Looking for home cookin' feel- Grandma (and family) in town for dinner
My family is in town this coming Saturday to go to the Royal Winter Fair with my Grandma. (None of us are under 27) My grandma is from a farming town, so I don't want anything stuffy or expensive. Something with a bed and breakfast feel maybe? Something in the downtown core where we can get some yummy food in a comfy, unique atmosphere. Thanx for any ideas!
We finally decided on Big Mamma's Boy..
My sister was into the idea of an old Victorian House.. so we went with it.
and we LOVED it.
The whole experience turned out great!
It was 6:30ish on Saturday.. I had made reservations.. and was happy that they put us right near the fire place for my grandma.. The room on the main floor had a great vibe to it... dark red walls.. candlelight..etc.. it was cute.
We were greeted right away by the owner herself.. who told us about the specials..
She was super nice.. as was the co-owner who i chatted with as well..
They had just gotten back from doing a demonstration at the Royal Winter Fair.. (how perfect -since my family was there all day) of their pork ribs (marinated 5 days..delicious smokey flavour) -the menu is now changed and only has the beef ribs.. but the pork were the special of the night..
We had wine and I appreciated that the owner came over to top up our glasses throughout the evening..
We had springrolls to start..and they were DELICIOUS. packed full of goodness..
We also tried the pizza special (mushroom based cream sauce, blue cheese etc) which was my favourite item, the Canadian pizza that my dad LOVED.. very hearty and bacon'y and delish, the Rosedale pizza.. which was still good, but a little bland.. i would try something more creative since they have so many options.. They are very generous with the toppings on these pizzas and they come on a nice tall display tray. We got mediums and they were a nice decent size! Probably good for 2 people.
We also tried the pork ribs special.. it came with baked beans that really impressed my dad..and decent coleslaw (we would have liked if they had a potato option too though) but dad said if you are in the mood for ribs these were great. The sauce was smokey and delicious. I'm not big on ribs.. so it was pretty neutral for me.
My mom got the cabbage rolls...which she usually isnt THAT into.. but she LOVED them.. it was also my sisters favourite item of the night. They were meaty and saucy, with a unique flavour. Very enjoyable. We also tried the Mac & Cheese. It didn't blow my mind or anything.. but it was still yummy and we ate the whole thing. The noodles were maybe a little too soft.. but it was creamy and good.
It was fun to share all of the different pizza's.. our table was packed with food..and there were no complaints. We didnt wait long.. we loved the friendly, inviting staff, the food was hot and fresh and delicious, we loved all the vintage plates they had (the owner picks up fun plates when she sees them at garage sales) and we had lots of pizza to take home with us. The service was very personal ..which i liked, and the food came out all at the same time and i nice timely manner. The place had an ecclectic and homey feel and was also very gay friendly... I sadly didnt get a chance to check out the upstairs.. but once it got later in the evening lots of people seemed to be heading up there.
thanx for all the suggestions too! I'm sure I will be trying some!
Re: the above suggestion of Harlem, I love it, but I think Grandma might find it to be a bit too hip/city perhaps (eg. the art is made of hair).
As for Italian, it's not in Little Italy or near the Royal Winter Fair, but Quattro Regazze on the Danforth might fit the bill. I haven't been (though I'd like to), but have read about it on this board and it sounds tasty, homey, and without pretention. Check out this thread:
Other than that, I'm drawing a blank...
Ristorante Roma on Bloor at Dufferin is homey feeling. Definitely not stuffy or expensive. Service very friendly. Casual laid-back but with a dining room -- rather than fast-food -- atmosphere. I've only ever had the pizza but it was delicious and tastes homemade. They serve a carafe of wine in lovely "old-country style" ceramic jugs.
Quattro is a nice little neighbourhood spot but not worth the trip across town in my opinion.
1090 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H1M6, CA
Chopin on Roncesvalles north of Queen wouldn't be too far from the Royal Winter Fair. Great schnitzels, cabbage rolls, potato pancakes, wooden plates, perogies, borscht, etc. in a cozy atmosphere with lots of wood. It's my favourite place for homestyle food downtown. Not stuffy or expensive. Probably could eat for $20 per person including tax and tip.
Cafe Polonez and Staropolska would also be similar options nearby.
If it's a daytime meal, maybe Prague deli on Queen West would be a good option.
Le Select doesn't have a homecooking feel imho- more like faux Parisian bistro.