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Help - Recommendation for Toronto - Downtown Below Bloor

Hi I am looking for a nice restaurant in downtown Toronto near the subway line - but below Bloor. I read some other posts but there are not many recommendations below Bloor or they are in the wrong price range. I need something with a main entree menu between $15 - $30, with more than one/two choices in the $15-$23 range. I would prefer something not too casual with a good wine selection. We are there to eat and enjoy good conversation, so the atmosphere should not be so noisy that we cannot hear each other speak.

I am new to this board and to Toronto. I really need some assistance as I do not know the restaurants at all.

Thank you!

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  1. There are tons of nice places south of Bloor. Honest. Specific to your request, try Superior near the Dundas stop. Walk through the Eaton Centre to the doors just south of Sears, cross the street, there you are. After all it's 10 below out. BTW they have an award-winning wine list.
    http://www.superiorrestaurant.com/

    As well, if you go a little further afield just about any place on Elm Street would fit.

    1. Thank you so much for the reply Googs. I posted a similar post yesterday and wondered if there were few restaurants south of Bloor due to the lack of response - it seems to be an active board. I heard good things about the ChowHound boards for other cities.

      Thank you again!

      1. I've been to Bar Volo on Yonge, one block north of Wellesley a few times now based on recs from this board and really enjoyed it. Cozy atmosphere, rustic Italian fare, reasonably priced and very extensive beer menu. They do have wine too of course.

        Very popular right now is Trevor on Wellington, just east of Yonge. Might be stretching your budget a little, but the menu is quite reasonably priced.

        1. Mirra,
          the challenge to your request is the combination of the price range and the criteria. I was actually thinking about your request for a quite a bit yesterday while at the gym, and I couldn't come up with anything that fit ALL your criteria. Here are few places to consider:

          Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar -- good food, in your price range, good choice of wine, near cheap parking, about a 10 minute walk from the subway though and a bit noisy for an extended dinner, moderate setting.

          Queen Mother - a wide range of food, lots (of the better options) in the lower range for your one friend, near cheap parking, near a subway stop, not a great wine selection, casual setting, depending on the table you get, can be too close per your criteria

          Terroni - great food, lots in your price range, good wine choices, near cheap parking & subway, again, tables close together and casual setting

          Biagio - good italian, upscale setting in your price range, quiet and comfy enough to sit for a long time, good wine choices, parking is a bit far and it's about 15 minutes from a subway stop

          Pangea - upscale, tables well spaced, too pricey, close to good parking & subway

          Izykaya - fun for a group, lots of space, prices well below your budget,design-oriented setting, not great wine choices, close to cheap parking and subway

          I think if you're okay being a little lighter on the criteria of having the tables close you'll open up a lot more choices. You'll be able to hear each other and converse at all the places above, but you might be quite close to your neighbors. Also, you mentioned in your previous post that you wanted upscale, not casual . . . which is tough to do in your price range. Maybe letting the group know that it'll be nice-casual, not upscale will set expectations right.

          p.s. okay, I thought of two more: Jump (a bit noisier but good wine, in your price range, near subway, expensive parking) and Biff's (near cheap parking, in your price range) both have good wine selections and a more upscale setting -- Biff's will be quieter than Jump.

          1. Beerbistro almost fits the bill... except that they have a great beer selection rather than wine.

            http://www.beerbistro.com

            On King, near the Yonge line.

            2 Replies
            1. re: TorontoJo

              I was just about to say the same thing.

            2. mirra, just so you know... i'd say it's more beneficial for you to comment to your own post and bump it back to the top than start another one. your previous one had some more details that you ended up adding about the area you'd prefer to be. and honestly... i'd say 80% of the restaurants mentioned on this board are south of bloor.

              anyhow.. bar volo, is great for beer but i've had a very dull time with the food and absolutely terrible times with the service. if you're into craft beers at all this would be a great place. the owners son (i believe..) is interested in wine as well and has recently put out a wine list with some great choices, but it is very limited although well priced. it's also pretty casual, so i don't think this falls within what you want.

              trevor was ok in my opinion, which may have been hyped up by all the rave reviews. i found the dining room menu to be priced rather high (up to $32) but the bar menu was rather reasonable. the space is great looking, the music can be a bit loud but still amicable for talking and a good wine list. kobe beef burgers were nice (my table of 5 ordered a trio and we ended up getting one each) but i thought the tuna tartare was disgustingly over-mayoed. sorbet dessert was overpiced for the portioning and i suspect came from solferino overhead.

              coca on queen st west has a dining room above that offers mains just into the mid 20s range and i thoroughly enjoyed my dining experience there. unfortunately they've raised their tapas prices and so i'm not sure what has happened on the dining room side. LOVED the truffled quails egg and i hear the wings are great. beware of the upsell though... they sort of barrage you with questions about breads (cocas), dips, meats, etc the second your tush hits a seat. found the food to overall be tasty and well cooked. good wine list although wasn't entirely impressed with the cava. finishing off with the port was a fantastic idea. it might turn a little loungey clubbish upstairs though after a certain hour.

              wish gets good reviews and is in the neighbourhood of bar volo, you may want to give that a search to see what people have said.

              1. Hi Mirra - welcome to Toronto,
                The reason that you didn't get too many responses is that there aren't many places that fit your description. Given the rents, you'll mainly find places that have a fast turnover or relatively higher prices if you can linger.
                I'm not a Superior fan - high prices for what you get and the award-winning wine list award comes automatically if you pay the fee and don't mispell too many of the wines (nobody actually checks that the wines even exist - you just mail in your menu/winelist).
                Haven't tried Bar Volo; and hate the basement location of Trevor - regardless of food quality.
                My suggestion would be Linda's - a Thai restaurant near Yonge and Dundas - their wine list is excellent by Thai standards but I can't really say it's extensive.
                A 10 minute walk from Queen & Yonge is George Restaurant (Queen East) which also easily meets your other criteria.
                Another area is Queen St west of Osgoode station - again several choices. especially Indian restaurants.
                If you are hitting the subway, then, for the same transportation cost, you could equally go to any of the many places between Rosedale and Summerhill (on Yonge) or between Davisville and Eglinton (even several blocks north of Eglinton) - there are dozens of choices there.
                Or, similarly, along the Bloor Danforth line (especially Bloor West Village). Again multiple choices. All of these have lower rents and hence better quality/price ratios.

                1. estufarian -- do you really think George meets the criteria of not-too-expensive mains? I seem to recall spending about $80 - $100/person there on food.

                  1. Last time I was there we had several glasses of wine (equivalent to over a bottle of wine) and the bill for two - all in - was about $175. I've only been to Superior for lunch and it came to $100 for two with less wine - so I'd say comparable to Superior.
                    However, I agree it's at the upper end. So "easily meets" is probably not accurate.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: estufarian

                      Hey wow, I just checked George's menu:

                      http://www.georgeonqueen.com/download...

                      And you're right, there are mains in the range that the OP asked for. I guess we had 4 or 5 courses, which added up pretty quickly!

                      So sorry for questioning you, as I have come to trust your posts over the years!

                      And the wine list at George was spectacular when Kim was the sommelier... I can't imagine that it's changed too much since she left.

                    2. I love Focaccia on Hayden St 1 block South of Bloor off of Yonge...small intimate space..delicious food ...good prices...make a reservation...Miranda

                      1. I second the rec for George. I would also add Habitat on Queen St W - interesting food, great atmosphere and decent prices (depends what you choose of course).

                        1. Having been prompted to read the original posting, I stand by my Superior rec. It isn't a scenester place, granted, but it fits the criteria. 2 Green P's in easy walking distance as well.

                          1. If you like Thai food you could try Linda, the more upscale sister restaurant to the Salad King: http://www.toronto.com/restaurants/li... There's also Beer Bistro just east of Yonge at King: http://www.toronto.com/restaurants/li... I've never been myself but friends who work in the area have given it good reviews. There's also the new(er) Keg at York - the food is the same as every other Keg but the decor is much more modern and it's typically very busy. The bar is pretty loud but the restaurant area would be quieter.