Toronto restaurant tips
These aren't necessarily traditional CH recommendations, but if you want some Toronto atmosphere for eating and drinking try...
Rice Bar in Kensington (do have a cocktail!), The Gladstone and/or Drake hotels on Queen West (always something happening) (also close to the Beaver Cafe or the Beaconsfield), perhaps the 'Rex for jazz on a weekend afternoon (I'm not recommending the food, but the atmosphere), Matador for after hours drinking and dancing (if it's still around... anyone know?). I also like the Paddock (Queen West) for cocktails, C'est What is a has good Ontario and micro-brews on tap with better-than-usual pub food, Biryani house is decent Indian in Roy Square and Ginger is cheap but good Vietnamese at Yonge and Bloor. Capocaccia (sp?), the Rebel House, or Pastis if you want to go north of Bloor, should all feel neighbourhood-y. Julie's on Dovercourt - Gio Rama's in the East end.
And I think you've got a great list from Pescatarian, although with a tendency toward the upscale-ish.
Finally, get a backbacon sandwich at the St. Lawrence market, and an empanada from Jumbo Empanadas in Kensington.
I think that there are a number of ways that you can respond to your question.
For example, certain areas provide a number of decent (not necessarily fantastic) restaurants that are up and coming areas noted for the food. I think this could make them somewhat trendy and provides a feel for a certain type of neighbourhood in TO. For example, Leslieville is an up and coming foodie area, with a number of good restaurants (Barrio, Kubo Radio (more trendy, less fabulous food), Bonjour Brioche (decent food, trendy, often noted for bad service which detracts people like me), Pulp Kitchen. Edward Levesque, Leslieville Cheese Market (not a restaurant, but indicative of the trend towards a foodie neighbourhood).
As for decent, not fabulous, restaurants that are popular amongst a Bay St, King/Queen West crowd, there are places such as Ki (good service, average trendy food, very expensive for product), Blowfish, , 8 Restolounge, Brant House, The Drake Hotel, etc. Mostly mediocre food frequented for atmosphere and party potential more than anything (although I personally really enjoy the food at Blowfish).
Lee Garden on Spadina is wildly popular. Seven Numbers on Danforth is too. I've had a lot of fun and good food at The Big Ragu on Lansdowne. There are many excellent Dim Sum restos in the city. The Lahore Tikka House seems to have a lot of fans here, though I've never been. Bonjour Brioche is a nice bakery cafe with great bfast, baked goods and awesome sammys.
That's a nice cross-section that has loads in it for everyone here to disagree about. :)
May I make a suggestion jess? I hope it is helpful.
click around the 3 or 4 most recent pages on the board and jot down the restos that catch your attention based on the postings. Then post that list here and ask people to add/subtract/comment.
This would help create a frame of reference for us and you will also know a lot more about what you are writing about...