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Jun 4, 2007 10:06 AM

Weekday lunch around Mount Sinai?

I would like to take a friend out for lunch on her birthday as, <gasp> she has to work. I'm looking for a place with good food and nice vibe around Mount Sinai...that hopefully won't bankrupt me. I know that Bellevue Diner isn't open for lunch... Any suggestions? I guess that area takes in Baldwin street, some of Kensington...and...? Thanks.

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  1. How about the Midi Bistro on McCaul? Or Matahari on Baldwin, if your friend would prefer Asian.

    1 Reply
    1. re: estragon

      Midi Bistro has a nice set menu where you can get a main, dessert and drink for $15. It's a small menu but the food is very good, especially on a hot summer day.

    2. I would also recommend Matahari on Baldwin, but do make a reservation (you can do so via phone the morning of) if you intend to go: they're often filled up at lunch. Also, budget 90 minutes for your meal there, as the food does take awhile from order to table. It is delicious and for lunch, quite reasonably priced. I highly recommend the chicken curry, the char kway teow, and the pandanus (screwpine) crepe.

      4 Replies
      1. re: vorpal

        How about Sage Cafe. It's a reallynice cheap and cheerful lunch spot.

        1. re: sherry f

          Saffron Tree Indian buffet is also there, on Gerrard Street, facing the hospital. Although, it may be too casual for what you want on your friend's birthday.

        2. re: vorpal

          I second Matahari, but as vorpal mentioned, it takes quite a while for the food to arrive after you placed the order, so if your friend is tight on time, I would go for Cafe la Gaffe

        3. If you're willing to walk down to St. Patrick & Queen, Ematei is a good choice for Japanese.

          1. For charming ambience (wood, quiet, unstuffy, unpretentious), impressive menu (small but seasonal/local, updated classics, well prepared), professional and knowledgeable servers, and an excellent (expanded) wine list -- and it won't bankrupt you either! -- try the restaurant at Osgoode Hall, in the old law courts. They're still open but close soon for the summer. Call 947-3361. The menu is starred with items that can be ordered if you're in a rush, but it's also a lovely place to linger.

            8 Replies
            1. re: DylS

              That's a great idea...I have been there before, but I always forget about it. I remember that they had a really nice bread basket, with artisanal breads that they refilled several times for us. And the setting is nice, with cathedral ceilings, old wood...the only thing I don't like about it is the school-style tables and chairs. I had rabit when I was there last...not something I would expect on a lunch menu, but I'm told it rotates. And there is a price fixe menu as well with three courses for about $20... Good call...

                1. re: morrigan

                  Yes, the breads ARE good. Maybe they didn't always, but they use white tablecloths now, so you don't really know they're fold-up tables. They used to do two prix-fixe but now it's one, but an expanded wine list. New chef--sorry, I've forgotten his name--has kept the lobster club and the famous frites. In mid-spring I saw peach tart on the dessert menu, and at first I was disappointed, since starters and mains had emphasized seasonal ingredients. But turns out the peaches were put up last year by the chef. Nice place, if difficult to find (had to ask directions twice once we were inside the building), and the airport-style security check before lunch only adds to the best-kept-secret ambience.

                  1. re: DylS

                    I quite like the dining hall at Osgoode Hall. I've eaten there a number of times over the years, and have never suffered a disappointment. They have a pretty good wine list, as well. My only caveat is that the service can be spotty. It has never been rude - quite the opposite, in my experience - just a little slow and disorganised on occasion, so I wouldn't recommend it if you're in a rush. I have had a couple of unpleasant encounters with the security bozos. THAT should be addressed, but then, the restaurant isn't playing the same game as other places, and security isn't their call.

                    1. re: hungry_pangolin

                      Am interested in trying the food though I believe that they will be closed for the summer soon.

                      In terms of security, Osgoode Hall was the site of a serious shooting in the 1980s that killed two people. I'm sure that security people bear this in mind when they are on duty.

                      1. re: Zengarden

                        I think you have to keep in mine that the building that houses the cafeteria also houses the Ontario Court of Appeal - it's a Courthouse first and foremost, not a restaurant. The people referred to as security are actually the police...and it's true, there have been "altercations" in the past. In fact, if you ever get to go on a tour of the place (which is beautiful) they have kept the banquets with the bullet holes. Someone was convicted (I believe) in the days before the security, pulled out a gun and shot the laywer several times. Don't know if he was Crown counsel or defense, but he died. As an aside, his son is a lawyer who has appeared in the same Courtroom with the aforementioned bullet holes. But the lunch menu is nice, the atmosphere is different and the service, though slow, is polite. It's kind of "an experience" rather than just food. There is also the world's smallest museum...something about tax write-offs for museums...;). Go before it's finished for the summer. And I have never been to the Gallery Grill, but I had my wedding reception catered by Hart House (on a CHer's suggestion, I might add) and the food was fabulous. Same building, I'm hoping for the same quality of food...

                        1. re: morrigan

                          Just to be clear about this... I am aware of the history, and the building's primary function, and as I said, security is not the restaurant's call - nor should it be. My comment related more to the occasionally more aggressive attitude of security, beyond the required execution of their duties. I've visited adequately often to notice when it's more, er, enthusiastically business-like, let's call it, than on other occsaions, anf for no apparently good reason. And it's not my attitude, which is respectful and compliant.

                          1. re: hungry_pangolin

                            As for "avoid it if you're in a rush," when I was last there, the menu had asterisked items, mostly soups and sandwiches but some cooked mains, for if you wanted to be out in an hour or 90 minutes (can't remember)--I guess with lawyers and cases in mind. It would be a shame to rush, though.

              1. There is also a Turkish spot near the Village Idiot Pub. The prices are low. Has anyone eaten at this spot? I think that it is called the Balkan Cafe but I could be wrong.