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Visiting Toronto - need advice

I'll be in Toronto on buisiness for a few days next week and need suggestions for where to eat. I'm an adventurous eater and just want to have a couple of great meals (with great wine) while I'm there. I'd appreciate any suggestions!

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  1. Welcome in advance -- Do you know whereabouts you'll be staying or the areas you'll be in? And where are you coming from? Helps to give a frame of reference for suggestions.

    1. If you are on your own, go to Jaime Kennedy's Wine Bar...sit and the bar, drink wine pairings with your food - it will be fantastic!

      2 Replies
        1. re: mtampoya

          This is most overrated restaurant in Toronto. It's not bad, but people buy into the Jamie Kennedy name brand. It's really not anything special.

        2. For a fantastic French meal, visit Batifole at 744 Gerrard St. East. Fine bistro cuisine with unpretentious (but professional) service. A real gem. And will not break the bank.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

            Remember, Winterlicious is on. What are the chances of getting in?

            1. re: estufarian

              Sorry, I totally forgot. Don't participate, and don't care for the hype it generates.

          2. You might want to check this thread out too...some good suggestions.


            1. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions so far! To answer jamesm's questions, I'm staying at the Metropolitan Hotel downtown (near the Art Gallery of Ontario where I'll be working) and I'm from Boston. I'll probably be eating dinners alone so I love the idea of Jamie Kennedy's Wine Bar, and French bistro fare is some of my favorite (if you're ever in Boston, go to Tony Maws' place, Craigie Street Bistrot). Would also love some suggestions for Chinatown places, since I'll be staying right near there. Thanks!

              5 Replies
              1. re: kclo78

                Right in your hotel is Lai Waa Heen (sp?) which is probably the best (and priciest, though) dim sum in the city.

                1. re: sherry f

                  Absolutely try Lah Wah Hen in your hotel. It is pricer than most dim sum places, but the food and presentation are great.

                  Also, one block over from your hotel, on Elizabeth St. is Japango. Great Japanese food. It is quite small, but I love their signature maki rolls. They also do a tuna tartar that is not officially on the menu, but there is a picture of it and you can order it from that. It is quite rich, but great for sharing. I am not sure if I am confusing them with another place, but they may have some interesting sakis you can try.

                  I second Batifole also, but they are part of Winterlicious and they seem to be getting lots of attention, so getting in might be tough.

                  Starfish for fresh oysters and other seafood and Chiado for Portuguese would also be on my list. It's been awhile, but I am pretty sure Chiado has a good selection of Portuguese wines on their list.

                  1. re: dinin and dishin

                    Chiado has a spectacular Portuguese wine list -- most found nowhere else in Canada. Just ask the waiter or sommelier for some recommendations and you should be pleasantly surprised.

                    1. re: dinin and dishin

                      love japango, the tuna tartare used to be really quite good but i'm finding it's faltering. try a cod wrapper handroll, something not on the menu either, and you'll get something unique. as far as i know, they definitely don't have the unique sake's... that might be omi though.

                  2. re: kclo78

                    Forget Chinatown. The food there ranges from mediocre to poor. I'd go with Tutti Matti. You could walk there in 10-15 min.

                  3. For Chinese I like Asian Legend on Dundas just West of Art Gallery...good Northern Chinese Dim Sum and other goodies...chat up the M'aitre D...as some servers may not understand English...but variety is great...I like hot and sour soup...deep fried tofu..pork and crab dumplings...and I order something different everytime... service is great...prices are great...Miranda

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: miranda

                      perhaps my expectations are off.. but i think asian legend is rather terrible for what you get. sure, it's all pretty and shiny but the quality of their food is severely lacking. after upgrading a dish to their hand pulled noodles, we received a mess of knots stuck together very unevenly cut (definitely not pulled) and starchy flavour. i'd rather go to mother's dumplings a block away and get their hand made da lu noodles for a cheaper price. pancakes filled with chive, shrimp, egg and vermicelli were.. pancakes with some chive, verimicelli and.... shrimp were nary to be found minus a tiny diced up piece tucked away. their cold items were fine, but that really requires very little on their part. i dont' even want to talk about the siu mai... they were just ridiculous.

                      mother's dumplings, chinese traditional buns, forestview (for dimsum), king's noodles (for 'fast food') are my picks for chinese in chinatown.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        Agree completely Asian Legend is very poor.

                    2. Here's a thread you may be interested in as well then. Hope you enjoy your stay.


                      1. I would also suggest George on Queen St not far from where you are staying. It's really good food with a funky, but grown-up atmosphere. Took some recent colleagues from D.C. there and they loved it. They have a website. Great wine list too.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jcanncuk

                          George desperately needs to learn about search engine optimization, because you can never find their web site by doing a search. Here it is:


                          1. re: TorontoJo

                            I googled: george restaurant toronto and it came up as the first link with a map and everything!


                        2. Reds wine bar is good ... love the selection of wines & the food is good also.
                          Ki for japanese Bay&Front
                          The Metro has a very good restaurant & i rather enjoyed their dim sum, the rattler dumplings were rather tasty.
                          Thai food try Young Thai...the best shrimp chips w peanut sauce & their green curry chicken makes my eyes water.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: MiniMom

                            Ki is a lot of flash and very overpriced. It's a good spot if you want the hustle and bustle of a hip, downtown, business meat market (and there really is nothing wrong if you want that vibe). For much higher quality Japanese, without any pretention, hit Japango on Elizabeth St. It's just a couple of blocks from your hotel (assuming you're at the Metropolitan Hotel on Chestnut St. and NOT the SOHO Metropolitan Hotel on Wellington).

                            Two great little French bistros are Batifole and La Palette. La Palette is in Kensington Market neighbourhood, which is great fun to wander.

                            Enjoy your trip!

                            Edited to add: if you are on a generous expense account and want to splurge, go to Perigee and ask for a table next to the kitchen (most are already, but just in case). Chef's tasting menu only -- 5, 6 or 7 courses -- and you are served your dishes by the chef, who describes each dish to you. As you eat, you can watch all the sous chefs busily preparing the courses, and they are happy to chat while they work. Not cheap, as it's around $100 for the 5 course meal, not including optional wine pairings. But it's a fantastic evening. And if you don't want to splurge on dinner there, I would recommend booking a later seating for their dessert tasting. Same concept except with a 4-course dessert menu. Yum.

                          2. If you like French, I like le Select, which is not too far from your hotel, has a great bar for solo-dining and is not participating in Winterlicious (which is, in my opinion, best avoided). It hasn't gotten much press around here, but it's one of my Toronto go-to places (with great wine list). I prefer it to La Palette.

                            Chinatown is tough - we live near and still avoid for dining. Pho Hung (sp?) is probably my favourite (if you like Vietnamese), but it's not exatly the kind of place you'd want to linger.

                            Otherwise, I definitely agree with the recommendations on JK, and I think George is OK. I would add Starfish (great food, cozy atmosphere - you can sit at the bar and watch them shuck oysters), and perhaps Opal (I haven't tried it yet, but reviews have been stellar and you can listen to live jazz while you hang out and eat). Both are a short cab or a 20-25ish minute walk from your hotel. Had a great meal at Rosebud last night, but wouldn't care to be a solo diner there.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Rabbit

                              An alternative to Pho Hung on Spadina is Kim Bo (or maybe just Kim in English) right nearby on St. Andrew. It's quieter there, better for lingering, and I've never been disappointed with the food. (I grew up on Vietnamese food.)

                            2. Your hotel has one of the best (but not cheap) Dim Sum restaurants in Toronto, so you don't need to venture far for great food! http://www.toronto.com/restaurants/li....