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AYCE variety for tweens

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itryalot Aug 20, 2007 03:31 PM

For the past several years, I have brought groups of tweens to TO for a day trip. Am planning another one in the fall.
Please don't shoot me, but I have brought them to that railway car buffet (terrible), the sister one that is now closed but used to be in Mississauga (they liked) and Frankie Tomatto's (a HUGE hit with the kids and the parents who accompanied). I know, it is not fine dining, nor is it deliciously fresh and gourmet, but I have to look at my clientele and what we can afford to pay.
My question: Many of the kids coming in the fall have been to Frankie T's for three years now and will love it again, but I was thinking what about one of the Mandarin restos? It will be for lunch (cheaper) and I need to make sure they have a variety of foods, American, etc. not only oriental(albeit americanized). Has anyone been? We would be willing to go as far as Miss, but prefer closer.
If anyone has another recommendation, I would appreciate it. Due to the lack of exposure to ethnic foods, these guys need some basic choices, that is why Frankie's has always been a hit.

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    idnas RE: itryalot Aug 20, 2007 06:13 PM

    The tweens in my family pretty much eat the same thing no matter how much variety is available: pepperoni pizza, pasta with just butter, fried chicken. When the family went to Mandarin, they ate pizza, 3-4 varieties of fried chicken (wings, balls, etc.) and other fried stuff like spring rolls, followed by ice cream with lots of toppings. They seemed quite happy with it.

    That said, if Frankie's has been a hit, you could always stick with that. The tweens don't seem to crave variety as much as we hounds do. :>

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      LemonLauren RE: itryalot Aug 20, 2007 06:38 PM

      There is a Mandarin on Yonge south of Eglinton. They might also like the Richtree (formerly Movenpick) Marche in BCE Place - it's a market place style deal, so they can have pasta, salad, pizza, etc.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LemonLauren
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        KevinB RE: LemonLauren Aug 20, 2007 07:50 PM

        Just to clarify - the Marche is not All-You-Can-Eat. It has a variety of different food stations (seafood, pasta, grill, stir-fry, etc.), but you get a card when you enter the place, and you need to get it stamped for everything you pick up. Your bill is totalled when you leave.

        Some of the food is good, some is just OK. Even without alcohol, it's hard to get out for less than $20/person. I enjoy it if you're going with a crowd, so I'm not saying it's terrible, but it is not "pay one price" by any stretch.

        I agree with idnas, the kids will probably enjoy the Mandarin buffet. They always have some kind of roast (beef, pork, or turkey), a number of western salads, fries, fried chicken, plus a big dessert bar. Encourage them to try a few of the Chinese dishes, like dumplings, Peking duck (if they're serving), etc.

        1. re: KevinB
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          tjunmin RE: KevinB Aug 20, 2007 08:33 PM

          The OP mentioned that budget is a concern. With that in mind, I would recommend against going to Richtree, since the cost of the meal can increase rapidly, especially with the appetite that tweens usually display.

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        burlgurl RE: itryalot Aug 20, 2007 08:20 PM

        You could always try Tuckers Marketsplace for AYCE...not exactly gourmet for the adults..but tonnes of choices for the tweens! There's one in Mississauga at the 401 and Mavis..maybe others elsewhere?? seems like a chain?

        3 Replies
        1. re: burlgurl
          robgm RE: burlgurl Aug 21, 2007 02:34 AM

          There is one at Dixon Road and Carlingview by the airport

          1. re: robgm
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            itryalot RE: robgm Aug 21, 2007 04:33 AM

            Would they have as much variety and quality-for-the-price as Frankie's. There are always 3-5 meats and 4-6 fish entrees, plus pastas, salads, desserts, etc.

          2. re: burlgurl
            rayrayray RE: burlgurl Aug 21, 2007 08:39 AM

            ..........i second tuckers marketplace, if i was in your situation i'd go there. there is something for any tween, especially if you have picky eaters in your group. there is also one in scarbororough at warden/eglinton.

          3. TorontoJo RE: itryalot Aug 21, 2007 05:00 AM

            Agreed that tweens will probably love the Mandarin, especially the serve-yourself ice cream sundae bar. There are many non-chinese options in the buffet and even the chinese stuff is so innocuous that unadventurous eaters will likely find something to enjoy. There used to be one in Etobicoke/Mississauga border somewhere around Queen and Dixie, I believe.

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              ghetto_scarlem RE: itryalot Aug 21, 2007 05:22 AM

              Mandarin should be OK - considering the factors you mentioned. I agree with a reply - do not go to Richtree/Marche, as it is very expensive for what you get.

              I was not too sure what you meant by: "We would be willing to go as far as Miss, but prefer closer."

              Does that mean you live East of Toronto? Or West? There are many Mandarin locations across Southern Ontario...

              http://mandarinbuffet.com/locations.html

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                itryalot RE: itryalot Aug 21, 2007 09:38 AM

                To clarify locations: We will be in North York. Our two options right now are
                1. The Mandarin - we hear that some locations are better than others; anyone can help?
                2. Tucker's Marketplace -same as different quality depending on location

                We need to be down by Cirque du Soleil area later that day. So,we are willing to drive 20-30 mins in any direction from that place and it will be for a later lunch.
                Can anyone help on locations and preference?

                4 Replies
                1. re: itryalot
                  pescatarian RE: itryalot Aug 21, 2007 09:40 AM

                  I haven't been in years, but the Mandarin at Keele and Finch was one of the originals and was one of the better ones at the time.

                  1. re: pescatarian
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                    murphcansurf RE: pescatarian Aug 21, 2007 10:17 AM

                    It's actually closer to dufferin and finch I think..

                    1. re: murphcansurf
                      pescatarian RE: murphcansurf Aug 21, 2007 10:20 AM

                      you're right, I was thinking dufferin/keele and put dufferin, it's just west of dufferin, I believe, on the south side

                  2. re: itryalot
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                    KevinB RE: itryalot Aug 22, 2007 01:21 AM

                    Based on what you've said, I'd recommend the Yonge & Eglinton location of Mandarin. We were there for dinner about a month ago, and I found it to be as good, if not better, than some other Mandarins we have visited (mostly northern Toronto/southern York region), in that it was quite clean (at some places, tables go unbussed for lengthy periods, and empty plates at your table can pile up; at Y&E, neither occurred. Also, the turnover at Y&E was quick, which means the steam table dishes were refreshed frequently, saving you from soggy deep fried shrimp, etc.) In addition, from that location, you can quickly zip over to Mt. Pleasant, and then head south to Cirque du Soleil without the traffic hassles you'd get on Yonge.

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                    flashy_mcflash RE: itryalot Aug 22, 2007 06:31 AM

                    Tucker's is great - what about Town & Country?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: flashy_mcflash
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                      itryalot RE: flashy_mcflash Aug 22, 2007 08:28 AM

                      I am pretty sure we are going with Tucker's - the east end location. Apparently, some of the kids and parents had gone to T&C (old railway car one in TO) and they could not believe how bad and little selection they had compare to Frankie's. I had taken them years ago to the T&C in Mississauga and it was not bad; it is closed last I checked.

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