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Suggestions for "Homey" non-pretentious, but good food in West End Downtown

Okay, I'm at a loss here. I'm looking for good food, decent portions, not too expensive (not a big deal) and not pretentious in the Queen/King West area. I know, mission impossible, right? Might be able to do College St. as well. We've already been to One of a Kind Pasta and Grill - that's the only thing I could think of that fit this bill. Any ideas fellow Chowhounds?

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  1. I had dinner at Julie's Cuban on saturday night for my birthday and I would recommend it. It's on Dovercourt, just north of Queen. It's romantic and quirky. The portions were so huge we didn't have room for dessert.
    www.juliescuban.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: Henrywatertail

      Hey good suggestion. I have been there before, but didn't recall until twigged by your post. Seems more of a summer place to me, but I think we might be able to swing it. Mojitos!! Thanks!

    2. My favourite in that area is The Prague (www.theprague.ca) the only downside is they close early. (7 during the week and 6 on weekends) So far I've had the Goulash, Beef in Sauerbraten sauce, Chicken and bacon Spaetzle and pierogies and they're all really good. A full meal for one plus dessert shouldn't cost more than $20.

      1. whats the budget?


        Chow!
        HL.

          1. Irie on Queen west. Very good Jamaican food. Before his latest place, Greg Couillard spent some time there honing up his spice skills. Very credible jump-up soup, and fantastic roti. Licenced, as well. A couple of dishes and a red stripe should be under 25.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Snarf

              While Irie is quite good, I have found the portions to be on the smaller side.

              1. re: deelicious

                Depends on what you order. The rotis are definitely good sized

                1. re: deelicious

                  I haven't been in a while, I used to get take out regularly and always found it to be tasty and well priced for good sized portions...I hope they haven't changed something...

              2. Cataplana, north east corner College and Dovercourt. Unfortunately they are not holding over their Winterlicious specials. Check them out though. A real good meal with lots to eat in very nice surroundings. You can ignore the $200 a bottle Portugese wines. The $5 a glass stuff is quite good and goes well with the food. Check out their menu for pricing.

                I prefer Cataplana to Chiado.

                VVM

                1 Reply
                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                  We often go to BARRAIDA on College Street.....we do order the Chicken (after all it is basically Portugese cuisine) but have tried many other things on the menu, it's quite varied, the prices are reasonable, the service is very friendly and obliging (a bit less so when they are really full..but we usually eat between 6 to 8 p.m....so not bad) It's great fun in the summer with it's family patio in the back...very lively...good place to take kids..they are very tolerant and warm with the little ones...we usually save the dessert for a trot up the street to Nova Era Bakery or one of the Gelato places. It is a nice homey experience.

                2. How about Roncesvales? Is that too far west? I like Butler's Pantry, Boho, B Cafe, and Bleu Bay Cafe.

                  ETA: And Freshwood Grill.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Jax

                    Second Freshwood Grill.

                    Also, Chopin is great for hearty Polish food in a non-pretentious setting. Kind of feels like the old country whenever I visit the restaurant.

                    1. re: phoenikia

                      Went to Chopin tonight for an early dinner. My dining companion had the chopin schnitzel (breaded pork with fried mushrooms, potatoes, cabbage, carrots and coleslaw) which came with cabbage borsch soup for 13.99$. They soup was very flavourful and full of veggies. I had the polish plate for one: HUGE platter of schnitzel,5 cheddar perogies (they have them in 4 different varieties), cabbage roll and 2 potato pancakes (16.99$). It was a lot of food, but it was so light tasting, it didnt leave me feeling bloated or uncomfortable. My only complaint was that the service was perhaps a bit too fast (soup came as first course and within 3-4 minutes the mains were placed in front of us). But other than that, a great option in that area. I will definetly be back.

                      1. re: hungryabbey

                        Happy to hear you liked it, hungryabbey!

                  2. You should try Delux on Ossington. Just opened recently, and good traditional bistro fare.

                    1. ...if on College try Utopia, great burgers-salads-burritos, etc

                      ...having only been to the Queen location, I'd skip Butler's Pantry though, their menu is so broad and full of items that take some time to prep, yet food arrives in 5 mins or so, it all comes out of a microwave I'm sure...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Recyclor

                        while the beaconsfield might be construed as 'pretentious' depending on definition, their 5-7PM specials are pretty tasty and homey (ex. chili fries) and good value (basically you get a pint with your meal). it's quiet and casual at that time, with people there having early dinners post-work rather than the drinks crowd that comes much later.