Casual Toronto Dinner Recommendation for six?
I'm in Toronto for a one night only at the end of the month -- rental car and staying near Pearson, but willing (more likely, eager) to drive into downtown -- with a moderately generous expense account available with group of six or so looking for great food and a fun, casual, not too noisy atmosphere -- where do you recommend?
I find that fun, casual AND not too noisy is tough to find. Esp. the latter.
Where are you visiting from?
What night are you in town?
That will make a difference as to the recommendations, as a lot of restos are closed on Monday nights.
Depending on the night, I might suggest somewhere in the Distillery District.
Tough to find -- agreed -- that's exactly why I post the inquiry on chowhound -- this is where the experts are - -
I am visiting from Boston and it will be a Tuesday night. I have been to Pearson a number of times over the past two years and found nothing memorable in terms of food -- thus the rental car this time. I have NOT been to downtown Toronto at all, so specific location details will be a big help.
Great, houndish food (not the usual expense account locales) is definitely the highest priority, but casual is also important as the group (of 30- and 40- somethings age-wise) doesn't include fine dining types (or budgets) -- not too noisy may not happen, but if it's possible, we'd like to have a conversation during dinner.
Forget my rec of the D-District then - not houndish food, but depending on the night of the week, a cool, historic place with a great atmosphere to visit with lots of choice for mediocre food (other than Brick St. Bakery, the awesome crepe place and soma chocolate - all 'take-out' style).
I've been sitting here for 20 mins trying to think of a place that meets your requirements, and is *relatively* easy to get to. Here's one, I'll try and think of more.
BeerBistro - www.beerbistro.com. It's right downtown so you can walk a few blocks in any direction and see a little bit of downtown Toronto. Check the website for directions and/or mapquest it.
Wherever you go, consider traffic and parking. Both can be a pain in the a$$ at times. Parking on King might not be that difficult in the early evening, but anything can happen with traffic.
1. What about the Drake Hotel?
It's quite uniquely Toronto, close-ish to highway access, good for 30-40-somethings... perhaps ever-so-slightly Beehive-ish (to make a Boston comparison)?? Although I'm not sure how the food is these days... anyone?
PS - I agree with thenurse... while this shouldn't be a tough request, I struggled with finding suitable options (I'll keep thinking... )
I thought of the Drake a couple of times, but here is why I didn't mention it. (Keep in mind that I used to work across the street and have been many, many times, mostly for lunch):
1. service is VERY inconsistent and often slow
2. I think the price is steep for what you get, in most cases
3. I would describe it as more 'hip' than 'casual', although it is pretty casual
4. it's noisy, always.
5. the food is also inconsistent, rarely great (IMO).
I think Gianni Maria on St Clair W at Arlington would suit you very well - be sure you enjoy the Ravioi Piedmontese. Maria will fuss over you, there is a very reasonably-priced wine selection and you will enoy homestyle cooking in a low-key atmosphere.
Further up the scale, Batifole, for French bistro with flair; also French bistro but with a more bohemian atmosphere and casual, less "correct" service (as the French say), La Palette.
Don't break your brain -- you might need it later! ;)
Fun, casual and not too noisy... Blowfish? (OK, on the noisy side later in the evening.) Japanese fusion - great maki rolls.
Big Ragu? Checkered-tablecloth Italian. Traditional, hearty and generous.
668 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M7, CA
1338 Lansdowne Ave, Toronto, ON M6H3Z8, CA
There's also 7 Numbers, either on the Danforth or Eglinton:
It's been mentioned several times on this board: good food in a fun and casual (and somewhat, but not overly loud) atmosphere. It has upscale(ish) food in a non-fussy setting. Service is usually very friendly, too.
7 Numbers makes me think of Terroni, either the St. Clair or Queen W location - good food, lots of foodie and non-foodie options, great atmosphere and patio optional, but the snag is they don't usually take reservations...you could call since you're a group, tho.
720 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1E8, CA
1 Balmoral Ave, Toronto, ON M4V3B9, CA
This is really great -- thanks for all of the thoughtful responses.
For the record, this request would be a challenge in Boston as well (I haven't been to Beehive but need to soon -- given this request here, I'd probably recommend Silvertone early for dinner but after happy hour subsides, or maybe head to the B Side Lounge or Christopher's in Cambridge -- if there were suburban tolerance in the group, I'd choose Za in Arlington, hands down).
I'll report back on our choice following the late August visit. Thanks again.!