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Toronto: Dining Solo, Need Reservations for 1?

Hi Everyone,
I am a 'hound from the South (Alabama) and will be taking a long weekend trip by myself to Toronto this coming weekend. While I'm excited about doing this (have never taken a solo vacation by myself), I'm wondering about dining alone on Friday and Saturday nights, especially if I want to go to a nice restaurant. If I wanted to go to a place like Canoe or Susur, would I need to try and get reservations for 1? It may also be too late to even try and get reservations this late anyway. I'm okay w/casual dining places but I've never tried to eat solo at a nice place before.

I am so excited about making this trip a very chow worthy one. I want to try malaysian, korean, portugese, contemporary candian, etc. Is there a fairly non-traumatic way of doing this while dining solo?

Thanks so much!

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  1. I would just show up and as already mentioned you can sit at the bar and have a meal, which to me would be more comfortable than at a table alone. Chiado, Cava, Canoe, and Thuet again as mentioned will all be great choices.

    1. Rebel House bills its menu as Canadian, or contemporary interpretations of recipes supposedly available in 1837 during the Upper Canada Rebellion (hence the name). Casual, of course, but upscale pub fare, very good. It's been closed temporarily for renovation but may be open again by the time you are here.

      Here are a few previous threads addressing the dining solo question, many mentions affirming the recommendations on this thread:

      Welcome to Toronto! Please report back after your trip to let us know your thoughts.

      Rebel House
      1068 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W2L4, CA

      1. Thank you all for your recs. I will definitely post back after I get back from my trip.

        1. I'm thinking about going to either Canoe, Chiado, Perigee, Lee, or Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar for Friday and Saturday nights. What is the dress code? Being a female, is a skirt required or can trendy, classy, but semi-casual work?

          7 Replies
          1. re: gyp7318

            All great choices. For solo dining, my personal votes would be to go with JKWB (definitely sit at the bar) and Perigee. I'm not a woman, but don't worry abour dress code. Semi-casual will be more than appropriate.

            1. re: gyp7318

              Canoe is the only one where most will be in suits as they come in from after work... but Toronto is extremely casual I have seen jeans in each of these places..

              1. re: gyp7318

                You definitely don't need a skirt. At Lee or JKWB jeans are fine too.
                Canoe is closed on Saturday, fyi.

                1. re: Cat123

                  would have to disagree with Perigee great restaurant especially if you are a foodie which the original writer seems to be ... also Chiado I would recommend great to eat at the bar, they love to tell stories ... heading to Alabama oct 31 to Nov 4 and hitting some of their best Becks, Ocean, 26, etc can't wait

                2. re: gyp7318

                  I ate at Perigee about a month ago with a friend and would not recomend it for a single diner. There is no view except for the kitchen and that get boring after a while and no var area. We had the tasting menu and it took close to 4 hours with many long pauses between courses as each course was no more then thre forkfulls. I also found it expensive for what it was...

                  Your other choices would be better.

                  1. re: OnDaGo

                    The only view was the kitchen? Exactly! That was my favourite part of eating there, and most others I know echo that sentiment. I loved being able to watch the pros cooking so many different dishes of pretty complicated food with grace and ease. And flipping ingredients in cast iron skillets with their bare fingers, no less. The food was fantastic.

                    Yes, the meal took a long time, but eating at Perigee is not just a meal, it's an event: the gaps between courses when I was there were evenly spaced, and when the gaps were a bit longer, the chef provided interesting little amuse bouches to keep us, well, amused. And it worked.

                    I found the value quite good for the money compared to other restaurants I've been to in Toronto where I got less and paid more. For me, this is the closest I'll ever get to eating at Kitchen Stadium.

                    1. re: Gary

                      Right BUT the question was "is it a good place to dine ALONE" I would say no because of the gaps, and now that they closed in the kitchen in glass and also have an al a catre menu it is not so exciting as you cannot hear them or smell the food and half the time they are just flipping steaks and such as not everyone is eating the tasting anymore...

                3. Hi Everyone (or ya'll as we say down South),
                  Just to report back on my chowhounding visit to Toronto. First of all, what a FABULOUS city! I had such a great visit. Most everyone was so friendly and gracious.

                  On Friday, I stumbled into Koreatown off Bloor just past the Annex, I had a small bite to eat at the ROM b/c I was absolutely starving, so I had some of those walnut shaped cakes at a small korean shop that specializes in those and the pancakes stuffed w/brown sugar or red beans. Even though I'm korean, I've never heard of the walnut cakes and found them to be quite delicious. The pancake was really, really good and got it moments off the grill. That night, I went to Lee and had an awesome meal. It was completely fine eating alone at the bar. Susur was there and when he came over to see how my meal was going, I explained to him that I wanted to try Susur but wasn't sure about dining there alone. He reassured me that it would be okay dining alone and I was able to make a reservation for the next night right there on the spot. The staff was awesome and they even offered to give me a tour of the kitchen and take a peek into the dining room next door. The shiso lychee martini was incredible, as was the black cod, green bean and asparagus salad, and the strawberry bombe. The only disappointment was the chinese sausage tart. I only had a couple of bites and had to push it away. I didn't like the flavor combinations at all.

                  On Saturday, I went to Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. Really good meal, very friendly staff. I talked to some locals while sitting at the bar and just had a wonderful brunch there. The chorizo poutine, grilled scallop, and sour cherry and plum sorbets were all really delicious. The grilled shortribs were okay--they were just way too thin, about the thickness of crispy bacon. I found that it to be too skimpy. Overall, a great experience. I went to Susur later that night. OMG is about all I can say. One of the highlights of my trip, if not my entire culinary experience. The bison chop was divine. Everyone there was so incredibly nice. I was seated in a booth near one of the corners fo the room and had such a lovely time there. What an awesome experience. Sure it was pricey but I found it to be worth every penny.

                  On Sunday, I went to Lai Wah Heen (sp?) for dim sum. By far the best dim sum I've ever had. I had some leftovers and brought it w/me for my inflight meal on the airplane later that afternoon. Wow.

                  Thank you all for all your recommendations. I had a FANTASTIC chowhound trip to Toronto. What an incredible and very lovely city!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gyp7318

                    Glad you had a great time and thank you for taking time to report back.. so many people ask for advice and then we neve hear how it went...