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Aug 21, 2008 08:33 AM

Restaurants in Summerhill area?

Friday looks like a nice night and my boyfriend and I would like to take a bike ride over to the summerhill area and cruise the streets to see how the other half lives... any good recommendations for a neighbourhood spot in the area? So far I have seen recos for Avant Gout or Brownes - my boyfriend isn't keen on the Morroccan theme, Brownes seems nice. Is it worth it or is there another spot?

Thanks so much

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  1. Most places in the area are not too pricey. The ex-owner of 1055 (recently changed to Plakutta) told me that $150 for two was about the maximum the area could sustain - and several are less (the Rosedale types go downtown).
    I go to both Avant Gout and Brownes - more frequently to Avant Gout which is cheaper - but I think it's better in winter - has a heavier touch. The chef at Avant Gout used to be the chef at Brownes - IMO the replacement is not quite as good (especially the creme brulee - which is outstanding at Avant Gout - and the reason I followed the chef when he left Brownes). The menu at Brownes hasn't changed for years - I recommend the lamb sausage (also available on a pizza), and the Yukon Gold Fries (IMO better than those at JKWB).
    But if you want to see 'the other half' then the place to go is Pastis - on a good night you may recognize somebody - but it's more expensive ($150-$200) and service can be erratic. Others in that stretch include Rosedale Diner - so-so food that's overpriced and Rebel House - much praised by some on this Board, but really just a local place not worth a special trip - but drop by if you're in the area. Both have a patio that's fairly pleasant, but Rebel House doesn't take reservations. Basically you get competent food at most places - but it's relatively safe - you won't find a 'Wow' response anywhere.
    Around St Clair there are several places - but tend to cost more. May not be worth the uphill bike ride.

    2 Replies
    1. re: estufarian

      Estufarian's assessment of the Summerhill area is pretty accurate, though I don't thnk it should cost you $150-$200 a couple at the first-class Pastis, which in my view is the best joint around there. The wines are pricey, but if you're satisfied with a glass each of the house plonk - drinkable, but no more than that - you can probably get out for just a little over $100, tax and tip included.

      I haven't been to Browne's Bistro in years, and don't know Avant Gout at all, but estufarian has Rosedale Diner pegged - overpriced for the quality it offers.

      If you're watching your pennies, however, the Rebel House (almost diagonally across from the Rosedale subway stop) is the place for you. No reservations, it's true, but you can dawdle at the bar for 5-10 minutes and a table will surely open up, though perhaps not on the deservedly popular rear patios. Good Canadian draft beer list, a few modest, appropriately-priced wines by the glass, well-executed comfort food - I'm particularly partial to the mac 'n' cheese and the clubhouse sandwich, though others go for the meatloaf and the sausage plate. It's all quite tasty. Lively atmosphere, lotsa fun, alert service. I prefer the lower level dining area - it's closer to the kitchen - than the second level, but on a busy night you take what you can get. You'll get out for $50-$60 a couple, including a couple of drinks, tax and tip.

      Watch out for your bikes, though. Even if that slimeball (excuse me, that "alleged" slimeball) who presumably stole all those bikes is out of action and awaiting trial, there's a nearby park in which some dodgy characters hang out at night.

      1. re: estufarian

        Very helpful, Estufarian & Juno, thank you!

        Looks like it might be Brownes. I've been to Rebel House many times, and I do like it, but I'd like something different.

        I only do that uphill bike ride so I can eat what I want when I get there ;)

      2. Rosedale types go to the Firkin, Rebel House, Rosedale Diner and Yammy's (when it was still open). Just because people have money, doesn't mean they eat Beef Bourgignon as a snack. Your best bet is to head downtown to some of the top end restaurants to see how people spend money. Proximity isn't a key factor when it comes to these types of restaurants. 1055 (as the other poster mentions) made this assumption and it was wrong. Pubs for the rich are still pubs.

        The 5 Thieves' prices only reflect the convenience of local shopping and shouldn't be an indicator of people chasing up quality.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BeeRich

          Oh I know how the other half eats, I'm more cruising the streets marvelling about how big those lots are over there! I just want a restaurant in the proximity and thought there might be a little neighbourhood spot. Thanks for the pointers!

        2. Apart from what's been mentioned, the Abbott on the Hill is decent value food, somewhat more upscale than the standard pub. Also, Wylies is still in business many years later, so they must be doing something right.

          1. Why not just grab a couple of sandwiches at Black Camel? Crescent street leads right into the heart of old money.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Dimbulb

              Pastis would be a great choice but another more casual spot I highly recommend is Cafe Doria. Considering you are biking over, it might be a perfect spot. Excellent thin crust pizzas, salads, lasagna, soups and panini's. If you're looking for more upscale, then definitely check out Pastis. I think you could easily get away with under $150 if you limit your alcohol. Service has always been top notch when we've been and great atmosphere.

              I disagree with beerich, in that the 5 thieves prices is reflective of local shopping. You get what you pay for and their products and quality are top notch. They have an excellent selection of items you are hard pressed to find elsewhere.

              1. re: millygirl

                I agree on the 5 Thieves, Millygirl. I'm always happy to grab a sandwhich from ATB - they're so good, and their cheese sticks make me want to take off my pants. Ontario strawberries from the Harvest Wagon this summer were consistently better than St Lawrence Market or other farmer's markets.

                Is Caffe Doria licenced? I've been looking online, can't seem to figure it out. Maybe I'll give them a call later...

                1. re: millygirl

                  ...yet they are called the 5 Thieves.