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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: http://www.ferreiracafe.com/EN/

          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.)

                1. Sushi Kaji is excellent and you can have your own "booth" in the already small resto.

                  1. Opus is upscale with classic fare. Located in Yorkville, it's used to hosting all types of high-powered business or celebrity types. It also has a stellar wine cellar -- 2006 Wine Spectator Grand Award winner.


                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Degustation

                      I think I have it narrowed down to:
                      Perigee, Opus and Mistura

                      Actually Mistura would be perfect, I completely forgot about it, was there last year, great food and Mamismo (laaaa Chef) , I think that is his name, even came out to say hello

                      1. re: NoFixedAddress

                        If you end up at Mistura, do check out Sopra, the jazz bar they have opened upstairs. It's a great looking room, with a more casual vibe than Mistura - but the same great food.

                          1. re: NoFixedAddress

                            Yes Massimo, he pretty much comes around at least once during the evening. Last time we were there he told us he has a cookbook coming out in October. We really enjoy him. Paulo too. Seems Masimmo looks after Mistura and Sopra is Paulo's baby. If you like action, go on a Thursday night, Sopra seems esp. hopping then.

                            I'd have to disagree with Batifole. While the food is good, it is not what I would consider upscale and don't think it would impress an out of towner, particularly one that has done a lot of travelling.

                        1. Batifole would be my suggestion. Great French bistro food - I've never had a bad meal there. Upscale service with a kind of no frills decor.

                          1. The Superior. Yonge across from the Eaton Centre.

                            Great wine list and outstanding food.
                            Ask for Tom and explain the situation. He managed to keep Bill Wyman of the Stones a secret while he dined there.


                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Davwud

                              Auberge du Pommier - excellent food, great service and off the beaten track.

                              1. re: zoezer

                                The Drake Hotel has private dining rooms

                              2. re: Davwud

                                The wine list at the Superior is surprisingly good, but I have been underwhelmed by the food. Good. Solid. Not outstanding.

                                1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                  On the other hand, their desserts are divine. To me, the Superior is strictly a drinks and dessert kind of venue.

                              3. Harbour Sixty is classic. The food is not imaginative, but if you're in a meat-eating mood,their steak is really quite perfect (everything else is executed with similar quality). The service is impeccable, and if, as erly suggested, you wanted a private room, I believe they can accommodate.

                                1. Anyone been to Bellinis in yorkville lately? I used to go there 8 years ago they never had a named chef but had the top service in the city. They made everyone feel like a star except the stars they made feel like normal people.. supurbly treated normal people that is..

                                  I remember eating there and Marlee Matlin (sp) the deaf actress was in.. she recieved the menu and started laughing her head off... I asked our waiter and he said she was in town filming a move and had eaten there several times. They have a list on the back of the menu of the stars who had eaten there. She asked how many times did she have to come in to get on the list? Then next time she was in they had a special menu printed up and the back page was just her name repeated over and over..

                                  Little touches like this made them a destination for the stars in Toronto...

                                  But I have not been in 5 years and know the ownership has changed.. Can anyone comment?