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The Un-Official "Go To" Restaurant Thread

O.k. so here's the deal:
What's the ONE restaurant you'd consider to be at the very top of your personal "go to" list? The one place you can always count on. This is usually the place you think of when you're disappointed after trying that new place your co-worker suggested. Or it's probably the place you'd think of if you were away from Toronto for a long time and say to yourself, "Boy, I really miss going to <fill in the blank>". While you don't have to justify your selection, you do have to only pick one.

This doesn't have to be a fancy place or a romantic place. Maybe it's McDonald's.
Doesn't matter as long as it's your "go to" place. Anywhere in Ontario qualifies.

Please keep the responses as short as possible and include the major intersection/area unless the restaurant is generally well-known.

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  1. I'll go first:

    Zucca Trattoria (Yonge and Eglinton)

    2 Replies
    1. re: looniePincher

      Zucca was the first that came to mind for me also.
      I agree with others like Batifole, Tabule and Starfish. But Zucca never fails me. I was just trying to thing about a place for an upcoming event, and now I think I'll make a res at Zucca...it's been awhile.

      2150 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 2A8, CA

      1. re: looniePincher

        Zucca. That antipasto platter, the grilled fish..... need I say more?

      2. Great thread idea.

        My choice changes by my mood, so at this moment I'm going with Chinese Traditional Buns.

        1. Batifole
          Broadview and just east on Gerrard

          8 Replies
          1. re: Mila

            Vastly overrated. La Paradise is a far better choice and cheaper too.

            1. re: wordsworth

              Do you mean LeParadis??? Far from Paradise...talk about a place vastly over rated!!!

              1. re: millygirl

                Aw, I like Le Paradis. I think most reviews haven't been absolutely astounded by the bistro but there seems to be consensus among Le Paradis' fans that it is a solid, reliable and well-priced bistro. Significantly cheaper than Batifole, and that means a lot to a student like me.

                1. re: Yum2MyTum

                  I like Le Paradis too! Was there two weeks ago, didn't find it dark at all. Service was attentive and friendly. Food was great. Finished off with a lovely banyuls and blue cheese. The whole meal was delicious. And reasonably priced.

                  Le Paradis
                  166 Bedford Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2K9, CA

                  1. re: JamieK

                    Went to Le Paradis last night for the first time. It wouldn't be my "go to" place, but you get fabulous value for your money. The wines are inexpensive, the apps are all in the single-digit range, the entrees run about $14-15, and the food doesn't diappoint. I had the braised lamb shank with cannelini beans and it was fantastic. The chicken tangine was also quite tender and delicious. Our server was very attentive and helpful. I'll definitely return.

                    1. re: torontofoodiegirl

                      That's fantastic, torontofoodiegirl. It's definitely an excellent place to go for value bistro fare.

                      Another place I recently discovered - thanks to CHers - is Niagara Street Cafe. It's also reasonably priced (slightly more expensive than Le Paradis - all mains at $18-19, all starters at $6-9), and the chef there has a way with pork. Plus, it's a great place for a date - all low lights and soft music; very romantic!

              2. re: wordsworth

                Hey Wordsworth...noted 2 of your posts on this thread, but didn't see your go-to place...did I miss it?

              3. re: Mila

                adding batifole as another go-to.

                had a recent dinner there and devoured an excellent dish of escargots in father sauce and amazing promini liver (thuet has nothing on them). rounds of drinks and got away ridiculously stuffed and trying to pawn the rest of my delicious but disastrously un-reheatable... for $60 each. oh.. and not to mention the bread, dear god i think i ate a whole loaf.

              4. Sofra (Dufferin and Langstaff) or Tov Li (Bathurst, 2 locations). Both casual, but delicious and I am always in the mood for delicious middle eastern dips.

                1. oh its hard to pick one..but I am never disapointed with House on Parliament
                  which is on Parliament in cabbagetown, near Gerrard I believe.

                  1. Tabule on Yonge north of Davisville.

                    1. My mom's kitchen in Northern Ontario for wild game (does that count? :)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                        Wow! Almost a reply a minute! Thanks for all the replies so far--after checking some of the restos' websites, this is exactly what I was looking for. I think some real gems are emerging.
                        (BTW, phoenikia--4 votes = cheating!) ; )

                        Pescatarian, I was going to say I agree with you on Tov-Li, but that would count as 2 votes, so I'll keep my mouth shut. :)

                        1. re: looniePincher

                          I re-read your initial post, and changed my reply to just 1 restaurant;)

                      2. Every time I travel, upon returning, my first stop is Linda's (Thai) at Yonge/Dundas.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: estufarian

                          Ditto, except I usually get my fix downstairs at Salad King (or Linda's in Don Mills Centre)

                        2. i nearly never have a place that ends up being my "go to" but lately i've either over done it at or end up going back to pho phuong at dundas and brock.

                          fantastic vietnamese food, puts the rest to shame in the city. the banh khot is addicting.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                            Ohmigod, this is a tough one!!! I'll have to think about it for awhile and get back to you. Would it be cheating to vote for one lunch place and one dinner spot :) ???

                          2. Of all the places I dine at, it's Hernando's Hideaway on Yonge at Wellesley that I go to after a long while away or after a particularly hard day. The people there treat me like family. It's very comforting.

                            1. Jerusalem on Eglington West

                              1. Well before, I would have said brunch at Sugar but since the thread implies a restaurant whose doors are still open...boo hoo...I'll go with Terroni. I like all locations but my "go to" hangout is the one at Balmoral.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: peppermint pate

                                  Another vote for Terroni... Queen Street West location... at the bar/counter.

                                2. many will disagree with me i know but...

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: todc1996

                                    actually, from reading some of the other posts on starfish, I think many would agree with you.

                                  2. I have to say Quattro Raggaze (Danforth near Coxwell).

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: Pincus

                                      Roma Ristorante...1090 Bloor Street West at Gladstone (one block east of Dufferin)

                                      1. re: pearlD

                                        What specifically do you like at Roma? I live just nearby, but I've never tried it.

                                        1. re: piccola

                                          Exellent pizza!

                                          Ristorante Roma
                                          1090 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H1M6, CA

                                          1. re: JamieK

                                            Oh, even better! Just what I was looking for.

                                            1. re: piccola

                                              They also make a really good 'roma' salad...better in the summer when produce is local but still...........
                                              The Pizza is really good (I like a 'white' pizza with goat cheese the best!)
                                              When I am craving that 'mama' flavour I order Gnocchi...don't know if they are home made but the Tomato sauce is excellent.
                                              They use a lot of fresh garlic..sometimes to the extreme....ask them to be 'light' or you'll be warding off vampires for a month!

                                            2. re: JamieK

                                              The pizza has been odd the last few times we've ordered from Roma - still good, but not quite the quality they were producing 5 years ago,

                                              I also agree with PearlD about the Roma salad - the best part being that I've never had exactly the same salad twice. There;'s different stuff in there every time.

                                              1. re: SherylKirby

                                                Just came home from Roma...had the Roma Salad...even at this time of year the salad was good...had Gnocchi (sadly a bit gummy tonight)Husband had Pizza...lots of pepperoni (as we don't get in in Jamaica) shshsh...don't tell...we have packed some in the suitcase! He said the Pizza was as good as usual...Roma is our usual goodbye/hello Toronto restaurant among other things. Used to be dinner upstairs at Senior's (Yonge Street) BBQ Ribs and all the sides! Just stopped going I don't know why.....perhaps the Ribs were too well done the last couple of times.........so for us "Roma Rules"!!!

                                                  1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                    Roma Ristorante aka Roma Pizza
                                                    1090 Bloor Street West,
                                                    1 block east of Dufferin (at Gladstone)

                                                    or did you mean "Senior's"? Yonge Street corner of Pleasant Blvd. (east side, South of St. Clair.)

                                                    1. re: pearlD

                                                      Thanks for that. I meant Roma, sorry. I've read about it on the boards here, and it does sound good. I must try it.

                                      2. Tomi Kro (Leslieville) for almost anything and Queen Mother (Queen & McCaul) for the ping gai.

                                        1. Henry's Fish House, Ogden's Beach Rd, Midland

                                          Henry's Fish House
                                          3282 Ogden's Beach Rd, Tay, ON L0K, CA

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: JamieK

                                            I speculate you're into nostalgia - not food! (Joking - I respect your many other posts). But why not if you've been away for 30 years?
                                            Not my favourite meal of all-time (and never tempted to return).

                                            1. re: estufarian

                                              I know, I think you've mentioned your thoughts on Henry's before. But based on OP's criteria, that's what I came up with. I don't have a "go to" in TO and we go to Henry's every summer at least once.

                                              Nostalgia may indeed play a role but I love the battered fresh pickerel, the fries, the cole slaw and baked beans (the "shore lunch"). Quaffed down with a cold Creemore lager from the tap. I like the family-style service when we all order the same lunch, which we do. And the service has always been friendly and warm.

                                              We enjoy looking out over the marina at the boaters (we're not) and their million-dollar babies. And watching the thieving seagulls waiting for a chance to swoop down on leftovers.

                                              That, and spicy Mueller sausages hot off the grill (also accompanied by Creemore), is summer to me. And I miss it!

                                          2. High end - Splendido
                                            Seafood - Starfish
                                            Chinese - Fantasy Eatery
                                            Japanese - Cafe Michi
                                            Mid/low price - Pastis Express
                                            Italian - Il Mulino

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Charles Yu

                                              For chinese, I still like Magic Wok in Markham.

                                            2. El Bodegon for my comfort food fix.

                                                1. re: obstructionist

                                                  Me Va Me (the restaurant not the take out place)

                                                  1. re: food_lover

                                                    Toba - King and Sherbourne. Great food, great service - even if they are busy. Enjoyed it many times for dinner plus had a lovely brunch there.

                                                    1. re: food_lover

                                                      The dip platter is amazing at Me Va Me!

                                                      1. re: food_lover

                                                        Agra is great if you like dried and tasteless tandoori. Honest, they don't come much worse that that place.

                                                    2. My low-end "go to" place is California Sandwiches..the one I always end up at is in Woodbridge at Hwy 7 and Weston Rd. I'm vegetarian so for me the Eggplant Parm sandwich is worth the drive every time....I even dream about it sometimes hahaha.

                                                      1. low end - SABABA
                                                        girls night out - INSOMNIA
                                                        good food and good variety - MEZZETA
                                                        OMG i want a burger - UTOPIA
                                                        AYCE sushi - SUSHI ISLAND

                                                        i can't choose just one.

                                                        apparently, i like restos that end with "A".

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: LemonLauren

                                                          What makes Insomnia a good girls' night place? I've been looking for somewhere to go with my former roommates...

                                                          1. re: piccola

                                                            for my girls, first and foremost it's affordability - mains are under $15/12 across the board. vibe is happening (for lack of a better word) - a mid-twenties crowd of couples and friends, chatting, good backgroup music, cool use of lighting, nice modern art on the exposed brick walls, and a swanky area with couches in the back. food is plentiful and generally good - the crab cakes are so good they make me cry, and they do a lot of tapas-ish stuff for sharing. and, they have a two page martini list that makes excellent use of fruity and fun liquers. that says girls night to me!

                                                            1. re: LemonLauren

                                                              Perfect! Problem solved - thanks.

                                                        2. Lunch with Chirashi sushi at Japango - best lunch deal if you are looking for fresh sushi, $12.95 with soup and salad.

                                                          1. The Town Grill (243 Carlton), before and after the change of ownership. Solid bistro.
                                                            The House on Parliament (456 Parliament). Solid pub with adventurous cuisine. (However, Andrew Loft, the chef, has recently left and not yet been replaced. They have had great luck over the years with their kitchen staff, so I hope that they find someone who will maintain the quality. My dinner yesterday was only a B.)
                                                            Pastis Express.

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                              eek, what did you have that was a B at HOP? i was thinking of going this weekend, perhaps i should wait

                                                              1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                It was funny, in the 'odd' sense. The dish read as though it was theoretically Andrew Loft, but the execution was not. It was veal scallopini in a red wine and mushroom sauce with gnocchi in a gorgonzola sauce, and some grilled veg. The gnocchi were tough, over cooked, the gorgonzola sauce was indifferent, and the veal was a bit tough. I remain loyal, but vigilent. I hope that it was just a blip.

                                                                1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                  hm, that too bad .. was it a special or has their menu changed?

                                                                  1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                    The menu is currently unchanged. It was a special of the sort that you would recognise on paper. As I said, it wasn't the concept that was lacking, it was the execution.

                                                                    1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                      Hm, thats too bad, I hope their prime rib is still good , and the pulled pork :S

                                                                      1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                        I don't think that those items will suffer. Those recipes and techniques are tried and true. It's more the specials that Andrew Loft, and Joan Olsen before him, developed, that might suffer. Perhaps Milan will step up to the plate, but I doubt that he's interested.

                                                                        1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                          Was looking back at this old thread and this reply from 'hungryabbey' caught my eye......I am always looking for a good place to eat Prime Rib...please tell me about The Town Grill....this is a place that I have heard about but don't know anyone who's been there...looking forward to a good description because I LOVE A PRIME RIB ROAST!!!

                                                              2. New Generation sushi at Bloor and Brunswick Ave. HUGE maki, low prices.

                                                                1. Great thread idea. But I can't name just one!

                                                                  "Uptown": Ruby's Chinese Restaurant (McCowan and Finch). Reasonable pricing and some of the best Cantonese in Toronto, IMHO.

                                                                  "Downtown / Midtown": Le Paradis. (Avenue and Davenport). Good value for money, solid bouillabaisse, delicious house made tarts.

                                                                  Le Paradis
                                                                  166 Bedford Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2K9, CA

                                                                  1. My vote goes to Kubo Radio on Queen East. Asian fusion - always interesting - and their sake martinis are delish!

                                                                    1. Ethiopian House

                                                                      Ethiopian House
                                                                      4 Irwin Ave, Toronto, ON M4Y1K9, CA

                                                                      1. Hi Loonie,

                                                                        I love the thread!! . . . For me and my friends it's gatheing at our favourite greasy spoon on a weekend morning after a night out ...Sneaky D's baby!! . . . I love their breakfast and their nachos . . . The owner and staff are great there as well...


                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: snackboy

                                                                          Konnichiwa on Baldwin and Terroni on Queen.

                                                                          1. Marvellous Edibles. It never disappoints. They are great in modifying any recipe. I always ask them to limit the oil and salt. They are fully responsive.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: snoobie

                                                                              One of the most appealing threads on this board in quite a while.
                                                                              It's hard to pick just one joint - a lot depends on my mood, my finances, who I might be with and how much I feel like driving - but if I ABSOLUTELY MUST pick one, I guess it's Mashu Mashu, a casual middle-Eastern-type spot on Spadina Rd. between St. Clair and Eglinton Aves. I've probably gone there more often in the past couple of years than any other resto. Lentil soup, filet of baked rainbow trout with flavored rice, and Mashu-Mashu salad. Not great dining, but very, very satisfying, at affordable prices and good service by an alert young staff in a modern setting.

                                                                              1. re: snoobie

                                                                                snoobie, I've been meaning to check this place out for dinner. We go for brunch all the time and love their frites. The dinner menu has so many options which have you had and recommend?? Do you require reservations for dinner? We love the food but sometimes I find the staff not entirely friendly, have you ever felt this?

                                                                                1. re: millygirl

                                                                                  I have never been disappointed and have been there many times. Ioften eat their tiger shrimp dish with pasta... It is fabulous. I like their jerk chicken and their lamb shank. Ask them to reduce the oil when they cook. They have a great apple and cranberry cake. I think it is the best in the city... I feel like going there tonight......

                                                                              2. thanks to chowhound...here would be my list:
                                                                                ayce sushi: sushi island
                                                                                burgers: utopia
                                                                                sandwich: the fish sandwich shoppe on college (hey all three restaurants are on college..LOL)
                                                                                falafel: me-va- me
                                                                                pizza: panago (bay and gerrard)
                                                                                beer:. beer bistro
                                                                                girls night out: ultra supper club

                                                                                I'm getting hungry..LOL

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: domesticgodess

                                                                                  Panago is amazing! Their Deluxe Hawaiian is so good.

                                                                                2. Great thread....but I think it would be so much better if everyone just followed the OP's request to pick ONE go-to favorite only...

                                                                                  For me, my one choice would be Café Arc De Triomphe at Cummer and Yonge, between Finch and Steeles. They specialize in Hong Kong style Western menus with a French cooking flair....bit upscale from its contemporaries, but still reasonably priced....eg Lunch specials are generally under $10 including soup and tea/coffee.

                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: T Long

                                                                                    Is this the Arc De Triomphe at the Leslie/Finch Plaza? I know that one closed many months back and was replace by one of those pan-Asian (a la Spring Rolls) restaurants called Rice Paper. Ever since it closed and my other fav HK-style western place up at Bayview/HWY 7 shut down, I've had a hankering for some good HK western food.

                                                                                    My go-to place is definitely "Chicken & Noodles Chinese Restaurant" at Sheppard and Kennedy. Their corn and taro congee is the ultimate comfort food for me. Great for a sunday morning! The "Dan Dan" noodles (noodles with a peanuty sauce) with a couple deep fried pork chops are amazing too.

                                                                                    1. re: tweenietoes

                                                                                      tweenietoes: I don't know if its the same, as I had never gone to the one at Leslie/Finch, but I've been going to the one at Cummer/Yonge (in the Food Basic Mall) for about a year now.... and given the uniqueness of the name, my guess would be that it is the same but relocated. Not the best HK western food I've had in the GTA...that would have been the little place at the corner of Yonge and Clark (ground fl of a medical bldg) that closed over a year ago, but the best I've found that's still around. Most of the customers are ethnic Chinese and I think a high percentage are regulars. The good thing for me is that the menus are in English....always a good sign!! Now if I could only find a great Cdn-Chinese food place with superior egg rolls.

                                                                                      1. re: T Long

                                                                                        thanks T Long! that's good to know. yeah, I've got to start searching for more HK western places once I get the time.

                                                                                        1. re: tweenietoes

                                                                                          Hey tweenietoes: Just wanted to mention 2 other places offering HK western that I enjoy. In downtown Toronto on Dundas, East of Spadina (on 2nd floor) is Hong Kong Harbour and in Scarborough there is D&R Wings in the Bamburgh Circle Mall (Near Sam Woo Seafood Restaurant). Both have their features....HK Harbour for its location (don't know of another HK western place downtown) and D&R Wings for value for your money.

                                                                                          1. re: T Long

                                                                                            HK Harbour is a great tip! and yes, I have been to D&R Wings on a couple of occasions (love their red bean ice)...don't quite know why it never became a regular place for me, but usually i'm in that area for Pho 88, which is my go-to place for pho.

                                                                                    2. re: T Long

                                                                                      I went to Café Arc De Triomphe along with my SO recently. I ordered the creamy seafood pasta and he ordered a curry noodle soup dish. Both were bland and kinda gross. The sauce on mine tasted like it came out of a can, and his smelled great but tasted like instant noodles. HK style tea was good and strong but it tasted an awful lot like Lipton's instant milk tea. I'm willing to give the place another try, but I don't want to be disappointed again, so what do you recommend? On a side note, this place has the BEST decor, it's so kitschy.

                                                                                      1. re: apricotcake

                                                                                        Hi apricotcake: I've only been back to Café Arc De Triomphe once in the last year. The dish I liked the most in the past was a Chicken in Cream Sauce dish that was on their daily special list. It was not on the list the last time I was there, so I had their steak special which was quite chewy, so not that good. The HK style places I've been going to lately include D&R Wings which I've mentioned before and the restaurant in the Monte Carlo Inn in Markham (Woodbine Ave) which does the stuff a little more upscale...prices included.

                                                                                      1. North 44 Yonge & Eglinton (when every possible) or Mama Martinos on the Queensway around Royal York

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Food4201

                                                                                          Mama Martinos got worse every time until a year ago i vowed never to return. Everything over-salted and atrociously unprofessional service

                                                                                        2. Though it gets panned more than not on these boards now, if I was out of town I would probally really miss Gandhi Roti, and once back would get one in hopes it was what they once were...

                                                                                          1. It's not my favourite restaurant by any stretch, but I'd have to say Young Thailand. Really, it's mostly for sentimental reasons: it was the first restaurant I went to in Toronto, and it was the place that made me finally broaden my culinary horizons (the most ethnic I was willing to go before that point was lemon chicken at a Chinese buffet). I also have a lot of fond memories of dinners there with friends and family.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: vorpal

                                                                                              Oh, and while this might raise some eyebrows, also Seabreeze Chinese Food, Tokyo Grill, Dukem, and Batifole. If I leave Toronto, those four will probably be the places I miss the most, each for their own reason.

                                                                                            2. This will probably result in a chorus of eye rolling from Thai afficionados, but if I don't feel like screwing around and just want a comfortable, decent meal at a decent price, I know I will get it at Linda (NOT Salad King). Yonge/Gould, upstairs from Salad King. It's quite nice in there, too. A welcome respite from the madness downstairs.

                                                                                              Salad King
                                                                                              340 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M5B1R7, CA

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: spades

                                                                                                Hey Spades, its about your go-to place, not necessarily what others would consider the best place in town. Its far more personal. For goodness sakes, I picked Hernando's!

                                                                                                1. re: Googs

                                                                                                  Too true, Googs.

                                                                                                  When I've been out of town for a while, the places I go to 'ground' myself when I finally get back are never the high end places.

                                                                                                  1. re: orangewasabi

                                                                                                    Exactly. The whole point of this thread was to get people thinking and talking about that one place that we all have but that may be unique to yourself....That place may invariably be different for different people and no one should have to feel the need to justify or defend their selection.

                                                                                              2. My favourites are very open to change - recently ate at Siji on Dundas and was very impressed. Being adventurous the chance to eat 'live uni' was one I couldn't pass up, and the sashimi appetizer was more varied than other places I've tried. They seem to have a good source for very fresh seafood, and spend time on the presentation.

                                                                                                1. Yangs Sushi & Teppanyaki
                                                                                                  Vaughan Mills Plaza....in the same plaza as Montanas

                                                                                                  1. Lately, my go-to has been Sheba at College & Bath. Consistently fantastic!

                                                                                                    1. Weezies - King & Power - in one word: "comfort"

                                                                                                      1. sorry, two faves:
                                                                                                        LaPalette on augusta south of college.
                                                                                                        JKWB chuch and front.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: alisonb

                                                                                                          I second Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. I don't get there nearly as often as I'd like but I have NEVER been disappointed by a meal there and would be so sad if it was no longer an option....

                                                                                                        2. Not necessarily the best food, but if we're stuck and can't come up with anything else, Rhino. The food is passable and the beer is plentiful and cheap, making this our "go to" when all else fails.

                                                                                                          1. Aunties and Uncles! Consistently good!

                                                                                                              1. Aji Sai on Danforth. Its close, the whole family likes it, good quality for the price and friendly service (if sometimes spotty when it gets busy). Nothing fancy, but its satisfying.

                                                                                                                1. Great Thread idea...

                                                                                                                  In the spirit of a go to place that I would miss and have to hit if I left Toronto: North Pole Bakery for their Canoli's, Danforth Pizza House for a pizza and Smokeless Joe's for a beer. And if I was feeling like something a litle more refined, I would hit FARE on Queen east.

                                                                                                                  1. Marvellous Edibles on Laird never disappoints.... We have been going for years.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: snoobie


                                                                                                                      Marvellous Edibles
                                                                                                                      120 Laird Dr, Toronto, ON M4G3V3, CA

                                                                                                                      1. re: snoobie

                                                                                                                        Hey snoobie, have you ever had dinner there? We go for brunch regularly and love it but never been for dinner.

                                                                                                                      2. For a dining experience, The Rosebud. Not always perfect but I'm never unsatisfied after a meal.

                                                                                                                        For more immediate needs, Sushi 930. Oh man, when I'm hungry and tired after work it's just amazing.

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: artificialard

                                                                                                                          I second the Rosebud, the food there never fails to put me in a good mood. It is sophisticated comfort food.

                                                                                                                          Someone else mentioned the Niagra Street Cafe and I would put that at the top of my list too. I have never had a single bad dish there and I have been many, many times.

                                                                                                                          1. re: artificialard

                                                                                                                            Sushi 930 is my favorite place. They never disappointed me. Superb quality and variety of fish. As a Japanese, I have no tolerance to poorly prepared sushi. Since I found Sushi 930, I stopped trying different sushi shops.

                                                                                                                          2. a new one for the cheap kids who like the red room like me: Nirvana, just east of Bathurst on the north side of College - nice ambiance, nice sangria, nice avocado and brie sandwiches...

                                                                                                                            1. I'm putting in a vote for Jean's Vegetarian (near Danforth and Coxwell). Amazing variety of freshly-made vegetarian food, unpretentious atmosphere (and prices!) and the nicest owners in the city.

                                                                                                                              1. When in the College St. area, I can't miss Utopia, but don't know why people keep voting for Sushi Island - it's been going downhill for months IMHO.

                                                                                                                                But if I could pick only one place in TO it would be Smokeless Joes on John St. Amazing oysters, best soups, a beer selection to die for, and the friendliest staff to compliment the cozy atmosphere. It's small, but it is my home away from home.

                                                                                                                                1. Great thread, whenever travelling for a long time, we always go to Congee Wong!!!

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Wil

                                                                                                                                    It gets mixed reviews, but for Pakistani/Indian food, it's Lahore Tikka house for me.
                                                                                                                                    Batifole for bistro fare.
                                                                                                                                    Allen's for beer and better than average pub fare.
                                                                                                                                    Wheat Sheaf for after a softball game for some pitchers of beer and wings.

                                                                                                                                    Ok, that's four spots, I'll stop.

                                                                                                                                  2. The Hart House Gallery Grill never disappoints. Beautiful room, high ceilings, original art, and great food and service to boot. Sadly, they only do lunch and brunch during the school year, but it's worth the trip, particularly for the desserts.

                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: sloweater

                                                                                                                                      any tips on where to park around there?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: JamieK

                                                                                                                                        Sorry for the late reply... You can park on King's College Circle on the university campus. It is accessible off of Queen's Park. There is also a parking lot, albeit small, off of Harbord between Queens Park and St George.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: sloweater

                                                                                                                                          thanks sloweater, I ended up parking on the circle no problem, but expensive!

                                                                                                                                          That was my first time to Gallery Grill and you are so right --- beautiful room, great food and really great service. We ended up having the cheese plate though instead of dessert. Would definitely go back.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: JamieK

                                                                                                                                            Glad you enjoyed it. I've been going for years and it continues to provide great food and service.

                                                                                                                                            Do they still have cassoulet on the menu? Haven't been in a while and mean to get back before the cassoulet is off for spring.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sloweater

                                                                                                                                              Yes, indeed, cassoulet was on the menu a week ago --- duck confit, lamb merguez, braised pork, Great Northern Beans. Suggested pairing with Chateau Grand Moulin syrah/grenache.

                                                                                                                                              No I don't have a phenomenal memory, quite the opposite. I took a menu home with me ;->

                                                                                                                                              1. re: JamieK


                                                                                                                                                Gallery Grill
                                                                                                                                                7 Hart House Cir, Toronto, ON M5S, CA

                                                                                                                                                1. re: JamieK

                                                                                                                                                  I went a couple of days ago and had the Cassoulet. It's still as good as ever. I had the Norm Hardie Pinot Noir with it instead of the corbieres... not bad, but the wine is a little too pricey at $18 a 5oz glass.

                                                                                                                                                  The upside down apple cake was tasty too.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: JamieK

                                                                                                                                                  How do you get away with doing that??? I've been tempted to do so more than once, but very few fit into my purse...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gijoeanne

                                                                                                                                                    At the Gallery Grill, it's not a fancy schmancy menu. They print off a new one every day using a template I guess but changing the menu items. On 8.5x11 sheet of paper, folded. There's a date on the menu so I suppose at the end of the day they shred and throw them in recycling.

                                                                                                                                                    I simply asked to keep mine and the waiter quickly offered everyone else at the table a menu to keep. It fit easily in my jacket pocket.

                                                                                                                                                    It's the same deal at JK Gardiner, a dated new menu every day, so I brought that home too.

                                                                                                                                                    I like to keep them as reminders and reference. And as both GG & JKG's menus suggest wine pairings, they give me ideas for wine pairings at home!

                                                                                                                                      2. I love sushi! Its my fave and I can almost have it everyday.

                                                                                                                                        My current go to place is Big Sushi on Bloor, West of Spadina - actually sort of next to Sushi Time.

                                                                                                                                        I love their sushi rolls - they have a deal (not sure if they still do) for $13 - spicy salmon roll, spicy tuna roll and 3 pieces of salmon sushi. I get the booth at the back, order some tea, sit down with a good book and enjoy my food.

                                                                                                                                        I love going here!

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: TOchowgal

                                                                                                                                          My preferred Sushi place is New Generation.

                                                                                                                                          I actually came to this posting from a search for Sushi Time. But not the one on Bloor, and not sure if they are related, but the one on Queen west. Was there the other night -- was in the area and needed to grab a quick bite and wanted to try something (other than Ho Su, our usual when around Queen/John, which is not bad at all.) It was terrible. Unspeakably so. The quality of the 'food' and it's preparation, presentation, all was just blech...Has anyone here on the board used the term 'McSushi?' If not just go to this place for the definition. So not chow-worthy.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: TOchowgal

                                                                                                                                            I Love big sushi too! I go every week with a big group of people... i generally go veggie so no complaints about not-great fish, which i know i've heard before - or I get a bento box... how can you complain when you get 2 full meal's worth of food in one box for 10 bucks??

                                                                                                                                          2. I second La Palette (on Augusta, near College): http://www.lapalette.ca/

                                                                                                                                            La Palette
                                                                                                                                            256 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L9, CA

                                                                                                                                            1. Mistura at Ave and Dav for me. Consistently yummy and fantastic service. It's always a feel-good evening when we go there.

                                                                                                                                              1. Il Mulino - Bathurst and Eglinton...(Gnocci or Smoked Duck Linguini)

                                                                                                                                                - or -

                                                                                                                                                Mistura - Avenue and Davenport...(Terrific take on caprese and the kobe steak is fantastic!)


                                                                                                                                                1. I'd like to say something sophisticated like Perigee or North 44 (both of which I do love), but the truth is that most often I end up at The Boulevard Cafe (Harbord Street) especially in the summer.... love that patio and they have the best pisco sour in the city.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JToronto

                                                                                                                                                    I love that patio too. I kicked off my personal patio season last year there, and just did the same today for Patio '09. I've actually never eaten indoors there, but it just hits the spot when I want to park somewhere and have a glass of wine or sangria (or two) over a lazy lunch. I'll sit there and people-watch over my anticuchos, or take work to ponder over my salad when I can't stand being in the lab on a sunny Friday. I've also never taken anyone there because if they didn't like it it would somehow be tainted. Which I suppose is how I define my "Go To" place. :)

                                                                                                                                                  2. I love the fact that this thread is still rolling and also some of the mentions that I will be sure to try!

                                                                                                                                                    It's a challenge to pick just one but I think I'm going to have to go with Restorante Pinocchio in Etobicoke at Islington and Dundas[ http://www.ristorantepinocchio.com/ ] as one of the very best overall for me over the years. Oh how I love their Alfredo style fettuccine (Fettuccine Pinocchio) !!

                                                                                                                                                    1. Excluding all the comfort food spots that I frequent, when Mr and I want a really nice meal it is Mye Japanese or Olivers both in Oakville. ( We live in Mississauga) Both are on the expensive side when you add drinks and wine however I can order anything off the menu and it will be great.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I live nearby. What do you recommend from there?

                                                                                                                                                          1. Cafe Pleiade (http://www.cafepleiade.com/
                                                                                                                                                            )557 Mount Pleasant Rd. Toronto, Ontario M4S 2M5 416-486-5207

                                                                                                                                                            - on Mt. Pleasant, south of Eglinton

                                                                                                                                                            I've never been disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                            1. If I need food to comfort me, and staff to pamper me, I always go to Fieramosca on Prince Arthur. I never order from the menu, I just tell the staff what I'm craving and they throw something together, and always throw in extras on the house.

                                                                                                                                                              Lately I've been firmly planted on a bar stool at the Harbourd Room.

                                                                                                                                                              1. My consistent go to place, for food, wine, atmosphere has always been JKWB. I worked/lived in NYC for many years and when I came back to Toronto on business, that is where I aways wanted to go and now that I am permanently back in Toronto, Mr Cheeze and I, as well as friends, often go.

                                                                                                                                                                Recently, I have also been turned onto Hooks Grill in Port Credit - good fish at a good price

                                                                                                                                                                1. Kowloon Dim Sum. In hungry, out full -- all with major satisfaction! Check 'em out.

                                                                                                                                                                  Kowloon Dim Sum Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                  5 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T1L1, CA

                                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfranklin

                                                                                                                                                                    Oh my God. I phoned and confirmed that they are the same Kowloon that was on Dundas Street so long ago. I loved their Dundas location, I will definitely be heading out there to try them out! Thanks for posting this!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pincus

                                                                                                                                                                      Have to disagree bigtime. Kowloon on Baldwin is some of the worst re-heated dim sum I have had in the city. If you notice the place is mostly empty as it was when I visited 11:30am on a recent Saturday or Sunday, you will realize that there is GOOD reason it isn't busy.

                                                                                                                                                                      I suggest Rol San on Spadina for fresh great Dim Sum. There is also a place on Dundas just west of Spadina on the north side street level that I have now been to about 8 times. It is excellent most of the time - enough that I keep going back. Very tasty and fresh. The 2 times it disappointed was because some plates were over steamed with mushy textures. So it is a bit risky to try but being the next best to Rol San downtown, I think it is worth it. I don't know the name and will try to add it to this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: deelicious

                                                                                                                                                                        I am remembering what was, not necessarily what is. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pincus

                                                                                                                                                                          Sorry Pincus, my response was to jfranklin. I was never at the Dundas location...that I am aware of.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: deelicious

                                                                                                                                                                          how far west? past huron? i've started going to the back of kim moon bakery for a cheap dimsum fix with all of it being fresh though not excellent but definitely great at the price.

                                                                                                                                                                          would love more options.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess


                                                                                                                                                                            it is maybe a dozen doors west of spadina. it is a large place. when you walk in there are a few tables on the right side and most of the seating is on the left. big square room.

                                                                                                                                                                            hope you enjoy!!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. King's Noodles (Spadina and Dundas) Satisfy your congee cravings any day.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. Italian - La Vecchia (Yonge and Eglinton)...love the penne alla vodka.
                                                                                                                                                                        Lebanese - Tabule (Yonge and Eglinton)
                                                                                                                                                                        Japanese - Sakawaya (Donlands and Danforth)
                                                                                                                                                                        Greek - Pantheon (Pape and Danforth)...love the calamari

                                                                                                                                                                        All reasonably priced places with good, authentic food.

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: janel

                                                                                                                                                                          I agree, Pantheon, has the BEST calamari.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Don't see any Kingston restaurants on here! My favourite is Little Saigon in Kingston on Princess Street. I used to live above them; green curry with asparagus every time. I miss it so much!

                                                                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tauceti

                                                                                                                                                                            I am still looking for THE restaurant in the Kingston AREA!
                                                                                                                                                                            Any chow hounds around?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: towkay

                                                                                                                                                                                  Chien Noir. Never been to Luke's but heard good things...search this board.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bluedog

                                                                                                                                                                                    wok-in still exists, but for me it's Pat's restaurant (the original thai/cambodian in Kingston)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: snoopyloopy

                                                                                                                                                                                      Is this still the case? Passing through Ktown I noticed a few Thai/Cambodian (and Vietnamese) places.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: bluedog

                                                                                                                                                                                      When I worked in Kingston for many weeks, I would go to CN once a week. And I generally don't like French food. Great ambiance too.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: tauceti

                                                                                                                                                                                    That's probably because kingston is a bit of a wasteland when it comes to restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Chez Piggy is not what it used to be.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Pan Chanco is mediocre at best..
                                                                                                                                                                                    The River Mill has turned into a retirement home cafeteria..
                                                                                                                                                                                    Chien Noir is alright, but it's pricey for what it is.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Casa Dominico is probably the best thing the town has going for it... what else is there, really?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Neverever

                                                                                                                                                                                      Agree that Chez Piggy is a ghost of its former self, had a very mediocre and very expensive meal there recently. Pan Chancho has great bread and decent (albeit limited) prepared foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                      But don't say Kingston is a wasteland. Curry Original easily beats any Indian in Toronto. Atomica makes some tasty Italian. Casa Domenico is great, AquaTerra is expensive but great.

                                                                                                                                                                                      My go to in Kingston is admittedly Lone Star. Much better than the Front St location, amazing patio, plus I'm a former employee. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  3. great thread...

                                                                                                                                                                                    The Fish Shop on College for the sandwiches. The BEST sandwich in the city. I was just there last week and it tastes just as good as the first.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Big mentions to Marcellos at the Vaughan Mills plaza and Tsukiji Sushi Village on Main Street Markham. Great food and always great service at both.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Cafe Polonez on Roncesvalles...Best Polish in Toronto...Unbelievable flavour and value

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Utopia - College and Clinton. The best "burritos", but I hear the burgers and the nachos are killer too.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Blacktree in Burlington. Chef Matteo Paonessa is into locavore cooking and offers up creative, intriguing, fusion cooking. One of the most interesting dishes I've tried is salmon gravalox served with marshmallow foam. Sounded bizarre so I just had to try it. 'Twas phenomenal. In addition, had the best foie gras appetizer there... seared foie gras with a cherry, port reduction... a match made in heaven.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. This thread is so old now our goto place has changed....For a casual dinner, Lolita's Lust. Good food, well prepared, reasonably priced...for a fancier evening out, Globe Bistro. Never let me down despite some iffy reviews on this board and a few chef changes.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. go to italian: Terroni on Queen
                                                                                                                                                                                              go to french: Le Select on Wellington
                                                                                                                                                                                              go to sushi: Sushi on Bloor on Bloor
                                                                                                                                                                                              go to romantic: Grace on College
                                                                                                                                                                                              go to brunch: Swan on Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Rosebud - Queen and Bathurst

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Without a doubt Cafe Polonez is the best. My faves: Pierogies, Pork Chop (Schnitzel), Hungarian Pancake thingy stuffed with Pork goulash, beet soup with dumplings. Oh so good. Generous portions, fairly priced. Avg main $12.00. Been going for 8 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: oakesec

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1) Hiro Sushi on King West
                                                                                                                                                                                                    2) Mistura on Davenport
                                                                                                                                                                                                    3) Terroni
                                                                                                                                                                                                    4) Libretto
                                                                                                                                                                                                    5) Nataraj for Indian
                                                                                                                                                                                                    6) Bistro 990 on Bay
                                                                                                                                                                                                    7) Kai

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. New York Subway. Any time out-of-towners are visiting I take them here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    New York Subway
                                                                                                                                                                                                    520 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Bread & Roses cafe at Bloor & Runnymede in Bloor West Village is our go-to for lunch or a snack.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ginger at Bloor and Bathurst is our go-to for any time, and every time we're downtown. The prices make it very affordable, and they have a great selection of vegetarian meals, so I don't get bored.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sempre at Bloor and Royal York is our go-to for special occasions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I don't think the people responding to this thred understand the meaning of the word "one."

                                                                                                                                                                                                        for me: Harbord Room.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hands down. Good menu, changes often enough, really great beer list and a really, really well thought-out wine list, and the execution of the food is pretty much flawless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Harbord Room
                                                                                                                                                                                                        89 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Scaramouche Pasta Bar. Whether for an amazing dinner or late night dessert (I'm in my late 30's so late for me may not be late for you) the food is always amazing, the service impeccable, and the views unbeatable. And not to mention fair prices and valet parking. Makes a night out a "night out".

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Chinese food: House of Gourmet (Chinatown)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pizza: Libretto
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dumplings: Northern Dumpling Kitchen (Richmond Hill)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Taro's fish for a quick Toro fix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: shekamoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The toro at Taro are mostly big eye tuna or albacore. Blue Fin requires advance notice and depends it they have it in stock.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: skylineR33

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have been happy with their Toro Special that you get as a walk-in. I should call ahead this time and inquire about blue fin. thank you

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: shekamoo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Does Taro's offer a sustainable sushi option?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Depending on what you feel like:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chicken Wings - Grover Grub & Pub Main St. and Kingston Rd. (try suicide mixed with honey garlic)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sechuan Chinese Food - Backyard Garden Restaurant 3636 Steeles Ave E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Peking Duck: Chunking Garden - behind Pacific Mall Steeles & Kennedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dim Sum - Pearl Restaurant (Harbourfront)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bistro Fare: Joy Bistro Queen St. E (Wood St. I think, anyways b/w Carlaw and Broadview on North Side)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I've always enjoyed Le Paradis. Delicious mussles and beouf bourginion. (sorry for the horrible spelling). I can always rely on Federick's in Scarborough, at Bellamy and Ellesmere for good Hakka food. And can't forget Perfect for Chinese at any hour on Sheppard, west of Brimley

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Le Paradis
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  166 Bedford Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2K9, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Bitondo's for a slice or two.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    11 Clinton St, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Buster Rhino's BBQ. My favorite is Camp 31 but since that's a bit of a drive from Durham Region, BR's is my "go-to" for BBQ.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Buster Rhino's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2001 Thickson Rd S, Whitby, ON L1N, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Never in a million years will I ever say my first choice, it is my secret.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Second, Banjara right by Christi Pits
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Third, Gio Ranna's Really Really Nice Italian Restaurant, Lesliville

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        796 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1L7, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chef_vegabond

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I feel you're obligated to bare all with the rest of us. Hey, if I can admit to Hernando's Hideaway at Yonge & Wellesley you can share your most personal and closely held secret too. I've said it before, this isn't about the best. It's about your home away from home. There will be no shaming. Promise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And to anyone who may shame him on his choice remember I'm have stilletos and I know what to do with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hernando's Hideaway
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          545 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y1Y5, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I assumed chef vegabond doesn't want to start waiting in line at their favourite place, so it's being kept a secret for that reason. That's fair. My favourite restaurant doesn't get enough business so I don't mind sharing, but I'd never reveal my favourite watering hole on the internet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: plasticanimal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Try not to love your place to death.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Best home cook food.. Food always fresh and price is good too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pho St Clair
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            781 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C1B7, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. The Fish Store
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Black Cod burrito with avocado ftw!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Fish Store
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              657 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B7, CA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ekim256

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Seconded! Their sandwich and soups combos are truly comfort food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: keshkul

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yah! What's your favourite? I've tried so many of them, but Black Cod is still the winner..its so good with avocado and some chowder. The owners are super nice and I love sitting outside with a simple yet tasty sandwich, and I've introduced so many people to them. Every time I go, I eat my sandwich/burrito before I remember to take a picture!