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Jul 5, 2007 10:50 PM

Dinners in Toronto---Good but not too expensive

dear all,

From LA, coming to Toronto with client, staying downtown at The Cosmopolitan. I need suggestions for dinner that are good, comfortable, uniquely Canadian if possible, and not outrageously expensive. $20 entrees is ok, $125 prefixe is not. We can drive but i'd like to keep the distance around 10ish miles.

i've searched the database but didn't see exactly what i need....

thanks in advance,

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  1. First off, remember that Toronto is not L.A. There's never a need to drive 10 miles for food unless you want cheap ethnic in the suburbs. Indeed, there's rarely a need to drive - we have good public transport and pleny of cabs.

    For mains in the $20 range, there are a few good options:

    - Beer Bistro is a very good choice just around the corner from your hotel.

    - Quince, at Yonge and Eglinton, has a wood-burning oven, and does a fine whole fish, among other things.

    - Batifole - a great French bistro in a slightly out-of-the-way residential neighbourhood, a $15 cab ride from your hotel. (Unfortunately, there's no menu on the website.)

    2 Replies
    1. re: estragon

      Batifole is taking part in Summerlicious for the next two weeks and usually long booked solid.

      1. re: estragon

        Thanks so much for all the recommends!

      2. I highly recommend Mildred Pierce. It is a uniquely Toronto restaurant and they are closing at the end of July (to open elsewhere eventually). The price point may be a tad higher than you are looking for (entrees between $22 - $33), but the restaurant is absolutely beautiful without being stuffy at all and the food and service are both lovely. It's in a very-off-the-beaten-track location (but close to downtown), so your client will be impressed that you found it. Bonus points. :)

        There are few restaurants that are uniquely "Canadian", as this is such a multi-cultural society, it's hard to define "Canadian". And as Edith S points out, Toronto will shortly be in the middle of Summerlicious, a major restaurant promotion period, and many, many restaurants are participating -- making them almost impossible to get into. Here's a list of all the restaurants participating.

        My recommendation is to avoid them at all costs if you are doing a client dinner. Many of the restaurants try to pack too many seatings into the evening, and the servers are often overworked and undertipped and therefore cranky.

        Good luck and please report back!

        1. Just in case you decide to keep it very local - here are some of the best spots within a 5 block from your hotel:

          Kultura on King Street East - tapas fusion. Loungey vibe in a beautiful room.
          Toba on King Street East - solid little bistro
          Six Steps on Colbourne Lane - half block from your hotel

          I would also suggest a visit to the Distillery District if you want to see a unique Toronto neighbourhood. It would be a $5 cab ride from your hotel (also walkable if you choose to do so). It is a recently restored victorian industrial neighbourhood that is pedestrian only, and packed with bars, art galleries, patios, etc. there are some very expensive spots in there (Perigee, for example). But somewhere like the Boiler House would probably be within your price range and the building it is in is incredible. Really good area if you want a bit of a wander along the cobblestone streets, a nice dinner in a great looking spot, and somewhere to grab a drink after.

          3 Replies
          1. re: jgloverwork

            Good call on the Distillery. And to rayna -- if you don't mind a casual pub atmosphere for dinner, then check out the Mill St. Brew Pub in the Distillery. The fantastic beers are all made onsite, and the food is well-executed British pub fare, with a few nice, slightly upscale twists. If the weather is nice, get seated outside on the cobblestone patio and watch the people go by.

            This may honestly be about at "Canadian" as it gets, since we are still part of the British Commonwealth.


            1. re: TorontoJo

              "This may honestly be about at 'Canadian' as it gets, since we are still part of the British Commonwealth."

              We are? Golly, living here in Toronto, I hadn't noticed! ;) Canadian is as Canadian eats. I think Toronto stopped being "British" around the time that a Dairy Queen (or KFC?) on Gerrard became the Lahore Tikka House, and the local Orange Hall turned into a sari shop.

              1. re: estragon

                Oh, don't get me wrong, I agree with you completely. I think we are all about our multi-culturalism and the fantastic cuisines that come with that. I just meant that if you had to identify something as "Canadian", I suppose that as close as you can get to the country's "roots" around here is a British pub. The sentence you quoted was meant to be a bit tongue in cheek.

          2. Rosebud on Queen West
            7 West Cafe
            Senator on Victoria St. (@Dundas)
            JK Wine Bar (can't have a FULL meal for $20, but could have some great tapas/aps and a glass of Cdn. wine)
            Cafe La Gaffe on Baldwin

            2 Replies
            1. re: thenurse

              Please no, not Cafe La Gaffe. It used to be great but its horrendous now. Both service and food.

              1. re: Beef Pattie

                good to know, haven't been in awhile

            2. I'm heading there this week end and have done extensive search. Check out They have a wide variety of sugestions fro Cheap Eats to restaraunts by neighborhood. Queen Street is always good...also try But the 1st one was the most info. Enjoy...Toronto is a blast!!!