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Valentine's Dinner: Student budget, veggie-friendly.

Hey folks -

I'm looking for a valentine-appropriate place to take a vegetarian. Doesn't need to be veggie-only, but somewhere that a vegetarian can get something other than a boring pasta or stir-fry.

Being a student, I'd like to get out for not much more than $100 between the two of us. We don't need any more than a demi of decent house wine.

Somewhere in the general downtown area would be good.

Thanks so much hounds. I will report back.

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  1. When I was a vegetarian, I always had the most success at ethnic restaurants - indian, thai, etc. I think I neat option for a date would be a place like Ethiopian House at Bloor and Yonge. It's a unique experience since you eat the food with your hands (using the bread that it's served on. You can eat well there veggie on not.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pescatarian

      We love Ethiopia House - been there probably a dozen times in the last five years. Wouldn't mind trying something new. Any other recs?

    2. what about roasted veggies like onion, carrot, zucchini, etc served in a well of couscous
      Desert...do some filo dough w cinnamon, butter, toasted almond slivers, sugar or search for bastilla (sp?)


      homemade three cheese ravioli (not hard to make) served in a nice brown butter and sage sauce. I make this all of the time and we've probably had it more valentine's dinners than any other dish. We usually do it as a first course before a meat, but it makes a great stand alone.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chrisinroch

        Sounds great (guess what I'm making tomorrow). I'm hoping to find a resto since I'll be rolling in from out of town a little last minute to make anything myself.

      2. sorry, i was thinking that you would make it. Didnt read carefully good luck

        1. I know what you mean about the boring Pasta element to veggie friendly. Have you considered doing something like C'est What on Front street? Very rustic with a fire place and local brew and wine. Also on College there is Utopia, however the place is a bit small but they do a great pommegranite dip and it's all burritos but with unique options. I feel like it's intimate. And at Utopia you can head to the Orbit room after for live Jazz or go and get dessert at a cafe afterwards.

          1. Personally, I wouldn't call C'est What "rustic". It's a pub. Not bad food for a pub, but I wouldn't recommend it for Valentine's Day.
            Have you been to San on Queen West? I haven't been, almost did, but our party was too big for the space. It is supposed to have very good Korean food.
            I think the Queen Mother could work also.
            Lemongrass on Bayview, north of Eglinton is nice Thai food.
            You might want to check out the menu at Kultura. I think it is a good option, food wise, but not sure if it would be in your budget.
            For Indian, I'm sure that there are other CH'ers who will have recs downtown, but I do like Cuisine of India at Yonge and Sheppard.
            Boujadi, at Bathurst and Eglinton, which is Morroccan, would have lots of vegetarian options.

            4 Replies
            1. re: pescatarian

              pesca (can I call you pesca?)...I agree, I would never recommend C'est What for v-day. In fact, i'd go one step further than you and say I've never had good food there at all.

              1. re: nummanumma

                Of course you can call me pesca :) the funny thing is that the handle isn't exactly appropriate anymore (since I now eat meat as well), but in truth I'd say I eat more fish than meat in general.

                I can't remember having good food at C'est What really either, unless you count a post-bar order of fries which seemed decent at the time.

                1. re: pescatarian

                  I think c'est what is decent pub food - not as good as Allen's, but definitely more interesting than the Firkin family of pubs.

                  Still, if my date took me there for VD, it would not be pretty.

                  1. re: Rabbit

                    yes rabbit, good point, if we are comparing to Firkin, then by all means- :)

            2. It's easy to eat vegetarian and not compromise flavour with thai food at Golden Thai or Pi-Tom - and easy to get out for under $100 for two

              I often eat vegetarian just because some of my favourite dishes are the C't Mang pizza (pear, gorgonzola, honey) and the buffalo mozzerella salad at Terroni

              1. It just opened, but Sadie's Diner on Adelaide at Portland is offering a 3-course meal on Valentine's Day only for $26 each. Not sure if they have wine, though. The mains are either vegan veg and tofu curry with basmati, almonds, sultanas and green beans, or sweet potato, shiitake and stilton ravioli with a vanilla carrot cream emulsion and sugar snaps. Quite a mouthful! 416-777-2343. I've only eaten their veg samosas and a juice so far, so it would be a chowhound trailblazing move on your part to take the risk!

                For vegetarian, my favourites in Toronto are Live Raw Bar and Fressen. Fressen might be a tad more romantic, but I like the food at Live much better.

                1. Thanks for all the recs so far.
                  I called Fressen before posting, but they were full up except for the bar. I'm guessing that's not really appropriate for a "romantic" type dinner? I haven't been, so I can't say.

                  Even if we don't do it Valentine's Day, we will certainly check out a few of these places.

                  Any last suggestions before I book something?

                  1. Jean's vegetarian Thai kitchen is not downtown, but it is on the subway. The interior is nice in a plain kind of way. Maybe not exactly romantic, but if s/he's all about the food this might be a good option.


                      1. how about southern accent, on markham st?

                        it's a romantic little spot and you can get a prix fixe 3 course meal for $25.

                        1. For some good V-day karma, I'd go to Little Tibet on Queen West. I've only done lunch there-- not diner, but I love there vege momos. I was a vegetarian until I met my truly carnivore husband, and I love Little Tibet, not because it is the scene or trendy, but because it feels right and I always love their food. And for the carnivore, they have a great lamb curry. I'm pretty sure it is not a "hot" Valentines destination, so you probably won't be crowded out, or sold roses at exorbitant prices. They have some decent wines, and the staff and owners are always incredibly gracious.
                          I may be off base, but that would be my choice based on your post.

                          1. I would really recommend River on Roncesvalles: http://www.river413.ca/
                            They have a lot of vegetarian apps, pasta and a veg main. The back room is very romantic with comfy banquettes (sitting side by side) and it is all very reasonably priced. It's one of my favourite places.

                            1. This might sound a bit lame or cliche, but honestly, when I was student - half the fun was making a meal myself or with my boyfriend - once we went crazy and made a thai chicken and shrimp pizza, once we made a completely vegetarian and like, 5-cheese pizza - we bought a few bottles of wine that we always wanted to try and had not - got stuff to make hot fudge sundaes, etc. As a student, I don't remember having $100 to blow- but $100 could make you a very cozy, happy meal time right where you are (even with the Salvation army furniture, etc). Good luck

                              1. Thanks so much everyone for the recs. A few were full or not going to work that night for various reasons. I finally decided to make this one myself and save up these ideas for a less pressing time. I will report back on each.
                                (Because I'm thinking about it, the menu: veggie skewers and falafel; chickpea and prune couscous; marinated stuffed portabellos; french lentils with tomatoe and dill; chocolate ravioli with chocolate sauce. Santa Rita's reserva series wines.)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: markdsgraham

                                  lucky valentine...
                                  chocolate ravioli

                                  (are you reading this, Mr. Rab-bit!??)