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Mar 15, 2008 04:13 PM

17th birthday in Toronto

Heyy! My 17th birthday is next weekend and I was thinking of having a dinner at a restaurant with my closest friends. I'm not from directly in Toronto...I'm in the Durham Region, so I'm not all that knowledgeable about good restaurants in Toronto. What I'm looking for, restaurant-wise, is a restaurant preferrably in the downtown core, that isn't too expensive per person but is good and would be fun for 17 year olds. My budget is about $15-$20 a person. It could be more if a restaurant that anyone suggests is a bit more expensive but would be really good and memorable. So any feedback would be great and very much appreciated!! Thank you all so much!

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  1. Hmmmm...maybe Bar Mercurio? I like the atmosphere, it's really central...and the food is tasty...

    I like Ethiopean food for communal and fun (try Ethiopian House on Irwin or Dukem, 950 Danforth, which gets good review on the board), but might not please less adventurous eaters.

    Terroni is a thought...:).

    1 Reply
    1. re: morrigan

      Actually, I think Terroni is a really good thought. I'm a die-hard fan of the Queen Street location, but I've yet to try Adelaide (

      I think Mercurio may feel a little staid.

    2. Joon's, Bloor and Bathurst, or Yonge and Sheppard, prepares Korean dishes ($8-$12) at tableside.
      Cluck, Grunt and Low at Bloor and Spadina is pricier but also entertaining.

      1. That's a very tight budget. Wherever you go, be sure to make a reservation well in advance.

        Gretzky's - hockey theme

        Hard Rock Cafe - right across from the Eaton Center at Yonge & Dundas

        Cafe Crepe - right across from Much Music on Queen St West

        Utopia - in the heart of hipster College West (great burgers and other stuff

        Good luck.

        2 Replies
        1. re: grilledcheese

          Hard Rock? if you want the OP to remember his/her 17th birthday by a horrible meal, then yes, go there.

          i do however second the Terroni suggestion. the Adelaide spot is hot hot hot!

          1. re: c_snapper

            Did I say the food was great? Or did you put that in my mouth?

            Look at the budget.

        2. I mean I'm willing to expand the budget if the restaurant is really great, but I'm not looking for a place where it's like $50 a's just my 17th birthday lol. But these suggestions you guys have given me are really great! Thnks:D

          11 Replies
          1. re: katnip569

            What sort of food or ambience do you like, kat? Places in Durham you've enjoyed? Are you going with parents? Friends?

            1. re: jayt90

              I like a casual atmosphere, and I enjoy foods from many different cultures, like Indian food and Japanese food. In Durham, I really enjoy this Japanese sushi place called Little Tokyo Sushi. It's got these like private booths that are closed with curtains, and it's also very small. I don't mind big restaurants, but I prefer smaller restaurants that aren't a chain. I was initially looking for a place where they cook food at your table, because that would be reallly awesome! I'm going with about 8 of my closest friends, and were all 17, so nothing really too fancy. It kind of be nice if we could sort of dress up. Not like formal dress up, but like maybe more than jeans and a t-shirt.

              1. re: katnip569

                supermarket in kensington would be perfect for what you're looking for.
                asian small plates. reasonably priced. funky, casual atmosphere.

                1. re: todc1996

                  this Supermarket seems really great and I'm thinking about...thnks! :D i've never been there before but I was just wondering if you need reservations, especially since it's a group of 8 ppl?

                  1. re: katnip569

                    Supermarket is also a bar, so I wonder if you'd have trouble getting in if you're underage.

                    A couple of thoughts I had were Irie Food Joint (great Jamaican food) on Queen West or you might want to try Mariachi's at Yonge and Eglinton (fun atmosphere and yummy food):


                    1. re: katnip569

                      yes for sure you need a reservation for supermarket. it turns into a bar later in the evening but you shouldn't have a problem having dinner there. i've made reservations there several times and no one has ever asked if there would be underage members of my dining party.
                      also excellent is torito that is about 2 doors over from can't make a reservation there though......

                      another suggestion would be ema-tai on st. patrick.....japanese restaurant. lots of small shared plates, sushi....takes reservations....there's a big table at the back that would be fun for 8. i've been there a couple of times and enjoyed the food a lot....pretty sure it would be in your price range (if you didn't eat too too much :o) ).

                      1. re: todc1996

                        Ematei is one of my favourite locals, but it's probably out of your price range. Sashimi lunch is over $20. I'd say Torito is too price-y as well.

                        Supermarket is probably a good pick.

                  2. re: katnip569

                    With 9 persons, you can get a lot of good dishes for less than $200 in Chinatown, but I'm not up to date there, as it keeps changing, and the Hounds prefer Richmond Hill or Markham.

                    1. re: katnip569

                      First of all, Happy Birthday in advance (and thanks for making me feel old!)...

                      I live in Durham too and I do go to Little Tokyo Sushi every so often (I live and work in the neighbourhood), as well as the two places across the street (Lone Star Texas Grill and Red House for Thai) since they're all reasonably priced and close to home. Burbs Bistro in Pickering is quite good; their prix-fixe might actually be in your price range; if you haven't been, definitely check them out:

                      But since you wanted something more memorable, further from home, and where they cook the food at your table, it sounds like you're describing Teppanyaki. If you want memorable and good quality, avoid Memories of Japan at Don Mills and Eglinton, YUCK; they're cheap for a reason. Tako Sushi up the street (north of Lawrence) is slightly better, but I stress the word slightly.

                      When my wife and I want good teppanyaki we go to Akasaka in Richmond Hill. Here's a link to their teppanyaki dinner menu:
                      It's a bit higher than your target price range but you won't be disappointed; we go for special occasions like her birthday and our anniversary.

                      As someone else pointed out, your budget limits your choices (such is life, right?) so the problem is, if you are looking for higher quality/"memorable" food at that price, prepare to leave the restaurant without being full. If you want to fill up at that price range, chains may be your only option.

                      Please let us know where you end up going and what your experience was. I think you've started a very useful discussion here, since we have to get that balance between low price and high quality, between the two extremes of the bargain hunters who like Imperial Buffet because you can stuff yourself for $9, and the foodies who will settle for nothing less than the best, and have the incomes to afford it...

                  3. re: katnip569

                    Is it all girls, or a mix of boys & girls? (I assume form your nick that you are a girl.)

                    1. re: grilledcheese

                      it's all girls...and yes im a girl lol.

                  4. That's one of the reasons I suggested Hard Rock; it's so close to the Eaton Center, so you could make a shopping excursion out of it, too.

                    Another good/fun spot in that area is Salad King, but it can be a bit jammed. They have these long communal tables. But in a big group, you could take over a section. It is very lively and fun and young, and the food is good, and affordable. It is Thai food.