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What is your favourite upscale Saturday lunch location?

Downtown TO preferably...


NO Italian, Korean, Thai...

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  1. Not downtown, but Coquine does a nice bistro menu in a very cheery room.

    For something of an oasis feel, Manyata in hazy lanes is extremely comfortable, and they're featuring more of Greg Couillard's appetizers on the menu now.

    1. Carens Wine & Cheese Bar. I've enjoyed the cheese platters and wine there but plan to go back to try the French onion soup or grilled cheese sandwich.

      158 Cumberland St, Toronto, ON M5R1A8, CA

      2 Replies
      1. re: JamieK

        The menu at Caren's doesn't strike me as particularly upscale, nor does the environment...

        We usually do the Studio but looking for something new...

        Maybe I am wrong?

        1. re: kawarthagirl

          It seemed upscale to me. But then I don't get out much. ;->

          Certainly the service was quite correct but also friendly. The cheese platters and presentation were top-notch.

      2. Gallery Grill. Beautiful and amazing food.

        3 Replies
          1. re: Otonabee

            Yes, if only we could get to TO on a weekday, this would be perfect...

            1. re: kawarthagirl

              Provence in Cabbagetown does a nice lunch. If it's a nice day, you can walk off lunch at Riverdale Farms.

          2. I would recommend Jamie Kenndy's Wine Bar on Market Street in the St. Lawrence area. The menu is varied and well-prepared and you have the added benefit of being able to walk it off in the Market area!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Paula from Toronto

              (it's actually on Church, south of Front, I believe. i love this place!)

            2. I love the Studio Cafe at the Four Seasons for its old school loveliness. The people that eat there are the who's who of Toronto and you usually see the same people there every Saturday. Have been going there since I was a baby and love it. total old school and lovely

              I also love stoping at the Holt's Cafe if you are on Bloor shopping and feel like pretending that you are pretentious and fabulous.

              also, although i am not a fan, Sasafraz does a lunch that lots of peole rave a bout in Yorkville

              8 Replies
              1. re: stephintoronto

                Hi... Yes, we usually do the Studio... I was hoping for something different but not perhaps as austere as C5 seems....

                1. re: stephintoronto

                  I was going to recommend the Holt's Cafe too. I don't really fit in (but for sure I can be pretentious).
                  Great sandwiches - especially when toasted. With tea (of course).

                  And one of my guilty pleasures is lunch/brunch at Bloor St Diner. For some reason it 'works' at lunchtime - but avoid at all costs in the evening.

                  1. re: estufarian

                    Estufarian, which sandwiches do you like the best at Holt's cafe? I tried the Caprese today, which was ok, but I probably wouldn't order again, as well as a bite of my friend's chicken sandwich with goat cheese and arugula which I really liked.

                    I was surprised how friendly and professional our server was- actually the best service I can remember having in the Bay-Bloor/Yorkville area.

                    1. re: phoenikia

                      I honestly don't recall. Just loved the presentation - my usual choice (if it exists) includes mushrooms - I vaguely recall a portobello one. And their side salad was far more interesting than most. Oh - and I avoid tomatoes entirely - so that could narrow down my choices.
                      I 'may' have had Serrano ham last time I was there - I know I did somewhere.
                      And indeed the service is excellent. Certainly more expensive than most - but this thread is on upscale and Holt's is definitely my favourite in that category.

                      1. re: estufarian

                        Thanks Estufarian. I did notice a wild mushroom option that looked interesting. I also am tempted to try the duck confit tartine on a future visit. Holt's doesn't currently offer a Serrano tartine.

                        Here is a link to their current menu:

                        1. re: phoenikia

                          Wish I'd been smart enough to check for a web-menu!
                          Yes, I certainly had the wild mushroom and onion one - excellent.
                          I'm pretty sure I had the chicken breast with truffle honey (certainly recall the truffle honey - it's one of my favourite condiments) - but I'm drawing a blank on whether it was chicken breast. My inclination was to include cheese. Maybe that's a new menu.
                          And for sure I've had the trufled potato chips with sea salt. A MUST on every visit!
                          And now I may have to go there on Saturday!

                          1. re: estufarian

                            And I did!
                            Had the duck confit - excellent flavours although the slight greasiness of the duck slightly marred the texture of the bread (just a little too soft compared with previous visits - although still a delightful contrast with the crust). And again the side and salad were superb (can't think of a more satisfying salad in Toronto).
                            And also tried the 'Brunch Tartine' - have to say this was a perfectly poached egg - the best I've had in some time. Again, the side here was excellent with purple basil making a strong visual statement.
                            The lemon goat cheesecake was 'interesting' - loved the texture but wasn't so impressed with the flavour. I prefer the Poilane Bread Pudding (and that's probably unique in Toronto).

                            1. re: estufarian

                              Good to hear the duck confit tartine's flavours were good.

                              I agree with your assessment of the lemon goat cheesecake. I picked up too much of a lemon rind taste, which seemed to add a bitter note to the cheesecake. My friend really liked the banana peanut butter spring rolls, but I found the banana to be too soft (maybe an overripe banana was used), and the flavours quite ordinary. It reminded me too much of a pb and banana sandwich. I think a Bananas Foster spring roll would taste better.

                              I'll try the bread pudding on my next visit.

                2. Jamie Kennedy at the Gardner museum - lovely location, great food.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                    Agreed on Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner - very sharp dining room, graceful and unencumbered service, and some excellent lunch fare.

                    1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                      Ditto. Been three times, loved it all of them.

                      1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                        Was there this afternoon for possibly the best bowl of soup I've ever had - winter vegetable, beautifully spiced and textured. Gratis chickpea garlic tapenade with lovely hearty bread came to the table shortly after my glass of wine arrived. Good, not great, service (a bit snotty but he warmed up by the end) and a lovely room.

                        1. re: trishna

                          glad to hear you liked the room because there's been a few negative comments on that before. I've loved the food and the room, no problems with the service. The one minor issue was that about a year ago at lunch, the sun was shining so brightly directly at my friend that she had to wear sunglasses to eat. The place is almost surrounded by glass after all. She felt like a movie star. We didn't bother asking but I'm sure something could have been done if we had.

                      2. Lai Wa Heen at the Metropolitan Hotel, for upscale dim sum. You order from a menu (no carts). The food is really good, and service is excellent. Will cost you about twice as much as dum sum usually does.

                        1. What about Baldwin street? Cafe la Gaffe for example.. or Bodega (although ive never been there) It's such a cute little street and the nicer restaruants in that area are usually really good. I took a friend to Cafe La Gaffe and they were very pleased. I think Bodega has a prix fixe menu for lunch as well.... Maybe not high-end enough for the occasion?
                          Just an idea

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: andrea0guernz

                            Are they open on Saturday? I was under the impression that most of Baldwin Street consists of weekday-only lunch type places.

                            1. re: vorpal

                              yep ..they are for sure open.. I've been on a Saturday before!
                              I think its just a popular lunch area...

                            2. re: andrea0guernz

                              Most of Baldwin St does Saturday lunch, but maybe with the exception of Bodega (only because I've never been inside) I wouldn't call it upscale.

                            3. What about the new resto in the AGO, now that it's open. Chef is the same one who was there pre-reno, and it was always very good.

                              1. With the caveat that I cannot vouch firsthand (although my interest has been piqued by some good reports on this board) you might like Pangea if you like the Studio:

                                or One:

                                or maybe the Roof lounge at the Park Hyatt.

                                Plus all of these spots are in the Yorkville nabe so you could even do a little scouting and make a last minute decision. I doubt any of them would be jammed on a Saturday.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Rabbit

                                  I just noticed that my link (and my spelling) is bad... try www.pangaearestaurant.com

                                  1. re: Rabbit

                                    Hey, Rabbit, just wanted you to know the link to your blog on your chow profile doesn't work. One too many sets of " http:// ".

                                    1. re: JamieK

                                      Thanks, JamieK. I think I've fixed it now... R!

                                2. There was a 4 star review in NOW today for "Bite Me" (used to be Thuet)
                                  Could be a great option for a high end brunch spot..
                                  They have a bread, croissant and pastry basket, as well as items such as these:
                                  "House-cured bacon and poached egg; seared smoked pork loin over house-baked brioche French toast drizzled with Quebec maple syrup."

                                  I also stumbled upon something about Lulu lounge doing a good brunch....

                                  1. I have a new favourite: Moroco on Yorkville Avenue - very elegant place and the food was great the 2 times we have been - 2 caveats: they serve a brunch menu (but there are lunchy options); all the coffee is espressos so it gets expensive if you like multiple cups!
                                    I would second JK Gardiner. re: Baldwin street... Bodega is nice, the rest of the places are *very* casual... good, but not upscale.

                                    1. What's your criteria...special occasion or entertaining an out of town guest or you just have a lot of money and just want to spend it? Upscale doesn't necessarily mean its good.


                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Sweetcakestoo

                                        My criteria is good food in a beautiful, welcoming environment with professional wait staff... Studio Cafe is a frequent haunt but it would be nice to try other places...

                                        1. re: kawarthagirl

                                          JK at the Gardiner is really in a class by itself if you want to combine a beautiful daytime space with excellent food.

                                      2. Celestin, Coquine, Quince, the Park Plaza hotel, four seasons, One.