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North of Lawrence restaurants

There are so many restaurants on Yonge north of Lawrence to Steeles. Any choices that are better than the rest??

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  1. For good Italina food try Paese on Bathurst St. I have had the calamari, pasta and risotto, all of which have been first class.

    1. At one time or another, I've been in just about every joint on Yonge between Lawrence on the south and the City Limits on the north. Most of them seem to be Italian, but the one that's consistently good above all the others is, in my view, Coppi. It's a touch more expensive than the others, but well worth it. And almost diagonally across the street from Coppi is another good one, called Sequel. Its menu is somewhat narrow, and its wines rather pricey - it would be nice if it offered bottles closer to $30 - but it does most everything well. Very imaginative.
      North of the City Limits, there's Auberge du Pommier, just off Yonge north of York Mills, which is a celebration kind of restaurant, but you're prepared to pop $l50-$200 a couple, you'll enjoy it. On Yonge north of York Mills to Steeles, there's not much - other than Auberge du Pommier - at the major-league level, but if you're game for ethnic food (at a much lower price), you'll find what seems like thousands of Korean restaurants, of which my favorite, at the moment, is Buk Chang Dong, a couple of blocks south of Finch (though its menu is very, very narrow). Just about every dish offered is $8, tax included, so you can't beat the price - and each dish is a meal in itself. Also casual, and enjoyable, is the modestly-priced Japanese ramen joint called Kenzo. In a small strip mall on Yonge one or two lights south of Steeles.Go if all you're looking for is an interesting and substantial noodle soup, though it does a few other things as well. For Chinese, I like Asian Legend, on Yonge just north of Empress.
      The previously-suggested Paese is also a favorite of mine. Not quite at the Coppi level, but still very, very good. A good, fairly-priced wine list as well, though you can bring your own without paying corkage. But then, Paese is on Bathurst St., not Yonge St. as you requested.

      3 Replies
      1. re: juno

        What do you recommend at Buk Chang Dong?

        1. re: phoenikia

          To Phoenikia:
          There are only seven or eight items on the menu at Buk Chang Dong, almost all of them stew-type dishes at $8 (tax included). The only difference between those dishes - which are somewhere between a stew and a soup - are the toppings. I prefer the veggie stew, but the others are also worthy. With the dish you order, you get rice, tea, a raw egg - which you're supposed to dump into the boiling stew, thereby cooking it almost instantly - and four assorted Korean-style salads. Very substantial, especially on a cold night. The Yonge St. Buk Chang Dong is a new branch of the original on Bloor St. W., near Christie, which I regard as one of the best Korean joints in that strip between Bathurst and Christie. The two spots are almost exactly the same. And they've both very busy, being wildly popular with local Korean fressers.

          1. re: juno

            Thanks, Juno! I look forward to trying Buk Chang Dong sometime soon. Will pribably start with the veggie stew.

      2. Asian Legen is terrible. Really bad and the worst service you can imagine.

        That streth that you mention has very little. Cuine of India used to be great but is going downhill rapidly. Chez Laurent is pleasant but not extraordinary. China Grill is OK. Amazing that there isn't a really good Chinese restaurant in that area. Then there's ah, I guess there aren't any others. (I've not yet been to Memphis BBQ or Bombay Bhel. Auberge Du Pommier isn't worth the money.)

        On the other hand, there are many to avoid like the plague in addition to Asian Legend: Agra, Tandori House, Mezza Notte (the noise is deafening), Mango Thai, Purple Rice (double yuk), Ichi Ban in North York Centre (the one on Sping Garden is good), Lokshen Alfredo, to name a few.

        12 Replies
        1. re: wordsworth

          To Wordsworth:
          I'm surprised that you've had bad experiences at Asian Legend. I go there regularly and only once have I had less than stellar service (a new waiter, apparently). And I find the food very good, though it helps - as at most ethnic joints - to know what to order, some dishes being much superior to others. I guess I'm lucky that I've never picked a dud of a dish. The hot and soup soup is tasty, as are most of the appetizers and bean curd dishes.
          As for the other places on (or just off) Yonge that you've mentioned, I agree that the Ichiban on Spring Garden Rd. is superior to the fancier, similarly-named place on Yonge at Empress. China Grill, however, no longer exists. Its space has been taken by Buk Chang Dong, an attractively-priced Korean spot that I recommended in my previous post.
          As for Auberge du Pommier not being worth the price, well, perhaps it doesn't offer true value. But then, most celebration-type places rarely do. But if you're prepared to pay the pop, the food is very well executed, the service professional and the setting delightful. It's just a matter of whether you think dinner for two is worth $200. To me, it only rarely - but sometimes - is, and then Auberge is a good choice if you happen to live in the area. If I lived downtown, I'd try for Boba or Splendido for the big splurge.
          I don't know most of the others you mentioned. As you say, Cuisine of India is long past its prime, and I gave up on it years ago. There are much better Indian places near Yonge and Eglinton, and another good one at Yonge and Clark (north of Steeles).

          1. re: juno

            Yes, Indian Kitchen at Yonge and Clark is excellent. Just had takeout from there Friday night. It was delicious.

            1. re: juno

              The place at Clark is Indian Kitchen. It is sort of Cuisine of India North, since it was opened by staff from Cuisine of India after some kind of squabble. I find it so-so at best and no where near as good as Cuisine of India, despite the decline.

              I hadn't noticed the demise of China Grill. I gave up on the place because like many Yonge Street restaurants, it has no parking. Too bad it morphed into the 1000th Korean place in the area. I don't like Koerean food much (except for the dear departed Dr. Kim - a major loss to the area) and wouldn't go to these places since anyway their all-Korean signs makes it seem like they don't want nonKoreans to eat there.

              You comments on Auberge are probably correct. I've never had a meal anywhere that I thought was worth $200. Once you get past the budget level, I've never found that there is not a high correlation between price and the taste of food at restaurants. Most of what you pay the big money for is decor and if you are luck, service. And exhorbitant prices for drinks. I'm sure there must be exceptions, but I haven't found any.

              1. re: wordsworth

                I used to think Cuisine of India was better than Indian Kitchen until I had take-out from Indian Kitchen on Friday. It surpassed my last visit to Cuisine of India.

              2. re: juno

                One place that forgot to mention is Patough up near Steeles. Kind of a bizarre Iranian place but enjoyable. I've also had mixed luck at Tuyen. Lunch was excellent but dinner was so-so. Unfortunately, their staff has a habit of bringing you dishes that you didn't order.

                What can I say about Asian Legend. The food is so-so and the service among the worst I've ever experience. I would probably help if the greeter would put down her cellphone and quit talking to her friends once in a while and actually acknowledge the presence of customers. There is simply no reason to there with Peking Man down Sheppard. If you order the right dishes there, it's a very good place.

              3. re: wordsworth

                I'm so surprised that you have had those experiences Wordsworth, because many of those restaurants you've mentioned I've found stellar.Asian Legends has AWESOME food, once in a while their service is questionable, but I've never had "the worst service you can imagine" there.
                China Grill closed down a while ago and is now a Korean restaurant, not sure of the name. Bombay Bhel, I went to and the food was very good. It's a bit pricey and you can get cheaper indian, but it's family run, just like Taste of Spain used to be in its place. Agra, we found was actually quite good, but fairly empty when we went, the food was not the best Indian I've had, but not bad, Mezza Notte is one of our favourites to go to for Italian in the area, they treat you like gold there and the food is quite good....it can be loud because the tables are quite close, but I would recommend it to anyone. It's actually THAI MANGO, not Mango Thai, and it used to be awesome, but their quality has dropped drastically. Purple Rice was okay, nothing to shout about, but their pineapple fried rice is really good and served in half a pineapple when you eat there which is always fun! Lokshen Alfredo I always wanted to go to, but I think that has closed down as well....

                There are quite a few new ones in teh area, there's a new Vietnamese one, Happy Wonton (that doesn't have a big menu but is awesome for a snack or a fast lunch) and I think a Japanese Noodle Place I haven't been to yet.

                However, unless you're a Baton Rouge fan, there's not much for Bistro food except maybe Milestones....(I prefer the latter to the former personally), the Boston Pizza that just opened was the worst BP I've ever been to...it was dirty, everyone in there was rude adn the food was cold...I didn't get my drinks until the appetizers were finished..and we had to beg them to pay attention to us!
                There's also a small Sushi place just south of Finch called Sapporo Sushi - it's simple and small, but some of the best sushi I've had in the city. North of Finch in the plaza with food basics there's a new place called Congee something that's excellent for cheap chinese food.....the difference is Asian Legend is northern chinese, and this one is more southern style and possibly more what you're used to maybe?

                Hope it was helpful!

                1. re: BuggySer

                  How can Bombay Bhel be family run when it is a chain?

                  1. re: wordsworth

                    Bombay Bhel at the location I specified seems be be family run..maybe franchise? It was comfortable like a family run place anyways. I usually like BP, but I have had bad experiences there....I guess Milestones is Bistro...

                    1. re: BuggySer

                      It is a chain. There are 5-6. Anyway, who cares if its familiy run? As far as I can tell there is no correlation between family run and good food.

                      1. re: wordsworth

                        Doesn't really matter I just like family run restaurants because they are a bit friendlier most of the time...

                        1. re: BuggySer

                          I finally tried Bombay Bhel. It was friendly. Too bad the food was below average, except the the tandoori which was just plain terrible.

                  2. re: BuggySer

                    Boston Pizza is always bad, regardless of the location. And Milestone's might be ok for a chain, nothing special, but I would classify it as bistro food.

                2. I agree with the Indian Kitchen recommendations, to me it is the best Indian in the city. The owner and much of the staff used to work at Cuisine of India.

                  Also on Yonge just North of Lawrence is Sapori Trattoria, which I think is a wonderful restaurant.

                  1. I've had a couple of fantatic meals at Lokshen Alfredo (Yonge, just a couple of blocks South of Finch on the West side). Family owned Italian with everything made in house. The tiramisu is awesome!

                    1. The place I keep going back to is Shanghai Xue Yuan at Yonge and Doncaster (one block south of Clark). Consistently very good Shanghainese food.

                      Anoush (the plaza just south of the Popeye's near Yonge and Steeles) makes a great shawarma, the spit roasting beautifully right beside ya as you step in the door. Their koobideh is good as well. Very low-key place though. There's a Korean walnut cake place right across the street (haven't tried it yet). For high-end Persian check out "North" on Steeles just west of Yonge in the Schnitzel House plaza.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Chester Eleganté

                        Is Shanghai Xue Yuan in the Hy & Zel's plaza?

                        1. re: pescatarian

                          naw it's in the Red Lobster plaza, next to Ajuker Fried Chicken. i can list some of the better dishes if you like.

                          1. re: Chester Eleganté

                            Would you mind listing some of the better dishes, Chester? I had lunch at Shanghai Xue Yuan a couple of weeks ago, and was underwhelmed. I ordered shrimp dumplings, which turned out to be pork. Upon questioning, the server replied that they are shrimp AND pork. Perhaps the shrimp was chopped into tiny pieces and mixed in tiny amounts into the pork, but these were definitely pork dumplings.

                            I also had a pork dish (I can't remember the name) which was supposed to be spicy. Alas, it was overwhelmingly sweet with a little heat.

                            1. re: FlavoursGal

                              Sure..I'll look over the menu later on and list a few. You know though, they're not big on the spicy stuff, so if you prefer more of the Szechuan fire, it might not be really your thing. I like it as a comforting, solid mid-week kind of chow place.

                              1. re: Chester Eleganté

                                FG - sorry for the delay. Just picked up a menu. I should preface by saying that it is far more enjoyable to eat here with a fair-sized group, as it's all about continually sampling from different dishes. For some reason I eat forever and never seem to get full when I eat here, so I like that. Perhaps we should do one of our group dinners here? Okay, some of the better stuff:

                                Cold dishes (Shredded chicken w/peanut sauce, jelly fish, vegetarian goose, etc.) are pretty solid but don't look like good value.
                                42. Fresh & salted pork w/ bamboo shoots casserole $12.99 - it's a pot of broth..quite delicious and a good starter.
                                45. Pan fried crystal shrimps $11.99
                                68. Fried Duck $9.50 (half). There should be a couple other duck preparations that are better, though they're not always on the menu. Tea-smoked duck and Sauced-duck?
                                75. Braised Pork w/preserved dry veg $8.50 - this is the really fatty pork that's braised in the sweet soy sauce. Mui choy kul yuk.
                                77. Pork Rump w/ green veg $13.50
                                78. Braised minced pork balls (Lion's head) $8.50 - excellent
                                For chinese veg, "dul miu" is really good if they have it. There are some other ones I don't know the translation of.
                                111. Pan fried egg with shrimp on broccoli $8.50 - one of my favourite dishes, though Golden Court makes it better (plus they add crab meat to the fluffy egg whites).
                                157. Soup noodle with braised beef - I prefer ordering this beef by itself on veg w/o the soup (flavours don't get diluted). They make this really well.
                                175. xiao loong bau recommended as well... i just personally stray from the dim sum right now, choosing dishes instead.
                                Dessert - 208 - Fried red bean paste ball & banana roll. - delicious! wonderfully hot and light puffs with the paste and banana filling, topped with a healthy dose of sugar. Good times.

                                Anyway, there are a lot more, some of them just on the Chinese menu.. but I don't do all the ordering so I can't really say. Hope that helps.

                                Oh yeah, I really enjoy Thai Bistro as well. And the dude that works there is a real jokester.

                                1. re: Chester Eleganté

                                  Gotta try their crystal shrimps next time I'm there, isn't that a signature dish in Shanghai?

                                  1. re: Royaljelly

                                    Hmm...I haven't been there yet, but I hear the Shanghai Uncle is the place to try it :)

                        1. re: murphcansurf

                          I went to Tuyen last year. I can't remember exactly what we had, but the only thing that was memorable to me was a house special spicy fish (I can't remember what it was called exactly), but it was very good. I remember the service being very nice too.

                        2. Our favorites:

                          Thai Bistro - I swear it's a mother and son team working there. The mom does the cooking. Very authentic stuff, as good as the stuff I had in Thailand. The place is tiny though, and they always take lots of holidays. Awesome red curry (just spicy enough that I can handle it without losing my taste buds)

                          Han Il Kwan - in a strip mall on steeles, just across the st. from Cdn Tire. Very clean place, quality fresh ingredients and good selection of kim chi dishes too. I always have their Kal Bi (ribs), or dolsot bi bim bap. Their grilled fish can get a little bit too "charred" sometimes.

                          Shanghai Xue Yuan - agree w/ Chester E... just went there last night, had the best tasting lions head hot pot ever... as good as the one I had at this fancy restaurant in Shanghai called "Shanghai Uncle". Also tried their seasoned duck, which was not too dry but not smokey enough for me. Their pan fried buns are a bit underwhelming... you can ask them to fry it a bit longer to get that nice crunchy skin on the bottom. Food is as good as some of the other quality shanghainese restaurants in Scarborough.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Royaljelly

                            I could not have said it better for Thai Bistro. BUT make sure you call because they do close often enough to make it a 'game of chance' sometimes

                          2. My favourite restaurant in the city is Richlee's, which is located at 1959 Avenue Rd(south of Wilson). Small spot, nothing fancy, but the best food/value you can find. Lobster bisque is the best in the world ( I have tried it in hundreds of restaurants!!!) Also, Mediterranian seafood casseroule is loaded with lobster, clams, shrimp etc. If you love sweetbreads, do not leave without them!!!


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: cliff_loves_food

                              My two favourites in this area are:
                              Chase Wine Bar: excellent italian food
                              Wildfire restaurant: expensive but the steak is the best in the city!!