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Dinner with Food-shy In-laws?

morrigan Sep 11, 2007 08:43 AM

I and my husband will be having dinner with his parents on Saturday the 22nd of September and they are leaving the choice of restaurant up to us. The provisos are that they are sick of Italian food, don't like French, Indian, Thai, Japanese, anything too exotic or spicy, anything raw...etc. I have been told that she likes fish (though not shellfish), enjoys cajun food...and stand-bys like potatoes. Short of hitting The Keg *again* does anyone have any suggestions? I'm tempted by somewhere like The Sultan's Tent, just to have something to talk about, but that might also be too "out there" (and if my father-in-law paid too much attention to the belly dancers, my mother-in-law might blame me.).

Any thoughts? It will likely be an early dinner - 6pm or so.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. pescatarian RE: morrigan Sep 11, 2007 09:00 AM

    If you're thinking Morrocan, I would suggest Boujadi on Eglinton West, instead of The Sultan's Tent. Boujadi is not a "relaxing" atmosphere, however. I had a really good meal at Millie's Bistro on Avenue Road, south of Wilson last week. It's "Mediterranean". 93 Harbord has been getting good buzz on CH. Apparently, you can find good fish at Foxley, but I haven't been.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pescatarian
      Finnegan RE: pescatarian Sep 11, 2007 09:04 AM

      I'll second Bajoudi...though I'll also recommend The Jerusalem (just a couple of blocks east of Bajoudi). 93 Harbord is also a nice choice. Great service, nicely decorated, soothing music in the background and great food (especially the duck with a cherry reduction).

      1. re: Finnegan
        pescatarian RE: Finnegan Sep 11, 2007 09:28 AM

        I used to like Jerusalem, but I was just there a couple weeks ago and was a bit disappointed. I remember the fried eggplant and tomatoes being fantastic, and the eggplant was dry and both were lacking the zestiness I remember. The pita was dry and cold. The hummus was far from the best of I've had recently (that would currently go to Sofra, however, the hummus/grilled veg appetizer I had at Millie's last week was sooo tasty, as were the wraps filled with ground lamb with a yogurt dressing), Nothing was terrible at Jerusalem, but I've had far better middle eastern food lately. It just seemed a bit tired.

    2. Recyclor RE: morrigan Sep 11, 2007 09:02 AM

      ...sounds like the makings of a new smash hit reality Food Network show...maybe a Portuguese BBQ place around College+Dovercourt...or maybe Starfish, haven't been but sounds like they do great cooked entres outside of the usual lobster/crab...sorry, Keg Mansion keeps coming to mind...tapas would offer variety and there are always a bunch of "safe" choices for along with the more adventurous items...distillery district has a range of resto's that all seem would cater to a kinda touristy crowd, ie: pleasing to a range of people, and would be an interesting place to be in the evening...*lots of distractions from the company your with if needed...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Recyclor
        camp1980 RE: Recyclor Sep 11, 2007 10:03 AM

        Portuguese was the first thought that came to my mind. I think it would actually fit the bill perfectly. Something different but not to out there, very much meat (or fish) and potatoe type food has been my experience with Portuguese.
        I have sadly not been yet, but if you are looking for upscale Chiado gets rave reviews on this board. http://www.chiadorestaurant.ca/

      2. c
        cowhound RE: morrigan Sep 11, 2007 09:24 AM


        1. pinstripeprincess RE: morrigan Sep 11, 2007 10:10 AM


          i'm reminded that i really like this place by the "what to have.." thread recently. they dont' take reservations but if you're having an early dinner then they will very likely have seats available anyway. you didn't mention if the whole small plates thing would go too much against the grain for them.

          with torito though, it's not too out there but it's different and fun for you. they have the basic steak, shrimps, fish (the smoked trout is fantastic over the ceviche or king fish), lots of potatoes everywhere. all of it is very recognizable on the plate.

          1. f
            Fleming RE: morrigan Sep 11, 2007 12:04 PM

            What about Southern Accent? Fits the Cajun bill, not too spicy usually, a range of dishes and a fun atmosphere. Plus a whack of side dishes to suit all tastes.

            1. nummanumma RE: morrigan Sep 11, 2007 12:47 PM

              when my food-shy family comes to town, my go-tos are:
              Tutti matti (is Italian though)
              Le Paradis (is french though)

              2 Replies
              1. re: nummanumma
                LemonLauren RE: nummanumma Sep 11, 2007 01:19 PM

                I definately second Quince - lovely preparations, excellent serive, nothing too out there.

                1. re: nummanumma
                  sumashi RE: nummanumma Sep 11, 2007 08:58 PM

                  I also like the rec of Quince!

                  Hmm.... thinking of fish and cajun reminds me of Lucy's Seafood Kitchen... (I lived right beside one for years while living in Kitchener.) .. hehe...

                2. Rabbit RE: morrigan Sep 11, 2007 12:48 PM

                  I think you've got some great suggestions here, and would definitely second 93 Harbord (food is interesting but not "too weird," and atmosphere is still elegant), Starfish (despite the detractors on this board) or Chiado (except that its quite formal and expensive). I think Southern Accent is good too, but if they're stuffy they might not "get" the fun atmosphere. Zucca is good too, if she likes fish (although it is Italian).

                  I also like the Boulevard Cafe on Harbord (Peruvian)... or even Messis, which has some pizza and pasta and so presents a little Italian-ish, but is really more of a little-bit-of-everything menu (and quite under-rated... I've never had a bad meal there).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Rabbit
                    tartiflette RE: Rabbit Sep 11, 2007 02:10 PM

                    I definitely second the recommendation for Messis. It's a lovely place and the prices are actually quite reasonable.

                    Website here:

                    Oh, and make sure you save room for dessert, because they have a phyllo concoction with white chocolate and blueberry filling that is sublime (and the rest of the sweet ain't bad either).

                  2. Recyclor RE: morrigan Sep 11, 2007 01:35 PM

                    ..if your budget for this meal is healthy, Niagara Street Cafe has top notch meat and potato kinda stuff aswell as a fish dish or 2 regularily...granted a short menu, but everything is dynamite!

                    1. l
                      LovesToEat RE: morrigan Sep 11, 2007 06:29 PM

                      What about Greek? Maybe something on the Danforth like Astoria?

                      1. g
                        gogol RE: morrigan Sep 11, 2007 08:56 PM

                        Sounds like my in-laws...we've found Adega to be a great spot to take them (33 Elm street). They do great fish and usually have a pretty substantive grilled beef or veal chop on the menu. Not sure if this matters, but the wine list is almost exlcusively Portuguese...

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