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Sep 26, 2007 07:09 AM

Tour of the nieghbourhood - the good the bad the ugly - so who's done one?

So has anyone ever taken on a food tour of their own ‘hood/street – basically trying every single resto. on your local strip? When we were walking down Roncesvalles during the Polish Festival we were approached by a residents’ association rep. who advised us of upcoming plans to replace the streetcar lines on Roncy. He stressed that it’s going to be critical to keep frequenting our local merchants during the upheaval so that they can actually survive. (Look at the St. Clair example for how devastating it can be to businesses.) So we decided to embark on a taste tour of every single resto – from diner to fine dining. And then we decided to start now rather than wait for the construction (well we were hungry.) So far we’ve only hit Chopin (great perogies, potato pancakes and cabbage rolls); Friendly Thai (weird curry phad thai and even weirder waiter); and Boho (This has always been a favourite of ours, admittedly not because the food is sensational but because it’s our local place – the staff greets us by name, and it’s comfortable and reasonable. There’s a new chef now – the former chef’s sous. Highlight of the evening was the bread pudding with brandy sauce – chef’s (grand)mother’s recipe. Oh was that ever good!!) There are certainly a few dodgy polish beer joints that should make for some interesting evenings ahead. Anyway just wondering if anyone has done a similar neighbourhood tour and if you really stuck it out and went to every single place whether you actually wanted to or not!?

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  1. Bah, if a restaurant is good enough it will survive any "upheaval" from track repairs. When the track development was done on both Spadina and St. Clair it was only the crappy, not worth going to places that didn't survive. And good riddance too them.

    1. I have an on-going thread on restos near my office (between Summerhill and St. Claire):

        1. re: deelicious

          I think Buddha Dog may not even last that long. I walk past it almost every night and I think the most people I've seen inside is around 3. I have a morbid fascination with looking and taking note of the lack of customers. But given all the reports they're getting exactly what they deserve.

          1. re: jamesm

            That's funny... I too have a morbid fascination with looking inside restaurants and noting the lack of customers, and I think I even react and sound like my mother... giving a little disapproving head shake (or is it a nod or turn) and a little tsk tsk... I am embarrassed to say that after 20 years in my hood (Yonge and Lawrence), I've yet to go to Coppi, a neighbourhood staple, or Wildfire Grill, but I've been taking blind dates to Gamberoni for about 20 years - that should make up in volume for the places I missed. I promise I will fulfill this mission before I leave the hood...

        2. I'm slowly eating my way through Mimico/New Toronto. It's getting worse with each bite. Ah, the ups and downs of being a chowhound in search of greatness.

          Roncesvalles is better - Chopin is excellent (especially if you love dill). I hear the Thai food at Vicky's Fish 'n' Chips (Sue's Thai Food) is worth the drive. I'll try it and report back. I was disappointed with the "heat and serve" food at Fat Cat wine bar last fall. Most of the eastern european delis on that strip serve up tasty treats.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Food Tourist

            Finally made it to Sue's Thai Food on Roncy...underwhelming. Ate pad thai with chicken, chili chicken noodles, and beef jungle. Pad thai was sweet, beef jungle was fairly decent with some tasty mushrooms (and cilantro). Chili chicken noodles were ho-hum, made better by chile condiment. Thai coffee seems to consist of regular drip coffee with condensed milk. Really bad atmosphere. Won't be back.

          2. "It's getting worse with each bite" - ha, don't i know it!

            i've tried a lot of brunch places in the area roughly king/queen, west of spadina, east of beaconsfield. below is a copy of what i wrote in another post.

            In downtown some of my better choices for brunch:
            Saving Grace on Dundas west of Euclid,
            Czehoski if you can handle the sometimes crummy service on Queen west of Bathurst,
            Niagara St Cafe on Niagara at Wellington,
            Atelier Thuet in Liberty Village,
            Beaver Cafe on Queen west of Ossington
            Le Select on Wellington at Spadina

            also good/pleasant:
            Niche Cafe, Queen west of Bathurst,
            Swan, Queen at Crawford
            Bar One, if you can handle the sometimes crummy service, Queen at Shaw
            Musa at Dundas and Euclid
            Prague Deli on Queen/Bathurst

            Brassaii, King and Spadina, if only the portions weren't so small....
            Drake on Queen is sometimes good, sometimes boring but always overrated

            Standard stuff to nothing special:
            Foggy Dew on King
            Olde York on Wellington at Niagara
            Shanghai Cowgirl on Queen and Bathurst (the waitresses are amusingly grumpy)
            Mimi's on Bathurst at Queen (a little too home cooked for me)

            Places i wouldn't repeat:
            Butler's Pantry and Portobello Market on Queen,
            Sugar on Queen at Shaw (also overrated)
            Johny Banana, Bathurst at Queen, others like it but after 3 tries i'm still not sold.
            Fresh at Queen at Crawford (the spelt pancakes were good but scramble tofu isn't my thing so i find the menu small)
            Sadies' on Adelaide at Portland (the food is very sad and very bad, with great decor and service)
            Cora's at Wellington and at Steeles
            Eggspectations Eaton Centre (better in Montreal, awful in TO)
            Overeasy on Bloor

            5 Replies
            1. re: chocabot

              I had a good weekday brunch experience at Portobello Market at the end of August. Really tasty, perfectly cooked veggie omelette. The place is like a ghost town, though.

              1. re: Food Tourist

                I tend to roll into Prtague Deli but one morning this summer we headded over to Portobello, we sat amongst 3 other occupied tables, some with food some without, 10 maybe 15 mins later with no sign of any employees, we mosied back over to Prague...the atmosphere was depressing, as if it's gonna close for good at the end of that day...the eggs benny did look good as someone managed to get some...

                1. re: Recyclor

                  It was empty when i went too. mystery how it stays in business as everytime i pass there are only 3 tables occupied max.

                2. re: Food Tourist

                  Portobello Market served me the most disgusting grilled-cheese sandwich I've ever had. Worse than I ever thought possible. Soggy, tasteless, drenched with - of all things - tomato sauce. Its half-removed drop ceiling (the tiles are gone, but the frame is still there) and dusty grocery shelves at the back just scream "stay away." I don't know what I was thinking.

                  1. re: estragon

                    I have no clue how it has stayed in business this long!