Help, Celestine or Lai Toh Heen Tomorrow night.
It's a birthday dinner for two. What's important is the room. Warm and romantic, not to loud, and although niether of these two are casual we do not want stuffy. (Comfortable, friendly)
We love both types of cuisine. We have never been to any of the two.
Some advice would be great. Also what's best to order.
Lai Toh Heen has higher ceiling and hence less noisy. Currently, they have a special on Aussie/Japanese Wagyu beef. However, for only two and based on food alone, I would go for Celestine. Never had a bad experience!
I am not strongly disagreeing with Celestin, as, if you get the front room, it's quite intimate, and the food, as you seem to be aware, is quite good.
Lai Toh Heen adds valet parking, some fascinating unique high end dishes, and some unique spaces within the restaurant. I've only done lunches there, but thing that the very cool atmosphere with the unique menu and extremely good service could be a cool experience.
I recently had a superb lunch at Celestine. The wine list is also amazing as is the decor, service and food. You can't go wrong, it's old school french and wonderful. Never been to Lai Toh Heen but I've bee in and it's beautiful. Either way, bet you'll have fun.
You picked two good restaurants right across the street from each other. I went to one after another a few months ago, and enjoyed both, in different ways. I agree with someone who mentioned about high ceiling, I did enjoy the atmosphere more at LTH frankly. I hear that Celestin patio is probably nice, but it's not that time of the year...
I had great meals at both places, and they are just different in what they do and thus my suggestion is that you go to what you feel for more. French vs. Chinese. Clearly I am not much of help in deciding but just know that both of them are pretty solid.
Thyis is probably going to confuse you further.
Celestin has gone a bit more 'downscale' recently - its prices have dropped slightly and the food is less inventive. The room can be noisy as it has a tiled floor. If wine is important, Celestin has a better list - except it's not particularly well matched to the menu (overconcentration on heavier reds and a poor white wine selection).
Lai Toh Heen is more elegant - but also more aloof. Their wine list is despicable - horrific mark-ups. But the food is excellent.
I haven't had their Wagyu menu but, several descriptions have included references to Kobe beef. This is not posssible as, to my knowledge, Kobe beeef hasn't been seen in Toronto for over 2 years (although Wagyu certainly has).
Thanks everyone, we ended going to Lai Toh Heen. We have been to several upscale french restaurants although never an upscale Asian cuisine.
We shared 3 types of dim sum. The crab selection was really nicely done in a presentation where the dumpling was made to look like a real crab (fun).
We also each had the hot and sour soup which was really spicy and tasted so wonderfully fresh.
Mains were Prawns in blackbean sauce and Pulled salt baked chicken. Was tender and super flavourful. Fried seafood rice with saffron had no real dynamic edge although it was not greasy as you would find in most asian restaurants.
The pastries they offer from senses bakery were ok although I would have expected something greater. The room itself was great and the staff friendly and attentive.
Overall we really enjoyed the evening and I would return to try the bejing crspy duck, it looked really good.
Thanks again for all your input.
Oh no, don't do it! Celestin has changed hands about a year ago and it's not what it was once. The new chef/owner doesn't have the finesse that Pascale had. Our party of 4 were extremely disappointed in all of our meals. Basics were neglected, as an example, gritty scallops, overcooked food. It really was a disaster.
In fact we have since ran in to one of the wait staff who has moved on to another high end restaurant and she agreed with our comments. It is quite sad actually because it used to be a great little spot.