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Sisters Birthday Dinner?

My little sister is turning 17 this april and wants to go somewhere "fancy" for her birthday dinner. We went to the Globe for my birthday and she says she would like something 'like that' but not the Globe. So, same kind of price range woudl be good (mid 20s for most mains).. Nothing too exotic, and shes not interested in it being mainly seafood, or asian cuisine. So basically, I need a place that has good food, not too expensive, a not too exotic but varied menu, and an impressive atmosphere that will make her feel like she's in a "fine dining" restaurant. Any ideas guys?

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  1. george on queen?

    it has the nice cache that it's part of verity and rests within their walls but it's not trendy. i found the decor at globe to be rather lacking for the reported cost and that many of the finishing details were cheap and/or badly done. george has the benefit of not trying to be so modern that their decor is a good contemporary romantic fine dining.

    i personally wasn't amazed by the gnocchi i had that was raved about when they first opened, but really enjoyed the rest of my food. we went for a friend's birthday a year or so ago and several of them got the tasting menu. only two different menus were offered and foie gras was the star of many dishes. i think we nearly all died of fatty richness as it was too much for some of my companions that they passed a couple components onto me. service was fantastic btw, and they paced the non tasting menu courses very well with the tasting menu courses so that we were all eating at the same time.

    1. George ?? Yes it is good but it is not a restaurant with main course in the mid 20s range. I spent $200 last time I visit George.

      I recommend Sequel on Yonge, food and decor are both nice.
      Their website is : www.sequel.ca
      Decor is a more on the modern side and cozy.

      The other choice is corner house. Their food is also very good, atmostphere is more on the romantic side.

      2 Replies
      1. re: skylineR33

        i was able to get away with a reasonable bill and be quite satisfied. wine is a whole other subject and i could see that helping your costly bill.

        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          Two of us, each order 3 dishes and one dessert (which is what the server suggest) and 2 glasses of wine which is around $15, it comes to $200. It is reasonable pricing to eat there.

      2. Go to Trevor -- nice atmosphere (though, of course, subterranean chic, nothing like the high ceilings at Globe), and brilliant food with mains in the mid-20s range. The service has been getting better, and the food is great.

        1. Bar Mercurio on Bloor at St. George. I love the look and feel of this place. And their thin crust pizzas are great. Of course pizza is not the only thing on the menu. Also, you could try Batifole on Gerrard east of Broadview, but the neighborhood might giver you sister a pause. Neither of these places are pretencious, but they have great food and the prices should be in your range. They also both have that bistro feel...if that works for you little sis.

          5 Replies
          1. re: dinin and dishin

            I have to say that the last time I was at Bar Mercurio, it was awful. The food was mediocre and the service was possibly the worst that I have ever experienced. We had made reservation, but still had to wait to be seated. We got jammed into a little corner and had to wait ages to get any service. The timing of the service did not get any better during our meal. About 1/2way though our meal, they removed all the tables in the back half of the room, and a party of probably 60 people stood around, drinking and eating appetizers and were VERY noisy. It really made our dining experience awful. When I spoke to the servers about this, they basically shrugged. Our salads were missing many ingredients listed in the menu....
            I would not recommend this place at all.

            1. re: mightycheesehead

              I am so sorry to hear that. So far we've had good luck there. But that sounds dreadful. I hope it was just a bad night and not indicative of a downhill slide.

              1. re: mightycheesehead

                I have to agree with your assessment of Bar Mercurio - just posted a review:


                For the OP, might I suggest Quince at Y&E? I have only been once, but I enjoyed it a lot more than my meal at Globe. The food was tastier, the service was warmer and friendlier, and the price point quite similar.

                  1. re: nummanumma

                    Third for Quince... The food and service were MILES above what I experienced at Trevor...

            2. What about a last-go at Mildred Pierce before it closes?

              4 Replies
                  1. re: estragon

                    Mildred Pierce is closing at the end of July, re-opening a new space in the fall...run don't walk to get your last fix!!

                  2. re: Rabbit

                    Mildred Pierce would be my suggestion as well. It's such a beautiful space, in such a strange location, that your little sister will feel like she is someplace special.

                  3. I have always wanted to go to George, but theres going to be five of us and thats going to be a really expensive bill, so I'll save that one for a smaller group.. I forgot about Trevor, that actually might be a good option. I had suggested Batifole originally but I think she is a bit freaked out by the neighbourhood and I dont want her to prejudge the restaurant before tasting the food. Thanks for all the suggestions guys, I'm going to show her all the menus for those places you've suggested and I'll let you know where we go. Thanks again!

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: hungryabbey

                      as a note about trevor...

                      i wasn't terribly impressed with the dining room section. we were able to nab the "kitchen table" without having to do a tasting menu but were neglected by the staff for the most part... even though they were passing in front of us constantly. the one exceptional moment in service was that one of us ordered the trio of kobe burgers (5 were dining) but we each received one. food was well conceived but badly executed. tuna tartare was more mayo and rice than fish, i think the crispy rice was actually three fold in amount compared to the protein... the protein also being hidden in gobs of mayo. tempura shrimp wasn't right at all.. breaded rather than battered and flavours that i could get from new ho king. the foie gras accompaniament to my venison was ill textured and lacking in portion... gnocchi dense and worse than what i can do at home. i do not profess to cooking good gnocchi. the kobe burgers were fantastic albeit simple.

                      if i do go again, i'll go for bar menu only... it seems to be the foundation of their success.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        Yah, i just took a look at the restaurant menu, and i think the bar menu sounds much more what my sister woudl like, so maybe not such a good idea.

                        1. re: hungryabbey

                          service was atrocious when we were there- that'd be esp. horrible with the family in tow.

                          1. re: hungryabbey

                            Do the bar if it's just the two of you. Service becomes a relative non issue and it worked out great the last time I was there. The food was very good and we had a great time.

                        2. re: hungryabbey

                          Freaked out by the neighbourhood around Batifole? If she's freaked out by Riverdale, don't even think about taking her to Mildred Pierce. Too bad. It's one of the best places in the city to take a birthday group.

                          1. re: estragon

                            no not riverdale, I think she just finds it hard to believe that theres a good french restaurant in little china town. She's young, its annoying, I'm going to try to convince her about Batifole I think..

                        3. I would recommend Niagara Street Cafe. The food is good, the prices are decent, service is capable, and the atmosphere is refined without being stuffy and/or fussy. And because it's a bit off the beaten track, it can make the place seem that much more special.

                          Alternatively, I might recommend Wish or if you're looking for classic French bistro fare, Provence is a nice option.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Juniper

                            Juniper, i checked out Wish's website and the prices arent bad and they are open on sunday (yay).. can you make any recomendations on what is good?

                            1. re: hungryabbey

                              Hi Hungry, Mildred Pierce is open 7 days and night a week for sure!

                            2. re: Juniper

                              Kultura is closed on sunday.. as is Quince, Blowfish, amuse bouch,trevor, bar mercurio,mildred pierce, niagra st cafe, JKWB so far that Ive checked.. so I was kind of curious about Wish, Modo or maybe Batifole.. Its her call in the end, its just too bad I'm so limited by sunday night :( I cant find a website for Amber though so I'm not sure about that.

                            3. So, Ive let her search through some website menus, and she mentioned she thought the menu at the Gooderham house sounded good.. Ive seen this place but have heard nothing about it, has anyone been there?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: hungryabbey

                                Gooderham House is a nice old building, but the food is worse than mediocre. I was at a corporate event there a while back, and the hors d'oeuvres were barely edible. And the menu? This one? http://www.thegooderhamhouse.com/Menu...
                                If that's what your sister's taste runs to, you may as well take her to the Keg, or Milestones, or whatever.

                                1. re: estragon

                                  uh- I figured this. I am afraid of that fate, I'm trying to get her away from those mediocre menu items.. thanks for the warning!

                              2. It's not exactly 'Impressive' , but I always like La Palette for small birthday get togethers. I've seen some negative posts on CH recently, however the word on the street was that they had some 'issues' last summer that have been resolved. I went recently and enjoyed my meal and wine. It's got great atmosphere, good bistro fare, a great selection of wines. As long as you are willing to be friendly with the staff, I can almost guarantee that they will treat you well. It gets a bit noisy sometimes, but for me that is part of the charm..

                                Perhaps more impressive would be Crush, or Blowfish , down on King St. More of the beautiful people scene, but maybe your sister will get a kick out of it.

                                Have fun wherever you go and report back.

                                1. Will any of these do for your sister?

                                  The Drake: http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/menus/060...

                                  JKWB: http://www.jkkitchens.com/PDFs/Wine%2...

                                  Ultra Supper Club (some dishes inside $30): http://www.ultrasupperclub.com/

                                  Rosewater (hit & miss in my experience but more beautiful than globe): http://www.libertygroup.com/rosewater...

                                  Kultura: http://www.kulturarestaurant.com/main...


                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: HarryLloyd

                                    Possibly JKWB, but shes not even 19 so she cant even have a glass so that would be kind of a tease... Rosewater looks nice so I'll tell her about that one.. and with Kultura, are those items on the menu small plates because the prices are pretty low so I'm just trying to imagine how many one would have to order..? thanks for your suggestions HL

                                    1. re: hungryabbey

                                      If she's into sushi, also consider Blowfish. Really great, interesting makimonos (rolls), fashionable decor... she'll feel all grown up ad sophisticated. ;) www.blowfishrestaurant.com

                                      1. re: estragon

                                        hm thats a good idea, I didnt think about sushi, she just recently got into it because I guess its kinda the trendy thing at school haha so I'll ask her about that one too. How big are the like hot plates/cold plates? Like how many dishes would a group of 5 need to order do you think?

                                        1. re: hungryabbey

                                          I second Blowfish, if she likes sushi. It's a cool space too, especially for her age. The Drake can be fun too.

                                          1. re: pescatarian

                                            yah the Drake menu looks good, can anyone comment on their desserts? They arent included in the menu and she specifically wants a place with a special dessert menu

                                            1. re: hungryabbey

                                              amuse bouche is a touch out of the price range with most mains on the upper end of the 20's... and the atmosphere is very different than globe, it's dark and cozy with a sort of contemporary trendy romantic feel to it. but i really enjoyed the dessert tasting menu i had... although i think i went straight into a sugar coma right afterwards.


                                              dessert seems to be a concern of hers.. you may want to consider dropping into a second locale. it might be over the top, but the dessert tasting at perigee is likely something she will never forget.

                                              1. re: hungryabbey


                                                If dessert is what she wants maybe you can go with a small cheap dinner and then finish that off with a dessert tasting menu at:

                                                perigee (http://www.perigeerestaurant.com/


                                                amuse bouche

                                                Both are amazing experiences with perigee coming out on top. btw, both are actually quite filling and can sub as a meal if you can handle that much sugar.


                                                1. re: HarryLloyd

                                                  To consider:

                                                  Perigee is truly wonderful (one of my best ever meals), but I had assumed it was over the top for your price range..

                                                  La Palette wouldn't bat an eye if she were to have a glass of wine with her meal, and they have a decent set of deserts, as well as a prix fixe for $25 which includes some mains and some deserts.

                                                  Blowfish will definitely make her feel extremely hip and fashionable. No idea about their deserts.

                                                  Unless she is into cosy French Bistros in gritty-fun neighborhoods (La Palette), you might want to go for the 'slick' and hit up a place like Blowfish or Crush. They are the kinds of places that she could be justified in 'dressing up' for.

                                                  have fun.

                                                  1. re: dombort

                                                    Last time I checked, 17 was not the legal drinking age anywhere in the world. Sure it's civilized to have a glass with dinner. However, I wouldn't suggest getting a place raided for their sister's bd. Might ruin the mood.

                                    2. so I havejust been informed that the day will be a sunday so unfortunetly that cancels out a lot.. hopefully some of these places will be open.. also, in comparison (price, portion, value etc) how does Doku 15 compare to Blowfish?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: hungryabbey

                                        I have not been to Doku 15. However, in relation to Blowfish, I would recommend ordering off of the menu a la carte rather than try their tasting menu.
                                        I've been there and ordered one of their popular handrolls (I can't remember what it's called, but it's their signature and it's very good) to start, shared several dishes with 3 other people, had a couple of drinks and left very satisfied at around $50. We were there another time and ordered the tasting menu and it turned out to be about double and I wasn't as satisfied, although some of the items were interesting.

                                      2. So Ive been calling alot of these places to find out if theyre open on sunday.. and many (for eg. blowfish, quince) are not.. so, I have another question has anyoen tried Modo? The menu seemskind of mediteranean and she likes that for sure and the pictures and decor looks trendy which is pretty much the most important thing to her haha, but is it any good?

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: hungryabbey

                                          Haven't been to Modo, but there are some pretty bad reviews on here in relation to them.
                                          Have you checked to see whether Kultura is open on a Sunday night. It definitely has the trendy vibe.
                                          Also I would classify Amber as trendy in Yorkville.

                                          1. re: pescatarian

                                            so far most of the places people have suggested are closed (kultura included).. so I'm curious about Modo, Wish, Batifole or Doku 15.. I cant find a website fro amber though so I dont know its hours yet..

                                            1. re: hungryabbey

                                              Doku 15's food is ok -- it's that asian fusion thing, but pretty tasty. It's a great vibe for a kid who's wanting to go somewhere 'fancy' as it's hip lookin' but not too serious about itself. Cocktails are their strong suite though, so it might be a bit of a tease.

                                              Wish is very cute -- in a cross between Miami and a cottage. Dinner food is okay -- breakfast is good. Since it's Sunda would she go for a brunch and a sit on the patio (it's heated at Wish so you sit out there now).

                                              Bar Italia as reco'ed below is a good idea too -- accessible, tasty food and full of college-street-cool pretty young folks.

                                          2. re: hungryabbey

                                            If she's looking for affordable and trendy, you should really look into taking her to the College Street Strip. Bar Italia is uber-hip with decent-value food, and the same goes for Mini Market by Tempo. There's also Flight 55, which is a relatively newish place, uber hip, but not sure about the food (I've not personally been there).

                                            I would also highly recommend Gio Rana's Really Really Nice Restaurant. Don't judge the place by its name... it is uber hip - indie rocker types as wait staff, loud and vibrant atmosphere, and the place is even in an old bank building without a sign out front so only people "in the know" can find it. Additionally, the value is quite high - good, solid Italian for very fair prices (small plate style eating, for the most part).

                                            All of the above are open on Sundays.

                                            1. re: Juniper

                                              Thank you so much, Flight 55 looks the most like what she would be looking for, the prices are very good too.. I will see what she says abotu that one..

                                              1. re: hungryabbey

                                                maybe it's me, but everytime i spend time on college street it can feel like such a ghost town. there's a couple popular bars (indigo, andypoolhall, etc.) or clubs but other than that... it's just so deserted.

                                                based on suggestions here, a while back i hit up flight 55 for a quick late snack... empty on a friday. we ordered a few things and i opted to share ravioli and dumplings with someone. the ravioli dish arrived uncooked and was some of the hardest pasta we'd ever tried. they took it off the bill and we ordered it again cooked properly... we instead received a second order of the dumplings once our other companions were done eating. there's a more detailed review in the depths of chowhound. the food was ok at best, but really unimpressed overall.

                                                jkwb is open sunday. go there, i urge you. even if she's not of age i dont think she'll be missing out on much without the wines. i love wine, but i think it's an aquired taste that requires a little time and knowledge to know what you like. i'm sure she'll enjoy the open kitchen and livliness of the place.

                                                the thing is, i really can't imagine places that are usually swamped on thursday nights to have the same atmosphere or clientele on a sunday.

                                          3. Le Select is open on Sunday... it's a pretty space with good food (and anything French always sounds "fancy").?


                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: Rabbit

                                              oh very nice thank you for this recomendation, this looks like something she woudl really go for I think..

                                              1. re: hungryabbey

                                                Le Select is a beautiful room with awful food. I'm amazed they can't do a better job. Last time I was there, the cassoulet was greasy and utterly lacking in flavour, and the steak frites, ordered medium rare, came almost well done.

                                                I think La Palette is open on Sundays. If you're looking for classic bistro food and Batifole is closed, it's a pretty decent choice.

                                                1. re: estragon

                                                  My experience has been the exact opposite. Having had a spectacular first visit to La Palette, everything subsequent has been a disappoint. I've stopped going and wouldn't recommend.

                                                  But I find le Select to be very consistent and really very good - it's one of my neighbourhood go-to's. Maybe it depends what one orders, day of the week... all those x factors?

                                                  1. re: Rabbit

                                                    well, I guess I'll have to find out myself since I have NOW been informed that the dinner is going to have to be THIS sunday aka. easter , limiting my options even more.. so we've decided to go with Le Select since it is open on Sunday.. Thanks everyone so much for the suggestions, I am sorry I didnt have information about these restrictions earlier to help us narrow down the search better.. but thanks, and I'll let everyone know how it goes!

                                                    1. re: hungryabbey

                                                      My family is also looking for a very good place for Easter Sunday supper - so if you know what is actually open, let us know! I know Ed Levesque's is open (was there for brunch today) but it's not the "fancy" atmosphere your sister would expect. Personally, I love Batifole so if that's open, it would be perfect for us.

                                                      1. re: Food Tourist

                                                        I know I wanted to do Batifole, but they arent open on holidays :(

                                            2. So we just got back from Le Select for the birthday dinner..
                                              First of all, I thought the room was beautiful, very classy, and the bar is stunning as well.. everyone was very friendly, we were prompty sat and our coats were taken.
                                              We decided to start with an antipasto of grilled eggplant, mushroom salad,
                                              artichoke, guacamole, and ratte salad which was 15$ for the large version. Honestly, it was not THAT large, and I'm not sure that it was worth 15$ but regardless, it was a nice way to start the meal. We also had the assorted cold cuts of saucisson, pâté,
                                              cooked ham, and Bayonne prosciutto for 15$ as well, which I enjoyed more then the antipasto, especially the delicious prosciutto and a nice pâté. We split these among 5 hungry people and it was just the perfect amount. My mother also had the soup of the day which was a corn chowder which I tried and it was VERY good, just the perfect consistency with lots of corn and bits of potato. I dont like when soup is TOO creamy that it fills you up too much, but this was perfect.
                                              Unforunetly the hanging baskets of bread are no more, but we were served some delicious bread with butter as well.
                                              Mains: Two had the 8oz New York striploin with a fine herbs butter and frites which I tried and was very good but I mean, nothing STAND OUT as it was just a general steak.
                                              I had the 8oz steak and frites with a green peppercorn sauce with Brandy and cream. This was amazing. I was a bit unsure of whether or not to order it because I am not much for "cream" sauces, but this didnt appear or taste as though there was any cream in it at all. It was more of a peppercorn gravy and the steak was very tender and flavourful. One of the best steaks Ive had in a long time. The frites also were excellent, cut extremely thin and tasted really delicious when soaked in some of the peppercorn sauce.
                                              Birthday girl had the seared 10oz prime rib of pork with a Brandy, white wine, cream, and pear sauce which I got a chance to try and it was amazing. I am not a pork person, but the pear sauce complimented it so beautifully I was really impressed. Not TOO sweet as I was a bit worried it would be, but it was perfect, so good I ended up scooping off the rest of the sauce after she was done with the pork haha.
                                              Her boyfriend had the steam-roasted salmon fillet with a red wine beurre rouge, on a bed of lentils. I didnt try this but it was pronounced delicious and he cleared his plate fairly quickly so I believe it.
                                              The presentaion of all the dishes was very nice as well.
                                              Only three of us had dessert..
                                              I had the creme brulee with a hazelnut biscotti and fresh fruit which I really enjoyed. Honestly, I haven't had creme brulee in AGES so I cant really give an accurate assessment of it but it was very nice, not to sweet, and a good consitency.
                                              Birthday girl had a rum soaked sponge cake which I think she would have enjoyed a bit more if she liked rum :S haha, I ate the parts that were really rum soaked and it was a nice cake, but very strong, a little too strong for me even and I really like rum.
                                              Her boyfriend had the fruit salad with banana sorbet, which again, I didnt try but he said it was very nice and refreshing.
                                              Service was excellent, our waitor was very friendly and helpful and always right aroudn the corner to clear plates and give us new cutlery. He also must have seen us toast the birthday girl because when he served her her dessert, he had a little candle on it.
                                              So, with 2 apps, soup, 5 mains, 2 glasses of wine, 3 pops, 3 desserts, cappuchino, 3 coffees and a tea the bill came to 200$ before tip. Not bad at all I think!! I would definetly come back, it would be a great place for a date! Thanks for the suggestions again everyone!

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: hungryabbey

                                                Apparently, we're heading out to Baldini in Leslieville now...will report back.

                                                1. re: hungryabbey

                                                  Nice report.
                                                  Sounds like Le Select was a success.
                                                  The price was certainly very reasonable .. were any of you on a prix fixe?


                                                  1. re: dombort

                                                    no actually, we ordered everythign separately so I was really impressed. Next time I might try to to a prix fixe though