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Mar 7, 2007 02:51 PM

Do-not-miss dining: Toronto

I will be visiting Toronto from New York City in late April for a conference and am looking for your do-not-miss recommendations for dinner and lunch. We'll be at the Sheraton but are willing to travel as long as the food is absolutely delectable! We're looking for a range of prices and cuisines so please don't censure your thoughts.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Here are a few I think are great.:
    - Lai Toh Heen (at the Metropolitan hotel) has the best dim sum -

    - Sushi Kaji - if you like Japanese its the place to go.

    - Susur - this is pricey but the tasting menu is amazing. Will need to book way ahead of time...if you cant get in you could try Lee - its next door...not comparable but interesting

    - The Real Jerk - best Jamaican food Ive had

    3 Replies
    1. re: avec9

      It's "Lee Wah Heen" at the Metropolitan Hotel on Chestnut St., but you are correct that they have the best Dim Sum downtown. It's all high-end Hong Kong style, shrimp based as opposed to pork based, it inventive and yummy.
      Susur is a trip. The tasting menu is the way to go. I also had a lot of fun and good food next door at Lees.

      Don't eat Sushi in Toronto. They just don't get it right. Save that for a visit to Vancouver and go to Tojos or drive to Whistler and try Sushi Village. They are the best there is.
      I agree that you must go for Toronto's strengths. Portuguese comes to mind, but I usually do the small funky places. Grilled sardines, roast suckling pig, Caldo Verde have to be tried. Chiado might be it.
      Also one lunch must be at California Sandwich, 244 Claremont. Veal done right, spicy olives, sausages and brio chinotto are about all they offer and all you need to try for a memorable experience.
      Da Cook

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. The only place in the city out of all the places I've eaten that I would consider "do not miss" would be MataHari Grill, which serves outstanding Malaysian food:

        3 Replies
        1. re: vorpal

          To say that Matahari Grill is the only 'do not miss' place in Toronto is overstating it, and not just by a little. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with Matahari Grill (good upscale Malaysian cooking), but to put it over places like Susur, Lai Wah Heen, Senses and Splendido and a bunch of others do them a huge injustice.

          1. re: Bordeaux Girl

            It's the only place of the places that I've personally eaten; the restaurants you mention are completely out of my price range as a grad student, and of what I can afford, MataHari is leagues above anything else. I'm sure you're right in that the places you suggest are better... I only wish I had the money to be able to confirm that myself ;-).

            1. re: vorpal

              Vorpal, your point is well taken. Like many people, I only go to those places on special occasions myself, followed by a period of austerity!

        2. Since you are coming from one of the best restaurant cities in the world, there will not be a lot that you can find in Toronto that you can't find in NYC. Having said that, there are some wonderful dining experiences to be had in TO.

          1. High-end Portuguese. Chiado is probably the best Portuguese restaurant in North America. The specialty is incredibly fresh seafood flown in daily from the Atlantic, but I strongly recommend also asking for the bar menu, which has lots of wonderful Portuguese nibbles (including a wonderful blood sausage made in house). If you've never had fresh sardines, this is the place to try them. You will see references on this board to Senhor Antonio's Wine Bar. This is theoretically the sister restaurant to Chiado, but in reality they share the same space and you can ask for both menus.

          2. Caribbean. My favourites are roti and Trini doubles. Lots of discussion on both topics on this board. My favourite roti are from Gandhi.

          3. Perigee. My favourite fine-dining restaurant in the city (with Splendido running a very, very close second). Dinner as theatre -- you sit next to the sunken kitchen and get to watch and interact with the chefs as they prepare your dinner. Chef Riley comes to your table to explain each course. Chef's menu only, 5, 6 or 7 courses. Located in the beautiful Distillery District.

          Lots more possibilities that I'll let others supply. Enjoy your trip and please report back!

          1 Reply
          1. re: TorontoJo

            Yo Torontojo
            I miss Caribbean food so much, it just sucks out here (Whistler). I make it my self mostly.
            My favourite spot (14 years ago) was Bacchus Roti on Queen West. Old Granny Bacchus made every thing from scratch and when she died, her son & daughter in-law followed her recipes exactly. They were one of the 1st to make boneless goat curry for the rotis, so the cab drivers could eat it while driving. Every roti item had it's own unique flavour - goat, chicken, beef, lamb, potatoes, green beans, eggplant, chickpeas, spinach - the roti parathas were always cooked to order, with the crumbly yellow peas in the middle, the doubles were always cheap and filling and the Pineapple tarts were good enough to dream about.
            Damm, I gotta find a place like this soon or I'm gonna spend a month making it all my self.
            Da Cook

          2. I have never been to perigee, but Splendido does it right. Wow what a great restaurant, it get's my vote for best dinning experience in Torontol

            Susur is also a great restaurant, and maybe his food is something that is a little out of the ordinary (and fantastic) and so worth a visit- but beware as service can be very average. I would not recomend it on any Saturday night. You probably don't need to book more than a day in advance. The tasting menu's are amazing, but not for everyone. Don't be afraid to order a-la-carte.