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May 7, 2008 01:29 PM

Non-starchy, unique birthday resto?

Hello all,
I'm visiting Toronto at the end of the month and celebrating my birthday there. As I'm still trying to stay svelte and am on a diet, I'm on a hunt for a really nice, funky, fresh but good portion place to celebrate. Italian's not so good (too much wheat/cheese/oils), nor anything with lots of breads/rice/starches (so, no burgers) and I'm looking for a resto that has the following:

-excellent, fresh food, good portions
-or something tapasy/fusiony/small plates that you can nibble and choose from. I like a bit of dabbling
-funky vibe and/or cool people watching, but lite on pretension
-feels like a nice enough place to celebrate
-not too expensive, you know, mid-range
-any type but with a preference for Asian, Persian, Indian, Spanish, Latin/Venezuelan/Brazil, non-descript mix-n'-match

LOL - so not that picky! ;-)

And can be in any 'hood in Toronto, with a preference for the Danforth, Queen West West, Bloor West etc...

Any ideas? Your tips are muchly appreciated! I'm quite the foodie and from Vancouver so really want to experience the best insider places in Toronto...

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  1. Well, JK Wine Bar is a common rec on this board, but for a good reason! It perfectly fits bullet points 2 - 5:

    - It's small plates, so you can nibble and choose.
    - It's good for people watching and no pretension (it's not "funky" per se, but has a nice vibe). Sit at the chef's bar if you can.
    - It's nice enough for a celebration, but not "fancy"
    - It's mid-range in price

    It also showcases the best of whatever is local and in season. It's a very Toronto place. And the neighbourhood that it's in (the St. Lawrence Market area) is lovely for a walk before or after dinner.

    Happy birthday, wherever you end up!

    1. How many people are you expecting to join you?
      I too, dislike heavy carb food. So I usually go with tapa style.
      These are my recommendations:
      Foxley (Ossington/Dundas)- asian fusion, small-ish, but very friendly.
      Oysterboy (Queen W) -great seafood, fun crowd, very knowledgable staff.
      Bar One (Queen W) - good wine list, nice atmosphere, and not too noisy.
      Mini Market (College/Collinton) - asian fusion, light, inexpensive, sometimes can be a little rowdy.
      Beer Bistro (Wellington) - fantastic mussels, great taps, exciting interior, but you might want to forgo the frites.

      Have fun!

      1. I don't eat non starchy places are my specialty.

        Nyood...latest hot spot. Gorgeous place...good tapas
        Kultura....again...gorgeous spot..asian tapas
        Foxley....more casual...but funky on Ossington...again asian fusion
        Coca.....tapas on Queen.....very cool laid back vibe....
        Lee on King street.....sister place to Susur which is very expensive....lots to choose from

        1. Fressen (on Queen St. West) meets most of your criteria. It's an upscale vegan restaurant which means it's not heavy on the protein, but there is absolutely no dairy and a strong emphasis on vegetables and healthy starches and meat alternatives. The quality is excellent, the food is interesting and unique. It's all small plates, at $9 a plate. You can check out the menu on their website.

          478 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V2B2, CA