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ISO the perfect place...

pinkprimp Jun 12, 2008 07:59 AM

Hey all,

A special date is coming up (an anniversary for my BF and I) and I wanted to find the perfect place for dinner, since it is also combined with the celebration of his graduation. It is just for the two of us.

The place I'm looking for ISN'T anything fancy (Canoe, Scaramouche, ) or gastronomically intriguing (Colborne Lane). I want a good meal and a nice atmosphere. So far, I am considering Kultura, Reds and Boulevard Cafe (because I want the patio...save for rain).

BTW, no worries about Summerlicious because it is for June 20.

Does anyone have any suggestions? For a day like this, I don't mind going outside the downtown core, but preferably, not further than Yonge and Eg.


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  1. Rabbit RE: pinkprimp Jun 12, 2008 08:22 AM

    What about something like Rosebud or Sidecar? Or perhaps (although this is only judging from recent reports and not first-hand experience) Grace?

    Red's is "fancy" in manner of Canoe (same expense account atmosphere, although lovely room and solid food). Kultura is not only fancy, but "cool" and pretentious (also, I find their food over-rated). Our meal there was spoiled by inexpert and snooty service (bad combo).

    Rosebud and Sidecar both have good service, good food, neither tries too hard, and Sidecar has a great patio (and great cocktails!). Both are kinda the same speed as Boulevard, but perhaps with a bit more romance factor (perhaps a bit hipper too, but not in the same manner as Kultura).

    Fun dilemma... I'll keep thinking.

    (As for Grade, see Freelancer's recent report, which really put the place on my radar).

    2 Replies
    1. re: Rabbit
      pinkprimp RE: Rabbit Jun 12, 2008 09:08 AM

      I love the idea of Sidecar, but we went there for another special day. I also considered Grace but it may be too busy...and thanks for the heads up about Kultura!

      1. re: pinkprimp
        Rabbit RE: pinkprimp Jun 12, 2008 09:17 AM

        OK... if you that those kind of spots, two of my other old, stand-by faves are the Swan on Queen West and Universal Grill. At either, I'd recommend asking for a booth. The back patio at Caren's Wine bar is also lovely (and I'm not otherwise a fan of Yorkville).

    2. s
      ssainani RE: pinkprimp Jun 12, 2008 08:25 AM

      while mention often on this board i'm a huge fan of jkwb -- no patio however and good pricing imo -- but it does have a good meal and a nice atmosphere

      2 Replies
      1. re: ssainani
        millygirl RE: ssainani Jun 12, 2008 08:53 AM

        Have you considered Grace....I've read good things about it.

        1. re: ssainani
          pinkprimp RE: ssainani Jun 12, 2008 09:08 AM

          I love JKWB, but it's not really a "special" place for us to go because we live close to it and we often go there for dinner.

        2. abscissa RE: pinkprimp Jun 12, 2008 09:06 AM

          Do you guys like seafood? How about Joso's. Pretty close to the top seafood in TO but cheaper than all the other "top" places (and close to the subway and the University). It also "feels" very fancy. The atmosphere is enlivening (and very sexual to say the least!!).. the only case in which I would not recommend it is 1) you don't like seafood or 2) you are looking for a strictly quiet, romantic evening alone.

          I would go at some point because it is definitely one of the more interesting rest. experiences in Toronto. Remember, you will be eating about 1/2 to 1/3 of the time if you are lucky at any restaurant but you will be relaxing and talking most of the time.

          3 Replies
          1. re: abscissa
            LJS RE: abscissa Jun 12, 2008 01:32 PM

            Oh, what a great idea! I haven't been to Joso's in ages...but it always had an overtly erotic zing!

            1. re: LJS
              pinkprimp RE: LJS Jun 12, 2008 02:49 PM

              Must be the bust of a bust...ha ha ha.

              1. re: LJS
                abscissa RE: LJS Jun 12, 2008 06:04 PM

                if I recall correctly there is a naked woman with her legs spread out somewhere (only a statue!) and in the mens restroom there are naked women above the urinal... but of course the other decor is fabulous too!

            2. m
              Minnow RE: pinkprimp Jun 12, 2008 09:06 AM

              I second (third?) the rec for Grace. I was there earlier this week and sat in the little patio out back. I found it to have a very relaxing and intimate air about it - you could visibly see us get less and less tense as the night went on (it had been a long day!) They don't try to hard with the food, which I enjoy, but nail what they do try. One example - he had the steak, which comes with potato salad as a side, and I kept stealing bites when he wasn't looking. Perfectly savoury, not too mayo-y.

              One sour note - we both had the "special" cocktail that night, which, unlike the food, was really trying too hard. I believe it was vodka, gin, strawberries, mint, basil, soda water... should have known just from the description!

              1. s
                Scary Bill RE: pinkprimp Jun 12, 2008 11:46 AM

                OK, I think that you need to think of what HE would want to do, not what you want to do since it is, as you have pointed out, more his day than yours.

                Step outside your comfort zone and take him to a place like the Brass Rail (or similar)for cold beer, lousy food and, well, you know.

                Then, after he has had a couple of beers, surprise him and pull out a couple of Toronto FC tickets for both of you for the game the next day (which you will have to scalp or find online since the game is sold out). The games are fan intensive, raucous events, and, you can sample the various international "soccer foods" that are sold at the stadium.

                You'll probably accomplish your goal of achieving many more anniversaries.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Scary Bill
                  pinkprimp RE: Scary Bill Jun 12, 2008 11:56 AM

                  LOL. Actually, he told me to choose a place...and he loves a great meal (early on, we took a trip to NY and we had a fab time going to Jean George, Babbo, Bar Americain, etc.) so I'm trying to recreate some of the trip feeling, if you know what i mean. So, as for what HE would want to do, it's to have a nice meal out.

                  As for sports, we only watch basketball..and how i wish i could take him to NBA finals!

                  but thanks for the tips anyway! :-)

                  1. re: Scary Bill
                    Splendid Wine Snob RE: Scary Bill Jun 12, 2008 01:36 PM

                    Sounds incredibly romantic Scary Bill...I'll have to remember that rec in the future. Although I don't need to take my SO to the Brass Rail to "achieve many more anniversaries" if you catch my drift. I can achieve that by staying at home.

                    1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                      Scary Bill RE: Splendid Wine Snob Jun 13, 2008 08:40 AM

                      SWS, the guy in me thinks-though that is shirley misguided in a sea of estrogen-that the anniversary is the lesser of the celebrations, the greater being the one-time graduation.

                      Even PP doesn't mention "romance", rather a "special date", and I, as a guy, guarantee that my suggested date would be remembered well after time has eroded the memory of other anniversaries past.

                      Do this for your SO and who knows, maybe he'd surprise (shock?) you some day. And you'd remember that day too!

                  2. TorontoJo RE: pinkprimp Jun 12, 2008 01:40 PM

                    I may be mistaken, but I think Messis on Harbord has a patio. I've always wanted to check it out, as it's completely hidden from the road by a very dense cedar hedge. Can anyone confirm? If they do, that could be a nice combination of food and atmosphere for you.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: TorontoJo
                      Rabbit RE: TorontoJo Jun 12, 2008 01:50 PM

                      Messis does have a very nice side patio... food there is solid and I think it's an under-rated spot. My one complaint is that it sometimes feels over-populated by U of T faculty, which isn't always the most romantic crowd.

                      Also in that nabe, the Harbord Room is also getting good press (although I think it can get rowdy and drink-y late-night).

                      1. re: Rabbit
                        Splendid Wine Snob RE: Rabbit Jun 12, 2008 02:38 PM

                        Yes Rab, Harbord Room comment quite apropos.

                        Rowd-y+Drink-y+late at night-y = Industr-y

                        1. re: Rabbit
                          pinkprimp RE: Rabbit Jun 12, 2008 02:41 PM

                          lol funny you mention the harbord room and it being rowdy..the last time i went, there was a lesbian couple all over each other at the bar and someone (the owner? manager?) came out to ask them to stop or leave...!! i am considering this rec, since we always said we'd go back to try the food (we've been there several times for drinks only)

                      2. g
                        grilledcheese RE: pinkprimp Jun 12, 2008 02:43 PM

                        Gawd, not Boulevard Cafe. Mee-dee-oh-cur!

                        Does Amuse Bouche have a patio?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: grilledcheese
                          Under Salted RE: grilledcheese Jun 12, 2008 06:46 PM

                          Amuse Bouche has a small patio out front, but it's on a side street, so it's nice to dine there and not too annoying with cars and such....

                          1. re: Under Salted
                            torontofoodiegirl RE: Under Salted Jun 12, 2008 07:47 PM

                            Amuse Bouche definitely has a nice, romantic vibe. It's pricey, but not fancy like Canoe or Scaramouche. I've had two meals there, one outstanding and one a bit of a disappointment (good but not stellar - but perhaps my expectatations were too high after the great first experience). There have been a number of bad reviews on this board in relation to the service, but that wasn't my experience.

                            I also second the recco for the Rosebud (though, sadly, there's no patio), but with slight hesitation. My last experience there was disappointing in that my entree was way too heavily salted, but I'm fairly confident (hopeful?) that it was just an aberration because I love the place. Very nicely executed food, great, friendly service, and cozy/romantic atmosphere.

                        2. JamieK RE: pinkprimp Jun 12, 2008 07:23 PM

                          how about Niagara Street Cafe? Romantic feel to it. But I don't know how the patio stacks up.

                          Niagara Street Cafe
                          169 Niagara St, Toronto, ON M5V1C9, CA

                          1. pinkprimp RE: pinkprimp Jun 12, 2008 08:05 PM

                            Thanks for all the suggestions!! I am pleased to say that I have made reservations at Grace. I have been curious to try the food there anyway... :-) hope the milk and cookies are as good as they're hyped up to be!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: pinkprimp
                              grilledcheese RE: pinkprimp Jun 14, 2008 06:45 AM

                              Don't forget to report back.

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