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Girlfriend's Birthday dinner in Toronto

Hey, i'm really hoping I could get some help here im traveling to toronto and will be celebrating my girlfriend's birthday there and want to take her out to a nice place, with nice decor that will be romantic, but not overly serious-we're only 20.

She likes Italian and Seafood, but a raw bar is not necessary just a place with seafood dishes on the menu.

I am staying at a hotel at 1 King West-anything in the area would be best but I guess we could figure out a way to get somewhere else for an exceptional restaurant.

Here's where I make things tricky-without wine I was hoping to spend under 85 dollars total...

any suggestions on places or overall advice on the meal would be really appreciated.
thanks so much in advance-
matt

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  1. I would look at Toba and Starfish. Starfish isn't overly romantic, but the food is fabulous. I think at both, you could share and app, get two entrees and two desserts for your budget (Starfish may go over by a bit, but you could share a dessert there -- the flourless chocolate cake is so decadent that I can't see how anyone could eat it on their own).

    http://www.starfishoysterbed.com/

    http://www.toba.ca

    If you go to Starfish, after dinner, you could stop into Reservoir Lounge for a drink and listen to some great swing jazz. Very cool place -- you should score points for "finding" it. :)

    5 Replies
    1. re: TorontoJo

      I second Starfish and Reservoir Lounge afterwards.

      1. re: pescatarian

        Starfish? I haven't seen a 20 year old in Starfish ever. In fact, I've always noticed a slightly older crowd. How about Rosebud or Czehoski or even Coca, or Niagara Street Cafe? Hipper and closer to where they are staying.

        1. re: mickeyj

          Starfish is really close to 1 King West. Great seafood. Perhaps there are older people there, but they are with each other, not trolling for other twentysomethings, so I think it would be ok. I haven't been to any of the places you've mentioned, so unfortunately, I can't comment. I have read a lot of sketchy reviews on Czehoski however.

          1. re: mickeyj

            Starfish is significantly closer (a couple of blocks walking distance) than any of the restaurants you mention. I love Rosebud, but definitely a cab ride (or streetcar) away.

            1. re: mickeyj

              i've gone to starfish when i was just about 20, perhaps 21... but because i never really could drag anyone there with me before that age.

              i will admit that i've run into my friends' parents at dinner and sat beside many pepole sprouting grey, but have also seen a few young ones about and they look quite comfortable. grabbing a corner booth or the back room leans more towards romantic, but it's got a casual upscale feel to it that's not intimidating in the least. love it.

              if you're going to suggest coca, i'd much rather replace that with torito. worse wine mind you but much better value per cost and fantastic atmosphere.

              none of your options are closer btw.. they're quite a distance away actually.

              sorry no other suggestions for the area, i tend to only hit up my few faves. i dont' disagree with mickeyj though that you might want to consider a little ttc ride to get something the most ideal.

        2. okay, I am so not in your age range, but . . . my cool young staff recommend Foundation Room as a good place to go for a hangout and yummy food. It's neither italian nor seafood though. Are you looking for a chowhoundy option or more of a celebratory place to hang?

          2 Replies
          1. re: orangewasabi

            Just have to pipe in and say that the Foundation Room is a gorgeous place to have drinks, but I'd avoid it for food. Just my personal experience there.

            1. re: TorontoJo

              cool, I haven't eaten there - just have been hearing about it an awful lot lately

          2. Okay, I got the location wrong, but I don't think Starfish is what you're after.

            Torito for Tapas is a great idea. The food is comparable (or better) than Coca, it's less expensive, it has a great vibe, and you could have a wander through Kensington or down to Queen after dinner.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mickeyj

              Does Torito take reservations?
              Nothing like standing out in the cold waiting for a table to have a Birthday dinner!
              How about Romagna Mia? Walking distance and friendly, rather than romantic. Food used to be good, but I haven't been for a couple of years. Anybody been recently?

              1. re: estufarian

                Romania Mia may not be the most romantic place in the world but, if really authentic Italian is what he is looking for, this is about as good as it gets and it is close to his hotel. I had some people in town from just north of Venice last fall and they were very impressed by the quality and the honest delivery. I'd have to admit that it is a bit of an older crowd.

            2. Perhaps tutti matti? Maybe a 10 minute walk away. It fits the Italian request and also retains the age group consideration. You can certainly get away under $85 if you don't go crazy w/ the wine.

              http://www.tuttimatti.com/

              1. I do not think Starfish and Tutti Matti are romantic at all, so may not be something you like, but food are pretty good and not too expensive.

                1. I would suggest Kalendar on College St...romantic and good food and then you guys could stroll through Little Italy afterwards.