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Jul 14, 2007 11:14 AM

Toronto: where to go, NOT to be seen

I need an upscale place, not snobby service or foo-foo
Good wine list, something different from regular fare, perhaps something newer or even a restaurant that has classic fare
My friend is coming in from L.A. and has been to a lot a restaurants around the world

Has to have excellent service, but not over-bearing, a place where I can take someone who is in the public eye, but doesn't wish to be bothered etc......

Any suggestions most welcome.......

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  1. Canoe and Bymark are upscale and know how to handle celebrities. Also Jump if you want somewhere more relaxed, although the food there is not quite as good. If you're mainly interested in the wine list you could try Via Allegro, but it's harder to be inconspicuous there.

      1. re: dinin and dishin

        Scaramouche and Chiado both came to mind for me too. But Susur has expensive wines and seems to be more of a celebrity place (although arguably the best chef in Toronto).
        If I want to impress guests from NYC, I take them to Chiado - nothing like it elsewhere in North America and a stunning (albeit expensive) winelist. Literally several hundred selections of portuguese wine (and a few Canadian selections). No other countries represented!
        Some of the freshest fish in toronto - but avoid the traditional 'heavy' Portuguese dishes in favour of something more 'fusion'.

        1. re: estufarian

          estufararian, I noticed in another thread that you are soon heading to Montreal. Since you enjoy Chiado you would also enjoy Ferreira:

          1. re: estufarian

            I haven't been to Chiado in about 4 years, so I can't comment on their current form. Why do you recommend avoiding the traditional Portuguese dishes? Are they not prepared as well? When I was in Portugal in 2004 I had some fantastic traditional cuisine and have always looked for a close replica. To think of it I'm not sure why I never went back to Chiado to compare?

            1. re: Apprentice

              If you want the 'traditional' dishes I recommend going to a 'hole-in-the-wall' type portuguese place. There's nothing wrong with the ones at Chiado, but the more 'modern' dishes at Chiado are exceptional and not easily available elsewhere.
              Given the prices, the "value" lies in the more creative side of the menu. Why spend the big bucks on something that's really bistro or home-cooking fare when you have the opportunity to try some excellent creative dishes for the same money?
              Note that this recommendation was aimed at "out-of-towners" who travel extensively - and it's currently summer. I'd be much more inclined to be traditional in the winter.
              I tend to go somewhere like Piri-Piri for my more down-to-earth portuguese cuisine - at a fraction of the cost of Chiado - not as good but MUCH cheaper. (And just re-read this post - I don't consider Piri-piri "hole in the wall" - I was just trying to emphasize the contrast.

            2. re: estufarian

              Hi estufarian, when you say avoiding traditional 'heavy' Portuguese dish at Chiado, do you mean Assorda ? Did you try it there and think it is not well cooked ?

          2. Honestly no matter where you go you can't control the patrons. I suggest you go somewhere you already like and know. Preferably at least one of those involves an entrance that isn't through a crowded sidewalk and hopefully has a smaller room off of the main so you can limit how many are around you. Otherwise, you might try going to one of the four star hotel restos such as Truffles. Discretion is a necessary component of any succesful hotel.

            1. You've just described Mistura to a tee. It sounds like it would be exactly what you're looking for. Excellent service, upscale fabulous food, staff are very professional and hospitable. We've been many times and have never, ever been disappointed. I would take anyone there and feel confident that that they would be duly impressed. Keep us posted. I'm curious to hear what you decided on in the end!!!

              1. I'd say Perigee-it's one of the best dining destinations you have, and it's small-if you ask for the kitchen table at the end (away from the entrance) you won't be near anyone.
                And, people will be enjoying the food so much they won't care who else is there (at least that would be true for me!)
                You might tell your LA friend that the food is similar in tone to Opus (not the atmosphere-much more low key, no bar scene at all.)