Marooned in Toronto, Help!
I'm a Boston hound, in town for business and didnt make it out tonight (!!@@#$$$%! american airlines).... anyway, I have the whole day tomorrow and all tomorrow night to occupy myself and I'd like to eat my way to happiness.
So - two questions:
1)I'm at the marriott on 90 bloor at intersection of bloor and yonge, in the yorkville area (I think). What good places are within walking distance?
2)I love ethnic foods of all varieties, particularly chinese though - what are toronto hounds favorite spots for authentic dimsum as well as sichuan food? Other indian or ethnic standouts? I can hop a cab to anywhere reasonable. Please include a location or approximate address so I can track it down.
Thanks for any advice in advance, happy to return the favor if you're ever in Boston!
welcome! you'll enjoy your stay if we have anything to do with it...walking distance from you are a few buzz and chow -worthy stops, particularly Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner (amazing lunch, great local wines, international flavours with a nice dose of comfort) and L'unita (never been myself, but it's all the rage...ambiance, italian, etc). check out the place links below.
oh, and this thread seems relevant for dim sum and other food adventures:
Jamie Kennedy Gardiner
111 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S, CA
134 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R2H6, CA
For Chinese, there's Dynasty less than a block away. But, if you have only a day, I would hop on a cab and go to Lai Wah Heen inside the Metropolitan Hotel for the 'best'. You won't get this quality of Chinese in Boston ,not even in NYC! Since you are by yourself, I would also concur with Lemonlauren's suggestion of Jamie Kennedy winebar. Sit at the counter, order a few tapas size dishes with wine and watch the chefs at work!
If you like browsing, and have some time in the morning, head down to St. Lawrence Market. It makes for great wandering, and great snacking - either get in a cab, or take the subway (get on at the Bloor/Yonge station, go southbound to Union, and walk east about 3 blocks).
Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar, which somebody else mentioned, is right around the corner from the market, on Church Street. It would make an ideal place for lunch, if you go to the market, or dinner, otherwise. They have a policy of accepting only a limited number of dinner reservations, so you'd still likely be able to get seated (which you may well not at L'Unita). It's a great place for solo diners, in particular - there's a chef's bar, where you can sit and chat with the cooks and your neighbours, and sample a lot of really good, locally-provenanced food. http://www.jamiekennedy.ca/v6/restaur...
KingCarnivore, just wanted to make sure that you picked up the differences for the 2 different Jamie Kennedy locations mentioned above. JK at the Gardiner (mentioned by LemonLauren, first) is not the same as JK Wine Bar (which is the one you want for this eve). Click on Chloe103's link and the different addresses will be there. Enjoy!
i personally find the service and atmosphere at rol san to be too much for me. there have been a time when i felt a dish was old/overly cooked and was yelled at for being ignorant as to how it should have been made.
if you'd like some cart service i've been happy with the real old school cantonese feel of forestview restaurant although some other ch-ers aren't as enthused due to some potentially greasy items. otherwise for quick menu ordering, i go to the back of kim moon bakery and get some great items there. not as impressed with their clay rice pots but the chicken feet, haw gow, etc are great.
It's interesting that you mention there have been times a dish at Rol San seemed old/overly cooked, because that was my experience at Forestview.
The food on the whole, just didn't seem fresh. We tried at least a dozen different dishes. Some of the fried items tasted as if they had been fried in old/stale oil, and a few of the steamed dumplings seemed like they had been pushed around the room a few too many times. Some seafood dumplings' fillings were tough, as if they had been oversteamed. We arrived well before 11 to miss any line-ups, so I was surprised that some dishes already seemed like they'd seen better days. Maybe both Rol San and Forestview have problems with consistency, and I just ended up eating there on one of Forestview's off days.
Although it's outside of Chinatown, it's easily twice as expensive as Rol San or Forestview, and the portions are on the small side, I have found the dim sum at Cha Liu, north of Yonge and Eglinton, to be consistently delicious. Over maybe 8-10 visits, I haven't had any dishes that I thought tasted stale or non-fresh, although the fillings in their cheung fun are usually skimpy. Mind you, it always ends up costing over $25/ person.
I've always found the dim sum at Dynasty to be fresh-tasting, too.
If you're bored this afternoon go out the front door of your hotel take a left and follow the entrance into the underground mall below your hotel. Keep walking till you see an escilator and look to your left. There's a place called Le Gourmad that has "wicked awesome" Chocolate Chip Cookes, grab one and you'll be happy.
Please check out www.spiceroommanyata.com
The selection of Californian and Australian wines are absolutely divinity itself.
The chef at this restaurant is Greg Couillard, whose dishes undeniably saturate
your tastebuds with his exotic creations of perfection, with its roots deeply embedded within the exotic and unimaginable culmination of exquisite flavours, herbs and spices from Asia and South Asia including Madagascar.
The dessert I would recommend is the "Japonaise Orange Blossom".
Please feel free to take a look at their website as noted above. They are located right in the heart of Yorkville at 55 Hazelton Lanes. Tel. (416)935-0000 (It is best to reserve)
Hope this helps and enjoy,
If I'm not wrong, I believe the Spice Room has been thoroughly bashed for overpriced underwhelming food and bad service. Our visitor should stick to the Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. I love that it's open all day, and I can drop in any time for as much or as little to eat as I feel like, and all the food is usually very good, and the service is actually quite hospitable by Toronto standards.
Please check out www.susur.com and take the virtual tour of the restaurant, Lee Restaurant.
This is highly recommended for a once in a lifetime experience here in Toronto.
Chef Susur Lee is a legend with his vision of the ultimate palate experience. It is
by far an enlightening awakening of all your senses and a truly creative marriage
of East meets West.
There are about 50 wines to choose from too including dessert wines.
Do you like Sushi? This restaurant is fairly close to where you are--about a 10 minute walk to Yonge St. My friend and I went there once and even though I've never
been to Japan, it's the first conveyor-belt style restaurant of its kind here in Toronto.
Apparently in Japan it's the norm. Well, do you like Japanese food? They have
authentic sushi here, and, as I'm told Americanized sushi too. And I think the prices are amazingly cheap for what you get. I would highly recommend this place if you have time.
Review from the Now Magazine:
SUSHI TRAIN ( 750 Yonge, at Bloor, 416-928-9423) Complete meals for $35 per person, including all taxes, tip and a bottomless mug of green tea. Average main $4. Open for lunch Monday to Saturday 11:30 am to 3 pm, Sunday and holidays noon to 3 pm; dinner Monday to Wednesday 5 to 10:30 pm, Thursday to Saturday 5 to 11 pm, Sunday and holidays 5 to 10 pm. Access: barrier-free, but bar and booth seating. Rating: NNN (equivalent of 3 stars but I would rate it higher).
They also have wine.
wow - everyone - thank you so much for your continued suggestions. Quick update: I decided to go to Lai Toh Heen for a bit of an adventure and fabulous dim sum. You're right - nothing like it in Boston. My favorite were the minced meat balls (so soft!) and their bbq pork buns (a healthy amount of yummy filling, not too much of the bread - as it should be). The only miss one of their specials - tofu skins in garlic w/vegetables. The skins were just chewy and while a little garlicky, mostly bland.
If I can get there, I'm off to the JK wine bar (thanks for the clarification) - and passionate1 - thanks for all the suggestions - American Airlines just told me I will be spending another day here in Toronto so I hope to check out some of your suggestions tomorrow - particularly the choc chip cookie and susur - I ran across that browsing some other posts.
Thanks again all - and have a good snowy night
Update: First, a huge thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the toronto hounds who offered suggestions - you truly helped make it an enjoyable weekend..
Last night I went to JK Wine Bar, great upscale comfort food and the chefs bar was an entertaining way to pass a meal as a single diner. I had the flatbread w/ 3 dipping sauces, the pork poutine, gnocchi and a sausage & bean dish. My fav was the poutine - I've only had it when drunk in montreal, so it was a treat - and the pork made it a substantial dish. And being able to try/pair all sorts of different wines was a nice touch - I spent more on wine than the food, actually.
Nothing remarkable for breakfast/lunch today, but just returned home from dinner at Amaya on Bayview. It was FANTASTIC! Definitely my favorite of the weekend. really unique tastes, great textures, and strong but not overpowering spice - just the kind that lingers for a while - and attentive and friendly service. I ate so much my belly really hurts. Highly recommend the harra kabob (spinch and paneer, deep fried with a spicy sauce), the chicken chettinad and for the meat lovers - the lamb lollipos are divine - spiced with fenugreek, some mint and a number of other spices, it seems also cooked in the tandoor. The place was full at 7PM, so be sure to make a reservation.