Yorkville Area Dining & Deli Question
Going to Toronto for a couple of days and looking for some tips.
1. I’d like some recommendations for a romantic, Bistro-type dinner on either a Sunday or Monday night. Something within walking distance, or a quick transit trip from the Yorkville area would be best.
2. A good place for picking up a coffee/light breakfast in the morning.
3. One last item – my Husband raves about a Jewish Deli from his youth named “Switzers”. We understand that the “Switzers” of today is a pale shadow of the Deli from back in the day. What would be your recommendations (anywhere in the GTA) for an excellent Jewish Deli experience in Toronto?
If your husband liked the old Switzer's, on Spadina north of Dundas - one of several good Jewish delis in that area years ago - then his best shot at a little deli pleasure in Toronto is Moe Pancer's. It's not Schwartz's in Montreal - which along with Langer's in Los Angeles is the tastiest deli I've ever been to - but it's pretty good, though something of a schlep if you're staying around Yorkville. Go for lunch, when it's busy and the deli meats don't have time to dry out in the steamers. The pastrami is best, corned beef, baby beef and the other meats slightly less so. Potato salad and cole slaw are also tasty, though the fries are blah. They also do decent soups. A previous poster suggested asking for extra spice on your sandwich, and he/she knows whereof he/she speaks. It adds immesurably to the zing. Naturally, you'll reek of garlic for the next couple of days, but what the hell. Centre Street Deli is also pretty good, but it's located way, way out there, north and west of Steeles and Bathurst. From Yorkville, it's a pilgrimage. There are simply no other delis in the same league in Toronto as Pancer's and Centre Street. Pancer's also has Vernor's Ginger Ale, the only ginger ale around that tastes of ginger at all.
For bistro type meals in Yorkville, Jacques on Cumberland is lovely, but I don't know about Sundays or Mondays. Le Paradis has also been good in my experience, but I haven't been there in a few years.
Switzers deli today is awful. The best of a mediocre lot, in my opinion, are Centre St Deli in Thornhill and Katz's on Dufferin opposite Yorkdale. Neither is first rate. There is a major thread on this topic.
Centre St is Montreal style and has some really tasty house made goodies, but the deli meats (from Lester's in Montreal), though arguably authentic and hand sliced, are industrially cured. I love their chopped liver with fried onions and their beef knishes.
Katz's makes everything in house, but their deli meats are very thinly sliced by machine and somewhat dry. Ask for "pastrami sauce" on your sandwich. Their other food is not particularly good.
There are two Jewish delis in the Yorkville area. I've never tried the New Yorker on Bay south of Bloor. Mels Montreal Deli, on Bloor west of Spadina, serves what I consider to be revolting food in an unpleasant atmosphere.
If you do trek to Pancers, get them to hand slice your meat and ask for extra spice. Their pastrami has many fans. I don't find anything else there worth having.
Boba is a lovely restaurant with wonderful food just a short walk up Avenue Rd. from Yorkville. You should check whether or not they are open on Sunday night though. http://www.boba.ca/
For breakfast, there are a couple of places along Bloor that might suit your fancy. For a huge breakfast menu and an endless pot of coffee, there is Over Easy on Bloor, half block west of Avenue. Not the greatest breakfast destination, but fine for a quick breakfast to start the day. At 18 Yorkville Avenue (Yorkville and Yonge) is Crepes-a-Go-Go. Very French, very cute. Nice selection of sweet and savoury crepes. They just moved, so their hours are a bit off... give them a call first.