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Jul 30, 2007 12:34 PM

Romantic, not too expensive, downtown

Friends will be visiting TO soon & want a recommendation for a romantic birthday dinner spot. They're staying right downtown. Looking preferably for entrees under $20 - ruling out Scaramouche & Le Select, which would otherwise have been great. I've never been to George, but it's in the running after reviewing the board. Other recommendations? Thanks!

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  1. George does not have mains under $20. It's more in the range of Scaramouche.

    Batifole? Definitely romantic. It's a subway and streetcar ride (or a $15 cab ride) away from downtown... but an excellent French bistro.

    14 Replies
    1. re: estragon

      Batifole romantic? I don't agree on that one at all. I think it's a great French bistro with very good food. But the room is utilitarian at best.

      Mains under $20 is tough. Quince has several mains under $20, but again, to me, not a romantic venue but some might disagree. But it's midtown.

      1. re: GRobin

        i agree... batifole feels much more utilitarian. the seating arrangement and lighting really doesn't make it very comfortable for romance. if you could somehow reserve that front section where you're not so crammed in with other people right beside you then i'd agree.

        while tasty, but not absolutely fantastic always a hit with the food... i find julie's cuban reasonable in cost and one of the most romantic spots in the city. there's a buzz in the air about it that makes it great for casual dining but the atmosphere relates incredibly well for romance, especially the patio.

        rosedale diner certainly hit that romantic bistro niche much better than batifole and the food is good, although certainly not a place to seek out just for the food i think. others enjoy it quite a bit.

        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          Yes! Agreed! Al fresco at Julie's Cuban is indeed one of the most romantic dinners in town.

      2. re: estragon

        Wish at Yonge and Charles.. I had my first date there with my husband. Romantic and mains under $20....

        1. re: estragon

          Mildred Pierce on Sudbury St. off of Queen near Dovercourt wins my vote for most romantic Toronto restaurant - not downtown, but a short cab ride away...

          1. re: mangiobuono

            Didn't Mildred Pierce close permanently — or at least till they relocate — yesterday?

            1. re: cowhound

              you may be right about Mildred Pierce - haven't been in some time - but if it has - it's a shame..

              1. re: mangiobuono

                Mildred Pierce...RIP as of yesterday July 29.

          2. re: estragon

            I thought the same about George, but checked their menu online & mains are mostly in the $18 to $21 range. Scaramouche's Dining Room, on the other hand, has it's cheapest entree set at $38(!) and even the grill runs from $22 to $31. I'm always surprised when I double check menus online - I tend to lump certain places together in terms of pricing, and often discover I'm way off.

            Will look into Batifole, though, and have heard good things about Wish, as well.

            1. re: watt

              Oh, then my vote if for George for sure. Simply a gorgeous room and even more beautiful patio. Though I recall we dropped big bucks there. But I think we had one of the tasting menus.

              1. re: GRobin

                My husband and I used to go to Toba for Sunday brunch and it was a nice size restaurant where you are able to enjoy the company of your partner without feeling cramped by other patrons. I beleive their dinner menu is in the price range that you are looking for.

              2. re: watt

                i don't know if i can agree with that unless george has changed the m.o. they're still a small plates kind of place or are they actually offering full sized mains?

                all i recall was ordering off the menu a la carte and ending up with an astronomical bill and a half empty stomache. this was, of course, over two years ago so i could be very wrong.

                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                  Ah - I hadn't realized George was all small plates. Yikes! Thanks for the clarification.

                  1. re: watt

                    Yep, George's a la carte menu is split into 5 courses. So the "mains" are not standard sized.

            2. Bangkok Garden used to be really, really pretty inside and Thai food isn't too costly.

              I love Gamelle. The back patio is very romantic. I just looked at the menu online and the mains are $20-$30. Risotto is $22.

              1. You should give Truffles a try. Yes! The 4 stars Truffles!! Currently they have a promotion on. Its called ' Truffles feast'. For $50, you get complimentary valet parking, a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and a three course dinner ( starter: citrus cured salmon with creme fraische and golden caviar; entree: veal ribeye with truffled asparagus and potato confit; dessert: honey vanilla savarin poached summer fruits with house made icecream )
                The ambience is extremely classy and romantic with the tables spaced far apart. You should give it serious consideration. ( scroll down to see my recent review ). Good luck!

                1. Weezies on King at Power is a very romantic little Bistro with great prices -
                  Very small room with candles and mains in the $13 - $17 range. If your friends want a tucked away bistro feel (like you are the only ones who know about this secret spot) it is a great bet.

                  Julie's Cuban has a very different vibe - kitchy and eclectic, but it also gives you that tucked away vibe as it is on a tree-lined residential strip.

                  Those are two pretty good picks offering the opposite ends of the "romantic" spectrum.

                  George is about a $200 for two spot, so please rule that one out with the budget you outlined.

                  1. Thanks so much for your recommendations, all! I've passed the info along (and found a few new destinations I'd like to try along the way). If I can get a report from my tourist friends, I'll try to remember to post the results.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: watt

                      I place I find romantic is Michelle's Brasserie if you eat inside the decore looks like you are under the eiffel tower. Very old world the patio in the laneway is also nice depending on the tempurature!. The food is fairly tradiotional and I think should be around your budget.