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Oliver Bonacini recommendation needed

crawfish Jan 5, 2008 04:14 AM

I received a very generous $300 gift certificate for an Oliver Bonacini restaurant as a Chistmas gift. I'm leaning towards taking my husband and parents to Canoe. Where would you spend it and why? Menu recommendations would also be appreciated.

  1. TorontoJo Jan 5, 2008 05:50 AM

    For parents, I would lean towards Auberge du Pommier. It's a lovely, warm setting and the food and service are very good. It feels a little less "intimidating" than Canoe, which may or may not be an issue for your parents. Took my mother-in-law there a while back for her birthday, and they not only treated her like a queen, but the pastry chef specially made a creme caramel for her dessert (I requested in advance, of course).

    1. xssnrg Jan 5, 2008 06:05 AM

      Lucky you! Here's a 2nd Auberge vote - it has a wonderful French ambience with exceptional service. It's a great place for a memorable meal with great wine. I have enjoyed many different meals there and have to admit to very occasional issues with the entre quality being spotty - last time there the seared tuna disappointed. Canoe is quite different - love the views, they are classic and the experience will have more of a modern edge - think martini vs. wine. Food exceptional (out of towners enjoy trying the game meats and sharing them around the table! cheese plate and desserts get gold stars) and service quite good too. If you are out shopping, they are doing a terrific job at Oliver Bonacini at Bayview Village - have to admit it's a destination place for lunch - love their salmon teriyaki salad! Don't think Jump will work for parents and not as memorable as Auberge or Canoe. Enjoy!

      1. a
        Apple Jan 5, 2008 06:09 AM

        Canoe- hands down. They boast a spectacular view of the city and lake (ask for a window seat when reserving) and the food was very nice. The service was amazing - professional and unhurried. We ordered the raw bar as an appetizer and it was definitely delicious. And the rest of our meal was very good, too. The menu is online so you can take a look at it to see if anything piques your fancy.

        While I agree with TorontoJo that Auberge is warmer setting than Canoe, I think the views Canoe has to offer are really quite special and memorable.

        1. Matt416 Jan 5, 2008 07:13 AM

          Here's another vote for Canoe. Auberge may be good, but there's a reason why Canoe is their flagship resto, and Chef Walsh is almost always there, leading his kitchen.


          1. Rabbit Jan 5, 2008 07:41 AM

            Another Canoe vote. I like the Canadian focus on the menu at Canoe. Not too many places are really thinking through what Canadian cuisine is all about, and I think we've got some really special things to offer.

            Also, the views at Canoe are spectacular. You might try asking for a table by the window to maximizing viewing. It can be especially great if you catch a sunset, but these days that might clock you in at a pretty geriatric dinner hour.

            Finally, I wonder whether you might have trouble with dinner for four at $300, especially if you're drinking with dinner? You could do very well for two with wine, but I would think that dinner for four with wine would probably be more in the $600 range (with tax and tip if you all do a three course evening).

            Please report back... what a great gift!

            9 Replies
            1. re: Rabbit
              crawfish Jan 5, 2008 12:27 PM

              I took a look at Canoe's website and now realise $300 won't come close to covering dinner for 4 - I knew we'd have to top it up but I didn't realise how much. Don't tell my parents but we might go alone :)

              We've been to Auberge du Pommery and it was very nice but a little too far from home. Thanks for all the advice!

              1. re: crawfish
                balthazar Jan 6, 2008 02:12 PM

                Yes, lucky you! That's nice you were thinking of taking your parents out. Before giving up on that... It depends on your parents' tastes, but if they are like mine Canoe just might be too intimidating (and they would flip out at the prices and give me a hard time about it!).

                Consider Biff's Bistro (4 Front St. E.), I like the food there, prices are reasonable (I think they even have a prix fixe) and it's downtown not far from Canoe. You could probably do very nicely for 4 with wine using a $300 gift certificate, and I doubt anyone will feel intimidated. In fact, you might even still have a bit leftover on the card to go back for a meal with just 2 of you.


                1. re: balthazar
                  crawfish Jan 10, 2008 03:33 PM

                  That's what I was leaning towards (dinner with parents at Biff's, drinks before at Canoe) but my husband, who I thought would be totally uncomfortable at Canoe (my parents would be fine) said he'd rather go to Canoe! If you knew him you'd laugh. I don't know when we're going but I'll be sure to post a review.

                  1. re: crawfish
                    balthazar Jan 12, 2008 02:09 PM

                    Funny! :) Well, have a great time wherever you go!

                    1. re: balthazar
                      CBlake Mar 19, 2008 10:18 PM

                      How did you dinner go and where did you go?

                      1. re: CBlake
                        crawfish Mar 20, 2008 05:14 PM

                        I haven't used it yet, I've been travelling. My husband just reminded me!

                        1. re: crawfish
                          CBlake Mar 20, 2008 10:52 PM

                          Let us know when you do, hope you had great travels, where did you go?

                          1. re: CBlake
                            crawfish Mar 27, 2008 03:14 AM

                            China, then Chicago.

                          2. re: crawfish
                            torontofoodiegirl Mar 27, 2008 06:32 AM

                            If you end up at Auberge, try the veal - mmm... Just went there last weekend, and it was divine.

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