If you could only eat at one restaurant every night, which one would you choose?
This is a thought that came to me as I was dining out tonight, and was contemplating separating the critically adored and hyped places from the ones that simply have damn fine food, where I could eat every night if I had to do so, and feel good doing it. Naturally, the highly praised places are the ones that are doing things that are perhaps more rarified and avant-garde, but once you pare all that away and get down to the basics, and if someone told you, "OK, for the rest of your life, you can only eat at one retaurant in the GTA" -- what would it be?
(I know what mine would be, but I hate to influence the convo...)
If I could change it to every day I would have to say dim sum atg pearl harbourfront. I could eat only this for the rest of my life if I had to.
Swatow. Their menu is huge and I'm yet to have anything bad off of it. There's so much I haven't tried.
Kaji. We are usually there once a week, but I could see myself eating there everyday if I could only pick one restaurant.
Or maybe Bymark, where we probably eat 4 or 5 times a month. I think Kaji has more variety though. I've never been disappointed with either, even after 20, 30, etc. visits.
I'm not sure I could eat there EVERY night of the week, but if I had to pick one joint to eat out in every time I ate out in Toronto, it'd probably be Paese, an Italian spot on Bathurst St. north of Wilson Ave.
It's near to me. It's easy to park. The prices are easy to take. And most important, the food is good - not great, but good, and often very good. Also important, it's not resolutely Italian. Meaning that, though it has pizza and pastas on the menu, it also has dishes that wouldn't be out of place in a French bistro, an upper-level family place or a vaguely continental spot. In short, you won't suffer from Italian menu overkill if you go there regularly. It's also consistent, in that even when it has an off-day (which isn't often), it's still pretty good. That's why the joint wears well. It has been around for close to 20 years and is locally very popular. As a result, it has a nice, easy-going, neighborly vibe. The staff, some of whom have been there from the start, is able and affable without being obsequious. You get the feeling the proprietor treats them well. I like knowing that when I go in to a place, and I get to Paese once or twice a month.
If you like wine with dinner, Paese has a comprehensive list, at decent markups, and at all price levels. But it also allows you to bring your own wine every night but Saturday, with no corkage fee at all - the only place I know of in Toronto that allows that, aside from some Chinese restos. What's not to like?
If I lived near Cafe Pleiades, mentioned above, I might pick IT as my go-to joint. It's somewhat similar in vibe, price level and atmosphere to Paese. But Paese remains my favorite neighborhood spot, and it's just a 10-minute drive away from my little hutch in York Mills.