Anniversary Dinner -- Please Help
We will be celebrating our second wedding anniversary, this weekend (Saturday July 7th). My parents will also be celebrating their (33rd) wedding anniversary too. Their actual anniversary is a few days before ours, but we all decided to celebrate together, and have a nice dinner. Our original plans for dinner (we made reservations at a restaurant in another city) have fallen through, due to unforseen circumstances. Now i'm a bit frantic, because we have to start from scratch, and I only have a short time to figure out where we should go!!
Here is my problem: My parents are not vegetarian -- but we (my husband and myself) are. We would like to have a special meal that everyone can enjoy, but this will be difficult, due to our vegetarianism!
We would like to choose a restaurant that has a special atmosphere and great food. We don't want to go somewhere stiff and formal where the servers have attitude -- but we DO want an experience that is a bit more special than a regular meal out. We also don't want to go somewhere too trendy (we'd prefer a more classic place). We'd like to be able to linger over our meal and enjoy good conversation-- so this also rules out the hotspots where the goal is to turn over tables as quickly as possible. We also would prefer not to go to a restaurant where the tables are crammed together, cheek by jowl -- we'd like a little breathing room. We like spicy, flavourful and somewhat creative food (my parents are from Barbados). We don't like heavy, creamy, pretentious foods (French food / heavy white sauces, Fois Gras, truffles, etc.)
The location of the restaurant doesn't matter. We can do downtown / uptown / just outside of town ... whatever. We are looking in the mid priced range (20-25$ entrees) -- but we'd be willing to spend a bit more, if the restaurant meets our criteria. Also, we don't want to go somewhere where the vegetarian option is just a pasta dish. BORING! We've been there and done that -- it's a special occasion, we want something better.
Where should we go? I'm totally at a loss. Please help, chowhounds.
Edited to add:
I forgot to mention, we'd prefer to go somewhere that would not require overly formal clothing (no evening gowns & stiff suits!). Ideally, the hosts at our location would welcome us in nice dress clothes (a nice skirt for me, and dress pants/nice dress shirt for my husband).
We had a great anniversary dinner last night at Matahari Grill on Baldwin Street. It's a nice room, crisp and modern with tablecloths and nice place settings, but it's not at all formal. We felt fine dressed in jeans and shorts. (And shirts). Great service – friendly and professional. We both thought the food was fantastic, and it looks like there would be enough options to satisfy a hungry pair of vegetarians. The cuisine is Malaysian – sort of Thai but with an Indo-Chinese inflection. We're going back before our next anniversary!
39 Baldwin Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1L1, CA
I think Matahari fits the bill, too, for all that the original poster requested. It's one of my absolute favourite restaurants in Toronto. The service is pleasantly slow paced but attentive enough, and if you do go, save room for dessert: both the screwpine crepe and the bananas Matahari are to die for.
Congratulations on your wedding anniversary! My husband and I are celebrating our first wedding anniversary this weekend too...with my parents as well (it's their 34th)! What a coincidence. We're off to Montreal though (Primo e Secondo).
My suggestion would be Linda's, just upstairs from Salad King downtown. They have quite a few vegetarian dishes, the atmosphere upstairs is quiet, relaxing, and the service is really nice. Linda the owner is usually around, taking the time to talk to every table. Ask her about her most recent trip to Thailand! She keeps going back to learn new recipes and techniques. www.lindarestaurant.com
How about The Corner House? Davenport and Spadina. www.cornerhouserestaurant.com Really nice food in an old house with a good selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes as I recall. The room I was in might have had tables a little close together but you could always ask when you make the reservation to be seated somewhere a little more private due to your special occasion.