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Oct 16, 2008 12:56 PM

Good lunch spots at Yonge and St. Clair?

I'm currently working at the most antiseptic corner in Toronto. I need help finding decent places for lunch. Recommendations, please. Otherwise I'll end up eating at Wendy's.

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  1. I haven't been recently but Boccone on Yonge, south of St Clair, used to be good for lunch. Inexpensive Italian cafeteria.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mikeb

      I second mikeb on Boccone - their paninis, home-made rolls, pastas, house-made wine and great hospitality are all terrific...a must for lunch, inexpensive and unpretentious.

      Otherwise the 'hood is really way below where is was 10-15 yrs ago with Paramount and its predecessor along with Rhodes, both of which had some panache and were a cut above the every day. Even Frans had real grilled cheese and home-made pastries until they started to cut corners. Now there is the extreme high end of Didier, but its unrelated predecessor on that site (Rhodes) was a far more "useful" mid-range place. The food at the Court Jester used to be great but has also declined imho.

      For a more stylish but still reasonable lunch I tend to walk down (or travel one stop south on the subway) to the Rosedale Diner right across the street from the Summerhill mega-LCBO. It is the sort of place YSC now sadly lacks.

      You notice I omit Terroni, as I am not interested in being subjected to its dictates as to what toppings should appear in combination on my pizza - but if that nanny attitude doesn't bother you, enjoy !

    2. I work at Yonge and St. Clair too. Capocaccia just down the street on Yonge is not too bad; they have some nice salads and pizzas.

      And, of course, there is Cava just north of St. Clair, on the West side of Yonge. It has some fabulous small plates for sharing.

      Didier, in my opinion, is overrated. There's a couple Indian and Thai places. Now that I think about it, the area isn't so bad afterall!

      1. Has anyone tried Franco's at 1406 Yonge, just south of St Clair on the west side? Used to be a falafel place. Apparently now owned by Franco Agostino, is what I heard.

        Probably too far west for you but there's a Presse Cafe at St Clair & Deer Park (Desjardin building) where you can get good coffee and some decent sandwiches and salads.

        Boccone's is good but I also like Passione Italiana hot lunch counter at 1423 Yonge just south of St Clair on the east side for lunch. Food is good, friendly staff, family run, and it's easy to customize your meal so that, for instance, I can have veggies/salad and fish/meat on days when I'm trying to avoid carbs.

        A really good bang for you buck, but take-out only, is to go to Bruno's up at Yonge & Heath and go down to the hot counter at the back -- tasty stews, pastas, soup, all homemade, generously portioned and extremely good value. The soup is fantastic -- full of lots of chunks of beef or chicken or whatever, with lots of veggies and fresh herbs, and a generous portion for only $1.99 to $1.49 or so.

        On the east side of Yonge, there's a sushi place east of the library on the north side of St Clair, haven't been since they changed ownership so not sure. Also a Thai place on the south side near Sobey's, also changed ownership recently, but looks popular.

        15 Replies
        1. re: JamieK

          Franco's!!! Ooooh I was going to ask the exact same question. I'm dying to go to Franco's. Looooved Imperia. A more gracious and amiable host would be hard to find. If anyone's tried it please do dish.

          1. re: Googs

            Franco has actually sold both Franco's and Imperia, should be interesting to try now that he is no longer the owner.
            Imperia is now called Blu.

            1. re: Foodie0423

              I know he sold Imperia. He pretty much just bought Franco's. The deal couldn't be a year old. Are you certain he sold his namesake resto already???

            2. re: Googs

              I went there for lunch last week. I had read that Franco was selling this location and my guess is that he's already done it. The menu reads pretty similarly to Caffe Doria - his sister's resto - but relatively uninspired - predictable wraps, salads, panini and pastas. The food was just so-so. Service was atrocious - real amateur hour. The atmosphere was just plain weird. I won't be back.

              1. re: peppermint pate

                I've only looked in. It's basically a lunch place, with some sit-in and take-out. No licence. Nothing to get excited about , googs!

                1. re: peppermint pate

                  Too bad. I'll have to figure out what Frank's doing next.

              2. re: JamieK

                I've found the Thai place very disappointing since it's changed ownership. The menu stayed largely the same, but the prices went up and the quality went down. We used to go all the time, but not any more.

                1. re: tbonetak

                  ah, good to know, it was always so busy before, it was amazing. But I'm working at a different office in the same area now and haven't been to that end lately. Did you ever try the Japanese place across the road near the library - called Suki?

                2. re: JamieK

                  Bruno's does not do soup anymore as of about 3 weeks ago.

                  1. re: garlicandwingnut

                    They had soup this week. It's not available every day. Sorry, I should have clarified that.
                    They don't do soup during summer but do most of the time during winter months.

                    1. re: JamieK

                      I was in a few weeks ago and asked about the soup, I was told they didn't do it any more.

                      1. re: garlicandwingnut

                        It's vegetable soup today, and yummy.

                        In other neighbourhood news, Himalayan Spice has shut down and under renovation, to be replaced by another Indian restaurant. They've only been operating about five or six months or so.

                        1. re: JamieK

                          Bought a large - $2.49
                          Healthy if otherwise unspectacular.

                          1. re: garlicandwingnut

                            You're right, the meat-based soups are better, more flavouring and better seasoning.

                            And for what you get, better value than the soups at Lettuce Eatery or St Clair Market.

                  2. re: JamieK

                    I enjoyed Passione as well. During busy lunch times, the volume insured that the dishes were fresh. I recall that their wine prices were reasonable for a glass - ditto draught.

                    Usually the first station was my only stop - the 5 or 7 item salad with some substantial and varied choices: cheeses; marinated sea food; olives; sundried tomatoes; various greens and pulses &tc. I recall there was a choice of three dressings, but they would do a wicked Caesar if you asked - nicely. A couple of various bread/bun offerings and I was good for the day. I hope that aspect of the place hasn't changed.

                  3. Please note, further to a previous post, Cava is not open for lunch. However check out its sister gelato place next door at lunch for dessert -- Xococava -

                    Also, for lunch, the Japanese resto across from Cava is pretty good -

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: JamieK

                      Wow, really? Thanks for the tip, since I was thinking of heading to Cava for lunch next week. Doh!

                      1. re: KayceeK

                        Nope, definitely not open for lunch They were at the beginning but I guess it wasn't worth it.

                        1. re: JamieK

                          The last time I went, my guest and I were 2 of only about 6 diners in the whole place. Too bad.

                    2. Merlot, don't know how long you'll be working in that area, but if you get take-out from Bruno's or Swiss Chalet or wherever, there's a lovely park across the street at Heath & St Clair surrounding Yorkminster Church, with picnic tables and benches. For warmer weather, obviously.