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Group dinner, adventuresome palates, U area

i.inquire Jun 4, 2008 07:39 AM

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. TorontoJo RE: i.inquire Jun 4, 2008 08:06 AM

    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
      pinkprimp RE: TorontoJo Jun 4, 2008 08:28 AM

      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
        TorontoJo RE: pinkprimp Jun 4, 2008 09:16 AM


        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
          millygirl RE: TorontoJo Jun 4, 2008 09:26 AM

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

          1. re: millygirl
            Recyclor RE: millygirl Jun 4, 2008 09:37 AM

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

            1. re: Recyclor
              Mila RE: Recyclor Jun 4, 2008 09:46 AM

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

              1. re: Mila
                TorontoJo RE: Mila Jun 4, 2008 10:32 AM

                Sure! I posted the recipe here:


      2. re: TorontoJo
        dragonflygrl RE: TorontoJo Jun 5, 2008 09:13 AM

        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. Herb RE: i.inquire Jun 4, 2008 08:57 AM

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

        2 Replies
        1. re: Herb
          thora RE: Herb Jun 4, 2008 09:22 AM

          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
            piccola RE: thora Aug 3, 2008 08:53 PM

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

        2. JamieK RE: i.inquire Jun 4, 2008 09:33 AM

          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
            i.inquire RE: JamieK Jun 4, 2008 11:08 AM

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

            1. re: i.inquire
              peppermint pate RE: i.inquire Jun 4, 2008 11:32 AM

              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
                pinkprimp RE: peppermint pate Jun 4, 2008 01:14 PM

                Hahaha, I went through the EXACT thought process!


              2. re: i.inquire
                JamieK RE: i.inquire Jun 4, 2008 01:10 PM

                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
                  Wahooty RE: JamieK Jun 5, 2008 05:26 AM

                  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. m
              miranda RE: i.inquire Jun 4, 2008 01:58 PM

              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. m
                miranda RE: i.inquire Jun 4, 2008 02:01 PM

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

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