NYC hound visiting toronto for a couple of days - please help!
Never been to Toronto before Staying at 10 Bellair St tuesday evening through thursday afternoon. Looking for quick breakfast place for wednesday, somewhere that I can eat solo for dinner tuesday night, with a nice glass of wine (any counter/open kitchen restaurants in the area?), takeout place/cafe for wednesday lunch and somewhere nice for dinner wedesday (tasting menu, small plates with nice wine selection). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, as well as any interesting places in the area. Thanks in advance :)
I would recommend Jamie Kennedy wine bar for your Tuesday night solo dining and then either Splendido or George for your Wednesday night tasting menu fine dining. The latter are Toronto's equivalent of your Daniel and /or Cafe Boulud. Both chefs trained under Michelin 3* chef in Europe. Splendido may be a borderline Michelin 2* and George a 1*. Or, you can give Colborne Lane a try. Chef Aprile trained at El Bulli for a few months and his cooking is highly adventurous. Presenation is tapas like. A NYC equivalent would be a slightly less fornmal WD-50. Splendido should be within $10 cab ride whilst the rest would be a bit more. Within walking distances, I can only identify two 'decent' places. Pangea and Truffles inside the Fourseasons hotel. IMO, Restaurant 'One' on Avenue road, though close by, is over-rated.
Black Camel for your Wednesday lunch, good sandwiches, just short walk from where you're staying.
Eating solo with nice wine -- Carens Wine Bar is just down the street from you, nice patio -
You might also check out the Roof Lounge at the top of the Park Hyatt for a drink and something small to eat, nice view -
Jamie Kennedy also has a restaurant in the Gardiner Museum, very close to you, lunch only -
(not the chef
Jamie Kennedy Gardiner
111 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S, CA
4 Crescent Rd, Toronto, ON M4W1S9, CA
4 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R, CA
158 Cumberland St, Toronto, ON M5R1A8, CA
I heartily second the rec for Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar for your Tuesday evening. Most of the seats are on bar stools, one set surrounding an open kitchen and the other surrounding the bar. You will feel most comfortable there as a solo diner. I was there for dinner with my husband the other evening and reminded - again - of how much I really like this place. The whole menu is small to mid-size plates - depending on your appetite, you will be fun with 2-3. Off the current menu, we loved the merguez sausage with ribbons of parsnip and the grilled beef with hen of the woods mushrooms - divine. The grilled haloumi was only so-so. They're also known for their frites but I find the order a bit large to share between 2 so it may be a bit much for you but that's a personal preference. The mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich for dessert sounded lovely but we ran out of space.
For your quick breakfast, I'd suggest Pusateri's for a cafe-ish experience. It's a gourmet grocery store with a tiny cafe section - decent coffees, lots of pastries, a few cooked dishes. If you prefer a heartier diner breakfast, head to Eggstasy across the street.
For takeout place/cafe lunch, you have a few options in the area - as JamieK suggested, I'm a huge fan of Black Camel, about a 10 minute walk north of where you're staying (where are you staying by the way - is 10 Belair a condo?), killer sandwiches, great coffee, very "local". There is also pretty nice take-out food in the lower level of Holt Renfrew on Bloor (our Saks) or at this tiny take-out place called Dinah's Cupboard on Yorkville.
For your nicer diner - I'd probably go with Charles Yu's rec's again. An alternative would be Torito, a tapas place in Kensington Market (great area to stroll around) - hipper vibe, fun area, more casual. If you want upscale, though, you can't go wrong with George or Splendido (I prefer the former).
I love chowing in your city - hope you like ours!
re: peppermint pate
I was trying to think of what JKWB reminded me of in New York and the best I could come up with, in terms of the menu and casual elegance, is Hearth. Then I clicked on your recent posts and see that's a spot you seem to enjoy so that makes me think you'll really enjoy this spot here. It's true that Jamie Kennedy's restaurant at the Gardiner is much closer to where you're staying and while it's a beautiful space, I've only had 2 disappointing lunches there - maybe you could check it out for a drink instead?
well, since i love hearth, i am very excited to try JKWB (thank you very much for the dish reccomendations). Splendido or George sound perfect for Wednesday night and I sincerely appreciate the breakfast and quick lunch reccomendations as well. I will report back and let everyone know how everything is.
JKWB was great, the last time I went. But that was before the chef left (or so I heard), can anyone substantiate this?
I would also recommend Truffles. I've been there lately and have found their food to be quite solid. Basic, but solid. Did not disappoint. Tasting menu is also reasonably priced.
Terrible lighting for photos, but I have a few posted so that you can check out the presentation/portion/appearance before dining to see if it is up your alley:
(apologies for the quality)
asparagus taster: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
Chocolate dessert: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
Complimentary chocolates: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...
Unfortunately, I feel like I may be the only one that did not find George to be as great as its reputation. I was quite disappointed when I dined there, but that was back in 2006 (and have not since returned due to my experience). I have also had friends with underwhelming reviews/opinions on Splendido, but I have no first hand knowledge. But to each their own - please enjoy and let us know what you think.
Cheers and Happy Eating!
Yes there is a new chef at JKWB, but I had a great meal there last night, and if anything the problem of oversalting at times has now disappeared with the new guy in place. We ordered 12 dishes and only one (a duck confit with about a half an inch of rubbery fat) was not a success. We were there with people from Dubai and they were in love with the place.