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Good portion w. Desserts (similar to Cheesecake Factory)?

Thinking of a place to eat with a group of 6 this Sunday night for a girl friend's birthday.

Recently went to Cheesecake Factory in the States, and I think that's what they all like.

- Good portion (important to the guys)
- Good quality overall
- Selection of desserts (birthday girl loves)
- Nice environment (not too formal/uptight - good for everyone)
- Reasonable priced

Is there such place in Toronto? My brain isn't working today... can't think.

Help >_<

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    1. re: xtal

      There's a TGI Friday's in Toronto?

      You should go to a place like Demetre's. There are a number of locations around the GTA and they have that kind of dessert menu/environment.

        1. re: nummanumma

          Alice Fazoolis is a good all-in-one selection for food and dessert. Great space down on Richmond and a fun party buzz.

        2. re: pescatarian

          My apologies, I thought there was one in Toronto.

      1. definetly sounds like you want to go to demetres.. huge portions, big selection of cakes , ice cream , waffles, crepes, sundaes, etc. and I think its well priced

        1. Cafe Demetre is just desserts, I think, but if you're looking for the hungry-man sized dinner and the fancy desserts, you coudl go to the Astoria on the Danforth for dinner, and then next door to Cafe Demetre for dessert.

          3 Replies
          1. re: TwinklyTerrapin

            They actually do have some savoury crepes/sandwiches, including one I actually enjoyed, but it's not really dinner. However I was also going to make the suggestion that the OP choose something else for dinner, perhaps on the Danforth, and then head to Demetres. You could then get drinks somewhere and make a whole night of it, should be fun.

            1. re: julesrules

              depending on your budget, you COULD try out the new Globe if your not into greek food!

            2. re: TwinklyTerrapin

              Great combination that matches your request is in on the Danforth - i agree. Astoria and Demetres

            3. not my favorite place....but the Pickle Barrel. Huge menu (I actually noticed some items they ripped off the cheesecake factory). Decent portions. Not too expensive. And the desserts are from La Rocca. They have a website I think...you can look it up.

              1. there is a demetres on royal york and bloor - i too agree that their crepes and waffles are awesome. Almost a meal in themselves. I would not go for dinner though. Lunch - yes. Soups, salads and sandwiches mainly.
                Anyways, on royal york and bloor (two to three blocks east of royal york on the north side) there is an italian restaurant that is infamous for its large portions. . . . the name is not coming to me now. I have never been personally, but i have heard this many times. After dinner, you can walk one block east and have coffee and waffles at demetres.
                There is also a green mango and just greeks in this neighbourhood, both serve good food, decent portions and decent prices. Its a good area for what you are seeking.

                1. wow! Thanks for all the replies in 8 hours. We're definitely not just looking for desserts... gotta have some entrees as well... Pickle Barrel (not sure if she's tried that before).

                  Astoria, and the other one near royal york/bloor... plz let me know if you can recall the name of that place :)

                  Gotta think... hum...

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: carbonxiv

                    Oh please, Pickle Barrel? Avoid that place at ALL COSTS. Please. I beg you! I've had a bad experience at Pickle Barrel, and if I told you what I had you'd not go there either. But then again, it was only the one at Yorkdale.

                    1. re: jennjen18

                      I'd also like to caution you with the Pickle Barrel reco. The franchise is in shambles ever since it was sold. The original location near Leslie and Steeles has had it's ups and downs over the years. They are definitly sinking lower than ever these days. Standards such as potato salad and coleslaw are disgusting, produce is nerver served ripe, and even they're infamous party sandwiches aren't cutting it anymore.

                      How about a dinner at 7West? Their portions are usually pretty large, and dessert is good too. Located at Yonge/Charles.

                      1. re: dlw88

                        yuck, yuck to the pickle barrel.
                        this is a current link about the horrible service and food they have there: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
                        i would suggest 7West, the food i had there was SO good. and it's open 24/7, so it's great for a dinner party that keeps going and going! it's a pretty small place, but it's dimly light and very chic, for the lack of a better word. it's on charles/Yonge, like 5 buildings into Charles st from Yonge street.

                        1. re: chalenegirl

                          Most of the food is good, eclectic crowd at times, would not call it chic at all. If anything I would call it campy. Best time for 7West IMO is summer on the roof top or real late at night after partying.

                  2. For a fun dinner out with the girls with a simillar vibe to the Cheesecake Factory, I'd recommend Hot House Cafe on Front Street West. Food potions are hearty and they've got some great desserts as well. I'd pass on the Pickle Barrel for sure!

                    1. I think everyone is losing sight of the original post. They wanted a place that was relaxed and was similar to The Cheesecake Factory...That would be the Pickle Barrel. Their menus overlap (I know Pickle Barrel copyed Cheesecake Factory). You have to remember that Cheesecake Factory has over 50 cheesecakes or something like that...Pickle Barrel is one of the few places that has a lot of cakes...and I do think La Rocca has good cakes. I know PB's service is shotty and the food is not great, but it's fairly good and the huge menu give everyone lots of choice. It's a safe restaurant for Birthdays, especially with guys that want big portions. Based on PB's line-ups and number of restaurants they can support, it's a great choice for food for the masses.

                      Besides, Demetres doesn't make their own cakes either, but their ice cream is homemade and totally rocks.

                      I do agree with the Hot House reco...I went once many years ago and I do remember it better than PB.

                      1. To get back to the OP, Pickle Barrel may well have based its concept on that of Cheesecake Factory - but their food is primitive in execution and inferior in taste compared to that of CF, from my experience with the latter in Atlanta and Las Vegas.

                        1. I agree that if you want a one stop spot, Hot House is probably your best bet. It is a step up from Pickle Barrel for sure.

                          Alice Fazooli on Richmond is a great choice too!

                          1. the restaurant at bloor and royal york is called big papa's. I've never been but i heard the portions are huge and cheap.

                            1. Okay I hate to make this suggestion, but....

                              Milestones. Still very much a chain, but I prefer the atmosphere and food over PB any day. For some reason they don't seem to list the desserts on the website, but I think they have a good selection.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: julesrules

                                Yes Milestones would be better than PB for this occassion in my opinion too.

                                1. re: deelicious

                                  Got a tira mi su to go at Demetre's Mississauga (Sir Winston Churchill Plaza) today - a small square for $5.99 plus tax, it was gross - a slightly off taste, stale cake, overall dry. The WORST tira mi su I can remember having.