BEAUTIFUL Restaurants and GREAT food in Toronto???
I will be traveling to Toronto with my girlfriend for 4 nights for the first time. I will be staying probably at SOHO Metropolitan and maybe Pantages (2 nights each place.. can't you tell tell I'm very indecisive =)
Well I love to take pictures and I was wondering If I can get some help to find beautiful restaurants with beautiful food and of course GREAT tasting, around the areas where I am staying. I will try to do my best to WALK EVERYWHERE I go becuase I got to burn off all those CALORIES from all the food I'll be eating!!!
I've read countless reviews and suggestion from Chowhound about places like Susur, Lee, Sen5es, Perigee, Lai Wah Heen but mostly about the food, not too much about the setting and enviroment... I'm interested mostly in asian, Sushi and I guess places like Rain, perigeee (I dunno what type of restaurants to call them) ...oh yeah and may be places with beautiful DESERTS
What restuarants do you guys/gals think fit all these criterias!!!
Perigee has discontinued the dessert tasting menu. (Although they're now taking Open Table reservations, which is great.)
The Gallery Grill at Hart House, and Osgoode Hall (which might be closed if you're coming during the summer) are both gorgeous rooms. I've heard Mildred Pierce is beautiful too, but closing soon!
Two truly beautiful restaurants are the Laurentian Room and the Savoy Bistro. Lots of Art Deco. The Rosewater Supper Club has beautiful soaring ceilings. All of these have good food, but are not the top of the game in Toronto. But they are all stunning.
Perigee is not beautiful, per se, but the exposed brick and beams are full of character and lovely to look at. The decor otherwise is a bit lacking.
Susur is stark white and modern. It's neighbour, Lee, is funky and hot pink.
George has a gorgeous patio.
The grand hall of BCE Place is stunning and very picture worthy, but I would avoid eating at the Richtree Market there.
Look like Rain is the restaurant for you ! It is trendy and cool restaurant with asian fusion food. I like the food there but some may disagree with me regarding the food. And yes, food is beautifully presented there too.
You might want to ask about photography policies when you make reservations at some of these places. Not all establishments will welcome you taking pictures while inside. Even some non-restaurants (stores, etc) don't permit photography.
That said, you've gotten some very good recommendations. And for "food with a view", we've got the CN Tower. Not the "ne plus ultra" on food, mind you, but one fine background! And if you take the stairs, you could surely have extra dessert. ;)
Rain does seem to fit your criteria over Susur. In my opinion, Rain has better decor and their wine program far superior. Especially if you select the wine pairing with your tasting menu. With Rain, some would call it Asian fusion, others would say it's "high end" Asian food. Either way the chef focuses on using Asian ingredients. It's very close to your hotel, decor is chic, presentation is fabulous. Pastry chef is very competent as well. You could probably ask for a dessert tasting.
The one thing to keep in mind about Susur or Rain, is that the dishes served are very complex, sometimes up to 10-20 spices can go into one dish. The chefs strive on being very creative, the cost of which means the food can be hit or miss. Personally I accept this risk.
Another vote for Rain - camera-worthy setting, and I find their food very good.
And a few more thoughts -
-The interior of Ultra is quite special (and near your hotel), and although I don't think the food is stunning, it might be worthwhile popping in for a drink (the bar is the best scenery, anyhow).
- The interior at the Drake is great, but I'd avoid it in a weekend night, if possible - can get quite clubby.
-Sopra, above Mistura is quite an elegant interior, and the food is good.
- For a room with a view, Canoe has a 54th(?...something like that) storey view of the Toronto Islands, plus their food is good, and "Canadian." Book at sunset and ask for a table by the window.
i'll put in another vote for rain.
the only experience i had was part of taping for their tv show and i described the food in this previous post. http://www.chow.com/topics/305596
as apprentice does mention, rain uses A LOT of flavour combinations (never been to susur so cannot vouch for him) and sometimes it can really be overwhelming. i often found the best way to eat a dish was to have a little bit of everything in one bite and it would be perfect. each item on your plate is an element of the whole and by itself it tends to be lacking. beautiful well lit space, you'll love the bar and i suggest getting drinks because they're just beautifully done as well.
i actually find lee (beside susur) to give me a headache and have known others that it does the same too. somethign abotu the combination of the lighting, music and ridiculousness of the mismatched and busy styling just does not make me feel good there. it is however a very interesting space to photograph.
Sen5es is not what it used to be, sadly. I did enjoy my dinner there last month, but it wasn't quite to the sublime level of the tasting menu I tried in Feb 2006 (which I STILL rave about as the best use of $150 ever).
There's also the recently-opened C5 restaurant in the Royal Ontario Museum. It occupies the top floor of the new Crystal wing, so it's really quite interesting in terms of the architecture and also comes with a great panorama of the city. The service is extremely attentive (though a bit rough around the edges), and the food is excellent - not very Asian-inspired, I'm afraid, which may knock it out of the running for you. The focus is more on showcasing fresh local ingredients.
Too far to walk, but you can take the subway up to St. Clair, and walk from there.
Scaramouche on Benevuto Place offers magnificent views of the city, especially at
dusk. Great food, impeccable service, and a wonderful time.
It's lunch only, but one of the prettiest places in Toronto (in my opinion), is the Red Tea Box on West Queen West (which would be a good excursion if you're interested in shopping and/or art). RTB a little bakery and tea shop where you can also get lovely bento box lunches. There's secret garden-y coach house in the back for dining, as well as a few seats in the main room. Cakes are desperately beautiful, and while the setting is a little girly, it's really quite exquisite.
I might get yelled at by fellow chowhounds for this one...
I love Auburge du Pommier ( I know, I know, it's French and a little out of the way... but not too far! ) , just north York Mills Subway Stop, for ambiance and food. Maybe it's beacuse I had our first romantic dinner there with the significant other that I'm partial to the place.
Then there's always C5, the new resturant at the ROM. it's right at the very top of the Crystal. I don;t know about the food, but it's certainlly beautiful! (At least from the pictures!
Failing that, I agree with Rabbit in the Red Tea Box. Some great shops with stuff by local artists (like the Magic Pony and Fresh Collective) are literally right next store.
If you are a photographer, I would suggest doing Perigee or Boiler House in the Distillery District. Boiler House is a much nicer room, Perigee better food... but the real photo opps would be walking the Distillery Neighbourhood - really a very unique example of restored Victorian Industrial architecture. Pedestrial only, cobblestones, incredible old buildings... very rare in North America.... http://www.thedistillerydistrict.com/...
Walking distance from the pantages, Colbourne Lane would also be a great option. Wonderful looking little room and the presentation of the food would be very photogenic.
The SOHO Met is in the theatre district which, unfortunately, means that most of the restaurants within the immediate few blocks are touristy and awful. The closest rooms that would suit your desires would be Susur, Thuet Bistro and Lee which are on King Street between Spadina and Bathurst (about an 8 block walk?)
Distillery District is nice, especially if you like to take pictures. However, I found that it's been a bit over-exposed recently (maybe it's just my own feeling).
I went to Perigee this past weekend. Overall, it was a very good experience. I've taken some pictures and put it on my blog... feel free to check it out:
*They have redesigned their kitchen.