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SF Chowhound Visiting Toronto - Recs?

Hello fellow Chowhounds -

I'll be visiting Toronto from San Francisco May 22-24 and was looking for some mid-range ($18 or so a plate) food recs in the downtown Toronoto area. A cool ambience/trendy would be a definitely plus, with a decent bar. Any type of food except sushi or Chinese (since I live in SF!). Any recs would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

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  1. Let us know where you'll be staying. There are so many great restaurants in town, it might be better to recommend ones near your hotel. You can check www.nowtoronto.com for really good reviews of local restaurants by cuisine type. I think you'll find eating out here to be a little cheaper than in SF and much more variety in terms of different cuisines.

    My current favourite restaurant is a little Czech deli called The Prague (www.theprague.com) Not fancy, but great home cooking!

    11 Replies
    1. re: currycue

      Hi Currycue - I'm staying at the Delta Chelsea

      1. re: shellshock24

        If you're staying at the Delta, check out Kathmandu on Yonge for good Indian food, Red and White is a great, cheap little shawarma/falafel joint and of course, the Senator Diner at Yonge and Victoria for a good, old fashioned hangover breakfast. (pretty close in taste to Mama's on Washington Square in SF)

        1. re: shellshock24

          A two minute walk down Yonge street will get you to Gould and Linda (the second floor of Salad King) for wothy Thai.

          For my 2cents, go to Elephant Castle and Smokeless Joes if you are into generic pub/roadhouse, these are close to the hotel. Myself, I quite liked the Beer Markt and have only read good things about Beerbistro.

          1. re: neighborguy

            Agreed that Elephant and Castle is generic pub...Smokeless Joe is hardly so. Just curious, why do you think it's generic?

            1. re: neighborguy

              Ditto on the Elephant and Castle -- it's actually a chain with many locations in the States. No need to visit it in Toronto. I'll also chime in with a negative review of Bier Markt -- really not good and way too much of a meat market. Love beerbistro, though.

              1. re: TorontoJo

                Agree with your sentiments on the Bier Markt. Not really a spot to hit if you've got 2-3 days in the city.

          2. re: currycue

            Actually, I don't believe The Prague has a website. But here's a write-up --
            http://www.martiniboys.com/Toronto/Pr...

            1. re: JamieK

              Here it is: http://www.theprague.ca - It's .ca not .com. Btw, they're only open for breakfast, lunch and very early dinners.

                1. re: missmu

                  Do check it out if you like Czech food, especially if you like a good beer shellshock24. (I assume their new restaurant is licensed? I haven't been in awhile. But how could it not be?)

                  My family's been going there for decades, back when they had the deli with the food bar tucked away in the back. I can't wait to go the next time I'm back in town.

              1. I've heard good things about Czehoski and Coca - they share an owner, and are definitely trendy. I can't vouch for the food, but both have good bars and are on the West Queen W. strip, which has plenty of bars and lounges to choose from.

                You can also try Torito in Kensington Market - it has a good vibe, decent Spanish tapas, and a bar as well.

                -----
                Czehoski
                678 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                Coca
                783 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                2 Replies
                1. re: Yum2MyTum

                  I went to Toronto this weekend and headed out to The Prague but it was closed for the holiday - so I headed a few doors down to Czehoski for Sunday brunch and it was fantastic! I had curried carrot soup and a nicoise salad, which had delicious seared tuna, hericot verts and arugla, among other things. My boyfriend got...hold your forks folks..."bread pudding toast with butterscotch pudding." Imagine uber-wet pieces of warm buttery french toast. It was amazing.

                  1. re: martinca

                    Weezie's does a fantastic salad nicoise.

                2. Hi ss24 - I clicked on your profile and see you have a lot of "beer" posts. There are a few spots with great beer selections in the city - a couple that spring to mind are Rebel House, a real "locals" pub that's not too far from downtown (and right on the subway line at Rosedale) - great patio out back if the weather is warm. There's also Allen's on the Danforth, also with a big patio out back. Rebel House has above average comfort food while Allen's menu is less reliable, though the burgers are decent.

                  For cool ambience, you might want to try Nyood or The Drake - both are on Queen West West (yes, I meant to type it twice) - again, not too far from central downtown, an easy streetcar/cab ride. You could eat at both these spots. I also second the rec for Torito which I recently tried for the first time - great tapas bar, very noisy, friendly and it's right in Kensington Market which makes for a nice stroll before dins. JKWB is also a good spot. Have a great trip!

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: peppermint pate

                    If you're into beer, you may want to check out the Beer Bistro (not to be confused with the Bier Markt). It's on King, just east of Yonge and has great ambiance, great (though not life-changing) food and a phenomenal beer selection. The duck confit pizza, by the way, is pretty terrific, as are the frites. If you do a search on this board, I think you'll find pretty overwhelmingly positive praise from posters for this restaurant. One comment I'll make is that you might want to try to make reservations. I've tried to get a seat there on a couple of occasions recently and the wait for a table (without reservations) has been very long...

                    http://www.beerbistro.com/

                    1. re: torontofoodiegirl

                      Hi - the first thing I did was make a reservation at beerbistro....=) i don't know much about the beer scene in Toronto, but I had heard of beerbistro. The food looks pretty good and from my search on previous threads, it seems like most Chowhounds agree.

                      Thank you everyone for their suggestions! I will report back on beerbistro and any other restaurant we try.

                        1. re: shellshock24

                          If you're looking for something to do after dinner at beerbistro, head up Yonge St. just north of Wellesley (4 subway stops) to Volo - a cozy spot with a really interesting beer list and a selection of Ontario and Quebec cheeses. I find it makes a nice followup to beerbistro, or as a spot to go have a pre-dinner pint.

                          1. re: Wahooty

                            Also for beer, you should check out Smokeless Joe.

                            http://www.dine.to/smokelessjoe
                            I like Beer Bistro, but smokeless is cooler. I haven't tested the menu other than oysters.

                            Stay away from Bier Markt. It's not that it's really bad, but a waste of a stop if you've only got limited time. Kind of a cheesy place.

                            For cheap eats, you should check one of the carribbean places for a roti or jerk chicken. Not sure if you get much of that kind of stuff in SF.

                            1. re: Wahooty

                              I second Volo for good selection of Ontario beers and knowledgeable staff.
                              http://www.barvolo.com
                              (click on the beer icon for menu

                              )

                              Here's a site that offers more info and reviews about brewpubs and beer in TO (and Ontario) -
                              http://www.bartowel.com

                              You can tour the Steam Whistle Brewery right down by the CN Tower. It's neat because it's located in an historic roundhouse.
                              http://steamwhistle.ca/tour/tourinfo.php

                              -----
                              Volo
                              587 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

                              Steam Whistle Brewing
                              255 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

                      1. The Delta Chelsea is right near Yonge St. There's mostly fast food joints around there. There is an Elephant and Castle right there. Not sure about the food, but they'll pour a good pint. You're fairly close to the subway, so you can hit a number of good areas for food and drink.

                        1. Yes, the subway (aka the TTC) is your friend. You can get to pretty well any chow-worthy place by subway and in some cases, plus streetcar or bus.

                          You might consider checking out the Distillery District, restaurants ranging from pub to upscale plus galleries, shops, events, etc. Take the subway to King station, streetcar east to Parliament, walk south.
                          http://www.thedistillerydistrict.com/...

                          It's at the end of your stay, but a pretty neat event starting May 24 is Doors Open Toronto. You could coordinate a few tours of historic buildings with a chow-worthy lunch if you let us know where you're going.
                          http://www.toronto.ca/doorsopen/

                          Please let us know where you end up, as well as your impressions!

                          -----
                          Distillery District
                          55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: JamieK

                            There is some pretty good Korean BBQ on Yonge St between College and Bloor just up from the Delta Chelsea. Ethiopian House is also just off Yonge within walking distance and is pretty good too.

                            You could also head to Mount Pleasant to Simple Bistro - very good value and in your price range. Worth the taxi or transit ride.

                            Also a good find for French in a funky down-to-earth environment is Batifole - good value here too.

                            Another bistro resto frequented more by locals than tourists is Weezie's (weird name, I know) on King East. It's cozy and food is fresh and delicious at a very reasonable price point.

                          2. I also think you should check out Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar. It's fantastic - nice small tapas style foods - you can choose a bunch and they are all excellent! Wines are 3 and 6oz and priced so that you aren't dinged for trying a bunch of 3oz glasses. (ie. 50% of 6oz price)

                            It's one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto and I would highly recommend checking it out. It's also in a good location - you could pop down to the Esplanade and have a pint at Bier Markt or up to Beer Bistro if you wanted before/after.

                            I've enjoyed many SF restaurants while there - hopefully this one will be as memorable for you...

                            1. Would you be interested in trying some jerk chicken, curried goat, etc? Not sure if there's a large Jamaican community in SF, but that might be something to try while in TO. I'll leave it to the others to recco spots to hit, as I've been away for a bit.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: littlegreenpea

                                Actually, we don't have much of a Carribean community in SF (or in CA for that matter), so I would love to try some good jerk chicken. Had some great jerk chicken during my honeymoon in St. Lucia, but none since. Any recs for a nice afternoon bite of jerk chicken would be appreciated (i'll have internet access in Canada, so I'll be checking this thread constantly!).

                                1. re: shellshock24

                                  There's a very good one near your hotel:
                                  Mr. Jerk. (416) 961-8913. Cabbagetown 209 Wellesley St E Toronto
                                  Also try the jerk pork.
                                  It may not be the best in Toronto, for that you probably need to go to Scarborough.

                                  1. re: grandgourmand

                                    And it's a bit of a dump with no or little seating.

                              2. Hi everyone,

                                Thanks for all the recs. Unfortunately, the only place I was able to eat was Beerbistro, but I loved it. I ordered the duck confit pizza and thought it was excellent. My wife ordered the mint pea ravioli and loved it as well. Awesome beer selection, although I was quite shocked by the prices for California beers ($30 CAD for Lagunitas Maximus!!). But had St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout that paired very well with the duck. I definitely hope to try a few more places on a return trip to Toronto.

                                On a side note, I went to Eddie's Wok and Roll in Missisaugua, not bad. It's "Manchurian" food. Which all the craze in communities with large South Asian populations. Basicaly a mix of Chinese and Indian food. Largely inspired by the large Chinese populations that live in the northern parts of India (Calcutta, New Delhi, etc). I have to admit, really liked the food. Swing by if you guys are ever in that part of GTA (I learned a lot of Toronto lingo during my short stay there...=) )