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Somewhere Special (within a budget)

LemonLauren Jan 2, 2008 06:29 AM

happy new year CHers!

my SO and i are looking for somewhere to dine out in a few weeks for my highly uneventful 26th bday. we've exhausted our options at our more familiar haunts (Quince, 5 Doors North, Tabule) and want to try somewhere new.

the conditions, as per usual:
- somewhere romantic, but happening - so, not too quiet but still a nice room/atmosphere
- service, service, service - where they might do something nice for the occasion
- any type of cuisine, with particular interest in simplicity - no foams, bellies, livers, foie, etc - we like unique preparations of simple food like fish choices for myself and steak or pork for the SO, and i place lots of value on good veggies/sides
- good affordable new world wine choices
- under $30 mains (except steak, we could pay more for that)
- on the subway line or BONUS walking distance from mount pleasant/eglinton

some choices based on searches on the board:
- Niagara Street Cafe
- Trevor
- Wish

any ideas? thanks in advance.

ps- PLEASE don't say Batifole. too rich, food-wise, for my palette.

  1. n
    neighborguy Feb 24, 2008 01:29 PM

    LL, where did you end up going?

    This is the exact same posting I was going to do. We're out to mark a birthday (a 46th) this week and it looks like these are my finalists:

    I'd do the Globe and the Citizen cuz they are in the east end like us, tho it's not like we'd show here for a casual, anytime drop-in supper. These places read like special occasion destinations.

    The Rosebud and Simple Bistro sound like competent choices. With the fire last week on Queen West I have to leave half an hour early to get parking.

    Universal Grill I am leaning heavily on as the birthday person would go for the nostalgia fix big time and it sounds like the menu is a bit notched up from regular diner/pub fixin's.

    Does anyone have a strong opinion on this?

    2 Replies
    1. re: neighborguy
      estufarian Feb 24, 2008 05:36 PM

      Not sure if you want to make this an 'occasion'. If so, Globe has a more upscale presence. The others are really local places that serve good (or better) food. And you will probably be sittinng on top of your neighbour at all these (except Globe).
      I love the Universal Grill - have been posting on this place for years - but it's just not a 'birthday' kind of place (for me). I guess I look forward to being just a little bit 'spoiled' if it's a special day.

      1. re: neighborguy
        LemonLauren Feb 24, 2008 06:28 PM

        ironically, i don't think we ended up going anywhere...ordered take out from Tabule, lol

      2. Googs Jan 4, 2008 09:17 AM

        Sight unseen I would back Kawarthagirl's Simple Bistro rec. I fits your criteria to a tee including the bonus round and she has excellent taste IMO.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Googs
          LemonLauren Jan 4, 2008 02:38 PM

          true enough - the stumble home factor is key, though in this weather...

        2. t
          The Goddess Jan 2, 2008 06:00 PM

          Eglinton, between Bathurst & the Allen, Il Mulino; romantic, close to your area, fantastic food and service, very good wine list. Always willing to rise to the occasion.

          Il Mulino
          1060 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto, ON M6C 2C9, CA

          1. a
            artificialard Jan 2, 2008 05:37 PM

            The Wish is the slightly more happening place. I go there often and it's a little more casual but with a more modern feel - I quite enjoy it.

            I would recommend (like others) The Rosebud though. It's just wonderful food prepared without nouveau-cuisine oddness, charismatic service, and a very romantic dining room. It is a little more staid and quiet though, compared to your other choices.

            1. redearth Jan 2, 2008 12:53 PM

              Third Rosebud

              2 Replies
              1. re: redearth
                LemonLauren Jan 2, 2008 04:05 PM

                thanks for the recs, but...do they have an online menu?

                1. re: LemonLauren
                  redearth Jan 2, 2008 04:36 PM

                  No, I don't think so, but there are several reviews online that describe his food and the place pretty well.... Here's one:


              2. kawarthagirl Jan 2, 2008 12:31 PM

                Simple bistro - Mt. Pleasant and Manor Road............. EXCELLENT VALUE! Good service. Good food....

                1. z
                  zoohort2 Jan 2, 2008 11:11 AM


                  1. b
                    Beef Pattie Jan 2, 2008 10:34 AM

                    Love, love, love Wish. Totally romantic small space with great food. Service was good, not intrusive at all, just spot on. Their prices would seem to suit you more too - they are in the $19-$34 range (that higher one being steak), whereas a place like Globe's prices are more like $18-$44 according to their website's menu (only two mains under $30). I don't think the pics on Wish's website do it justice because they are taken during the day, and the place just sparkles at night. Hope you have a happy birthday!

                    1. Rabbit Jan 2, 2008 09:13 AM

                      The Universal Grill is romantic, but without trying too hard. Food is well executed and has some interesting flavour zags (great jerk!) but without being weird for the sake of being weird. It's within your price point. And the service is very friendly and accommodating. It does look like it's kind of in the middle of nowhere, but it's actually only about ten minutes from the TTC. www.universalgrill.ca

                      I second Wish and Rosebud (and am curious to try L'Unita). I think Trevor is over-rated (room is dank, food is just OK, service can be frustrating).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Rabbit
                        estufarian Jan 2, 2008 09:39 AM

                        Hey, I was thinking of posting Universal Grill too. But it's not really romantic unless you're really into retro Diners. And i wouldn't want to make the trek from the subway in this weather either (or wait for the Dupont bus).
                        So my choice would also be Globe Bistro - meets all the criteria. And the wine list is far superior to any of the other places mentioned - and their markups are lower than most other places.

                      2. l
                        LovesToEat Jan 2, 2008 08:11 AM

                        I had the same requirements for my hubby's bday in Nov. and we went with Globe Bistro on the Danforth. It's right outside Broadview subway station. He was blown away...the food was delicious and the service was great.

                        Wish is also nice...we've been there before too.

                        Good luck!

                        1. TorontoJo Jan 2, 2008 07:53 AM

                          Have you been to Zee Grill? Excellent seafood in a nice atmosphere. Service has always been good. It's on Mt. Pleasant, around Hillsdale or Manor, I think.

                          1. dlw88 Jan 2, 2008 07:17 AM

                            How about Rosebud?

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: dlw88
                              millygirl Jan 2, 2008 07:51 AM

                              Hey LL, I have just the spot for you.....L'Unita at Ave and Dav. We went over christmas and really enjoyed it. Our group of four thought the food was really good. I had a lamb shank that was cooked to perfection. It's a new spot, very cozy and dim lighting, exposed brick on one wall, and service was excellent, focus on italian fare. The place was hopping but they did not rush us at all, our food was timed just right and pretty reasonably priced. It reminds me of Quince but on a much smaller, intimate scale. I really think you'd find it perfect for the occasion. Highly recommend it.

                              1. re: millygirl
                                Googs Jan 2, 2008 08:13 AM

                                I was thinking L'Unita too! Those tables down the north side that are set apart from the rest of the room by the half-wall would make a romantic little nook.

                              2. re: dlw88
                                LemonLauren Jan 2, 2008 09:23 AM

                                do they have a menu online anywhere?

                                1. re: LemonLauren
                                  millygirl Jan 2, 2008 09:29 AM

                                  Yes, check out L'Unita.ca
                                  Oh, and like someone posted below - do yourself a favour and scrathc Trevor's. Service is horrible and food is just okay - nothing special.

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