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Mar 23, 2008 08:32 AM

Toronto for one night only

I'll be arriving at noon tomorrow and then leaving in the late afternoon the next day. We'll be downtown, not far from U of T, and have no car. What are suggestions for lunch and dinner on Monday? One diner doesn't eat beef/pork/lamb, but I'm assuming that's not an issue at most places as there will be other selections for her.

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  1. Most good restaurants downtown are a $10 (or less) cab ride from "close to U of T". That said, many of the city's best restaurants are within walking distance of that area, so I won't bother with places farther afield.

    For lunch, very close to U of T is Jamie Kennedy Gardiner. Kennedy is widely considered one of the best chefs in the city. He has two restaurants. His Gardiner specializes in lunches. It is in the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, at Queen's Park & Bloor.

    For dinner, you didn't indicate budget, so I'm going to assume it is not an issue. In that area, you could check out any of the following and be happy. Some might be closed on Monday nights, so check first. And use this search engine to read reviews and find maps:
    Splendido - very high-end continental cuisine. Consistently rated in the city's top 5.
    C5 - in the Michael Lee Chin Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum. New and getting strong reviews.
    Opus - one of the best wine lists in the city. Continental cuisine.
    Prego della Piazza - consistently good Italian.
    Pangea - consistently strong reviews. "world" cuisine

    If you want cheaper spots, just say the word.

    1 Reply
    1. re: grilledcheese

      These are all great! How about some in the less than $50/pp range, including wine, for dinner?

      I'm not sure how high-end we'll go. We have a per-diem, which off-sets and makes forking out for high-end not so awful. I'm traveling with someone though, so we'll see how she feels. Some mid-range options would be awesome!

    2. It's a bit of challenge because a lot of restaurants are closed on Monday. You might find this recent thread helpful -

      Both Jamie Kennedy Gardiner and Gallery Grill, mentioned in that thread, are open tomorrow for lunch, but you will need reservations.

      Several worthy places on Harbord, near the campus as well. Harbord Room is relatively new but has been well reviewed (and is open Monday) -

      Also on Harbord and open Monday is Boulevard Cafe for South American/Peruvian cusine --

      Gallery Grill
      7 Hart House Cir, Toronto, ON M5S, CA

      Jamie Kennedy Gardiner
      111 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S, CA

      Boulevard Cafe
      161 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1H1, CA

      Harbord Room
      89 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

      1. I tried the Harbord Room last Thursday and really enjoyed my experience. The food is excellent, service was efficient and friendly. Great atmosphere, funky and earthy decor.

        89 Harbord, just west of Spadina

        4 Replies
        1. re: City Girl

          I will second the Harbord Room. Excellent staff. The food is waaaaaay better than one would expect from a neighbourhood bistro. The Chef, Cory Vitello (sp?) trained under Keith Froggett for four years before doing a stint as Sous at the Drake. It's also turning into quite the industry hangout post 10pm.


          1. re: City Girl

            Can those of you talking about the Harbord Room say a little more about what you ate... I'm curious about this spot!

            1. re: Rabbit

              I finally got there before the kitchen closed and got to taste something other than the beer. Last night I had the pork and rabbit terrine, with gerkins, some sort of red berry compote, mustard and pistachio toast. I could have skipped the toast but that is personal preference. Everything else on the plate was delicious. And the beer was still as good as always.

              1. re: Rabbit

                I went with 4 friends on a saturday night maybe six weeks ago. We pretty much had everything on the menu. Standouts included a perfectly cooked squash risotto with a heaping leg of duck confit on top (soooo good on a cold winter night) and a plate of "overnight" beef cheek papardelle (sourdough crutons scattered in the pasta made for the most wonderfull texture). Though I can't remember everything we had, there was no dish that lacked flavour, acid, or texture. I would not consider myself to be an easy to please diner and I was very impressed with their elevated bistro offerings. Wine list is small but very well chosen.


            2. Throught of some more Monday night dinner possibilities -

              Eastward from U of T towards the Yonge/Bloor/Wellesey area, walkable or short cab drive:
              Fire on the East Side - reasonably priced, casual but good food, supposedly great mojitos, which I haven't tried --

              Couple of blocks north at Yonge & Charles is Wish, pricier, many favourable comments on the board -

              Northwards from U of T:
              Le Paradis is not walkable (at least not in this weather) or easy by TTC, you'd have to cab it. Great French food, very very reasonably priced, not touristy in the least, more of a neighourhood favourite but reservation definitely needed -

              Pricier option is Trattoria Fieramosca on Prince Arthur -

              Let us know where you end up!

              Fire On The East Side
              6 Gloucester St, Toronto, ON M4Y1L5, CA

              Le Paradis
              166 Bedford Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2K9, CA

              36A Prince Arthur Ave, Toronto, ON M5R1A9, CA

              Black Skirt
              974 College Street, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA