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3 Weeks in Toronto on an Expense Account

Help, I will be in Toronto for 3 weeks between May and June and need to eat at every restaurant worth eating at. I don't care if it is extremely cheap or very high end I just want to taste the best. I like all types of foods and won't shy away from trying anything please let me know any and all suggestions.

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  1. I'm sooo jealous as well!

    Where are you coming from? Will you be here for the weekends too? Do you have any preferences?

    - Kelly

    6 Replies
    1. re: FlavourPrincess

      Not fair! Okay, I'll start:

      North 44
      Colbourne Lane
      Lee (why not give it a try? he's on an expense account)
      Amuse Bouche
      Lai Wah Heen
      Sushi Kaji

      1. re: mickeyj

        what mickeyj said (especially Susur, Amuse Bouche and Starfish)... plus

        Jamie Kennedy's
        Senhor Antonio (Chiado)
        - pork and dill dumplings at Mother's Dumpling's
        - the often recommended peameal bacon sandwich at the St. Lawrence
        - Little India, just for a look-see and some Indian sweets
        - the black rum cake at the Caribbean bakery in Kensington
        - Coffee Porter from the Mill Street Brew Pub (you'll find it on tap in a few places throughout the city)

        1. re: Rabbit

          be sure to specify Jamie Kennedy's Wine Bar and not the Restaurant side... i dont' think i've heard of anyone coming out of that half of the venture with a single good thing to say.

          If you're going to go crazy for Japanese, I'd also throw in Hashimoto into the mix for Kaiseki. I wouldn't necessarily omakase at the sushi joints either, probably more so just order everything fresh in that day.

          from my own personal opinion, best curry goat roti is from Roti Lady in Parkdale (Queen West/Dunn) and best jamaican patties go to Caribbean Queen (Bloor/Lansdowne)... both very much take-out situations.

          this would take a bunch of time, but if you're here on the weekend I'd suggest dropping into a few of the different markets around town and packing yourself a picnic and sitting yourself down in trinity bellwoods park. cheese from Scheffler's at st lawrence market (if you're adventurous they have this kind of pork product that's a ground meat spread called cretons, popular in quebec/montreal - i personally love it), or go to the north market and grab some mennonite cheese from Monforte, peameal bacon sandwich (not from carousel, i personally don't understand the appeal.. paddingtons at least fries it up fresh), portugese chicken from the guy just across, a pint of pressed cider and maybe a mini pie from the farmer's north market again, a pint or few scoops of gelato from solferino on the way to getting some artisanal offerings from Atelier Thuet (which should be open by the time you're here) especially the bread, afterwards pop on up to Venezia on ossington north of queen for some natas... i can't think of others right now...

          if i have the time, i love that style of eating... last time i was in paris the first thing we did was abandon our packs at the hostel and then set out to aligre market and ate an immense amount of food snatched up from all the shops and stalls there. fantastic really.

          1. re: Rabbit

            I'd say skip the peameal bacon sandwiches (I don't really find them that great) and go to Mustachios downstairs for an eggplant sandwich! Soooo much yummier.

            1. re: jayseeca

              In defense of peameal (which I actually don't like)... it's a Canadian thing, and so a New Yorker might find it interesting. Mr. Rabbit, who is American, is quite fascinated by the Canadian pre-occupation with bacon, and he's very taken with those greasy, peameal-y snacks.

              1. re: Rabbit

                If I were to rec a peameal sandwich it certainly wouldn't be the one from Carousel. I'm totally with PSP on that count. If I craved pig, I'd go with the one served at Zoulpy's a quick 3-4 minute walk from the SL Market. Much tastier, more filling, better able to get the toppings you want, aaaaand you can sit down, relax, and watch soccer with your meal.

                Mustachio's preps most, if not all, their eggplant before 7am. I find it a little offputting that it isn't done on the spot.

      2. All I can say is that your expense account must be considerably better than mine. When I travel for business (and that was for several months last year), my company was cheap cheap cheap............

        1. I am in from NYC and will be in Toronto for little over three weeks straight weekends included. The company is very good about expenses especially when they are taking us away from friends and family for that long. Thanks for your help and keep them coming.

          6 Replies
          1. re: collinm

            Do you think you will ever return to our fair city? On your own dime? If so, I would do the upscale Toronto thing on this trip and do the cheaper things next time round.

            Either way I think this city has a lot to offer a NYC hound and you will thoroughly enjoy your 3 weeks here. Happy eating!

            - Kelly

            1. re: collinm

              Oh, I forgot to add my list of upscale favourites.

              Chiado, Canoe, Via Allegro, Kaji, Lai Wah Heen, Colborne Lane, Susur, Thuet, Truffles, 360 (just for the views and maybe a drink), Ultra Supper Club, Rain, Senses, Host, Rosebud, Mildred Pierce, Torito, JKWB, Perigee, Starfish.

              That's a list I would love to hit in a single month!

              - Kelly

              1. re: collinm

                There is also a place I wish I could afford that gets great reviews. Its called Eigensinn Farm. I'm not sure if you can get a reservation this late but its worth a try.

                - Kelly

                1. re: FlavourPrincess

                  Just a note that this place is a couple of hours outside of the city and reservations are needed months in advance.

                  1. re: TorontoJo

                    Have you been? How was it? What did they serve?

                    - Kelly

                2. re: collinm

                  Visit the Beach neighbourhood for the walk and the lake but stay away from most of the restaurants (See the thread on Beach restaurants). I have lived in this area for many years and I know tourists fall in love with it every time the set foot here but unless you just want a quick coffee from one of the 17 coffee shops that line the two mile strip of Queen street or fancy a beer at one of the many pubs you won't find much good chow. The onlt decent food iin my opinion is to be found at Sauvignon.

                3. You've gotten some great recs so far. If you go to Lai Wah Heen, go for dim sum, not the regular menu. It's a good pick for one of your weekend lunches.

                  Of the places listed, my personal do-not-miss list include Perigee, Chiado and Splendido. All of these are serious expense account dinners. George is very good as well -- if the weather is nice, reserve a table on their patio.

                  My roti rec is Gandhi (Queen St., just east of Bathurst). If you're from NYC, chances are you've never had roti. Think of it as a big curry burrito. Totally addictive.

                  Great brunch spots: Aunties and Uncles or Dessert Trends Bistro. Note: two totally opposite ends of the spectrum, both very, very good.

                  If you're a beer fan, then head to Beerbistro (stay away from Biermarkt) for a phenomenal beer list or the Mill St. Brew Pub for some local brews. The latter is in the Distillery District, which is a fantastic area to spend a nice Saturday afternoon. Start early and grab a coffee at Balzac's and a sweet or savoury pastry at Brick St. Bakery. Wander the studios and shops, take a silly Segway ride, stop at Soma for a chocolate pick-me-up in the form of a shot of Mayan hot chocolate, then wander a bit more before having an early dinner at the Mill St. Brew Pub.

                  Oh, and I'm totally seconding pinstripeprincess' and jayseeca's recs. Mustachio's over peameal anyday.

                  1. I would also check out Scaramouche for Dinner and Mildred Pierce for Lunch/Brunch...Miranda

                    1. There are expense account and there are 'EXPENSE A$$OUNT'!! If yours is of the latter, then I would add Via Allegro to the tons of great choices listed below. Order a Bisteca alla Fiorentina or Veal chop, browse thru their Wine Spectator Grand award wine list and pick a 1982 first growth Bordeaux to go with meat!! ( they have 61s and 45s as well!! ). ENJOY!!!!

                      1. 1st words out of my mouth."Lucky Bugga" Mustachios is a must for the veal/eggplant yum..little amazing yummy italian joint Mama Martino's have the house salad. Red's wine bar is a great after work place. Bardi's for steak, Doku 15 for the martinis and appi's.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MiniMom

                          Second the house salad at Mama's. Best I've had in the city so far. Man that dressing is seductively simple yet impossible to reproduce!

                        2. There is a great Indian place on 755 Dundas St West in Mississauga called Brar. It has some of the best and most authentic vegetarian only Indian food going. It is a pretty traditional place so there is no booze on the menu and it can get very spicy. At $8.00 for a complete dinner buffet you can't beat the value. And they have the chef's cooking on the tandoor out in the open, kinda cool to see.

                          1. Hope you get to check out these restaurants below, each one is completely different than the other, in terms of taste, and atmosphere, but all interesting choices. There is definitely something for everyone on their menus.

                            Tomi-Kro - great "small plate" mediterreanean type fair with an asian influence. "lobster balls" & asparagus with creamy miso sauce - yummm!. 1214 Queen street east (Queen & Leslie).

                            The Rushton - Bistro type fair - great atmosphere - slightly urban - w/ an excellent patio 740 St.Clair Avenue West (unfortunately they don't take reservations, but if you go early enough you won't have any problems)

                            Coca - Tapas & Wine Bar (great spanish wine selection) There is soo much variety on this menu, from cured meats, seafood selection and cocas (flat bread with pizza like toppings)
                            783 queen street west (Queen and Bathurst)

                            La Palette - French Bistro - great little find, I'm almost certain this place only seats 25 people, don't know if its still on the menu, but the mushroom caps stuffed with escargot for an appetizer was great.
                            256 Augusta (College & Augusta)

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: gigi5091

                              I'd definitely pass on coca- and a few others here, but rather than get in a who-likes-what argument, i'll just agree where appropriate-

                              I'd second these recs:
                              Scaramouche pasta bar
                              Jaime Kennedy wine bar
                              colburne lane
                              amuse bouche (haven't been for awhile, impressed when i was there)

                              1. re: nummanumma

                                nummanumma, this is a good list. I would probably add some Japanese - sushi from Japango, and kaiseki (if this is your thing) from Kaiseki Sakura.

                                I would also probably go for a nice steak at Harbour 60.

                                And the previous recommendations of Chiado for upscale Portuguese and Lai Wah Heen for upscale dim sum.

                                1. re: childofthestorm

                                  thanks for 'rounding me out' - i completely lack Japanese food experience- as well as dim sum.

                            2. I dont think its been mentioned, but you might want to try the new Globe Bistro. I went and had an amazing dinner, but the brunch reviews have been excellent as well! Its at Broadview and Danforth in Greektown/Riverdale area. Globebistro.com

                              1. N.Y. has lots of great sushi. Many have suggested not to Omakasei here. They have probably not been to Hiro Sushi. Go there, have it. What you do not have in N.Y.C. is good fish & chips. Two places only- Duckworth's, and Penrose. Go there and have them. The Corner House is an awesome value while offering excellent cuisine. Crush wine bar has David Gaunt as Exec. Chef...go there, eat his food. Even better call ahead to speak with him and tell him you're coming-but bring your wallet! There is great Vietnamese at Saigon Palace - with the best spring rolls ever. Lai Wah Heen is wicked for Dim Sum. Susur is nothing of what his last resto was...I wouldn't do it. JK wine bar on the other hand is a must.

                                Happy Dining.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: chefcliff

                                  Based on past experiences, dining Omakasei style at the sushi bar vs in the main dining room can be two totally different experiences at Hiro sushi. Hiro tends to be very discriminative, favouring patrons with more (and better?!) food who sat at the bar. So, if you must give Hiro a try be sure to secure a seat at the sushi bar. But, why try Omakasei at Hiro when there is Sushi Kaji?! 5 years ago may be, but present day?! No way! Hiro has gone downhill gradually to become just another good decent Japanese place. ( compare to Kaji which is outstanding )

                                  1. re: Charles Yu

                                    Honestly I have not been to Kaji. As for Hiro...he only does Omakasei at the bar.

                                  2. re: chefcliff

                                    I like Crush too... and I think it's a place where you could sit at the bar and have a very decent time hanging out by yourself.

                                    1. re: chefcliff

                                      I second Hiro.

                                      The place is not the best kept, but he is a certified Sushi chief and given a hands free approach, the sky is the limit.