What's good in the Annex area?
Any suggestions on good food in the Annex area or not too far from there?
We're looking for a casual dinner, but not pubgrub. Something somewhat upscale, but not as upscale as Splendido. A place where we could be comfortable in jeans. A good wine list and good service would be nice too!
The strip of Harbord between Spadina and Bathurst is full of gems:
Boulevard Cafe -- casual Peruvian food with a great patio
93 Harbord -- Middle Eastern-influenced dishes in an upscale setting
Messis -- European/continental cuisine with some Asian flavours, also upscale
DT Bistro -- Asian-influenced bistro food in a casual, but beautiful space (gorgeous desserts!)
Harbord Room -- casual, but upscale pub food (their burger gets raves on the board, though I haven't tried it)
Indian Rice Factory is a lovely restaurant but in my opinion it has gotten very pricey...the food IS good but not THAT good. Le Paradis , not one of my favourites...food is good to great at times BUT I have found that unless you are a frequent customer, the rude service is not worth the trip ... You might try CANTINE on the west side of Avenue Road just south of Davenport. I find the food lovely, the atmosphere comfy and the staff has been very welcoming and professional. There is also the Universal Grill at Shaw and Dupont..it gets a lot of positive feedback on this site but I have had 2 dinners that were less than stellar and I will not go back.
i tried CANTINE... absolutely disgusting... their mussels were really NOT fresh... i had to send it back to the kitchen because it tasted like the smell of the zoo... and they were dried out. it was gross... another woman ordered them and they sat in front of her (i guess she wasn't as proactive to send them back). the tablecloth they TRIED to seat us at was filthy.. the wine service was nice because they let us sample the wines... it was cheap though. overall, sick, i'd never go back. i can get wine anywhere.
I love 93 Harbord. It's a bit out of my price range for a casual dinner, but boy, do I love it.
I have had Harbord Room and Boulevard Cafe on my to-do list for a while.
I was dissapointed by the food at Cantine. The ambiance was lovely but the service was lax and the fish I had was pretty plebian.
My secret spot is Butler's Pantry, but it's more for students on a budget. Very casual. But the food is really, really yummy.
I agree with the Messis recommendation. Always reliable - quality food at a good price. I also always enjoy Serra on Bloor St. just west of Spadina. Good, flavourful pizza/pasta that won't break the bank. It has been around for years and still seems to attract a crowd.
I agree that Messis is the place to go for quasi-upscale, but you'd want a nice shirt with those jeans. If you want a bit more of a bohemian (as in super-casual), I'd recommend Grapefruit Moon on Bathurst St. It may seem a little grunge/punk, but the food is very good, without just the usual items, and plenty of options to customize meals. Also they have a good selection of local micro-brews, but I'm not sure what's on their wine list.