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A smorgasbord of restaurants I would like your opinions and advice about

Hello!

My friend and I have compiled a 'must-eat' at list. I would like to hear about how the food (appetizer,entree- specialities?, dessert) and ambiance is at the following places. Also, please feel free to share anything else you feel is relevant (i.e. would you return? was the meal worth the costs?)

The list (so far):
- Colborne Lane
- George
- Bistro Bakery Thuet
- Pangaea
- Amuse Bouche
- Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar

Considering:
- Rain
- Splendido
- Canoe

Thank you in advance for your help!

Cheers
Sugarcube

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  1. Why so many in the list ? If you want the best western food in TO, try out Splendido ($135 tasting menu) and Susur ($120 tasting menu). They are both very expensive as standard in TO, but worth it and "must-eat" IMO in Toronto. Then, start consider those in your list !

    9 Replies
    1. re: skylineR33

      i've been hearing negative things about Splendido though. it appears that their service is exceptional but not so much with the food.... (i.e. the latest toronto star review)... any thoughts? when did you go?

      1. re: sugarcube

        If you take a look through the boards on the reviews of the place, you'll find that very few of the people here agree with Pataki. There's a very recent thread on this. The food is fantastic (went again two weeks ago). She couldn't have thought the food was THAT bad, based on her star rating.

        1. re: sugarcube

          Hi sugarcube,

          I am actually a litte disappointed about the food I got at Splendido as I have expressed some specific in a number of other threads here before. Don't get me wrong, the food is great, it is just may be I have too high expectation ?! I went there in this April. Overall, I am very happy with the meal. I think this is some kind of unique dining experience you can get in Toronto.

          1. re: skylineR33

            Hi Minnow and Skyline,

            it sounds like the inconsistent nature of the food is caused by an exchange of chefs? (i.e. some get David Lee on certain nights and not others?) or perhaps there is not enough quality control being done?
            i am still torn about this restaurant and whether to try it or not. Pataki seems to have given a high rating based more so on the service as opposed to the food. so it makes her rating a bit misleading.

            1. re: sugarcube

              I saw David Lee walking out the kitchen on the night of my visit. And people say he does not work on Sunday...

              I agree that sevice outshines food at Splendido, it may not be inconsistent, some people may just find the food not worth the money they spend as most of the money go to service?! And some people see it as a whole package thing ?

              For sure there are lots of restaurant more expensive than Splendido elsewhere, but It is still expensive to eat there by any standard.

              1. re: skylineR33

                I find that David's cooking has become very consistent. IMO he's now (one of) the most consistently excellent chefs in Toronto. I must admit I haven't been as enthralled about the 'sound' of the menu recently - somehow it seemed to be more exciting before - but that hasn't diminished my opinion of the preparation and cooking skills, which are still top-notch. It's just (for me) that the menu choices have seemed relatively 'ordinary'. Maybe familiarity (as I go as aften as I can afford) is making the menu seem somehow unexciting - but the cooking is still outstanding!

                1. re: estufarian

                  Thanks SkylineR33 and Estufarian, i think my next choice will be this restaurant over Colborne Lane. I wanted to try their tasting menu, but was informed by the general manager that from tues-thurs we must have at least 4 people present (and 6-8 for the weekend days). besides my foodie buddy and I, I don't believe I know many other friends willing to fork over 140$+ for a culinary experience.

                  1. re: sugarcube

                    Why ? You don't need to order the tasting menu from Colborne Lane as they have a la carte. Their tasting menu is just a whole bunch of items from their a la carte ... if this has not been changed.

                    Or you only interested in tasting menu which you sit downstairs and have a chance to watch kitchen preparing the food ?

                    1. re: skylineR33

                      well a little of column A and a little of column B.. i figured 'hey why not the tasting menu' since it's being offered. i had a good tasting menu experience at Perigee and it was great to speak with Chef Riley in person :)

      2. Pangaea?? JKWB?? Thuet??

        Splendido, Perigee, and Susur are the MUST eats in Toronto.

        Matt

        3 Replies
        1. re: Matt416

          A meal at Sushi Kaji is missing off Matt's list in my opinion.

          The Blowfish sushi shooters are pretty awesome too.

          And never had a bad meal at Scaramouche...(only 4 or 5 visits over 8 years)

          1. re: deelicious

            Scaramouche gets a big nod from me too. Unfortunately I haven't ventured out to Kaji yet but I know its at the top as well. I may be in the minority here, but I don't think George is a "must eat" spot either.

            Matt

            1. re: Matt416

              Scaramouche is a perrenial favorite, if you dont mind spending some dough, go to North 44, do not go to Canoe for anything but a business lunch in my oppinion.

        2. I don't understand Pangaea. I've eaten there a few times, and it was never bad, but never really impressed me. Splendido is worth it, Canoe (for the price) isn't.

          1. Apparently most posters don’t want to answer your question. Just tell you you’re wrong.
            Colborne Lane: Almost no separation between appetizer and entrée – all are ‘small plates’ (actually medium plates). Very hip, very noisy. Food is pretty good featuring around 8 ingredients in each dish – although congratulations if you can determine more than 4 without being told. $12-20 per dish and you’ll need around 4-5 per person. Been twice and will return.
            George: Much more relaxed. Best patio in town (try and reserve for that). Similar style of food but simpler and slightly cheaper. Restaurant itself is large – sort of an oversize Bistro. Absolutely return.
            Thuet – haven’t been – still saving up to visit here!
            Pangaea: Ordinary. Food competent but unexciting. Service erratic. Wine list problematic. Won’t go back.
            Amuse Bouche; Haven’t been – mixed reactions from people who have.
            JKWB – I continue to be amazed at its popularity! GREAT wine list though. No reservations (so go off-peak). My main problem is the smells from the open kitchen disturb (and sometimes destroy) the flavours in the course you get. And they serve you in the order they choose (plays havoc with wine combination). And the food itself is erratic – I’ve had excellent food there and awful food too. And the adjacent dining room is far too expensive for the quality of food served. However, it is the sort of place I recommend to people who stay in the area or are downtown.
            Rain: Haven’t been
            Splendido: Simply the finest dining in Toronto. Ambiance is a little formal. But you are really taken care of. Think Michelin stars – this is the closest you get in TO. Already have my next reservation.
            Canoe: Just don’t get it! Seems to be a business place rather than a restaurant (I almost expect an accountant to be following each server around). Perhaps someone else can tell you why to go there.

            2 Replies
            1. re: estufarian

              I agree with estufarian that Splendido is about as good as it gets, which is good in T.O.
              Scaramouche is more like good country club food.
              Much of their food is too "rich" .Overuse of cream.
              It has a rather stuffy atmosphere as well.
              I still like George, and Sushi Kaji 's tasting menu is amazing.
              I have had mostly good experiences at Chaido.
              Pangaea, have only been once, and can't remember what I ate, so so this in my mind means that it was middle of the road food.
              Haven't been to Thuet or Rain.

              1. re: estufarian

                wow.. thank u for all this great info! you've made it so much easier for me to make a decision. by the way, try thuet for brunch... absolutely divine... mouth watering croissants and such great service-- even on a holiday- Canada Day, where all those great staff could have been resting, served us that day instead.. my hats off to them :)

                you were right about the mixed reactions re: amuse bouche, after looking for this needle in a haystack (it was tucked away on a narrow street) my friend and i tried their tasting menu.. it was.. mediocre, which was unfortunate... as well we were both quite hungry after the meal ended! .lol. so we ended up going to.. dare i say it.. texas lone star grill.. and ordered the entire dessert menu.

              2. My reccomendations:
                Colbourne Lane - very interesting, very hip, very good, loud, but surprisingly good service. Food is fantastic but plates are small.
                George is beatiful and the food is classic. Very reccomended. As mentioned eat on the patio.
                Thuet - havent been for diner but the menu looks overwhelming. The brunch is fantastic and surprisingly affordable.
                Pangea - classic, good food well done classics, deserts are amazing however. Kind of a boring experience.
                Amuse Bouce - food is fantastic but the show stopper is the dessert tasting menu. $25 for 5 'courses' (all served at once)
                JKWB - always great, fun for thoese into food. Eat at the bar a must. Go for lunch.
                Never been to rain, but apparently pretentious and tiny portions, noone goes there anymore.
                Splendido is as good as they say - best to be pampered
                Canoe - nothing special good classic food - i like the bar for the drinks, nuts and the view.

                Others:
                If you want a taste if susur but at a much lower cost I love the 18 vegetable slaw at lee and the matchstick potatos. People seem to dislike lee but those are amazing dishes.
                Scaramouche is a great place to be pampered. I like the pasta bar/grill for an informal meal.

                and if you want steak the terrace at the fifth is the place to go. great steak tartar and steaks and sides.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jkm

                  Thanks for this jkm.. re: amuse bouche, my friend and i tried the chef's tasting menu ($95) and it left a bad impression on us, so we didn't end up getting dessert. what desserts did they serve you that evening?

                  1. re: sugarcube

                    I dont really remember it all but a choclate cake, some mouse, a tart, nothing new but it was all fantastic.