor, not use the freezer, make sure the tandoor is switched on at least 2 hours before use, etc.

                                                            In the end, the chef promised me a free meal the next time I go back, because he could tell I was the type of customer who would never return. So, I'll go back in a week or two and post an updated report. He suggested to avoid Tuesdays, but that they are in full swing Wednesday thru Sunday.

                                                            1. re: Food Tourist

                                                              Okra dish was heavy on onion and also had a strong ginger flavour.

                                                              The chef also gave me a take-out container full of fried paneer cubes in butter chicken sauce (no chicken) to prove it was good...but the paneer wasn't exciting. However, the sauce was very tasty, much better than anything I had eaten already.

                                                              The decor is funny - black molded deco bar stools, fabric valances held up (or not) by wide masking tape, etc.

                                                              They don't include a tip line on credit card bills, so customers are forced to leave a cash tip (I definitely wanted to reward the helpful server).

                                                              1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                Finally returned to Bombay on the Lake last night to find the chef and menu had changed AGAIN - no surprise! The owners were the only servers and they were quite attentive and helpful (only one loud phone call which didn't last too long). On her suggestion, we had the malai chicken appetizer ($8.99) which was incredible! Juicy, delicious, marinated chicken chunks with a side salad (no dressing) and two unnecessary (and mediocre) accompanying chutney/sauces. Slightly greasy, crispy veggie samosas ($2.49) were spicy but lacked depth of flavour. My friend enjoyed her masala tea ($1.99) but I thought it was average. Cashew and fig milkshake ($4.49) was slightly too sweet, its flavour and consistency thinner than expected. Flaky paratha ($2.49), dry as a result of tandoor cooking, lacked usual richness. Garlic naan ($2.99)(they didn't have rosemary for rosemary naan, ordered by my companion) was also slightly crispy and sprinkled with cilantro despite my "no cilantro" request. Average saag paneer ($7.99) wasn't the least bit oily. Lamb korma ($10.99) contained some chunks of meat that were too tough to chew, and overall, its flavour lacked sparkle.

                                                                Free spiced chickpeas (amuse bouche) provided a nice surprise. I would definitely return for the malai chicken, but little else.

                                                                Again, still no tip line on credit card transactions.

                                                              1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                It's quite good - there's another one on queen west of bathurst

                                                                1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                  Finally ordered from Pizzaiolo - Godfather deep dish was neither generously topped nor chicago-style, and awfully expensive.

                                                              2. We just got take out from Bombay on the Lake - Their Biryani is much better now, the curry chicken quite good (a steal at on $6.99). Then butter chicken sauce was ok, but the chicken a bit dry. The daal was better last time - a bit too salty. But all in all better than any other Indian in the 'hood. I'll definately be back when I don't feel like schlepping downtown or to mississauga.

                                                                Also, just tried the new sushi place on south side of Bloor between Royal York and Prince Edward (starts with an M) - next to the swiss chalet. Quite good all in all - they have a conveyor system like in some places in Japan. Sushi was fresh, teriyaki and yaki udon were quite tasty - and the price was quite reasonable. Decor and service were very good. Definately the best sushi (except for Kaji of course) in the area - will definately return.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                    Sat down and Momiji, read the menu, decided it was poor value for money, and left.

                                                                1. I think you have nailed them all. California is great veal sangweech. I am a big fan of the tapas at Casa Barcelona. For fine dining options, if you can bear the pricing on everything, try Via Allegro by Sherway. Super wine cellar but again, pricey. CRU at Royal York and Bloor is pretty nice but a little inconsistent. For quick Italian, I always opt for Ottimo

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Globed

                                                                    On reading the recommendations we decided to try the take-out sushi place. We were so turned off that we didn't even make a purchase. The lady working didn't even look at us or acknowledge us upon entering the establishment. We asked what the combo included and she rudely pointed at the dry trays of sushi. We asked "does it include soup or salad?" All she said or I should rather say snapped at us was "NOTHING. " Normally I would never walk out without buying something, but there was no way I would spend a dime on Sushi that looked old especially after being treated so rudely.
                                                                    We eat sushi all the time and we usually drive to Bloor and go to New Generation. The best sushi and the best price. For $ 5:99 at lunch you get several choices of combos all with soup, salad and tea. Worth the drive. Service is always prompt and friendly.

                                                                  2. Why not try ViBo. Have been a few times... good food, good service, nice italian place. I really like the fact that they have lots of fresh fish specials every night.