Toronto Life: Best New Restaurants- pick one
I just picked up a copy of Toronto Life outlining the 10 best new restaurants. I would love to hear the pros and cons of any of these restaurants. I'm not from Toronto and only have two nights in town.
Greg Couillard's Spice Room
I've not tried (even close to) the whole list, but have been to #1 and #2, and I would very much recommend Colborne Lane. Here are reviews (with some photos) of both:
Next on my list would be C5 (but in large part because I want to check out the renovations on the new ROM).
Also, if you have two nights, I might suggest picking one from the list and going with an "older" spot for night #2 . There are so many great choices in Toronto. Please let us know where you end up.
Unless you really enjoy the smell and sight of new decor, with only two nights in town, why bother with the above list? In my opinion, none of the 10 provides a dining experience with enough wow factor to please the palete. ( may be Colborne lane with its pseudo-molecular cuisine. However, I still find the food long on presentation but short on taste ) I would suggest using your precious time in having a great Chinese lunch or dinner at Lai Wah Heen. Some great oysters and excellent seafood at Starfish. A 'high-end' dinner with the 'total package' at Splendido ( Toronto's answer to a good Michelin stars restaurant ). And finally, a great Japanese 'Omakase' dinner at Sushi Kaji ( the best Japanese restaurant east of Vancouver?! ). Other honourable mention worth considering include Canoe, George, Chiado and Scaramouche.
Welcome to TO and Happy Chowing!
Welcome to Toronto!
I largely agree with Charles' commentary regarding the list and alternatives he provides. I have not eaten at all of the above, so I can't provide a full commentary, however...
Colborne Lane is likely the best choice on that list, but it lacks a "wow" factor. All the dishes are adequately prepared, but the place is more show than substance.
One is just grossly over-rated. All my dinners there have been disappointing for the price point. The fish had always been over cooked, foods are too salty and otehr wise bland, and many dishes are swimming in butter or oil. Take a pass.
Terroni is a pizza joint. Nice room, decent pizza, no reservations (at least not as of a few months ago), but a pizza joint.
Great oysters/seafood at Starfish. Superb fish and service at Chiado (though the room is a bit formal). Great small plates/tapas style wine bar at Jamie Kennedy, great small plates (and reasonably price friendly) at Nyood.
High end dining at Splendido is terrific. Great mid-range, fresh "bistro-style" fare at Globe
There are much better dining options around the city than the list above, with some at better price points
Good luck and have fun
Yet another vote that's consistent with the replies so far. Have tried 6 of them, and the only one I returned to was Colborne Lane - but haven't been there for over 6 months - it's gimmicky rather than satisfying.
Go with the "old faithfuls".
I would guess that L'Unita would suit your tastes. As you home page indicates you love pizza and pasta, prefer to eat local, and love a good red wine it hits all of those marks. They source locally, make much of their pasta on site, have delicious pizzas, and the wine list is exclusively from Italy and Ontario. I'm not sure where all the "wow factor" commentary is coming. You appear to want to try something new. Good for you. Simplicity is often overlooked as the outstanding part of the dinner.
Charles' alternate list of tried's and true is full of excellent choices if you want a fall back position.
134 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R2H6, CA
I have been to all except C5, Amaya, Marben and Cowbell. I would highly recommend Lucien and/or Colborne Lane (I preferred Lucien but most on this board seem to prefer Colborne Lane). Terroni is a simple pizza place, L'Unita will be a good neighborhood bistro but is suffering from too much hype at the moment. One and Spice Room were uneven and overpriced in my opinion. I also agree with maybe trying an "established" place too. Remember these are best "new" restaurants, not best restaurants.
The replies have all been wonderful. Thank you. I am not necessarily looking for new I'm just looking for fabulous food. I just happened to see the Toronto Life list. The Saturday night dinner is a celebration of our 10th wedding anniversary and my birthday. So I am looking for some place special, ie. romantic and comfortable with mouthwatering food. Sunday night we have to eat early because we are going to a show. We will be casually dressed. I was thinking Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar or Terroni. What do you think? A few people have commented on the "old favourites". Could you please offer me some of your "old favourites". The only thing I want to stay away from is some super-hip place where I will feel extremely unfashionable.
I'd like estufarian's line-up for my anniversary/birthday!
(and if you're deciding between JKWB and Terroni, they are very different experiences. Terroni, which I love, is loud and pretty authentic Ital, but probably not mind-blowing. JKWB is kinda special because it's got a menu focus that is local and Canadian. Also, if you've really blown it out the night before, small plates might be a relief!).
Agree with estufarian's line-up as well!! Great suggestion!
BTW, I was at JKWB just two days ago. Their current version of 'pulled pork' poutine, lamb stew and grass fed beef liver were all outstanding. So was the simply prepared pan seared wild stripe bass. High light of the evening was the pairing of the chaucuterie platter with a glass of Weinbach L'interdit Grand Cru Riesling 2004. Steep mark-up for the wine though. Charged $300 for the bottle!
Jamie Kennedy - hands down - over Terroni anytime. Great local food, great winr list, unpretentious. JKWB is one of my favourite places in the city. I have never ever felt uncomfortable/unfashionable there
As for a 10th wedding anniversary and birthday - Splendido is superb (but very expensive - I have no idea of your price point). George is also a good choice - I find the room romantic, and comfortable. The food is not the same level as Splendido, but it is very good. I also really like Globe Bistro -- I'm not sure how romantic it is, but I also wouldn't call it a hipster place - the owner there Ed Ho - is great - very attentive to his restaurant
re: mac n cheeze
mac n cheeze has it down. Go to Jamie K's on Sunday.
I have been to JKWB at least 30 times now and have not a single complaint in regards to the service and vibe. Practically the same in regards to the food, with a couple of instances of over-salting...
My favorite restaurant in the GTA by a mile.
Ok - I know I recommended JKWB - but that's a bit over the top. Their wine list is (usually) excellent. One of the best in the city. But the food has been patchy. What bothers me the most is the aromas from the kitchen permeate the restaurant - this means that you can "enjoy" the aromatic dishes several times throughout the evening as other people order them too. And, at busy times, things can turn sour (ingredients can be a mixture of hot & cold, or there can be long delays between courses). But relatively early on a Sunday should be fine. My last meal in the restaurant area was just plain bad. Overcooked, underspiced and missing some of the promised ingredients. But on a Sunday, especially early, the portents should be good. This is comfort food, not fine dining.
I like Globe & JKWB (local ingredients, nicely prepared, not super-expensive). Found Cowbell, Spice Room VERY underwhelming. C5 is ok, but I think that you could do better.
I've been around to Lucien, Colborne Lane, One, C5, Amaya and the new Terroni. Colborne Lane is probably my favourite although there have been some service issues since the Toronto Life article. Just go in knowing that it'll be expensive for not very much food. Cool science if you are into that stuff. I love the patio at One, but I'm not pretty enough to hang out there. C5 is vast but the food good - nice bar area. Amaya was really good but way far from my 'hood. I'd go back if it were closer. Terroni? It is what it is. Pizza-pasta. Competent, but top new resto? Were the pickings really that slim?
None would be anyone's safe pick for the two top places. Your link says trad Italian. Try Terroni for cheap and huge or Noce or Giancarlo for more upscale. Noce, in particular, makes great southern Italian pasta. Not cheap though. As with most places here, call first and act like you're special. Doesn't cost more and it works. For pasta and romance, Joso's. Again, call first. How's Beckta?