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Restaurant Beaches Question

  • j

There are two restaurants on Queen Street East in the Beaches that we are interested in trying out.

They are Michelle's Beach House & Nevada.

Have any of you tried one or both, and how did you like the food. Please let me know what you ordered.

Thanks, again, for all input.

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  1. Nevada has been serving mediocre food since forever. I have occasionally been served a tasty dish there, but it is by no means a special kind of place. Whitlock's (across the road from Nevada) has very similar food, of similar quality, but their Washington rack of lamb is very good.

    6 Replies
    1. re: embee

      Skip both and find another neighbourhood to have dinner in!

      10 years of living in this area and the lack of quality eateries is just sad.

      1. re: futronic

        "futronic" says: "find another neighbourhood to have dinner in!10 years of living in this area and the lack of quality eateries is just sad." You should try Vivetha, futronic. It's one of the most recommended bistros by Toronto Chowhounds. Last year I was looking for a Beaches restaurant because my son was buying me a Father's Day lunch. I posted here, and a couple of Chowhounds steered me to Viveta, on the south side of Queen just west of the Neville Park streetcar loop. We ate on the front patio at a table that was in the hot sun when we arrived, but the server obligingly extended the canopy so it was covered in shade. All we had to do was keep our hands off the zinc table for a few minutes - it was like a hot plate - and I substituted a chair with a cooler seat! We both ordered simply - the deluxe ground beef burger with an amazing array of fixings - special sauce, sliced orange & pineapple, salad, onion etc., all for $7. My son commented that you couldn't get a quality burger and fries for that price anywhere else. The server was helpful and personable, and enjoyed seeing a printout of your Chowhound posts. The total bill for two including two imported beer was $30! Needless to say it was a perfect choice for a pre-Fathers-Day lunch, and I've taken other family members there many times since. Try it, and not just for lunch. Their entrees are splendid (the owner is a gifted chef), and the service can't be surpassed.

        1. re: Bob Catt

          I've done ViVetha both for delivery and dine in. It's not bad, but I recall there being a couple dishes that I was underwhelmed with. Not fantastic, but I'll agree that it's one of the better places in the area.

          The fact that they sent a cab to deliver the food to my house didn't hurt either!

          1. re: Bob Catt

            Isn't the chef and/or owner of ViVetha (and ViPei on Kingston Rd) the former chef at Nevada (back when it was good)? A friend who goes there very regularly told me this.

            1. re: Bob Catt

              Went to ViVetha tonight on recommendation from the boards. Food was outstanding but the service was awful, and what's worse is that I believe we were served by the owner/manager (saw her milling around/directing other employees). What an awful first impression to leave. She was inattentive and forgetful. Needless to say we did not leave a tip.

              A shame, since my "Angry Salmon" was outstanding. I'll go back, but will make sure I'm looked after by a different server.

          2. re: embee

            We've been to the Nevada, but I don't remember the food being mediocre. Perhaps it was because the people we'd take there were so interesting. One was the legendary Canadian-born folk singer Oscar Brand, a family friend. At one time he had his own shows on CBC and CTV simultaneously. He was up from his home in New York to do a concert here and we took him to the Nevada. I remember that at the table I asked him about a certain song in his repertory. Instead of describing it, he sang two verses of it unaccompanied. Nevada patrons seated around us smiled at their free concert!

          3. Thanks for your opinions.

            How about Spiaggia Trattoria on Queen near Neville Park?

            3 Replies
            1. re: Jay98

              Hasn't been good for many, many years.

              ViVetha Bistro is excellent and very affordable, just a bit east of Spiaggia on the south side.

              1. re: Jay98

                Can't tell you about Spiaggia but have you tried Vivetha?, also on Queen by Neville Park. Good food, nice comfortable neighbourhood spot.

                2485 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4E1H9, CA

                1. re: Jay98

                  We used to go to Spiaggia fairly often. The ambiance was nice, the food was decent, and the owner was a wonderful host. But over time, prices went up and the cooking became very careless. The dining room would smell of poorly fried calamari, and the food would be horribly overcooked as often as not.

                  ViVetha (across the street from Spiaggia) showed great promise when they first opened. They have since been swallowed up by that huge east Toronto cauldron of inconsistency. On a good day, their food is delicious. However, good days are not guaranteed.

                2. Nevada is currently closed for renovations. I've eaten there several times over the years, and I've never had a meal that was any better than mediocre. I would go to Green Eggplant or perhaps Whitlocks if I had to eat in a restaurant on that block of Queen St. E.

                  1. Nevada, Michelle's and Spiagga are all very mediocre (it's still slim pickings in the Beaches in general).

                    Sauvignon, a bit more expensive than the aforementioned places, is a notable exception. It's our east-end local. Recent menu items that I've quite enjoyed include the Cornish Hen dish and a great grilled Lamb Loin with Celeriac mash. And the wine list is well-chosen, eclectic and fairly priced (no more than 100% markup, often less). My only cautionary note is their Caesar: it's good (everything made from scratch), but I often find it very garlicky (and I'm not one to mind a bit of raw garlic here and there). When I order it I usually ask for it to be easy on the dressing.

                    Full disclosure: I know the owners well. We've been going to Sauvignon ever since it opened, and have become good friends with them.

                    1. As The Berserker pointed out, Nevada's is currently renovating. I'm hoping they update their menu/chef as well - I've never had a great meal there. I also noticed this week that Urban Thai Bistro a few doors down appears to have closed. I'm crossing my fingers for something decent to replace it.

                      As for Michelle's, their strong point is the patio in the back in the summer. It's a great place for a drink but I've found the food a pretty hit and miss. I think they may have recently changed their menu and pricing so I may give it another try in the spring. I always found it a little on the expensive side for a casual neighbourhood bistro.

                      I have also recommended Sauvignon on other boards discussing Beach restos and I stand by it. I have always had good food there. The service is decent and the decor is comfortable and inviting.

                      1. I probably shoud have mentioned that the mentioned restaurants, along with 4 others, is a package deal of opera from the Met at the Alliance Cinemas, and dinner of your choice at one of these restaurants.

                        The other 4 restaurants include:

                        Ci Vediamo Ristorante, Queen Street

                        Erato Passinalte Greek Cuisine , Danforth Avenue

                        Joy Bistro, Queen Street

                        Michelangelo's Fine Italian Cuisine - have been there many times.

                        We would just like to try something new, but prefer to stay along Queen Street.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Jay98

                          Isn't Casa Di Giorgio part of that opera deal? Old-schoolish Italian but pretty good, nice pastas and good pizza. Right across the street from Alliance.

                          Casa di Giorgio
                          1646 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L1G3, CA

                          1. re: JamieK

                            Yes, Jamie, but only for lunch if you prefer. However, that is $14.95 per person.

                            Casa is quite good, and we were disappointed that it wasn't included in the dinner option.

                            1. re: JamieK

                              Casa di Giorgio is the exception to the rule that only Italians can do good italian food. The food is very nice. Pastas and pizzas are quite good. The greek owner also operates Erato passionate Greek Cuisine on the Danforth.

                            2. re: Jay98

                              Ci Vediamo used to be my go-to place in the beaches. I remember when it was hard to get a table there on a weeknight. Unfortunately, over the past few years, things have really gone downhill, and I avoid the place.

                            3. What I don't get is why one of the many restaurant owners expanding into Leslieville don't think about moving into the Beaches, it seems like, if this board is any indication, a quality restaurant would do very well in the Beaches proper. No? I mean, one can't live on pub grub alone, and most Beachers don't really want to leave their neighbourhoods every time someone has a special occasion calling for something beyond mediocre pasta.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: antifoodie

                                Rent in Leslieville is prollly a third of what it is in the Beach.

                                  1. re: pescatarian

                                    Yes, but still blocks of empty storefronts in Leslieville that can still be gotten relatively cheap, I doubt there's one east of Woodbine.

                                    1. re: Herb

                                      or they can be converted into profitable lofts if they are not leased for retail/restaurant space

                              2. rent, I guess, but there are tonnes of open spots in the east side of the Beaches after Kew Gardens, and people opening up crappy little retail outlets, so that reasoning doesn't really hold up. I mean, someone opened a little soap shop, a surplus store, a dollar store, and that sorta thing, no way they'd survived if the rents were steep.

                                Come on Bowers, and company, head East!!

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: antifoodie

                                  What makes these crappy little retail outlets feasible is their minimal setup costs. They can take space month-to-month and open a store for a couple of thousand dollars. The landlord gets some income from the temporary tenant and it's a win-win for everyone.

                                  Even with used equipment, any restaurant represents a significant investment requiring major leasehold improvements.

                                  1. re: embee

                                    sure, set-up costs I agree, I was just arguing that I don't think rents are all that steep in some of Beaches strip, particularly on the east side, in comparison to Leslieville. Not that I have a clue, I'm just guessing. You'd have the same set-up costs either way.

                                    1. re: antifoodie

                                      You'd be surprised. Beaches landlords have for years priced their Queen Street commercial spaces as if every day of the year is going to be like one of those summer weekends where it takes a half hour just to drive from Woodbine to Lee Ave (because the neighbourhood is so packed). Meanwhile the reality is that large sections of Queen St. in the Beach are very, very quiet for three quarters of the year, except on some weekends.

                                      Commercial rents in the Beach along Queen St. (pretty much from Kingston Rd through to Neville Park) are as high if not higher than many in-demand downtown areas. Mind you, not that it stops people from opening one half-baked retail concept after another, only to go out of business after a season or two. The rate of turnover on Queen in the Beaches is unbelievable; no wonder landlords continue to charge the prices they do!

                                      Add to that the fact that demographics in the Beach skew to households with children, and that families with kids tend eat at home much more often than they eat out, and you've got a tough environment in which to make a go of a restaurant operation (unless you can do a brisk amount ot takeout/delivery). Most Beaches restaurants, even the successful ones, survive on their Thursday through Saturday night business, and limp through the rest of the week.

                                      1. re: cybergod

                                        LOL, guys, is this what they call a "hijack"?

                                2. Nevadas has a good ambiance but the food is nothing special and the service is hit or miss. You may wish to try Sauvingnon's just beside Meat on The Beach at Queen and Rainsford (west of Woodbine on the North side.) The food is better than Nevada's and the ambiance is wonderful. About Whitlocks, I agree with the last post. Food is similar to Nevada's in terms of quality but the service is better and the ambiance is superb. I think it's the perfect warm winter restaurant while Sauvingnon's is the perfect date place.

                                  1. Unfortunately, because this is an opera package, including dinner, we are restricted to the restaurants i've already mentioned.

                                    Thanks, anyway.

                                    1. Hi
                                      I went to Michelle's last night for dinner and have to say it was one of the worst experiences we have had. We first went to Whitlocks, sat down asked for a Mojitos and were told...."naaaa not right now", so we went to Michelles. I was excited when we first went to the back patio, it looked great back there. They have a one page menu with about 15 choices on it for apps and mains....they were out of about half of there menu! Our server was the worst part of the meal...he was pretty much not there for most of the meal, and when he was, he was trying to be a comedian, he never once asked us how our meal was (not that great), just constant with the bad jokes. I would not recommend this place to anyone. The beaches needs a great place so badly, and this is not it!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: melissamarynissen

                                        After being dragged to a Fox and (insert alliteration here) for lunch and experiencing about the worst service ever (more than an hour and a half for a business lunch with no lingering over drinks), I thought I could hardly do worse.
                                        I was wrong.
                                        A friend suggested that we meet at Michelle's Beach House (it was during the ridiculous early June heat wave). Sounded good, but I think a brief recap will suffice:

                                        We're told it looks unlikely we can get a seat on the patio, but get the last one (the patio fills up at no point during our stay).
                                        We are ready to order drinks and dinner at the same time and do so, asking for water (it's forty degrees outside).
                                        The waters come.
                                        My friend's dinner (an appetizer, to be fair), arrives solo. We still don't have our drinks. My dinner is nowhere to be seen, and neither are the frites that I ordered to complement her mussels. I mention that we are waiting on drinks (assuming that it is self evident that we would like to eat together).
                                        Our drinks arrive with some 'charming' joke by the server, but no apology. I mention I would have liked to have eaten with my friend (she has finished). I also mention that he can cancel the order of frites, since they were a side for the mussles, which are now gone.
                                        My friend's drink has curdled cream in it. She sends it back. No apology is forthcoming.
                                        My Caesar has no horseradish in it (should have, as per the menu, not a special request).
                                        My dinner comes. It's fine. My friend sends back her drink.
                                        The frites come anyway. "They went through," says the waiter. We're charged for them.
                                        My friend orders a Caesar, since she has to wait on me. Hers does have horseradish.
                                        We tip 15%, but we shouldn't have.
                                        Never, ever go there. It's complete bullsh!t.

                                        Also, let it be said that service is low on my list of restaurant requirements. But service that bad at a place that clearly bills itself as top-drawer is kind of insulting.

                                        1. re: pouletsecret

                                          lived in the beach for almost 7 years.

                                          only place to eat is sunset grill. great breakfasts. large and fast. they give you enough food so you are not hungry for some time allowing you to travel far from the beach for dinner.

                                          everything else is rock bottom.