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Cool, unuasual and affordable near St.Lawrence Market?

I will be in Toronto this weekend for my birthday. We have a party planned at Nectar on Saturday evening, but I need a place for Friday. Let me explain myself.

I have friends who perform at the Buskers Festival in the St.Lawrence market (if anyone is interested, they are called Oka and are from Australia...very good music). They finish pretty late (around 10pm) at night and I would like to take them to a cool place that's not too expensive ($15-$20 entrees) and not far from the market. Is that possible?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Well, being Australian, they may be into beer. In that case you might want to try C'est What (which I really like, others on the board feel is over-rated and has snotty service, but the food is good and the beer selection is large and micro-brewed). It's also right in the middle of the buskerfest action so it's convenient, but it might be crowded.

    You could also try the BeerBistro, which I haven't tried yet but is getting raves from the board and sounds awesome -- everything on the menu is made with beer, and again there is a large selection of interesting microbrew beers.

    1. For a late night fun place I would suggest just walking one block north of the Market to Adelaide and Jarvis and go to Laide (www.laide.ca) thier prices are in your range and they have a 3 course deal where you get 3 menu options (one a desert) for $25. Staff is very friendly (no snotty service there)...

      I was there last year when some Busker Acrobats came in and were doing tricks on their brass pole! too fun!

      1 Reply
      1. re: OnDaGo

        I didn't know about that $25 deal. I'll have to go back there!

      2. I second C'est What - their beef ribs with that coffee porter ale BBQ sauce are to die for - ask for extra sauce on the side for your frites.

        1. Or the Irish Embassy, another good place for gathering and for beer. Large portions of food and great atmosphere though if you are looking for a spot where you can have a quiet conversation, this may not be it. The soaring ceilings of this former bank building will present some issues.

          Definitely agree that the Aussies love their beer.

          What location will they be playing at during the Buskerfest?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Zengarden

            My friends are not THAT much into beer...they are more into wine, unfortunately! They are more into great wine and great food (although none of them really have experienced fine dining).

            I don't know exactly where they will be playing at the Buskers...but the site is pretty small. Look for the cute Australians and an electro/world beat/ didgeridoo/percussions! ;-)

            1. re: Frenchie

              Then I second my vote for Laide... while their wine list is not large the owner picks them carefully...

              and the food is great.. form their website:

              Veal entrecôte sandwich, tomato, basil, organic buffalo mozzarella - 10$
              Five spice-rubbed back ribs, kettle chips, hoisin BBQ glaze - 15$
              Tandoori-marinated chicken brochettes, fragrant baked taters - 10$
              Pan-fried lamb and cashew pot stickers, icy-hot Vietnamese dip - 11$
              Layered open-face taco, vegetable chili, Manchego cheese (with chorizo sausage) - 11$
              Layered open-face taco, vegetable chili, Manchego cheese (Vegetarian) - 10$
              Sextet of Louisiana white shrimp, smoked poblano pepper coulis - 14$
              Enoki mushroom, walnut and ricotta ravioli, sage and butter sauce - 14$
              Blue crab enchilada, mild curried eight vegetables, Emmenthal cheese - 12$
              Cheese plate Trio: Duo of raw milk Québécois cheeses, Spanish Cabrales–stuffed roast figs, poached pear - 18$

              a good mixture for everybody..

              (they were voted in the top ten best new restaurant of 2004 by toronto.com)

          2. Oh, that's great! In terms of wine, I know that people have been raving about JK's place but you might have some difficulty getting in during such a busy weekend. All of the suggestions are places that are within walking distance. I've only been to the Irish Embassy and thought that it was very nice. I believe that they feature live music Friday and Saturday nights.

            And in terms of the band, I just saw them on BT this morning. I just came home from a three month trip Down Under and am longing for things Aussie and Kiwi. I'll look for them at the fest if I get down there!

            2 Replies
              1. re: Frenchie

                BT is "Breakfast Television" - a morning show on the Toronto channel CityTV.

            1. There is the French restaurent Le Papillon, with lots of sweet and savory crepes under $15. Other entrees are usually under $25. Can't recall what their wine list looks like but I did have a glass of Wolf Blass Yellow Label there so it's probably not a bad selection.

              http://www.lepapillon.ca/menu.html

              1. Izakaya is a gorgeous spot that is totally different and funky than anything else in the area (Japanese noodle house), and I second JK Wine Bar - it's fantastic. They don't take reservations, but if you go and put your name and cell number in with the hostess, she'll call you when your table's almost up. We usually pop around to The Sultan's Tent, a moroccan joint,(Front St.east of Church) for a cocktail to wait. On weekends, there's often a belly dancer to check out, too!

                1. I got back from Toronto yesterday, thank you all for your suggestions! We ended up going to Isakaya, a japanese restaurant located on the Busker's site. It was nothing extraordinary, but the yakisoba noodles were very decent for the price.

                  On Saturday, the plan changed a little bit and the party at Nectar was delayed, so we went to Habitat for dinner. It was DELICIOUS. I had the pork belly starter and the salmon after. The place was pretty quiet, so the ambiance was not the best, but I was very impressed with the food. I also got to be served in French, which I appreciated.

                  I was staying at Le Germain...so for the curious ones who are wondering about Chez Victor, it was not full any of the nights I was there, but there were always people. The staff at the hotel was saying that it is starting slowly, but there are more and more people every night, so they are happy with the results. The place,though, does look absolutely stunning with the glass wine cellar they built.