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Monday night group dinner in Toronto

I'm looking for a restaurant that can accommodate a group of about 15 people for dinner. Here's the criteria I'm dealing with:

1) spacious - no one likes eating on top of the people at the next table
2) extensive menu - not interested in prix fixe
3) vegetarian options - there's also a vegan in the group so some vegan options would be a bonus!
4) accessible/close to a subway station/parking - most people will be using the TTC, but there will be some cars as well
5) open Monday nights!! - a lot of places I've found are closed

I'm considering Baton Rouge at the Eaton Centre BUT it's not very vegetarian/vegan friendly. =(

Suggestions? Thanks in advance.

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  1. ...and 6) separate bills! - one bill for 15 people is a headache

    1. ...wow...i have noob written all over me.

      Affordability is also important. It's mostly a student (20 something) group so entrees between $10-$25.

      1. Baton Rouge would probably exceed your price point, and to be honest, it's disappointing.

        1. Not sure about your neighbourhood requirements....How about somewhere like:
          Any of the Terroni locations?
          Spadina Garden (Bay and Dundas) for Chinese?
          Insomnia at Bloor and Bathurst.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Julie McCoy

            I just recently visited Insomnia and really enjoyed my meal. It was a Friday night so the place was loud and VERY busy. I guess this wouldn't be as much of a concern on a Monday... Apparently they have a back section that might be able to accommodate a big group but I didn't notice it when I was there. Can anyone comment on it? Is it appropriate for dinner or just drinks?

            As for Terroni...it has a menu that would cater well to this group except for the note about no modifications...which, from what I hear, they're very strict about. But I can give them a call to check if making a vegetarian dish, vegan is still considered a no-no.

            Thanks for the suggestions!

          2. I'd avoid Baton Rouge.

            I'm drawing a bit of a blank as to alternate selections, but what about Grano at Yonge & Eg/Davisville? It meets most of your criteria, though I think your vegan friend would have to order a veggie pasta, hold the cheese. Another great choice (even better, probably) would be Beer Bistro, if you can get a reservation for such a big group. Again, not a tonne of vegan options, but I recently had their (vegan-friendly) salad and it was terrific; would make a nice meal if paired up with, eg. the dips and flatbreads or the frites (mmm...).

            3 Replies
            1. re: torontofoodiegirl

              Thanks! Both of those places are on my list of restaurants to visit oddly enough.
              With such a large group though, I find that it's best to stick with easily recognizable dishes...sometimes it makes for a bland-ish dining experience...but alas.

              1. re: clarasev

                If you're looking for a "safe" option in the vicinity of the Eaton Centre, I'd opt for City Grill over Baton Rouge. It's certainly not a culinary adventure, but it's quite decent.


                1. re: torontofoodiegirl

                  There really isn't a neighbourhood preference...as long as it's accessible on the subway and parking isn't $20+!

            2. Something that would fit most of your needs and has a location on King St W in the Entertainment district (1-2 mins from St. Andrew station) is....Il Fornello.


              2 Replies
                1. re: clarasev

                  Here's another viable option: Chinese food. When I'm charged with arranging a group dinner for a dozen or more price-sensitive types, I invariably go for Chinese food. Such joints are invariably open Mondays, are used to dealing with large groups, have lots of vegetarian dishes on offer - and, more to the point for those watching their pennies - the price is right. It's rarely more than $25 a person (taxes and tip included), and there are lotsa different selections, enough to please everybody. It's also good that, when the bill comes, you don't have to quibble about who had this and who had that. Just divide the bill equally among everybody because, after all, it's family-style dining with everyone digging in to whatever appeals to them. The one I go to most often, when I want something just off the subway, is Asian Legend off the Yonge Street subway line in north Toronto. Good, solid, though not great, northern Chinese food in a sleek, modern setting - there's a room at the back that can handle 15 quite easily. Usually sharp service by a young wait staff. If you want to be farther downtown, though, there's an Asian Legend (Asian Legend is a small Toronto chain) on Dundas Street just east of Spadina, that I don't know as well - but then, Asian Legend cooking is pretty consistent throughout the chain. I'm sure others can list other decent Chinese restos off the subway or streetcar lines downtown. Chinese food is the last good, inexpensive group dining experience left nowadays.

              1. So we ended up going to Insomnia Cafe. It was great! Everyone enjoyed their meal, we got separate bills, lots of space. It didn't ever get too loud for conversation. My vegan friend was actually impressed with the number of vegetarian choices that she could customize to her needs. Bonus!
                The DJ played some oldies and that just got everyone naming off some of their favourites from the 70s & 80s. They dimmed the lights more and more as the evening went on so that caused a few confused looks but nothing to complain about.
                Thanks for the recommendations!

                2 Replies
                1. re: clarasev

                  Other options early to mid week can be the danforth. The Pantheon on the south side of Danforth at Chester would also accomodate a group like this and they have a few extras that are not just the souvaliki norm.

                  1. re: clarasev

                    Glad to know it worked out - thanks for reporting back!