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st. clair west

I figure that it is more practical to start a new post than revives posts thagt are 3 years old....so i leave it to you guys to post about all the great places around st. clair/yonge to weston rd.... we've only recently started eating around the neighboorhood, and love it.

Places I've tried and liked:

Rushton (great patio)
Casa de Mariachi (good al pastor tacos)
JLB's takeout counter (good filipino)
The other filipino counter near the Thai resto and travel agent

Need to try:
El Fogon
a thai place (somewhere that is solidly good)
Ellington's (for coffee)
sushi? (are there any that are at least cheap and good cause i still love Japango)
Pho St. Clair (how is the pho here)
another Jamaican place forgot the name
the columbian resto
Pain Perdu
is there that Burmese place near here?
Retro Cafe (the hours are so odd)
Any other good suggestions?
Any cheap, ethnic, or healthy lighter fare is appreciated!

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  1. Alberts is GREAT! I especially recommend the jerk chicken with rice and peas and ask for extra oxtail gravy on top! A true winner!
    Also, Mezzetta used to be very good - middle eastern tapas...yummy! Their prices cannot be beat! I think they even have a night where they have everything on special..
    Fillipo's has a fabulous gnocchi with cream sauce - the best I ever had.
    Hope this helps....

    1. My mom (who lives in that area) reported a great dinner (and brunch) at a new place called Tapas. At least she thinks it was called Tapas (she's really bad with names). She wants me to check it out, but I couldn't find any info online. Anyone know anything about this newcomer?

      Regal Heights Bistro
      The Big Ragu
      La Bruschetta
      Paloma for gelato

      2 Replies
      1. re: Rabbit

        Yes i think the name is Tapas...the menu looks really good and I've been waiting to try it out but haven't had the chance. I think the website is http://www.tapas.personalltouch.ca/

        1. re: Rabbit

          Right now, my favourite on st clair west happens to be La bruschetta.
          I've been there numerous times and completely enjoyed myself. Just thinking about the gnocchi is making my mouth water.

        2. You must try Eastern Twist at the corner of Bathurst and St. Clair. It looks like a Subway but their East/West Indian wraps are very good.

          1. I've moved back into the neighbourhood after a 25 year exile and will follow this thread with interest. Couple of questions: Which of the two fish mongers, the Italian or the Greek east of Glenholme is the better, or should I just stroll down to Newport on Dupont; and how are the sangwiches at Miami which used to be a California Sandwich franchise?

            1 Reply
            1. re: mrbozo

              Enzo is better. He's Sicilian.

              Tapas is the name of the new place (have not tried)
              Regal Heights is very good. My fav is Giovanni & Maria Trattoria, around Arlington IIRC.

            2. Definitely Pain Perdu and La Paloma. Marcello's is good for a casual dinner out.

              1 Reply
              1. re: littlegreenpea

                The 'other' Jamaican place is called "Gerry's" and is is pretty good but I still prefer "Albert's".....Apart from the usual fare at Albert's, he makes terrific soup...worth a try if you haven't tried it. Soup is a 'staple' in Jamaica...Pepperpot and Red Pea are among my favourites.

              2. Ferro! Moved from the area 8 years ago and still make the drive up to St.Clair for what we consider the best pizza/calzones in TO.

                1. I recently had a BBQ chicken dinner from Churrasco of St. Clair for the first time, I really enjoyed it. Moist meat, very nice seasoning, and great piri piri sauce, probably the best I've ever had. Although I've not had BBQ chicken from that many Portuguese places, this was among the better BBQ chickens I've ever eaten.

                  I'll be back!!

                  1. Mezzetta is the best bang for your buck, both for food and overall experience, in the 'hood. So much is good there - dips (hummus, baba), salad (taboulleh, cucumber), veggies dishes (eggplant, green peppers, sweet potato frites oMG!), meats (chicken and shrimp skewers) and trad. dishes (moussaka, stuffed vine leaves). oh and the best baklava in the city. wait for the warmer weather when they open the front window - amazing!

                    1. Just to update, we had TERRIFIC pho and bun @ pho st. clair 2 days ago. the broth was amazing, really authentic. The dining room is tiny and the service was fast and efficient and friendly. (altho the screaming toddler seated next to us was......) will be eating there regulary instead of mimi or anh dao (and just as a note i had eaten @ pho hung so often during 2nd year uni that i had forgotten what good broth was like until now).recommended

                      1. For great Thai food check out Bua Thai. It isn't St Clair W per se, but I go there when I am in the area.

                        1. wanted to mention 'Barrio Fiesta' is the name of the filipino market that makes the best halo halo around.

                          1. I did a photo essay on St Clair W restos (exteriors only) recently. I covered from Bathurst to Old Weston. Any comments on any of the establishments are welcome.

                            - http://flickr.com/photos/hendriksson/...

                            Sideshow is the best format for viewing.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: mrbozo

                              My friends rave about Tricolore (sp?). Apparently a very nice hot table and great espresso, done old school.

                              1. re: mrbozo

                                Great collage! You've got all my favourites in the neighbourhood--Marcellos (pizza), La Paloma (gelato), DGanz (steak n eggs), Tre Mare (Vienna Stick), Alberts (jerk), Novecento, Patachou, Miami etc. The only places of note that I notice missing are Boom Breakfast, St Clair Village, Rio 40, and Tricolore. Boom has got to be the busiest place on St Clair Saturday and Sunday mornings.

                                Orlando's at Old Weston has got to be the worst jerk I've had in Toronto. No surprise that it's 2 for 1.

                                If you are looking for more local subjects you could try the Saturday Market at St. Michael and All Angels or shots of the local Macellerie/Butchers. S Gabrielle has got to be one of the last places to hang their wares right in the window. The back room of Talho Rui Gomes can get busy on a Friday.

                                Check out the same strip here a couple of years ago:


                                1. re: mikeb

                                  Thanks. I lived in the 'hood 25 years ago and just moved back last October. Some obvious changes in demographic but the same 'hood and vibe I loved back when.

                                  Yeah, I missed a few places and didn't shoot some others because they didn't seem entirely camera-friendly if you know what I mean.

                                  Thanks for the retro link.

                                  Good tips for photos. Think I may head down to Dufferin Grove Market tomorrow, camera in pocket.

                              2. I agree with:
                                Marcello's - for wood-fired pizza
                                La Paloma - for gelato (my favourite combo is Chocolate, Lemon and Sicilian Pistachio)
                                Big Ragu - for italian

                                Also there is Farol - Brazilian-owned. I like the Bitoque with sliced potatoes.

                                Drove by yesterday and it looks like the Portu-Grill is open for business.

                                They are all at or near St. Clair and Dufferin to Lansdowne.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Hondapendragon

                                  I'm surprised that no one has yet mentioned Ferro, a consistently good Italian joint west of Christie, almost diagonally across St. Clair Ave. from The Rushton. It has been around forever, it seems, and still delivers the goods on soups, pizza, pastas, fresh salads, sandwiches (my favorite being the Charles sandwich) and assorted other dishes, not all of which can be classed as Italian. Good service, a lively clientele drawn from all age groups, fairly priced - and one of the most wide-ranging and modestly-priced wine lists in town. It has been a winner with me for years.

                                  1. re: juno

                                    Had dinner at El Fogon last night and we loved it! Nice atmosphere, great service. Entrees priced between $10-$15. Definitely worth going back!

                                    We also like Zemra up on St. Clair West...cool like bistro-type place with good atmosphere and reasonably priced food.

                                2. Sugar Sushi is really good and so is Ferro which is located around christie and st.clair. Sugar Sushi has the best sushi I have ever eaten and the owners are the best!! It's at st.clair and winona. Also La Bruschetta is really good too. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro eat there when they come to Toronto.

                                  1. Gianni Maria for great homestyle Italian food served with warmth - and reasonable wines, too !

                                    1. Thought I'd add one:
                                      Hebesha-- an Ethopian/ Eritrean Restauraunt at 1028 St. Clair West (between Oakwood and Glenholm. It's definitely not much to look at but the food is really excellent- cheap and super tasty. We tried the vegetarian combo type dish on injera and I had a fried lamb stew. Definitely worth a try.

                                      1. This thread looks like it's roughly a year old. I moved to neighbourhood and have discovered a few things I really like.

                                        - Vanipha Lanna
                                        HIGHLY recommended. Some of the best Thai I have ever had. Owners are from Laos and the staff has told me that the chef (I think Vanipha is her name) is extremely discerning about where she acquires her ingredients. Apparently she treks out to that Thai grocery really far west and north in North York for much of them. Generally the flavours are really vibrant, sadly the place is sparsely attended. Perhaps its because it looks weird from the outside. Inside it's great, and the service is excellent.

                                        - Khmer Thai
                                        Also good but quite different. The dishes aren't quite as consistently delicious as Vanipha's. the Paenang Goong though is recommended (Shrimp in spicy peanut sauce) with nice garnish of fresh cucumber, tomato and coconut milk with some basil leaves too (as I remember!)

                                        - Boom
                                        Amazing for breakfast! They make excellent Americanos to wake you up!

                                        - Pain Perdu
                                        Nice French cafe-style foods. Yummy quiches and pastries.

                                        - Ferro
                                        I've only tried the pizzas but MANNNN! I frequently go there for drinks.

                                        -Churrasco St. Clair
                                        That's a no-brainer. Cheap, generous portions and yummy.

                                        Mezzetta for me was mixed. Some dishes were great, others were unremarkable. For similar fare, I enjoyed Jerusalem up on Eglinton a bit more. Similar price range too.

                                        I haven't had the greatest experience at Zemra, or that new place Spicy N' Sweet. The first one had mixed service and they frequently are missing 2/3 of their draught beers! Spicy N' Sweet was just not very tasty.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: nick_s

                                          Welcome to Chowhound, great first post, good to acknowledge the age of the OG post.... When I say welcome to Chowhound, I really mean it!

                                          1. re: nick_s

                                            i have yet to have great s. asian food in toronto
                                            been wanting to try vanipha lanna for a while. it was recommended by a friend a while back. there menu online sounds great.

                                            1. re: heartfood_toronto

                                              If you haven't tried VANNIS on St. Clair , north side at Christie. I urge you strongly to give it a go.. It is my current fave for neighbourhood , (actually I would probably just say 'any' neighbourhood). A very competent Chef who used to work at "Ferro" opened this place around the fall of 2008. The menu is wide ranging with lots of choices and he also does Pizza, I am a big fan of his Salad's in particular his Caesar salad, I LOVE his Mushroom Risotto, Mussels have been terrific etc.....I cannot vouch for dessert since I'm usually too full and haven't had any. The only downside is the place is quite small and it does get a bit 'cheek by jowl' also they have TV sets which in my opinion detract from the 'bistro vibe'.....We've been 5 times since March and I would gladly go more frequently (other plus is that it is very affordable and the wait staff are pleasant and well trained, also can't comment on the Wine list, we're non-drinkers most of the time and I only have a glass of 'white' every now and then..If you get the feeling that I LOVE this place you are absolutely right!
                                              p.s. Park on Christie because St. Clair is still a nightmare.

                                              1. re: pearlD

                                                I cannot at all share your enthusiasm for the food at Vannis. We tried it recently, and it's very bland, generic "Italian" food. Some of the items on the pizza list are actually nausea-inducing ( http://www.goldbook.ca/goldbook/toron... ).

                                                The place was packed when we were there, and it's nice to see that this fairly new restaurant is doing well. But given the lacklustre food, we won't be back.

                                                1. re: Tatai

                                                  I'm sorry you didn't care for Vannis, generic it might be, but I'm not sure that what I consider a 'neighbourhood' place is going to be a place where I seek out 'high end/gourmet cooking'. As for the Pizza, I can't say anything since I haven't ordered any ,or for that matter, even looked seriously at the Pizza offerings..for Pizza, we go to 'Roma" (also 'neighbourhood' style with no aspirations to grand cuisine) but wonderful none-the-less). I was happy to read that Vannis was packed but again, sorry you didn't enjoy your food.....

                                              2. re: heartfood_toronto

                                                Go to Vanipha Lanna! You will not be disappointed!!
                                                We Promise.

                                            2. I have been chowing on St.Clair west for some time. Maybe some of my faves will help:

                                              Vaniphalana, south side at Winona is fantastic.

                                              So refreshing to try traditional thai food that never fails to impress. Price is mid range, but worth every cent after a very filling and always tasty meal.

                                              Try these:
                                              Wild Stcky Rice with Peanut Sauce. You don't get much sauce, but it is so good.
                                              Hot and Sour Soup, also the lemongrass soup.
                                              The Red and Emerald Curries as well as the Pad Thai.
                                              So far, this place has never disappointed.

                                              Zemra Bar Lounge at St. Clair and Arlington.

                                              The food here is solid. The Calimari is one of my faves, and is served fresh grilled with sun dried tomatoes, capers and balck olives in a brown butter sauce. Always so yummy.
                                              They also have fantastic falafel, one of my faves in town. Some one mentioned at the water hole that this falafel had once been voted best in the city, and I believe it!! The hummus is creamy and always perfectly garlic'ized.
                                              Try these:
                                              Wild Mushroom Bruschetta. They also have a traditional Bruschetta, but this one is so rich and decadent. The flavour of the blue cheese and wild mushrooms come together in a glorious trifecta of tastebud tango.
                                              Penne with Avocado Rose Sauce. Fantastic pasta, the sauce is delectible, rose sauces can be touch and go, but this one is always solid.
                                              Seafood Rendezvous.

                                              Marcello's at St. Clair and Dufferin.

                                              I don't usually go for chains, prefering to stick to the small guys cooking out of a tiny kitchen with passion flavoured oil, but I was looking for some serious Italian Pasta/Pizza, so I trekked down here for a taste.

                                              Caprese salad was groovy, very traditional and a larger portion than at most places.
                                              Quattro Stagioni Pizza blew my wool socks off. The crust so flat you need proof of its existence. It is good. Try it.
                                              Fiorellini Fantasia and Agnolotti alla Gorgonzola both pleased.
                                              The food is fairly tradish. The service impeccable and the wine pairings were suggested in a knowledgeable and informative manner.

                                              Old Faves:
                                              Albert's Jamaican. St Clair and Vaughan. Yumm without exception
                                              Da Maria St. Clair, just West of Vaughan, old mums cooking fresh pasta and pizza. family run, always impressed. I've been to this place about fifty billion times. Nobody can do a good Gnocchi. These guys do. The price is staggering. I wrote home about this one.

                                              As for ambiance,
                                              Ellingtons is amazing! Jazz in the afternoon. Jams at night! great ownership/staff. Good local feeling.
                                              Zemra wednesday and sunday, wednesday a local open mike jam. townies abound. Also sunday. They have a Jazzy/Funky band that plays until like midnight. good times!!

                                              1. Nama Sushi near Arlington on the north side is quite good. It's Korean-owned, but very consistent. Slightly more expensive than your average AYCE, but quite a bit better.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: theknife

                                                  I took a few friends to Vanipha Lanna last night in search of authentic Lao dishes. We ended up mixing it up with a few Lao dishes and a few Thai dishes. The food was very good. Flavours were vibrant, nothing was too heavy or greasy and everyone left satisfied. I asked for a Som Tam (green papaya salad) to be made "Lao hot" and the kitchen obliged. In fact, I'm not sure anyone expected the salad to be anywhere near as hot as it was delivered. Our tastebuds were ringing for a few minutes, before the rest of the dishes (and some beer) brought them back around. In all, I was quite happy with the food, though nothing blew me away. The weakest point was the service. The server was fairly pushy about taking our order and asked us many times if we were ready to order drinks, appetizers, the rest of the meal, etc., when I had clearly stated that a) we wanted to wait for everyone to arrive, b) we were in no rush and c) that were WEREN'T ready. Why the rush to process our meal and hustle us out, I wonder? Strange, since at its peak, the rather sizeable restaurant was only a third full. I never understand that mentality. Had he allowed us to take our time, we might have wound up consuming more by way of beverages. His tip would certainly have been bigger had he demonstrated a bit more personality or at least tolerance for our presence.

                                                  Don't let one staff member prevent you from visiting Vanipha Lanna, though. The chef is certainly talented and the menu goes well beyond the standard Thai favourites. We had a tasty eggplant dip that came with steamed veggies and crunchy chips for dipping. Other highlights were a red curry with duck and lychee, wok-fried water spinach, minced chicken with herbs (laab gai) and a spicy Northern Lao beef dish called Oaar Sean.