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Niagara Street Cafe - help?

Has anyone dined here recently? Is it worth visiting? I have plans to go Friday night but am willing to change them if I don't hear anything positive.

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  1. It's one of my very favourite places in the city.

    I'd be sure to make a reservation though... it get pretty busy.

    1. You should look it up under "places" : http://www.chow.com/places/3698

      I personally really like Niagara St Cafe.

      My most recent visit was Valentines for a 5 course tasting menu.

      Usually the starters are around $10 and the mains around $20, which I think is excellent value considering they use naturally raised, organic and or local ingredients.

      As noted you should reserve because the restaurant is tiny.

      The menu is not huge and changes seasonally.

      1. I noticed about a week ago they had hanger steak on the menu, was around $18 I think...they also often have a berkshire pork dish on there...the menu is small but solid, all executed very well...great wine offerings aswell...great little spot...

        1. Had a so-so brunch there on Sunday, surprisingly. Good server took a bunch of stuff off the bill like overcooked/burnt/chewy rosti and overcooked/too-salty biscuits with runny homemade strawberry jam. We were disappointed with the small portion of spiced albacore tuna beet potato salad (could have used a few more leaves of arugula and a whole egg instead of half an egg). Nice big portion of eggs benny on biscuit with salad, but again, biscuit was too tough. Happy they had fresh pineapple and grapefruit juices.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Food Tourist

            Thanks for the info, everyone - so far there's been only positive feedback for the dinner service, and one negative for brunch, so it's still a go.

            Anyone have the octopus dish in particular who can write about it?

            1. re: Yum2MyTum

              Good for you yum2mytum. I think you'll have a grand time. I'd be interested to hear back. We haven't been in a year or more and have been meaning to check it out. When it first opened we almost lived there...loved the menu posted on the mirrors, and great memories of the grilled composed ceasar salad with soft boiled egg on top. For us it seemed to loose a bit of it's charm in the last couple of visits but again, that was quite awhile ago. I've always loved the room and Anton is great. It's worth another shot.

            2. re: Food Tourist

              I've had brunch there twice.

              The first time I had a chorizo tomato ragout over soft polenta and it was amazing. The service was great and I still think about that dish.

              The second time I had a pulled pork confit sandwich special. The order took a long time to arrive and then the side was not as I had specified. The server was very quick and apologetic to take the dish back but I found the sandwich not very tasty and way too greasy (even though I know confit is by nature oily). Perhaps it was a bad choice on my part.

            3. Oh no - it looks like Anton is unable to accommodate my request for Friday.

              Does anyone know a reasonably priced place in the King West area for dinner? It's for a party of 7 and I'm open to trying something new. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Yum2MyTum

                If you're willing to venture as far as Peter and Adelaide, Tutti Matti is about the same price range as Niagara. Great, rustic Italian cooking, and a nice atmosphere.

                Tutti Matti
                364 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1R7, CA

              2. I can recommend it unreservedly. Wonderful food, nice quiet atmosphere, unpretentious and polite service.
                Our friend (who is a major foodie) had the octopus and loved it. We had the milk-fed pork, which was perhaps the best pork I have ever eaten, and the lamb neck which was also very good. The cheese plate was spectacular. We also enjoyed our starters which were the lardons and the terrine. Its been a long time that I've been to a fine dining place in TO where we enjoyed all our courses and did not find it too loud or too pretentious or too expensive.
                Too bad you could not get a reservation, it is a tiny place, but do go when you can.

                1 Reply
                1. re: js288uk

                  Too bad. Only other place I can think of in the area and of similar price range would be LeSelect.

                2. Have eaten there many times....but my last experience this past Summer has removed it from my list...yes food is good...but line ups and waits once you even score a table are not worth it for me...try Noce...also just around the corner on Queen West...nerver fail Menu or service...Miranda

                  1. Funnily, things managed to work out and I'm scheduled to eat at the NSC on Friday after all. I will post my review shortly afterwards - thanks everyone for the alternative suggestions! I have definitely wanted to try out Tutti Matti and Noce, and will look into Le Select for future occasions.


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Yum2MyTum

                      Haven't been to Noce, but have had their catered lunches at work on a couple occasions. Was very nice.

                      1. re: grandgourmand

                        Would stray away from Noce. Remember taking a group of about 8 there and the service had one of the most overt displays of arrogance I remember experiencing in Toronto. Food is up to par at that price level, but no exceptional or distinguished and came out longer than I'd like. I'd say avoid!
                        Le Select is definitely worth a try though (although as of late I've found uneven service - waiting for food was far too long on last visit).

                    2. First of all, a great big thank you to all who responded to my query and to all those who were positive about the Niagara Street Cafe.

                      I was so impressed by this charming little boite that, presuming a second visit goes as well as the first, I plan to become a regular.

                      Our reservation was for 7 p.m. Because of the inclement weather Friday evening, my group had shrunken slightly and some members of the party were quite late; the server was nothing but charm and accommodation, however.

                      The evening started with hot-from-the-oven potato foccaccia with banana peppers confit and cured olives - delicious, and a great indication of the meal to come.

                      Two of the party ordered the house-cured Lardo ... what a wonderfully sinful dish. The fatty cut of meat was melted over an earthy roast potato, and the slightest touch of clover honey made the dish surprisingly sweet.

                      For mains, we all decided upon one of the milk-fed pork with crackling skin, or the fish special of the day - spanish mackerel on a bed of bulgur, roasted and caramelized sweet potatoes and buttery escarole. The fish was perfectly executed, with crisp skin and moist flaky flesh. And the lovely sides were a perfect complement. I enjoyed this dish immensely.

                      But the best of all was the pork - oh the pork! The table was unequivocal in its love of this pork. Moist, juicy, delicious, salty - perfect!

                      I can't wait to go back. I would definitely suggest this place for a romantic date - the room itself, tucked away from the main thoroughfare, though understated and plain, has beautiful lighting.

                      The service was top-notch; the server (I neglected to ask his name) was well-informed, accommodating, charming and made the evening even more enjoyable than it already was.

                      Niagara Street Cafe
                      169 Niagara St, Toronto, ON M5V1C9, CA

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Yum2MyTum

                        Glad you had a good evening, I went for brunch yesterday and it was as good as dinners there have been, a great balance of casual friendly vibe with a high standard for food & service...my favorite local place...

                        1. re: Recyclor

                          Thanks for the review yum2mytum. Good to hear it was a success. I completely forgot about the wonderful banana pepper/oil compote they put out with the bread. Oh yeah, that stuff is wicked!!! That alone is worth going for. I'm pretty sure the server you had is Ian. Very good at his job.

                          1. re: Recyclor

                            I'll definitely have to check it out for brunch sometime. It's so refreshing to go out in Toronto and have my expectations surpassed on every level. Definitely my best chowfind yet! Thanks again everyone.

                            1. re: Yum2MyTum

                              Was there tonight during Earth hour. I had never been there before. The four of us just loved the food and service. Only thing is it's too bad that they didn't have any bottles of wine around $30. The $60 bottles we ended up picking (2 of em) plus the rest, ended making the bill almost $400 for the 4 of us. But, it was great!! (but I can't eat like this very often!).

                              Oh, and by the way, if you go, try to get one of the few tables that is NOT under a speaker. The place is noisy enough already that you don't need the speaker blaring over your table.