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NYC 'Hound Needs Help w/ Short List of TO Restaurants, please.

Greetings from New York. I'm usually on the Manhattan board, and am looking for a place for my husband to have a business lunch in Toronto this week. We've been to Splendido, Canoe and North 44 for dinner - but about 10 years ago. Another possibility that I came up with is George, which looks interesting. Looks like Opus and Celestin aren't open for lunch - nor are Splendido or North 44. There will be just two people, they don't mind travelling a bit from downtown - but maybe keep it south of Eglington (sp?)? (I went to school in Toronto so am pretty familiar w/ the geographics.)

So - is George a good idea? Any other suggestions for an excellent lunch in TO this week?


Oh - cost not an issue, any cuisine, it's a client lunch so he wants something "upscale".

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  1. I've heard great things about George and the newest buzz is all about Colborne Lane but I've not yet been to either of them becausse I usually save my dining out treats for when I visit Manhattan! Colborne Lane is not open for luch either, unfortunately. Other people here will have tons more suggestions for you.

    1. Canoe is probably the most spectacular place in town for a client lunch, though the menu at George certainly looks inviting. Another option is Bymark, which, like Canoe, will be filled with the Bay St. crowd.

      2 Replies
      1. re: estragon

        Thanks - I'm wondering - it occurs to me that they will be more casually dressed - i.e., certainly not in suits - maybe in nice pants and dress shirt - will that be an issue at these places?

        1. re: MMRuth

          No problem with that, you can wear jeans there with a nice shirt.

      2. George is great--as you'll see on these boards, it has a gorgeous back patio if the client is open to that, atmosphere is professional but not stuffy and the service and food are always fantastic.

        1. I recently had a great dinner at Red's. They do cater to a business crowd, so I imagine they work hard to turn out a good lunch as well. Financial district resto, but I wouldn't worry about dress code. I showed up for dinner in jeans and there was no problem.

          Starfish is a little more casual (bistro-y enviro), but the food is excellent and it is downtown.

          1. George is great; you could also try JK Gardiner for lunch, or Jamie Kennedy's Wine Bar. Good luck!

            1. Besides those you mentioned, other "upscale" traditional places for business lunches:

              Bymark at 66 Wellington Street West
              Rosewater Supper Club 19 Toronto Street
              Thuet Bistro 609 King Street West
              Avenue at the Four Seasons 21 Avenue Road
              Harbour Sixty 60 Harbour Street

              1. George is good, great if you have a bit of time. It is about a 15-20 minute walk from the core.

                It's hot here this week, so I would vote for Bymark or Canoe for a business lunch on someone else's tab if they are going to be in one of the core buildings Great food and can stay inside in the AC. both fine sans suits.

                2 Replies
                1. re: orangewasabi

                  I was underwhelmed by my lunch at Bymark recently and found the decor depressing since its underground. I haven't eaten lunch at George but have had several amazing dinners there. Instead of walking you could easily cab it or take TTC George. Don't know about dress code for lunch at George but at Bymark I was wearing casual clothes and didn't feel out of place.

                  1. re: Beef Pattie

                    that's a bummer about Bymark -- I eat there regularly and enjoy it. But then, I like the cool darkness of the underground.

                2. Celsestin was doing lunch the last time I went by. I think it's something new.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Edith S

                    Thanks - good to know - I was checking (gasp) Zagat to see which meals were served by which places.

                  2. George on Queen Street East is fantastic, but your clients may also be impressed with the JK Gardiner (which has also been suggested by other posters). It is in the brand new Gardiner Textile museum - which is a beautiful building. The only negative about George is that it isn't on a particularly nice stretch of Queen - not dangerous, just a little haggard.

                    Either would be a great option.


                    1. Thanks for all of your advice and suggestions - looks like the trip has been moved to next week, but I'll be sure to report back.

                      1. I have not yet visited, but I've heard good things about Vertical (First Canadian Place). Anyone want to comment?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: hungry_pangolin

                          A little while back, the Globe's Report on Business did a very interesting article about Canoe and Vertical and how they woo the power lunch crowd. Canoe being the old hat, and Vertical the new upstart.

                          I am not sure if the link to the story still works, but here it is.


                        2. Reporting back - my husband and his client/friend ended up having dinner at George on Friday night, eating out on the patio, which he said was lovely. Had a hard time getting concrete details out of him - except that he loved the sweet breads and lobster dish. They spent about $600 (egad), which apparently included a before dinner drink for each of them, a bottle of red wine from the Niagara region that was a blend that included Malbec ($100), a glass of white wine each with one of the courses, and two glasses of eiswein (from Niagara) each - no wonder he can't remember much. I gather that they had three savory courses, and then dessert. Thanks again for your help.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: MMRuth

                            whoa, your husband is a champion --- that's a lot of liquid