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Jan 20, 2008 09:34 AM

My search in the Beach - long

“…beautiful views, fantastic natural setting and GREAT restaurants” was what our smooth agent of real estate intravenously fed us throughout our search for a house in the Beach.
We have been living in the Beach for a few months now but yet to find those Great restaurants, which would justify the sales pitch. We haven’t tried all Beach restaurants but visited enough of them to expect to stumble on at least ONE great one.

Based on recommendation, first visit - Nevada for brunch. Now, here is testament to know your neighbors before running off to check out their hot spots. (or was it the upheaval of our move, which prompted a cruel payback?) Nevada serves a wannabe brunch in a manner of indifference. The aftertaste of the hollandaise sauce slopped on top of the fixings of the Eggs Benedict stayed with me for the better part of the day. Home fries were deep fried and tasteless. The texture of the apparently homemade burger, my partner’s sad choice, closely resembled something one would use for paneling in an ill advised attempt to execute a quick flip of a Beach home.
The place could also make good use of a cloth. One would then not need to make an effort to tear herself away from the walls upon leaving or ignore said walls thickly laden with past-years’ offerings throughout her stay.
I do not believe we will be returning.

Cottage on the Beach was another disappointment. The Eggs Benedict was priced slightly lower than at Nevada but that was the only discernable difference with the exception of the all-around-over-the- fruit sprinkling of parsley. At least the place was clean and the lonely server pleasant.
This little place has a potential to be cozy and cute and could build a steady flow of locals, I am sure of it. But then the decor would have to go – unless bad kitsch is in vogue and while you are at it, improve matters by chucking the menu and cook too.

Tried Ci Vediamo for lunch but do not go there – we told our friends but some people just won’t listen. They chose a similar fair and complained that the tortellini soup had to come out of a can or at least was made by a base not fit for human consumption. The salad dressing was so sour it made their other hole pucker and the grilled vegetable sandwich provided a trickling effect on the chin – an undesired sensation, safe to say.

Thought of Michelle’s Beach House but here is the thing: the images my mind plays of the regularly advertised Monday’s Manicure and Lunch party does put me off. For dinner, I do not mind paying $25.00 for a tuna salad but I would like to sit on a chair fit for the occasion…something adult like.

I have a lot more to say but here is the end. I hope there is hope in the Beach and restaurants, which offer real meals made of real ingredients. Where are the Beach restaurants without the SYSCO connection? Where are the ones our agent promised to which we could walk? - no, I am certain she did not mean a hike.
I admire neighborhoods where substandard restaurant food represents only the minority because in our locale it fulfills the status quo.

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  1. I'm sorry to say you may need to hike west to Leslieville for excellent food...

    1. That's a nice place to live, and I'm jealous. Your realtor may even have been telling you his/her personal truth. Some of those restos are quite successful indeed. And it isn't all Sysco. You have Gordon and Rycott options as well ;-)

      In short, there are no great places in the Beach. There is some good food to be had at some places, but not consistently. ViVetha has good days and, unfortunately, bad ones. Whitlocks has a few good things on their menu (sometimes a decent fresh rack of lamb, for example), as does the local outpost of Il Fornello. There is a decent chippy on the north side of Queen (used to be White Bros - can't recall current name).

      Spiaggia and Lion on the Beach were good at one time, but I don't risk them any more (though you will undoubtedly patronize Lion's patio come summer).

      1. Talk about bad luck Jules! It has been awhile since I lived in the beach (just over a year) but I had pleasant experiences for dinner at La Sauvignon. Due to the mass lineups for b-fast at Sunset Grill, just a block or two west of it is another b/fast dinner place that was better (simular name). My fav place to go for casual dinner and a great patio on the summer is Allan's. I would go there for the pad thai of all things. Also I remember a good Italian place, west end of beaches, beside the Avada store. Large dinner portions for a reasonable price.

        Hope this helps....I know vague and outdated, but those are the places I miss about living in that hood.

        FYI - I am now in Leslieville, lots of old and new places to eat here!! (Huge list of brunch places) Not too far of a hike!

        1. It sometimes gets slammed here, but I like Sauvignon (though I haven't been in over a year, at least). I had a friend who lived in the Beach, and we would go there occasionally, and I never had a bad meal there.

          3 Replies
          1. re: hungry_pangolin

            Sauvignon is two blocks west of Woodbine, so technically Leslieville East.

            1. re: cowhound

              Actually, Sauvignon is at 1862 Queen Street East (at the corner of Rainsford Road) which is one short block west of Woodbine so I think it would still qualify as being in the Beach neighbourhood. The Woodbine streetcar/bus stop is just a few steps away on Queen.

              1. re: ms. clicquot

                Yes, thanks. Leslieville's spread has got to be stopped somewhere, and I hope it's not at Woodbine!

          2. Welcome to the neighbourhood jules! I've lived in the Beach for about 6 years now and am also quite disappointed in the food scene. One of the biggest problems is lack of consistency. Over the years I've tried almost every place along Queen and it's been pretty hit and miss. As other posters have mentioned, I think Sauvignon is one of the better bets - I cannot recall having a terrible meal there. I especially like their duck confit. Their menu doesn't seem to change very often however (if ever), which is a bit of a drawback. Sunset Grill has a pretty good breakfast if you don't mind waiting in line. I've started doing a lot more cooking at home in the past year and when we do go out to eat, we'll usually head to the Leslieville area or downtown. Despite the sad state of restaurants, I still think the Beach is a fantastic neighbourhood, especially in the summer. Let's just cross our fingers and pray for some decent restos to start opening up around here! Oh, and a local farmer's market would be nice in the summer as well.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ms. clicquot

              Just had brunch at Sunset Grill today. We didn't have to wait to long. It was a good fry-up breakfast for $6-7 - massive amount of food on the plate. Eggs were done as requested - over easy - big pile of crispy looking potatoes that could have been a tad more crispy in actuality, nice thick brown rye toast, tons of crispy bacon . Nothing out of this world, but tasty, good breakfast for the buck. The waiter was good at continually filling my coffee cup. I will go back since I love that kind of brunch.

              1. re: pescatarian

                I had brunch there today as well! First time in quite a while. I had the peameal, egg and cheese sandwich on whole wheat and shared my husband's home fries. The bread was nice and fresh and his homefries were well seasoned and fairly crisp. It was a decent brunch for the value (less than $20 for two full breakfasts, coffees with free refills and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice)