North of Lawrence restaurants
There are so many restaurants on Yonge north of Lawrence to Steeles. Any choices that are better than the rest??
For good Italina food try Paese on Bathurst St. I have had the calamari, pasta and risotto, all of which have been first class.
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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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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!
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.