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Aussie Chowhound needs reccs! Chinese/Malaysian/French

We're in Toronto for 6 days staying near the Eaton center.

We'd love to have some reccs on good Chinese, Malaysian, French and anything I shouldn't miss out on. Good bakeries? Patisseries? Brunches?

We're willing to take the subway but not be too far.

Thanks in advance!


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  1. From the Eaton Centre, it's not too far to Spadina which has a plethora of Chinese and Vietnamese choices. Pho 88 is very popular, and most of the Chinese places are quite good (if restrained in the decor). Look for a line-up of Chinese people; that's almost always a good recommendation. BTW, the crabs and lobsters in the Northern hemisphere are much smaller than the ones you see in Oz ( I recall seeing a crab as big around as a small table while in Sydney; the ones you get here are about the size of a small dinner plate, and our lobsters are generally between 1 and 2 lbs).

    Get your concierge to show you where the Kensington Market is; that's a great stroll with lots of interesting food shops if you want an impromptu picnic.

    Take the subway up to Bloor (about six-seven minutes), and walk west to Bellair (about two blocks), then go north to Cumberland and Yorkville - lots of shops and cafes (although a fair amount of construction right now). This also takes you close to the Royal Ontario Museum, which has just had a giant facelift (corner of Bloor and Avenue Rd). If the weather's nice, a sunset drink at the Park Hyatt Rooftop lounge (nw corner of Bloor and Avenue) offers a great view of the city.

    Also, the subway to Bloor, then east to either Chester or Pape (about 15 minutes total trip), lets you out in the middle of Greektown, which has some very upscale Greek spots (Mezes, Ouzeri), along with lots of cheap 'n cheerful spots (Astoria, Friendly Greek, etc.). As you walk further west to Broadview, there are a variety of cuisines available (vegan, Japanese, Indian, etc.).

    Enjoy your trip!

    1 Reply
    1. re: KevinB

      I'll further Kevin's recommendation and add in a couple of specific restaurants on the Danforth. Even though they don't meet the specifics (Chinese/Malay/French), they're also worth a look.

      Pantheon has never let me down for greek food. Mambo Lounge is great for cuban and it also serves the best mojito I've ever had. Globe is a little more upscale, but always a solid choice for good food. The Red Violin is a Brazilian rodizio. I'd suggest reservations if you choose to try the Red Violin though.

      Enjoy your visit!

      124 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K1N1, CA

      120 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1N1, CA

      Red Violin
      95 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1N2, CA

      407 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

    2. thanks! I love Greek food as well. That's a good recc. I've been living in Dallas Tx so good chinese and general ethnic food is hard to come by.

      1. I'll sound like a broken record here, but if you want great Malaysian food, do check out Matahari Grill, which is not that far from the Eaton Center.


        1. If you want upscale chinese, Lai Wah Hein at the Metropolitan Hotel has great food - also, the last time we were there, the Wiggles were at the table next to us :-)

          Metropolitan hotel (super close to the Eaton's centre):
          Address : 108 Chestnut Street, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3
          Telephone : 416-977-5000

          1. For French I would recommend Batifole: http://www.batifole.ca/. It's on Gerrard East, so you would have to take the TTC - but it's well worth it. I would suggest making reservations as it's fairly small.
            From Eaton Centre, take the subway (or walk) to Yonge & College and get the streetcar going east. This should take a right turn at Parliament and a left at Gerrard. I don't think it would take too long, maybe a half hour. Someone correct me if I'm wrong about the route!

            1 Reply
            1. re: sam_1

              correct - it will take about 15 mins without traffic, 25 with.

            2. If you are already here, La Maquette (111 King Street East) is having their 25th Anniversary celebration tonight and making the event open to the public.

              Francolicious has already passed (June), but here are some "French" (or French-influenced) restos in the city:
              - For a different experience, try The Sultan's Tent & Café Moroc (49 Front Street East, http://www.dine.to/profile_features.p... ).

              1. batifole is in my neighbourhood and it's awesome. I had the horse tartare. the streetcar from college takes 20 minutes.
                chinatown, you can't go wrong, like a previous poster said, look for asian people in line.

                have a blast, toronto is a FOOD city.

                10 Replies
                1. re: tamaletartare

                  You guys totally ROCk! I just made a reservation at Lai Wah Heen. I'm also checking out the Matahari grill link.

                  Someone pointed me to Le Papillon for french. Any thoughts???

                  1. re: AussieGirl

                    Don't do it. It's a tired restaurant with very dated food.

                    BTW bring minties if you have any. I pay good dollar.

                      1. re: AussieGirl

                        Papillon makes passable crepes, but the rest of their menu is dreadful. I think they manage to get by on tourists who have been misdirected. :P

                        If it's French food you want, there are plenty of much better options in the city - I agree with the recos so far for Batifole, and also add La Palette (Kensington Market) and Gamelle (on College near Bathurst) as possible suggestions.

                        1. re: tartiflette

                          Here's what we have so far:

                          Sat - arrive. Dinner at matahari grill
                          Sun - Yum Cha @ lai wah heen / Dinner at La Batifole
                          Mon - not sure
                          Tues - Not sure
                          Wed - not sure for lunch / dinner at Chiado
                          Thur - we leave but we're going to have lunch at Grand Chinese (at Doubletree @ airport)

                          I still need a good Peking Duck recc that's not too far away from Eaton center if someone has one.

                          Will also look into the greek restos as well listed above.

                          Is Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar child friendly? I've a toddler. He's pretty good with restaurant etiquette.

                          I'm very excited to visit!

                          1. re: AussieGirl

                            just so you know, if you're near bloor/spadina or in kensington mkt, there's off shoots of Baker's Delight called COBS Bread you might want to peek into. They've got a lot of the same stuff from BD. the few people from Oz that i know love going there.

                            1. re: AussieGirl

                              Some recs for Matahari: their appetizer platter, chicken curry, beef rendang, and char kway teow are all *phenomenal* and should not be missed. Their pandanus crepe offering for dessert is spectacular as well, as are the bananas. I'd love to hear what you thought of it, and I hope you enjoy your visit!

                              1. re: AussieGirl

                                Hi AussieGirl,

                                At LWH, remember to order the mini baked puff with ham. The ham & sauce is very rich which make it very tasty.

                                I also recommend going to one of these high-end places in Toronto - George, Susur, Perigee or Splendido, these are all french influence restaurants.

                                Or maybe take a subway up North to "Wok on Yonge" ? It is chinese fusion food which is unique in Toronto so far ! There is a very good review of their tasting menu which is only $40 per person, you can search for the thread about it a few days ago on this board. but you have to call one day advance to reserve.

                                You can see their special tasting menu here :

                                1. re: skylineR33

                                  yeah do try to hit one of those high end places skyline mentioned. Out of the lot, Perigee is the most adventurous, Susur is the celeb chef, George the most economical and Splendido the closest to a Michelin star establishment.

                                  JKWB is probably the most relaxed of the big name dining spots in the city. I wouldn't call it extremely child friendly but it can be done for lunch. The kid will love the frites. If you have any concerns, just call and I'm sure they'll be honest with you.

                                  I have to say. Wok On Yonge is a god awful name. Although if you're recommending it then the food should be decent.

                                2. re: AussieGirl

                                  FYI - Yum Cha = Dim Sum.... just in case someone looks at you funny when you ask for it in 'your' language! ;)

                          2. Malaysian food is probably loads better in Oz. When I was there last year, I regretted not being able to go to one. I noticed that there are so many more Asian options there than there are in Toronto.

                            Good to see Chiado on your list as Nando's in Oz doesn't count as authentic Portuguese (especially since it is a South African resto).

                            And with tipping, again there is a difference between Canada and Oz. The tip for the server is not included in the bill; it is separate.

                            1. i've been to Amuse Bouche a couple of times with young kids (three and four years old...same kid, different years :-) and they are totally freakin' awesome, to the point that you think they've been told "take care of the kids and the parents will be able to actually enjoy their meal"....anyway, great french food, about a 10 min cab ride from eaton's centre or a 30 minute walk.....keep in mind that toronto is an awesome walking city, so if you've got the time to do it, its a great way to get around. cheers!

                              1. I totally take anyone who comes to the city to Gio Ranna's (Queen and Leslie), it's awsome and very reasonably priced. My fav dishes: Sexy Duck, Beef Carpaccio, Lobster Safran Risotto, Pork Invollini...all from 8-15$!!!

                                1. Best Malaysian food in Ontario is found outside of TO at Restoran Malaysia in Richmond Hill about 30 mins north on the 404. Extremely reasonable prices for very authentic food, lunch menu is fantastic. Another great place is It's All Good on Wales Ave. by the Kensington Market, great Tacos and it also serves some Malaysian dishes. Very reasonable prices. Danforth is a great location for food. You may also want to check out Gerrard and Broadview, the Hanoi 3 Seasons serves great Vietnamese with a french flair and the alcohol prices are cheap. Amazing service. You may also want to check out Batifole for authentic Normandy food just down the street. Amazing bread.

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: wesarge

                                    Just reporting back:

                                    Matahari --- the food was pretty good. It may not all be authentic but everything was tasty. The service was a bit slow though esp for such a tiny place. I love the street that it was on. Very cute.

                                    Lai Wah Heen - We went for dim sum and it was just fab fab fab. The shrimp in the har gao was so sweet and pink. We also had the lobster rice noodle roll, siew mai and the shark's fin dumpling in a lovely clear broth (clearly one of the best I've had -- along with Kirin Mandarin in Vancouver).

                                    We're going to go for dinner and try the Peking duck.

                                    Batifole --- OOH LA LA! guys --- that was a faaaabulous recc. Loved everything -- the atmosphere to the escargot, salmon tartare, duck confit, bass, banana crepe and the flottante was flawless.

                                    Any other suggestions like that -- that's relatively close to downtown (we're at Eaton center).

                                    We're going to Danforth tomorrow

                                    1. re: AussieGirl

                                      shark's fin dumpling in a lovely clear broth - Lai Wah Heen is not bad but the best one in GTA is at Casa Imperial ! Actually Casa Imperial is at Markham.

                                      1. re: AussieGirl

                                        If you're headed towards the Danforth today, you may want to check out Globe Bistro, which has been getting consistently positive reviews on this board.

                                        Thanks for reporting back!

                                        1. re: TorontoJo

                                          I can't get away from Chinatown. The chinese food in Dallas is practically non-existent.

                                          WEnt to King's Noodle for dinner tonight. We were impressed at lunch (had the roast pork/roast duck and sui gao soup).

                                          ALso went to Jamie Kennedy's WIne bar for lunch -- good recc!

                                          Truet- very disappointed. Checked the website and it said they had a summer menu and when we got there it was not opened at all. We called and they said they won't open till Sept 5. sheesh! after we made the trek there.

                                          How's SENSE's??? THoughts?

                                          1. re: AussieGirl

                                            Sen5es? I think it's overpriced, but might be nice for the atmosphere. If you're looking for desserts, you might like to try the Dufflet cafe out at 787 Queen Street West. I like their mini cappucino dacquoise. Also a nice area for some eclectic shopping.

                                            1. re: jinxed

                                              i just want a decent almond croissant and a pain au chocolat.

                                              I'll look up Dufflet cafe now. Thanks mate!

                                              1. re: AussieGirl

                                                Rahier, Celestin, Jules - all uptown, all great pattiseries. Esp the croissant and chocolat at rahier.

                                                1586 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

                                                617 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S, CA

                                                623 Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto, ON M4S 2M9, CA

                                                1. re: AussieGirl

                                                  Oops, just so you know, Dufflet's does not do croissants of any sort (that I can recall). They are more of a dessert bakery than a true patisserie. For downtown, I think Clafouti is your best bet for croissants. If you don't mind the trek to mid/uptown, lemonlauren's list is a good one.

                                                  1. re: AussieGirl

                                                    if you're around queen and strachan, you could try clafouti's for a decent almond croissant and a pain au choc.
                                                    bonne chance!

                                                    1. re: alisonb

                                                      IMO...avoid Clafouti, coffee is good but nothing special, croissants are brutal, I flung mine to the seagulls a few weeks ago, they were even still warm they were so fresh, but doughy and had no taste of butter...Le Gourmand on Spadina & Queen has great ones...

                                                      1. re: Recyclor

                                                        I found it peculiar that the croissants at Clafouti were not crisp at all, but soft and doughy. Is it a different style of croissant, or simply a bad one?

                                                        1. re: Blueicus

                                                          I read on CH once that the croissants made by Thuet are intended to be doughy, sort of baguette like inside and are in fact an Alsacian style, Clafouti's did have a crisp-ish exterior, the doughy and virtually butterless interior was the turn-off for me...still people were snatching them up, but I don't see why...my benchmark for what I like in a croissant would be a traditional French style...