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Aug 27, 2008 08:55 PM

Arizona Foodie Seeks Biz and Personal Recommendations (Dntwn Toronto)

Hi everyone!

I will be staying in downtown Toronto for 5 days in late September (a Friday through Wednesday) and have never visited before and need suggestions.

Here is a bit more information...I am open to all suggestions! Thanks so much!

1. A few must-eats for me personally as a foodie. I am willing to explore all price ranges and will travel (public transit, no rental car). Prefer whatever the locals enjoy...neighborhood gems, ethnic favorites, innovative or can't-get-elsewhere spots.

Even if the recommendations are like - in XXX neighborhood, eat at one of these 2 or 3 spots, etc., that totally helps! I will eat every kind of food in any atmosphere.

2. Great spots to entertain clients for coffee/lunch/drinks and dinner. Perhaps the newest or hottest or most well-loved by locals or totally cool under-the-radar places. Places where clients (locals) would be happy to be invited to and will WANT to join us for a meeting. Budget not a concern, but nothing outrageous! Clients are very savvy and in-the-know and dine out frequently, so strategic recommendations are needed.

Thanks much!!

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  1. Well HCK, here are a few suggestions which I hope might prove helpful:
    I am quite a conservative diner - others will no doubt give you much trendier and wide-ranging advice. But for your own exploration - Brazilian Café on the N side of Dundas just W of Brockton has wonderful meat rissoles and natas, those little custard tarts;
    Gianni Maria is a Piemontese Italian place on the N side of St Clair W near Arlington, featuring "slow" food and a reasonable wine list, highly recommend the ravioli piemontese; Via Allegro is a huge bustling café in a suburban mall (15 mins from airport, 20-25 mins from downtown) with Canada's biggest wine list (and Wendy, a gem of a sommelier) where you can have anything from a pizza and glass of wine to a full course extravagant dinner - actually this would fall into category 2) below as well if you lay on transport for your clients.

    Your clients will certainly come if you invite them to ONE at the new Hazelton Hotel in Yorkville just N of the Four Seasons Hotel. It is an expensive café, but not outrageous, and Mark McEwan is a reputed chef. More established, and with an attractive patio, is BYMARK, the same chef's restaurant in the TD Centre on Wellington - a major downtown office building. The best steak houses for business purposes are HARBOUR 60, book well in advance and be prepared for high wine markups; or a much cozier but not less sophisticated place, BARBERIAN'S. Toronto's top restaurant is in midtown, SPLENDIDO - highly sophisicated tasting menus. No one would turn down an invitation there !

    Since your clients are savvy and you are not seeking to impress them with glitz, per se, then depending on their age and location they might enjoy less conventional choices such as - for lunch - the Rosedale Diner (usally quite quiet indoors), the Coffee Mill in Yorkville for salad and schnitzel, Balzac's café in the Distillery district; or for dinner, a bistro such as Le Paradis or Batifole.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Bigtigger

      Can anyone provide a link to Harbour 60's web site? Thanks much.

        1. re: TorontoJo

          Thanks TorontoJo. Is there another restaurant on Harbour with a number as part of it's name? I've read reviews in the past of a ___ Harbour restaurant & thought this one was it...but the place I'm thinking of isn't a steak house, more mediterrian (sp) food...? Ring a bell with anyone?

          1. re: synergy

            Yep. You're thinking 93 Harbord. On, of course, Harbord St., in the Annex.

            1. re: synergy

              lol, yeah, that's gotta be 93 Harbord. Can't think of two restaurants more different.

              93 Harbord
              93 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

              1. re: JamieK

                Yes, yes, that's it! Thank you. Any feedback regarding 93 Harbord?

      1. For new and hot, Nota Bene and Madeleine's fit the bill. Nota Bene is the new, casual, power lunch spot from the owners of Splendido (generally considering the best in Toronto fine dining. Lot of housemade charcuterie that has been receiving raves. Madeleine's is the new offering from Susur Lee, Toronto's "celebrity" chef, who is leaving for NYC shortly.

        For yourself or your clients, go to Chiado and sit in the wine bar (called Senhor Antonio's). Order from the bar menu, full of wonderful Portuguese small plates (the blood sausage and Portuguese chorico is amazing). Ask for a recommendation off the remarkable all-Portuguese wine list.

        For yourself, cheap and cheerful spots tend to showcase some of the best that Toronto has to offer. Take transit to Chinatown and Kensington Market (the two neighbourhoods are right next to each other). Go to Kim Moon Bakery and get some dim sum and yummy baked goods. Go to one of our many Vietnamese spots and get banh mi -- a $2 Vietnamese sub -- or a big bowl of pho. Wander Kensington Market and soak in the sights and smells of this colourful, boho, multi-ethnic neighbourhood. Pop into the back of Emporium Latino and have a freshly made pupusa for $2.

        On Saturday morning, the St. Lawrence Market is a food-lover's wonderland. The north building houses a farmer's market and the south building houses the permanent vendors. Do a search of this board for "St. Lawrence Market" or "SLM" for lots of recommendations and descriptions. Note that the farmer's market is only on Saturdays and the the south building is closed on Sunday and Monday.

        Do NOT look for Mexican food. Coming from Phoenix, you will be sorely disappointed.

        Enjoy your stay and please report back!

        2 Replies
        1. re: TorontoJo

          Actually, could you bring some Mexican food with you?

          1. re: befuggled

            LOL @ Befuggled. Not sure it would travel well...but I can try!

            I will definitely seek out the ethnic foods Toronto offers. :)

            Love the Chinatown and St Lawrence Market ideas...sounds like this is going to be great eating!

        2. I second Note Bene and Madeleine for new excellent and hot....and for lunch Jamie Kennedy's Gilead Cafe in Cork Town their charcuterie Chef is the best....Miranda

          1. My favourite spot right now is The Prague ( No nonsense goulash, schnitzels, pierogies, etc. Let us know where you'll be staying and we can let you know what's in the immediate area.

            1 Reply
            1. re: currycue

              Thank you everyone SO much for your generosity and detail in recommendations. This is exactly the insider info I needed. Any more tips are appreciated and I will report back on what I decide on...and then how everything is.

              Duly noted on Mexican fare, I will leave that for hometown eating :)

              Thanks again!

            2. Not so ethnic, but for good "diner" food with large portions, have lunch at Zoulpy's, King St E at Princess. Corned beef stacked 3.5 inches high, not including the bread. Other offerings like meat loaf, roast chicken, stuffed peppers, goood stuff.