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A One Day Toronto Eat-Till-U-Drop Muncharama

Hi Chowhoundians,

My Good Friend and I wanted to go away for a quick vacation in 2 weeks. But it doesn't look like it's going to happen. So, I think the next best thing to do... is to do exactly what we would be doing in another city anyway; going around the city to eat!

And this is where you come in! If you were to recommend 2 "tourists" for a 1 day Toronto Eating Tour. What restaurants would you suggest for what meal? We have no problems doing 2 breakfast place and then lunch and tea time.. along with dinner and even maybe a dessert! Must have snacks along the way too!

Some background:
Sushi is not my friend's thing.
Good Food is more important than good astmophere. (Yes, we are JUST friends!)
I drive. So general GTA area is fine!
Please go easy on the $$$ (That's why we are not in another city)

I promise to take pictures/video of all the food we eat that day and put up a blog page to share with everyone! Thanks in advance!

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  1. Breakfast: Studio Café, Four Seasons Hotel
    Luncheon: Canoe
    Tea: Windsor Arms Hotel
    Dinner: Batifole
    Drinks after Dinner: Rooftop of Park Hyatt or Panorama (if weekday)

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bigtigger

      Um, he said "go easy on the money" - 4 Seasons, Canoe, Windsor Arms - all expensive!

      1. re: Teep

        Bigtigger's got some good choices there. Tea at the Windsor Arms isn't that dear. I would skip Canoe, unless you are a Bay St. type. But Batifole and the Rooftop at the Park Hyatt are right on.

        See gourmaniac's Tour of Toronto post for many more idesas:
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        I don't do breakfast, but a peameal sandwich at St. Lawrence is about as TO as you get.

        May I suggest Little Tibet on West Queen West, for lunch. Amazing momos (handmade dumplings - meat or vege, steamed or fried) or their lamb curry with a side of steamed bread..mmmmm.

        And if you can't get in to Batifole, try Bar Mercurio, POP Bistro or Avant Gout. Reservations required for all and all are small places who pay attention to their food.

        And you might want to pick up 20 or so Samosas from Samosa King for your on-the-road food - just in case you get stuck in traffic.

        1. re: dinin and dishin

          Afternoon tea at Windsor Arms: $22 for scones only, $28 for full tea (scones, berries, sandwiches and squares), or $32 including glass of sparkling wine.

          Batifole is a great deal: $8 appetizers and $16 mains. Definitely worth checking out but not a "Toronto" experience.

          1. re: dinin and dishin

            Where is Samosas King.... I think I want to go get some right about now. LOL. I had Canoe once. The food was pretty good. Obviously you are paying for the view. it's definitely not the focus of this trip!
            Windsor Arms... I just had a late night after party meal there. The food was mediocre and the service left much to be desired for. (Although for those of you who is driving to eat there, it's cheapest to let them do valet parking. $10)

            1. re: cwong5

              Samosa King is tucked in the plaza at the NE corner of Middlefield and Finch. 5 for $1. Vegetarian only. Can't beat 'em.

      2. What a great idea! No matter what you choose, I hope you have a fantastic day. A disclaimer: I live downtown, and find myself spending much of my time here, so I'm a bit less geographically spread out with my choices. Here are my recs:

        Breakfast:
        What better way to start a food-centric day than at St. Lawrence Market? Head there for Italian sandwiches (Mustachio's), and Peameal (Carousel) to start the day.

        Lunch:
        A light takeout grab from someplace in Kensington Market, again keeping with the food market theme. Perhaps a falafel (Akram's), Jamaican patty (Patty King), split a burrito (Big Fat Burrito), or even banh mi from Spadina somewhere.

        Afternoon snack:
        The reason we kept things light at lunch was to have tea and Dim Sum in the afternoon. Yiu Wah on Dundas might be a good place for this.

        Dinner:
        We've been nicely frugal for much of the day, which means it's off to a nice dinner at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. Small plates in case we're still feeling the effects of the day, and so we can share a few things.

        Dessert:
        Sorry, I don't have a good suggestion for this

        Drinks:
        Proof in the Hotel Intercontinental is a pretty nice place, good atmosphere and the drinks aren't too expensive.

        8 Replies
        1. re: xtal

          I'll fill in a dessert recommendation. Not cheap, but worth a splurge: Perigee's dessert tasting. I think it's $40/person. Reservations required.

          Have fun and report back!

          1. re: xtal

            unless you're a tourist, i'd skip out on the peameal bacon sandwich but that's partially because i really don't quite understand the appeal. i possibly expect more out of what it really is which is slabs of fried ham between bread. i would however track down the mustachio's or down some cheese ravioli topped off with some of the best meat sauce i've ever had from the fresh pasta place on the first floor of SLM. it's so addictive that i have to try to tear myself away from their booth each time i'm there.

            just yesterday i went on my own short food tour and the link is here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            you could do a quick bahn mi tour and test it out for yourself, but the nguyen hung ones on spadina have been consistently good to me.

            if you're in that area and haven't been to mother's dumplings on huron yet, i'd do a quick trek over there and either get their pork and dill or pork and radish in cornflour skin dumplings. the pork and dill are a fantastic combination and the cornflour is really unique and more for those looking to break their previous dumpling assumptions. don't bother with the xiao long bao, they don't have that wonderful juiciness i expect. but DO try their da lu noodles... you'll wonder how you've ever lived without them before. amazingly deep flavoured broth topped off with mounds of ground pork, cabbage, egg, etc etc etc. you may however get quickly stuffed off of this for $10 between the two of you... those are my only real words of caution.

            the smoked chicken at astro's just mentioned in the above link at bloor/runnymede (?) cannot be missed. people were also getting the cheese crepes. have a quick peek around but their smoked meat is definitely the specialty there. crisp outside with a nice smokey and juicy interior. must have!

            if at any point you feel like a beer or just want to cap off your night. i'd go to volo at yonge and wellesley. huge fantastic beer selection and a pretty good working wine list. nothing is too expensive but it is a bit of a specialty bar. the staff is great and if you go right up to the bar and ask, they'll do a beer tasting for you.

            for dessert, although i haven't done it... i'd probably hit up perigee and do that up right. it's a bit unique and the setting is really nice.

            if you want tea, try the red tea box. they do tea pairings with your food and while it's not traditional tea they do a pretty good job of it. their little cakes are just too tempting.

            alternatively.... as per my linked post, the madeleines from madeleine up at dupont/davenport were really nice especially the interesting saffron flavour.

            another option is the new tealicious (sp?) down on queen west west near trinity bellwoods. you could start your day off there with some croissants from clafouti!

            i'm trying to rack my brain for more thoughts, but have fun! i love these days.

            oh yes! what day of the week are you planning on going? canoe isn't open on weekends if that's something you were considering.

            ps. D&D trini doubles out on gerrard east i believe.... you will NEVER go back to anything else again......

            1. re: pinstripeprincess

              Mother's Dumplings and Volo listed in the same post, a chowhound after my own heart! :)

              Mother's Dumplings is fantastic, read my somewhat recent review here:
              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

              Caffé Volo is a fairly regular haunt of mine, and I really do enjoy the staff, atmosphere and beer selection there. Some of the food is pretty decent, but I'd suggest sticking with the appetizers, most of them are great.
              http://www.barvolo.com

              1. re: xtal

                I'm with you on that one xtal, she is one after my own heart as well.

                D&D Trini Style are the best doubles in town. And the smoked chicken is the only chicken I have bitten into where the juice literally rolls down my chin. Its that juicy!

                btw - "Tealish" is on Walnut near Queen and Strachan. They have over 30 teas and quite interesting. Worth a visit.

              2. re: pinstripeprincess

                I agree with ms. pinstripe's peameal sentiment in the sense that peameal is fairly commonplace in the city, and *as a Torontonian*, I don't feel it is particularly special. Looking at it from an enjoyment level, I think it's a pretty good sandwich, but I also much prefer both Mustachio's and the fresh pasta place.

                Having said that, I think tourists should still try it out (preferably share the sandwich as with anything else they try as there are so many choices in the Market) as it still is a part of St. Lawrence/Toronto lore.

                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                  Mother's Dumplings is the first to get onto the scheduled restaurant! We talked yesterday and immediately say Mother's Dumplings is a MUST-ATTEND spot of the trip. Oh, we also picked the date. - 10.10.06 I have a mind to make this an annual event! yum...

                  Thanks so much for so many suggestions. I am borrowing a DV to share with everyone!

                2. re: xtal

                  For dessert, pick up portugese custard tarts, my favourite part of the "Toronto experience". I hear Venezia bakery on Ossington south of Dundas is good, but haven't been there yet. I normally just pick them up from Caldense or Nova Era. They should only cost 99 cents or you're getting fleeced.

                  Ice cream at Solferino or Greg's is a great experience - Greg's toasted marshmallow ice cream is a true Toronto experience.

                  Korean "walnut cakes" are so delicious and easy to find on Bloor west of Bathurst. The ones with red bean filling are my favourite.

                  1. re: xtal

                    Foundation room is great for dinner and dessert.
                    Church, just south for Front St

                  2. I am really looking forward tot eh day of food! Thanks for the suggestions so far... Keep them coming! C:)

                    1. Since you drive, why not head out to the 'burbs at some point? Scarborough is a foodie paradise, and dirt cheap. I normally am suspicious (with good reason) of buffets, but really, the lunch buffet at Anjappar Chettinad (Eglinton) is amazingly good food, and very cheap, at under 10 dollars a person, with taxes - dinner is great, too, the roast crab and the biryanis are our favourites - and they have a large selection of different South Indian breads.

                      Another option for lunch or teatime, which we often do, is to drive down Lawrence near Warden and indulge in a moveable feast on the hoof - highlights could be Indo-Pakistani kebabs, Jamaican patties and duck roti, Sri Lankan mutton rolls, Arz bakery Lebanese croissants and baklava - it is endless...

                      1. Wow. so many cool ideas. Keep them coming. I will sit down with my buddy and plan out the day's trip. I am going to borrow a friend's digital video cam to try and get some "action" into it.
                        I am really looking forward to it!.

                        1. Nacho's @ O'grady's on Church Street are not to be missed, plus you get the great 'village' atmosphere!

                          1. Definitely include some time at T&T supermarket, Pacific Mall, J-Town and the like. Great Asian-Toronto experiences!

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Food Tourist

                              Where is J-Town. (I should be ashamed of myself. LOL)

                              1. re: cwong5

                                404 & Steeles, if I'm not mistaken.

                                1. re: xtal

                                  I pass by that all the time!!! Where? I know there are/were a japanese bakery/store behind the old "Town & Country"... just east of 404... but are there more stuff?

                                  1. re: xtal

                                    no you are not mistaken it is on Steeles just east of Woodbine(404). It is on the floor level of an office building so it is easy to miss.

                                    1. re: sweetie

                                      hum.. I need to go in and do some "research" this week. LOL :)

                                      1. re: cwong5

                                        Here's their website http://www.japantown.ca/ . There's a link to their location at Steeles and Vic Park. Decent website describes lots of their goodies (prices are posted as well).

                              2. if u want indian food, definately try moti mahal on gerrard and coxwell.. they are by far the cheapest place for indian food and they have amazing food.

                                1. Anyone has a good Ice-cream suggetion?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: cwong5

                                    Greg's, Ed's, Hollywood Gelato, Solferino, Tropical Treets.

                                    1. re: cwong5

                                      Definitely Greg's. Bloor & Spadina.

                                      1. re: cwong5

                                        According to my friend, Greg's doesn't exist anymore. Can we confirm/locaion?

                                        1. re: cwong5

                                          750 bloor street west just west of spadina... should be there...

                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                            Thanks (We are on the phone adding some more onto the must-attend list.

                                          2. re: cwong5

                                            Just went to Greg's for coconut, ginger and sweet cream - and now I'm happily stuffed! The young server even gave me a large for a medium price because of some confusion in the line-up! I appreciate that they are open late ('til 10) on weeknights!

                                            1. re: Food Tourist

                                              WOW. And I was just in the area yesterday. I need to keep my eyes open for it! Coconut, ginger and sweet cream.. hum.... now i must try it. (I am there almost at least once a week for Queen Video)

                                              1. re: cwong5

                                                Just so you don't have your hopes up too high, those are three separate flavours, that I ordered together in one dish. Normally, I like roasted marshmallow, or something they don't seem to make anymore, Indian Summer (hopefully it's almost in season).

                                          3. re: cwong5

                                            No way. Go to Hollywood Gelato. Can't be beat.

                                            DT

                                          4. Greg's Ice Cream moved from Bloor & Bedford (across from the ROM) to Bloor & Spadina (SW corner, attached to the JCC) within the past couple of years. Last I checked, it's still at Bloor & Spadina.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: xtal

                                              yep, I just drove by last night. its open!

                                            2. Hi Everyone,

                                              So the day is TOMORROW. (Oct 9th)
                                              If you are interested in our schedule, and maybe last minute addition/suggestion, please visit

                                              http://web.mac.com/cwong5/iWeb/dayoff...

                                              I will have stills as well as video with me tomorrow. Let the day begin!

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: cwong5

                                                Chester, I'm concerned that you have decided to go with a cupcake at Dessert Lady....that is what she does the worst out of mostly wonderful treats. Definitely try her pina colada sorbet (with roasted pineapple) or yummy cookies or great pies, or anything else, but not the amaretto cupcake (they taste like muffins - great muffins, but not cupcakes). I'm also concerned about choosing Madeleine's for dessert - previous posts have slammed their mediocre pies. Their madeleines are decent but not spectacular. Would you consider Korean walnut cakes stuffed with red beans instead? I'm also surprised you didn't pick Solferino or Hollywood Gelato, but I'm curious to hear about Ed's Real Scoop. Your choices strike me as Canadian-heavy with some Chinese flavours...maybe consider mixing it up a little more? Kensington Market would help with some diversity. Remember to bring lots of plastic containers or doggy bags so you don't get too full at each place!

                                                1. re: Food Tourist

                                                  Hey FT,
                                                  So far, so good. I had the cupcakes at Dessert Lady, (the chocolate one), and it's very moist and tasty. It's not too sweet. Both my friend and I are in agreement.
                                                  I tried hollywood Gelato before, and you are right! I loved it there. Ed's was a bust because they weren't open ;( Greg's was disappointing too :(
                                                  A lot more pictures/videos/comments to come!

                                              2. Breakfast at Bar One is a real winner-
                                                lunch/dinner at Tabule (Yonge and Davisville) won't set you back
                                                Dinner at JK Wine bar can be a bit of a splash out- but really can be done without spending too much
                                                As for the red tea box- I was moritified by their rudeness the last time I took an out-of-town guest there-

                                                1. Here is an update. We are in the middle of our 1-day trip> We had been keeping to our schedule relatively closely. There are some disappointments, but also some great finds.

                                                  We are changing our minds on dinner because by this point, I doubt we both have an appetite for ribs. If anyone is around to give us some really last minute suggestions for dinner. We are looking for something LIGHT! (surprise... eh) Ideas?

                                                  1. Here is the trailer to the day!

                                                    http://cwong5.multiply.com/video/item/2

                                                    There are a lot of editing to be done!