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Keg Or Tulip - which would you choose??

Want good steak at a reasonable price for a low key b'day dinner. I don't care about the atmosphere, wine list etc etc. Just want to get there in casual attire and enjoy a GREAT piece of steak done medium.

The two choices I have (by the people that are attending the b'day dinner) are the Keg and the Tulip ( I know, I know the Keg is a chain but its a fave of the b'day person).

I'm thinking Tulip.

What would you choose?

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  1. Neither is among my favourites. The Tulip is cheaper. The Keg is much nicer (especially the one on York St) and, in my opinion, their food is much better. If you want to linger and celebrate, the Tulip isn't the right kind of place. It's scarf the food and move on greasy spoon. If you are choosing between those two places alone, go to the Keg.

    21 Replies
    1. re: embee

      Just my opinion, but I suggest the Keg Mansion. The food is usually a step up from the regular keg restaurants and a big step up from the tulip. And the ambience is perfect. Casual but a little more sophisticated. It can get a bit busy but the bar is great and you won't mind a little wait.

      1. re: tellerium

        Never having been to the Tulip, I can't compare, but I do love the Keg Mansion and always find it delightfully satisfying. The service has always been entirely nonpretentious and incredibly attentive in my six or so visits there, and the food - provided you stick with prime rib or steaks - very good. Get an extra order of their brilliant fried onions.

        1. re: tellerium

          I don't disagree with the suggestion, but I've arrived with a group of 6 at 5pm on a Saturday and told 2 hour wait, which I think is pretty common there. Other locations of The Keg should be faster.

          1. re: julesrules

            When I was still studying at Ryerson, I use to wait at The Keg. It is corporate policy to make people wait for the sake of spacing out the service so the kitchen can manage and most of all simulate a wait to give the illusion the restaurant is busy even with visible emptied tables. I find their steak tasteless. At the same time Tulip reminds me a an old time diner dump. Consider trying Canyon Creek Chop House, owned by Servcorp (Jack Astors, Alice Fazooli people), pricing is competitive, cleaner, and out to take market share away from The Keg.

        2. re: embee

          The Tulip is cheaper than the Keg, and better quality? I seriously need to check this place out, then, on the rare instance that I require a massive beef fix. Whereabouts is it? What kind of price bracket are entrees? I'm tremendously excited now, especially given the positivity I've heard about the Tulip. I just assumed that it was likely out of my student price range.

          1. re: vorpal

            A bit of caution....don't get too excited. Go with an open mind. Do not go with the expectation of being blown away by an amazing steak!

            Some love it, Some hate it.

            1. re: deelicious

              I adore cooking, but my focus in study and experimentation is limited to SE Asian cuisine; in light of this, I have a virtual inability to make anything other than a mediocre to decent steak, so when it comes to large cuts of beef, my expectations aren't incredibly high. I'm sure that if their prices are reasonable, I'll be quite pleased!

            2. re: vorpal

              The Tulip is on Queen at Coxwell. I would't say the food is better quality then the Keg, but I've had some pretty crappy meals at the Keg in the past so who knows. Not to mention service (at the Keg) ranging from great/friendly to downright awful.

              Anyways, I don't think I'd refer to anything at the Tulip as an 'entree' (heh), think diner/greasy spoon with service/decor to match. Steaks start at around $20 up to $30+ or so for a 24oz porterhouse (including a side). If you're just there for a burger or something two can eat for $20 or less no probs... would definitely fit into a student budget. Their menu is huge ranging from all day breakfast, burgers, sandwichs, steaks, etc etc. We normally stick with their burgers (homemade and very beefy), steaks, or breakfast... ie. steak and eggs.

              1. re: Vise

                Oh! That's brilliant. It's just around the corner for me. I'm going to have to try it out, just for the sake of having something new and recommended. I'll post a review if I go. I'd welcome even a great burger that wasn't Harvey's after DD and the Burger Shoppe, frankly.

                I've never understood steak for breakfast. I've never had it, but the thought frightens me! How can one stomach that? Does it work without making you feel loggy and overbeefed for the day? I love pork with my brekkies given the option, but I find it easier to digest on the whole, and already a challenge for the AM.

                1. re: vorpal

                  Trust me, once you've had a good steak & eggs, you are hooked. It is a hearty meal, but, if you are going to be out and about during the day (think holiday shopping) it's a great way to fill your tummy for hours. And it's delicious, really, I promise! :o)

                  1. re: vorpal

                    The day should go something like this, Vorpal: The Keg to acquire your hangover. The Tulip the next morning (afternoon) to cure it.

                  2. re: Vise

                    Steaks at the Tulip start at $20 or so? The prices have risen since the last time I was there. I think I paid $12 or so for a small steak, and earlier before they moved to larger quarters along Queen St. it used to be $9.95. As for the atmosphere, it's OK with me. I seem to prefer casual so-called "greasy spoons" to more upscale places. Not too fond of the lineups though when it gets busy.

                    1. re: Bob Catt

                      yah I was just there a coupel nights ago and paid I think like 12 or 13 for a small steak which was I think liek 10 or 12 oz but called a small steak?
                      the bigger 16 oz steaks are more money..
                      but some things are SO cheap.. four four dinners, 3 salads, 2 pops and 3 beers it was only 70$!!! But I MUCH prefer the Keg .. but I cant do an accurate steak comparison because I only ever get the prime rib at the keg.. but for the price the Tulips steak was excellent.

                      1. re: hungryabbey

                        You're right. I found the menu on the web and it lists a 12-oz. sirloin for just $14.95. That may be the small steak you mention, and the one I remember.

                        http://www.tulipsteakhouse.com/steak.htm

                        1. re: Bob Catt

                          oh yes I suppose I was a little low, but yah 15$ and I dont think 12 oz is "small" so it really is incredible value if you are on a budget. However, for TOchowgirl, I would not compare tulip to the Keg, if you have the money to go to the keg (and you shoudl go to the Keg manion if you have a choice), GO TO THE KEG! For a cheap dinner any night of the week totally check out the tulip because its cheap and actually pretty good for what your paying.

                      2. re: Bob Catt

                        The Tulip is great and I agree with Bob Catt...the greasy spoon, I prefer to call it 'homey' is a thriving example of what a neighbourhood 'resto' should be and is...the fact that there are usually long lineups attests to something more than 'cheap'! BTW, go earlier than 6:30 - 8:00...we often get there at around 6 p.m. and generally don't have to wait and that's with either 2 people or 5 people (4 adults and a highchair!!)

                        1. re: pearlD

                          Nothing wrong with the Tulip. But how can you call the steaks AMAZING?

                          1. re: deelicious

                            Did I say 'amazing'? I don't think so....pretty damn good will do...

                            1. re: pearlD

                              Sorry. I really shouldn't have responded directly to your post. My bad!

                              It was really in response to those that do say it is amazing.

                              I have a friend that went based on this site and their expectations were set so high, even The Keg may have not met them. So I am just warning people. You get what you pay for!

                      3. re: vorpal

                        Cheaper? Yes. Better quality? No, the Keg is much higher quality than the Tulip. Tulip is a good greasy spoon, while Keg is a mid-market steakhouse. Keg is formulaic, but it's MUCH better than the Tulip.

                    2. Have never thought much of the steak at The Tulip. The Keg's a step up, in my opinion.

                      1. Totally different places in terms of atmosphere but either would probably suit your needs. Not a huge fan of the chain atmosphere of The Keg but you can't go wrong with their prime rib. Their steaks are ok and can be quite good depending on what you order/which location.

                        I personally love the Tulip, its the epitome of a greasy spoon with better then average food. Love the atmosphere too, always found it to be a laidback and very casual place. If you order the tenderloin (medium rare) its a tasty/tender piece of meat, definitely priced right too. Plus you can't beat the $2.75 draft Canadian. :-)

                        If you're interested in something different/fun give The Tulip a shot. Depending on the person I could see The Tulip being a fun time for a casual b-day dinner.

                        1. I have to agree with the others about the Tulip...never have been impressed with their steaks.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jdavies

                            Hey, I'm not saying its the best steak in the city... not even close. I've just yet to find anything better (steakwise) for the price unless there is some magical greasy spoon/steakhouse I've yet to try. Hopefully its in the east end too.

                          2. Personally I can't imagine comparing these two restos. The Keg is by no means special, but it sure is a LOT better than the Tulip.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: deelicious

                              The Keg is better for a good steak and atmosphere.
                              If you want a good cheap steak, the Tulip.
                              You see?
                              It all depends on what you are looking for.

                              1. re: Poorboy

                                Precisely. But it is important that people know that going in!