VISITING Toronto WEDNESDAY thru MONDAY
6 of us coming to Toronto from San Francisco for 6 days, staying at the Sutton. Where can we have a great romantic dinner this Wednesday evening within a cab ride from the hotel?
Thanks in advance,
Hungry in Toronto
Mildred Pierce and George are both great suggestions. However, I may lean toward George now that it's summer and their secluded patio is beautiful.
To toss another suggestion into the mix, which IMHO offers more of a 'full evening' potential than the two earlier suggestions, is to visit the distillery district. it is a recently restored, car-free Victorian neighbourhood packed with patios, art galleries, coffee shops and restaurants. In one location you could wander the streets and see the amazing buildings, pop into a gallery or two, have dinner at one of the high-end spots (Boiler House and Perigee are both stunning), and end the evening with a glass of wine on a patio. would be about a $10 cab ride from your hotel.
If you're steak eaters, you might like Carman's Dining Club, about 3 blocks from your hotel (http://carmans.sites.toronto.com/). It's an old-school steak house in a converted house with wood-burning fireplaces, 50 years worth of kitchy collectibles and waiters who remember what service was like in the good old days. The menu is prix fixe, including a bunch of appetizers, steak, potato and dessert. They do have a couple non-steak choices (lamb, veal chop, lobster, shrimp) and a few a la carte appetizers like shrimp cocktail and salads, but steak is the main event and the included appetizers will more than fill up the biggest eaters. Their wine list is quite nice, too. I've had a few romantic dinners there and the atmosphere is great for that.
argh,lost my original post...
Try Oro on Elm Street. It's within walking distance of Sutton Place. The food is inventive and upscale, but not outrageously priced. The atmosphere is classy, there is great artwork on the walls. If all of you are going, try booking one of their cozy private rooms.
Hmmm, haven't been in a while. But still one of the nicest and prettiest spots in the city. I was underwhelmed with the food at George though I loved the setting.
This recent review led me to believe it's far more than a casual chop house:
THE FIFTH GRILL RATING 4/4
Gina Malett, June 2, 2007
You can't call yourself a Torontonian if you don't love eating out of doors, on a patio, a backyard, a roof. For a few brief months a year, the city changes from a workaholic northern city to something decidedly sensual and southern as stripey umbrellas and brisk awnings appear all over town. I like best the roof gardens, and tonight I'm inaugurating my summer of patios with The Fifth's roof garden.
I've always longed to go to Opatje, the Dalmatian coast resort where Mahler used to summer in one of those belle epoque hotels. The Fifth is the next best thing. It is like a trip to the leisured Europe that vanished after the Second World War. It is as chic as Chanel -- a loft masquerading as a grand hotel dining room. There is nothing to match The Fifth's Euro-kitsch. Once given the nod by the doorkeeper at The Easy nightclub, you make your way to wait for the freight elevator that creaks to the top floor. The dining room agleam with white napery and silver leads out on to the Roof, a lighthearted take on Palm Court, linen swags and potted plants and a little bar with sofas.
The menu is naturally luxurious. The Fifth is for celebration. An ounce of Beluga for $160 would go well with Champagne. Chateaubriand for two and a range of steaks. Lobster mashed potatoes sound awfully good. Seared foie gras, of course (the appetite for foie gras appears to be insatiable despite attempts by animal rights activists to have it taken off the menu). I could slum with a wild mushroom burger. But no. Tonight I'm going to play gourmet. I shall put myself in the hands of the chef, J.P. Challet, and ask him to just bring on whatever he feels like.
"Suppose we don't like it?" asks the Bon Vivant who skipped a trip to the fleshpots of Montreal for this. "We can't send it back." It's true. Imagine having a showdown with a chef over one of his personal creations. Our companion, the Discerning Eater, is more sanguine: What will be will be.
The corn bisque lays our fears to rest. We are embarked on the French food narrative. The French have a black belt in flavour-making. It is how the ingredients are treated that makes their flavour (taste and smell) more intense.
The French used to feed sweet corn to pigs until they learned from the Americans that the blend of sugar and crunch was irresistible. Now anyone, well almost anyone, can make a tasty corn soup, but Mr. Challet has transcended the obvious chowder: He has bisque'd the corn--crunched, pressed, pureed it so smooth that only a tiny nubbin or so is left -- and flavoured it gently with fennel.
The toppings are a little crab cake and a fennel rouille, created by mixing a puree of potatoes and fennel cooked in fish soup with a mayonnaise of garlic, saffron, piquillo pepper and fennel puree. The rouille is a mere squiggle but it's impact is 1,000% more. When I sip the pale gold soup, I have a mouthful of flavour -- corn plus -- informed by a dozen complementary tastes.
After such food, we wax philosophical. The pureed corn is as deceptively spontaneous as Roger Federer's forehand, the fennel rouille vibrates like Feist's voice.
Little spears of white asparagus come with a few snails in herbed garlic sauce. The big juicy Burgundy snails are canned. On the "fresh and local" watch, I googled Ontario edible snails and found none. There should be. Fresh snails are terrific.
A friend of mine celebrated his 50th birthday with snails he had raised on corn mash or some such. They breed like rabbits and one day he came home to find them slithering all over his kitchen. A snail, contrary to conventional wisdom, moves fast.
Mr. Challet now pays homage to Escoffier, the father of French classic cooking who was put in the doghouse by over-eager nouvelle cuisine. Tournedos Rossini, a six-ounce medallion of tenderloin, seared rare, topped with seared fresh foie gras, accompanied by a little bloc of terrine de foie gras -- and a pool of Bordelaise sauce as fragrant as the caramelized crust of roast beef. I'd almost forgotten Bordelaise, which is usually replaced by insipid " jus," i.e., blood. Bordelaise is genius. Escoffier made a rich brown sauce, added red wine, bone marrow, shallots to another unctuous demi-glace sauce which incorporates Madeira and stock. This is a food that arouses all the senses, as profound as the sound of Rostropovich's cello.
What is this great cheese? A semi-soft, raw milk Baluchon from Quebec with two small accompaniments, a fried potato gnocchi and a quenelle-shaped Kobe steak tartare with Bearnaise sauce, another of Escoffier's classics (tarragon, eggs, butter and white wine). We feel we're in Babette's Feast with absolutely delicious courses flying by.
The desserts are mouthfuls of intense sweetness: caramel sauce on banana chocolate cake, banana rum sorbet and a chocolate brandy snap. Eat 'em together for impact to the max. How did Mr. Challet know that the caramelized crepe Suzette stuffed with a dab of Grand Marnier parfait was the most potent memory food to the Discerning Eater? Now she can't restrain herself. "This is the best meal I've had in ages," she cries.
This being a French meal, we have to deconstruct her claim. That means pleasurable memories of meals past while we ponder the fact that food is life, or as George Bernard Shaw said in one of his perceptive moments, "There is no sincerer love than the love of food."
Tasting Menu, $100 each. Wine by the glass starts at $11. Interesting wine list. Wheelchair accessible. Rating 4 High fives; Rating 3 I'll go back; Rating 2 Try it, you'll like it; Rating 1 Disappointing
Hi Bobbo10, I may have missed you but if not please check out Scaramouche. It is one of the top 5 romantic restaurants in Toronto. And I agree, George should def. be on your list. Starfish is also nice...oysters and lobsters....more casual than George and Scaramouche but I find it romantic none the less. I would also suggest to you Mistura for italian food.
Hope you have a great visit....let us know where you ended up! Cheers