Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Sep 24, 2008 10:38 AM

great spot for lunch- downtown toronto?

Hi all- my sister is coming to town this weekend for a birthday lunch. I would like to take her someplace great, but not too fancy, for a fun and interesting lunch...
She is not really a foodie at all- so I would like to concentrate on somewhere with a really interesting vibe, and good food. Any kind of food, except not Thai or sushi- since we have done that alot in the past. something like Mildred Pierce maybe...too bad the new resto is not open yet!

Somewhere in Queen west/ossington or Kensington market or even the yorkville area would be great (since we will be in those neighbourhoods anyway).

this very vague request doesn't really deserve a response but my mind is a bit of a blank at the moment....any suggestions welcome. price is not an issue, but i don't want the atmosphere to be too upscale.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Caren's Wine Bar may fit the bill.
    It's in Yorkville and has great atmosphere, food & wine!

    1. Carens came to my mind too!

      I also quite like Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner. You would need to make a reservation.

      (not the chef


      Jamie Kennedy Gardiner
      111 Queens Park, Toronto, ON M5S, CA

      158 Cumberland St, Toronto, ON M5R1A8, CA

      2 Replies
      1. re: JamieK

        I was going suggest the JK Gardiner as well. Another special option would be the Gallery Grill at Hart House. The food is delicious and the space is so beautiful (but without being "upscale" or chichi).

        1. re: TorontoJo

          Gallery Grill came to my mind as well, a fave of mine. However, not sure if the OP is having their lunch on Saturday or Sunday. Just note that Gallery Grill is closed on Saturday, however offers a brunch menu on Sundays, a great brunch!

          Gallery Grill
          7 Hart House Cir, Toronto, ON M5S, CA

      2. thanks for the suggestions! Caren's looks great, but it seems to not be open for lunch on saturday (thanks for the website too JamieK). I like the idea of the JK at the Gardiner in theory, but after looking at the menu, I think it might be a little, shall i say chi chi, for my sister(but i will have to make a trip soon!)

        I think the Gallery Grill is also closed on sat...

        any other ideas?? thanks so much!

        4 Replies
        1. re: alltummy

          Oh my goodness, don't give up Caren's just yet!! It is open for lunch on Saturdays!
          Been there many times!!

          1. re: alltummy

            Caren's is open for lunch starting at 11:30am, according to their website. The menu might look fancy at JK Gardiner but the atmosphere is quite comfortable and the service is relaxed. It's basically a museum resaturant but with good food. Last time I was there, a few families with kids were near us having a great time.

            1. re: JamieK

              great- thanks. I was only looking at Caren's menu, where it says lunch m-f 12-5. I didn't notice the huge hours on the main page that clearly say it is open on saturday.....duh.


              1. re: alltummy

                Yum Caren's for sure!
                Haven't been there in a while
                Not sure if they have a patio
                but last time I was there, we sat UPSTAIRS

                Get the table at the WINDOW, you can people-watch
                (hopefully they will let 2 sit there, it was a table for 4)

                AND the food is really good, nice staff and even better HIC,...libations:)