birthday dinner - help?!
I am pretty new to the GTA so I am at a loss trying to come up with a place to host a birthday dinner.
Any type of food would be ok, except for sushi/Japanese because another friend had her birthday dinner at a sushi restuarant just a few weeks ago.
Price range between like $10-$20, nothing too expensive because we're young & poor. I would love Mexican but I'm having trouble coming up with anything, so like I said, anything would be fine. I'd say reservations for 8-15 people, depending on who shows up.
I would consider any & all ideas. Ethnic food is ok but nothing too "extreme" - just a place that's fun & casual and where anybody could find something on the menu they would enjoy. So thank you in advance for any suggestions!!!
You asked about Mexican....
El Trompo on Augusta does very decent and flavourful Mexican street food in a sit down/no tablecloths environment. The flavours are authentic, and it is licensed. The appetizers range from the expected (guacamole) to the unexpected (crispy cheese); and the mains are tacos, enchiladas, etc with great spicings, usually 6 to 10 dollars. And it is licensed, serving margaritas, Mexican beers, and some Canadian beers. This might meet your needs. The one downside is that is relatively small, and doesn't take reservations (to my knowledge). You might have to arrive either at opening, or after the dinner rush, but might want to run your timing by them to see if they'd stay open a little late.
I say a very good one is Lahore Tikka House, in Little India. It may be extreme for some, but is great for the young and poor. They are under construction (for the last 3 years), so are using paper plates, but the food is worth it. Make sure you have kebab, naan, rice and palak.
If you want the super tame, everybody always has fun at the old spaghetti factory, which is so tacky its ironic. My personal favourite is the spaghetti with burnt butter and mizzithra cheese, while my son loves the original, spaghetti and meat sauce. You get a whole meal, salad dessert, coffee and all, for around 15 dollars.
I'm not a fan of Lahore. It certainly has "atmosphere" - lots of families with kids running about (which may be how they eat in Lahore) - but my challenge was with the food, which I found very basic - no defined spicing - just 'hot". To my knowledge they've ALWAYS used paper plates - and I don't like the line-up process. And I find the prices higher there than downtown.
Hmm - guess I don't like it!
A couple of suggestions:
For Chinese (mainly Szechuan, but they do stray into other areas). Peter's Chung King. They may not be the best on any individual dish, but they do everything well and plenty of choice.
For Indian - Trimurti. Again good selection. And their Onion Bhaji's are addictive (and cheap). They also have some relatively unusual dishes (e.g. lamb pasanda - made with cashew paste).
Both use real tablecloths, and are very presentable - and beer is available too.