An American needs your help!
Hello neighbors. A nearby Michiganer is traveling to your wonderful city of Toronto and I am looking for advice for restaurants and/or stay.
I am going to be there three nights and four days. I want to stay in a location that is central enough I have easy access to the best food and cultural locations. Hotels with good restaurants inside? Any suggestions?
Finally, and most importantly, what are your BEST, NOT TO BE MISSED restaurants and food destinations? What are the places that you can find NO where else in the world? Price here is not an option, food is my love and I am willing to spend accordingly.
Thank you so much and I can't wait to see your glorious city!
Chiado is a definite can't miss.
How many places in North America can boast of a top quality Portuguese restaurant?
The area around College west is rife with Italian and Portuguese eateries. So it is well worth a before or after diner stroll.
If you want authentic fresh fish, Chiado uses a local portuguese fish monger who has fresh fish flown in 3 days a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) from the home land. They bring the fish platter around to your table and explain the taste & preparation of about 7 different varieties. Match this with a very large Portuguese wine list and great service & you get a novel experience.
Many of the other "top" restaurants in toronto provide an excellant experience, but not that unique outside of other North American cities.
Definitely, the Drake or the Gladstone. (I live on Gladstone, and this is a fabulous area to be living in right now, except for the highrises that are planned just south of Queen St. The OMB ruins everything.) Anyway, the Drake or the Gladstone and neighbourhood. Some wonderful things all along Queen St. W. (including a wonderful roti place on Queen west of Dufferin, where almost no-one every goes), up Ossington, on College if you want to go up there.
Someone said they're not "really downtown," but you wouldn't want to stay in "really downtown." It's not half so interesting as either the west-downtown (Drake and Gladstone) or the east-downtown.
When are you coming?
Hotel germaine is a small, centrally located downtown boutique-style hotel with a highly rated restaurant inside called 'Luce' which is run by two brothers who have reached celbrity status here; Guy and Michael Rubino. They have another restaurant across the street called 'Rain", which is highly rated as well. I have never been inside either the hotel or the restaurants, but I used to have a client on the same street and would visit the area regularly. It's close to clubs, small and interesting bars and restaurants as well, as the Rogers Centre if you care to catch a Blue Jays game.
You may find Jamie Kennedy on Church to be a bit different because of the menu design, a sort of multicultural fusion tapas design (OK OK).
I think Via Allegro is interesting because of the wine list, possibly one of the largest in North America, with excellent sommeliers, and I have always enjoyed the food. BUT it is at the western fringe of Toronto and will require a car.
If you're looking for a quick cheap lunch, try Burrito Boys and their halibut burrito.
Likewise Californias or Vinnies Pannini for great veal on a bun. Great food doesn't have to be expensive.
If you like 'boutique" hotels, try the SoHo Metropolitan or the Cosmopolitan, or for old, but fabulous Toronto hotels try the King Edward or the Royal York.
re: Scary Bill
For hotels, I would consider the Drake or Gladstone - both on Queen West near Dufferin. Neither is super high-end (they aren't the King Eddy or Royal York) but they're in a great neighbourhood with easy access to transit or a taxi to get to good restaurants. More fun than staying in the business district, with art galleries and good places to eat and drink nearby.
re: VP of Feeling Groovy
How could I overlook The Gladstone! It's not downtown, but transit is in front.
It may be one of your most interesting hotel experiences. If you want something you won't find elsewhere, this is possibly one such experience. 37 of the rooms were designed by local artists who were given carte blanche to design a room. I saw the rooms at a pre-opening event and they are fabulous. There is a great bar with some nice beer on tap, and a much more interesting than typical bar menu.Take e look at the website: http://www.gladstonehotel.com/
As other posters have noted, I don't think there is a signature food for Toronto. However,
I do believe our various ethnic communities offer choices that you don't get in Michigan, and I say that from personal experience.
I worked in downtown Detroit for two years for Blue Cross, and AAA Michigan. I was
glad to be near Greektown, but let me assure you, Toronto's Danforth offers many more
Greek options, both in range of food offered, and prices.
And I never found a decent Chinese meal on the US side of the river (Windsor actually
has some excellent Chinese spots). If you don't mind a drive, go north on the DVP/404 to Highway 7, and turn west. You can go into Times Square at Leslie and Hwy 7, or go one street farther west to W. Beaver Creek; both locales have many very good Chinese spots that are not expensive.
Toronto also has an extensive Italian and Portugese community; College Street West will provide many fine, family run cafes with surprisingly good food for reasonable prices.
Very few hotels in Toronto have a decent restaurant tucked inside. Lai Wah Heen in the Hotel Metropole is one exception.
I'm sure others will suggest Susur, North 44, Canoe, and other high end spots. My two personal favourites in this area are Scaramouche - especially if you get a window seat - and Auberge du Pommier. I'm sure you can get similar quality food in Michigan, but the settings of both these places are especially enchanting.
Those are great links.
In terms of food that "you can find NO where else in the world" this recent thread will also be useful: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/406183
In there, we pretty much all agree (sorta) there's no one specialty that is 100% unique to Toronto, but we have a great smörgåsbord of multicultural food options.