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SF hound needs dinner recommendations

My wife and I and another couple will be in Toronto July 20 - 23 and we need recommendations for two dinners. Friday night we are meeting a friend that lives in Toronto and he suggested George. To me George seems pretty upscale and expensive. An older crowd and expense account type of place? We're looking for excellent food in a modern setting with efficient yet casual service. We will not wear jackets and will wear jeans. If you are familiar with San Francisco, the types of places we're looking for would be along the same lines as Delfina, Myth, A16, Slanted Door and Piperade...and not like Michael Mina or Fleur de Lys.

Has anyone been to any of the following?:

+ Globe Bistro
+ Colborne Lane
+ Trevor Kitchen & Bar
+ Kultura


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  1. FYI, Colborne Lane is more expensive than George.

    4 Replies
    1. re: skylineR33

      Is George a great experience? We have an outstanding restaurant in SF called Quince, but it is pretty full of blue-hairs most nights... ; )

      1. re: Husky

        Hello Husky,

        Yes, George is very nice in terms of food but for sure atmosphere is not a hip one. And it is really not that formal. I wear a jacket with jean going there. But if you prefer a trendy place (I am not familiar with SF too), Kultura is something not breaking the bank with a younger crowd, but with average food IMO. If you want both trendy and good food, Colborne Lane is my recommendation but it is on the expensive side. Crowd at George/Globe/CL are same age group.

        Maybe you want to consider Lee too, owned by Toronto's famous chef, Susur. I am not too fond of the food there at Lee but many people like it. It is also trendy.

        Hope this help !!

          1. re: Husky

            Opps, I mean jacket. I have corrected it, haha. I guess you don't need a ticket to get it there.

    2. I'm not familiar with SF, but I think that you could get away with jeans at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar, so long as you're looking smart. The service is sometimes a bit slow, though.

      1. I haven't yet been to Colborne Lane or Kultura, but I know Globe and Trevor pretty well.

        Trevor is an underground space with a relaxed, funky vibe. The bar side is probably more your speed than the slightly more formal restaurant side. The menu (http://www.trevorkitchenandbar.com) reminds me a bit of SF's Town Hall or Salt House -- solid, rib-sticking food, great bar menu.

        Globe is visually the opposite -- soaring ceiling, lots of light -- and the food is also terrific. A focus on fresh local ingredients, simply treated. Great service. http://www.globebistro.com

        124 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K1N1, CA

        Trevor Kitchen
        38 Wellington St E, Toronto, ON M5E1C7, CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: estragon

          Thank you...any other recommendations? We're staying at Hotel le Germain, but willing to travel!

        2. I love the Slanted Door. You're looking for something along the lines of
          Lee (on King Street, west of Spadina)

          Globe (on Danforth, east of Broadview

          Beer Bistro (on King Street, east of Yonge

          JK Wine Bar (on Church Street, south of Front

          Trevor (on Wellington, east of Yonge

          Eggplant (on King street, east of Sherbourne

          Quince (on Yonge Street, north of Davisville

          No jackets required. Jeans are perfectly fine! Happy chowing.

          2 Replies
          1. re: fickle

            in addition to this good list, a funky vibe at the Drake Hotel.

            1. re: fickle

              Great list from fickle for what you're looking for. I would emphasize JK Wine Bar and Beerbistro as fitting your criteria AND being relatively close to your hotel. Trevor is a sort of a love it/hate kind of place, but it definitely has a modern, funky vibe. For me, the best part about Trevor is that it's a couple of doors away from the Reservoir Lounge -- a fantastic spot to hit for after dinner cocktails and listening to some great, live swing jazz or jump blues bands.

              I would normally recommend Starfish, but given that you're coming from SF, I will not recommend any seafood restaurants in town. :o) Well, except for Chiado, but it doesn't have the vibe you're looking for.

            2. Zucca at Yonge and Davisville is great.

              1. Hmm, I'm actually having trouble coming up with many suggestions that fit your bill - which is kind of shameful in a city the size of Toronto.

                - I'd second JKWB. I concede that their service can be slow, but I find their servers are genuinely interested in food, which is great. Also, I like JK best sitting at the bar, but that might be tough with four.
                - I think Trevor is over-rated... dingy basement atmosphere, mediocre food, and staff who are rather indifferent. Couldn't endorse.
                - The Drake is definitely worth seeing. West Queen West has become very clubby and slightly meat-market-y on the weekend, with lineups out the door at popular venues, and significant traffic congestion. Still, a dinner reservation would probably save you from that, and it's a pretty special "Toronto" spot (also great patio).
                - I don't love Coca, but it might be a good bet for your purposes. Modern, unstaid feel and OK tapas. I think this place is a little style-over-substance, but you'd probably have a fun night - and there are lots of places for bar-hopping later.
                - George is a CH fave, although my own experiences have been mixed (I keep thinking I should give it another go). I'd wear jeans (really, there are few places I wouldn't go in Toronto wearing jeans and heels), but it is a formal-ish, older and more serious crowd, and can get expensive.
                - We've been to Zucca fairly recently, and it's a nice neighbourhood restaurant, but not very modern or happening... I don't think it would be worth the trip uptown.

                This post is perhaps more "negative" than positive on my part, but perhaps it will be somewhat helpful. I keep thinking there must be a couple of great options that I just haven't recalled...

                For a little more research, you might try www. martiniboys.com.


                1. You might be interested in exploring Toronto's neighbourhoods with great food. Little Italy along College St. comes to mind as a lively place. Giancarlo, Grappa or Sotte Voce are all good choices. You might also want to explore restaurants in Yorkville or the Annex.

                  1. Please do post back after your trip. I'm also headed from SF to TO the following week, and am feeling overwhelmed by restaurant choices. These all sounds great.