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Suggestions for a Visitor

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Hi everyone,

Visiting Toronto and looking for a good place to eat...so I need a few suggestions. Depending on if a couple of kids will be coming as well, it'll be at a different restaurant. I'm looking for any good food places in the GTA....higher-end restaurants as well as good value restaurants. I'm currently looking at Rain (because I really haven't tried any restaurants before like Rain)...Oh yes...and I have a budget (still a student).

So here are my questions:
1) Does anyone know the price of the tasting menu at Rain? I've googled it to hell and can't find anything on it.

2) What are some recommendations for some higher-end places? Any cuisine is fine. I'm looking for a maximum budget of 130 CAD per person AFTER gratuity and taxes, excluding wine.

3) What are some "good value" places? The ones that aren't all that expensive and are cheap (relative to the quality)...the real gems in the city. Again, any cuisine is fine, and with a budget of about 25-40 per person BEFORE gratuity and taxes, excluding wine.

Thanks! Looking forward to your responses...

Edit: P.S. The prices here are quite insane compared to the ones in Vancouver...

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  1. As a fellow student, I can only speak to your third question... I had a very excellent meal (it was some time ago) at Boulevard Cafe on Harbord between Bathurst and Spadina. It gets mentioned on here once in a while; Peruvian type food with a very mellow atmosphere. The food, as I recall, is "high-end" style, but comes in at the upper end of your value range (and would probably go over if you had dessert).

    Another place I enjoyed after seeing it recommended a million times on CH was Focaccia on Hayden St. Again, just squeaks into #3. http://focacciarestaurant.com/menus_d...

    If it were me, I'd go to Ethiopia House (but I've never had $130 to spend on dinner before) - way on the low end of your price range, and a cool little place.

    1. My current likes:
      Mistura on Avenue at Davenport for the higher end.
      The Baldwin Street restaurants provide lots of range and is right by the Art Gallery of Ontario.
      Boulevard Cafe for Peruvian on Harbord St is probably $40 per person and was one of my most delicious dinners last year. Highly recommend.
      Always have loved Swatow on Spadina in Chinatown for Chinese. Very reasonable.
      Embrujo Flamenco has amazing tapas and flamenco dancers on Fridays and Saturdays. It's at Danforth and Broadview. Danforth is also filled with Greek places if you're hankering for grilled meat.

      1. Boulevard Cafe definitely looks interesting and is a good pick for me to there if we decide to go the cheaper route. I've looked at the menu, and I think it'll top out at 40/person, doesn't look as expensive as you've stated.

        Please keep the suggestions coming!

        1. For good value, I'd head for the Rosebud. Fast becoming a local favourite for great food at remarkably reasonable prices (warm, friendly service to boot -- nice wine list, ask about bottles that aren't on their regular list). Think high-end comfort food -- venison ravioli in a sour cherry sauce, braised short ribs, etc. Small place, so reservations are a good idea.

          We just had a chowmeet at Seoul City. A "fusion" restaurant inspired by the flavours of Korean cooking. The general consensus was good, sometimes really good, with a few misses. Hits: kimchi crab cakes, mandu, braised short rib on crispy rice patty, miso black cod. Misses: oxtail ravioli. The ambiance is quite lovely and the soju cocktails are tasty. Price point is quite reasonable -- most of had an app, main and a cocktail for between $35 and $40. http://www.seoulcityrestaurant.com/

          For your higher end options, there are many, many threads discussing the "best" in the city. Commonly cited are Splendido, Susur and Perigee, but all will be a bit over your price criterion. Good choices meeting your price point are George, Scaramouche and Chiado.

          I really enjoy Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar for a good "Toronto" experience. But I'm not sure that it fits into any of your categories. It's neither high end, nor "good value". But it's not terribly expensive and it's a nice evening of small dishes with local ingredients and an excellent by-the-glass wine list.

          There are some great sushi recs, but I don't think it's a good idea for you to go that direction, given that you're coming from Vancouver. :)

          3 Replies
          1. re: TorontoJo

            Thanks for the suggestions...is there a menu somewhere I can access for the Rosebud? I can't seem to find a website for them.

            And as your higher-end restaurants, you're right - the ones you mentioned aren't just "a bit" over my price criterion, that's why I've been asking for suggestions for my price point. I've looked at a lot of restaurants from the Toronto Life guide, and a couple that I might consider is Senses and Via Allegro...does anyone have any opinions on those?

            1. re: Vancouverite

              Unfortunately, the Rosebud does not currently have a functioning web site. If you call them during a slow period (maybe mid afternoon?), they might give you a quick run down of the menu. (416) 703-8810.

              Re: Via Allegro. I've personally never seen the appeal. I think the vastness of the restaurant turns me off. And I find the mix of casual pizzas and pastas mixed with high-end fare odd. The wine list is spectacular, though. Just to note that it is also well outside of the city core (located in a strip mall across from a large shopping centre) and requires a car to get to.

              Can't speak to Senses. But I think you would enjoy George -- fine dining, good service, excellent wine list, and you could definitely hit your price point ordering 3 courses a la carte, rather than their 5 course tasting menu.

              Speaking of Senses -- Claudio Aprile recently opened his new restaurant "Colborne Lane", which is receiving rave reviews so far. I don't know the pricing, though, so maybe someone who's been there could help out. Edited to add: this posting indicates $250 for two, including wine and tip: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/37448...

              Another possibility for your good value category is beerbistro (NOT biermarkt!).

              1. re: TorontoJo

                Thanks TorontoJo,

                I'm really looking into Colborne Lane now, did some research myself, and I might just have to go there. Hopefully we'll be able to visit a couple of restaurants suggested on this thread, but it will really be time-permitting!

          2. Rain in all its menu choices would be over $130.

            1. For option #2, I'd like to suggest Starfish. Great place and great food. Sit at the bar seems to be the way to go. We did based on suggestions and had a great time.
              Also, great selection of Canadian shell fish (Oysters/mussels/clams) so it would be a nice chance for you to sample some of our best stuff.

              DT