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.
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 !
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 -
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.