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Jun 4, 2008 07:39 AM

Group dinner, adventuresome palates, U area

I'm planning a dinner for a group of 15 or 20 of professionals who are meeting at the University of Toronto on Saturday, June 21. It's the first trip to Toronto for most -- we're from all over the U.S., from Seattle to New Orleans to L.A. to Boston to DC, and one member hails from Victoria.

My colleagues have suggested Moroccan, French, Chinese, someplace to get local walleye/pike/muskie. They'd be open to Tibetan, Egyptian, whatever isn't the same old same old.

Here are our constraints:
We need a place that's within walking distance (up to 25 minutes) or easy accessible on TTC -- but not too away far because herding these cats across a city can be a PITA.

The restaurant need to be able to accommodate our group (broken into smaller tables is OK) on a Saturday. I'm planning ahead so we can get reservations.

Price -- $35 or $40 max per person without drinks. But we want a place that serves alcohol.

We have two members who are mobility impaired -- so no long flights of steps.


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  1. There are several great options for you on Harbord, a pleasant walk from the University. Boulevard Cafe is Peruvian and has a wonderful patio along a leafy side street. It has a great casual vibe and very good pitchers of red or white sangria! 93 Harbord is more upscale, with a strong Middle Eastern influence to the food. After dinner, you could wander a block or two down the street and get dessert at Dessert Trends Bistro (beautiful desserts and house-made ice creams and gelatos).

    7 Replies
    1. re: TorontoJo

      Oh TorontoJo, always with the sangrias! ;-)

      I second 93 Harbord. Or perhaps the Harbord Room too? Both are so lovely and cozy.

      1. re: pinkprimp


        I must admit a weakness for good sangria in the summer. Sadly, they are hard to find at restaurants. Happily, I make a mean sangria at home!

        I need to get to the Harbord Room and try it out. There are so many restaurants on Harbord that I often find it easiest to go back to the ones I know.

        1. re: TorontoJo

          Hey torontojo, are you willing to share your sangria recipe with us? On the home cooking board, of course :)

          1. re: millygirl

            I thought of asking this too...please do!

            1. re: Recyclor

              Yes please, it would be perfect for the weekend BBQ with a humidex of 41 ! Can't wait.

      2. re: TorontoJo

        I'm going to second the rec for Boulevard Cafe. Instead of the patio,(although it is a lovely patio) I would book their private room upstairs.

        Boulevard Cafe
        161 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1H1, CA

      3. Lunch or dinner, and whereabouts on campus will you be? It's rather large with several dining areas nearby.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Herb

          I went to The Pomegranate recently & it was really fantastic - tasty Persian food and absolutely fantastic service. I'd say that's within walking distance of most parts of U of T.

          When we went, they had a large group reservation. It was mid-week, but nevertheless - they would probably be open to it!

          1. re: thora

            I went with a friend last week and loved it. Too bad they're on vacation for three weeks starting about now.

        2. Depending whereabouts on campus you are, Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner Museum is an option for a Saturday lunch. North of the campus on Queens Park (just south of Bloor). They can definitely accommodate your group. Really tasty, seasonal, local ingredients, good food and suggested wine pairings. Nice view. Elevator takes you there. Here's today's menu for a preview -

          Call to book a group, contact info here -

          Jamie Kennedy Gardiner
          111 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S, CA

          5 Replies
          1. re: JamieK

            Jamie -- Yum! Could you cater a lunch on Saturday for 20?

            1. re: i.inquire

              LOL - I don't think JamieK is THE Jamie Kennedy (though I used to wonder the same thing myself until I figured he'd have no time to cook or supervise his many ventures with all his time posting on this board!).

              1. re: peppermint pate

                Hahaha, I went through the EXACT thought process!


              2. re: i.inquire

                Believe me, I'm not THE Jamie Kennedy. The handle is totally coincidental, based on factors nothing to do with restaurants or chefs, and I've often wish I'd never picked it.

                1. re: JamieK

                  Well, if you'd stop recommending your own restaurants so enthusiastically, maybe you'd stop confusing people. ;)
                  I think wondering if JamieK is THE JamieK is one of those rites of passage on the Ontario board. As hazing rituals go, it's not so bad...

            2. L'Espresso in the Woodsworth College Building on the South-East corner of St George and Bloor is on the Main floor and also has a Private Patio...could easily accomodate your group ...need rez ....Miranda

              1. PS...Dynasty Chinese is also nearby on Bloor in The Collonade. between University Ave and Bay is on the 2nd floor but has an elevator...fine Chinese Cuisine...Miranda.