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Mid-Range, locally slanted dinner recs?

Hi Hounds,

My husband and I will be headed up for a long weekend in Toronto, and we're looking for mid-range places (mains $20-$35) where we can get a great meal. We've been to TO a few times, and have done the Scaramouche/Perigee/Canoe routes, but this time, we're going on a tighter budget, so we're trying to dial down the dining, go with more neighborhood/low-key spots. We're into eating locally at home, and I know Toronto has a few spots where that's an emphasis (Globe Bistro, Crush), so if you've got other rec's, I'd love to hear them.

About us: we're around 30, rather adventurous eaters, and we love good beer (can't drink wine, so good wine lists are lost on us, but lots of bonus points if there are great taps!). We'll be staying on the water near St. Lawrence Market, but we're big fans of the Metro and not adverse to hiking it a few blocks, despite the cold. And I'm sure we'll end up spending time around Kensington Market, if anyone's got some can't miss quick lunch spots, too.

Thanks, and I promise reviews of anywhere we end up!

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  1. For beer, I reluctantly recommend C'est What. The food is awful but they have an impressive beer selection. They brew their own, but aside from their Coffee Porter, I think their brews are not very good. As well, Beerbistro is in that neck of the woods. I've never been but I'm sure their selections are good. One of my favourites around that neighbourhood (which I love) is Starfish. Great seafood, especially oysters. It ain't cheap tho

    3 Replies
    1. re: air621

      Actually, I think Beerbistro is a really good rec. Not so much with the local side of things, but the beer list is good, all of the dishes incorporate beer (and have suggested pairings), and the price range is right.

      If you want to continue the beer theme, head north to Volo or west to Smokeless Joe's. I'd pick either one over C'est What.

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      Beer Bistro
      18 King St. E, Toronto, ON M5C 1C4, CA

      Volo
      587 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

      Smokeless Joe
      Toronto, ON, Toronto, ON , CA

      1. re: Wahooty

        Beer Bistro is definitely a great rec. Excellent food (though no particular emphasis on local) and beer, and is in your 'hood. Bear in mind that it gets very busy; I've been a walk-in on a few occasions and been unable to get a table.

        You're also near Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar (Church just south of Front), which fits within your price range and emphasizes local food (not sure about the beer though - always have wine there). You'll notice a lot of posters on this board have found that it's going downhill, but that hasn't been my experience (though I'm not a regular, so I might just have been lucky). You also might want to check out JK's cafe, Gilead Cafe (near King and Parliament), for lunch. I finally went there for the first time last weekend and wasn't as impressed as I expected to be, but other CH'ers generally seem to enjoy it.

        Weezies (King, west of Parliament) is also not too far from you, and it gets rave reviews on this board, though I've never been so can't personally attest to its greatness. Also, not sure about the local food aspect.

        There's a restaurant called Veritas (King just east of Sherbourne) that's near you and that does have an emphasis on local food. I heard from a friend that it's quite good, but have never been myself, so can make no promises! It doesn't really get mentioned much on this board, either positively or negatively, so you'd be one of the first to educate us all...

        Finally, if you're into seafood, you might want to check out Starfish (Adelaide and Church). Great seafood, and some interesting beers (including an oyster beer that's there own microbrew, if memory serves me correctly).

        Have fun!

        1. re: torontofoodiegirl

          Veritas is a project of Brad Long's, of Restaurant Makeover & ACC fame. I haven't been but have seen him display some of the produce he grows himself and uses in the restaurant. Looks interesting to me.....

          I second and third the suggestions for Black Hoof, also Caplansky's (for lunch). IMO, these two are the best things to have happened to Toronto's restaurant scene in 2008.

          The taco ladies at the back of Perola's Supermarket on Augusta in Kensington. They're only open Fri-Sun and close by 6pm, it's literally just a stand at the back of a bodega kind of deal. The conchinita pibil and barbacao consomme are tasty, their 3 salsas packs a great punch. Finish it off with a Mexican Coke (no not the sniff sniff kind) in a glass bottle, match made in heaven.

          I suggest you order a Waupoos cider at Beer Bistro.

    2. The two requests are a challenge to match. The best beer selection is probably at Volo (587 Yonge). I've only eaten there once, so I will withhold judgment, but you will probably find better restaurants.
      You will be walking distance from Esplanade Bier Markt (58 Esplanade), also a great beer spot, but food reviews are mixed.

      If you are particular about finding the best restaurants, they will not match the beer selections of these. Consider splitting the drinking and the eating locations.

      1 Reply
      1. re: maple99

        forgot to mention, Volo does offer (sort of) local cheeses, from Ontario and Quebec mainly

      2. La Palette in Kensington right on the College streetcar. Excellent and extensive beer menu, great atmosphere, fab French food.

        http://lapalette.ca/

        1 Reply
        1. re: Edith S

          This place looks great, and I'd never heard of it. And it's open Sundays! Probably be checking this out...Thanks.

        2. Thanks for the great suggestions!

          We're very accustomed to spliting our beer and food consumption (I wouldn't let a single morsel past my lips at our favorite local beer place), so it looks as though we'll be heading that route in Toronto, as well. We've been to C'est What and JKWB, but Beerbistro sounds like a good find. I'm also very curious about this Oyster Beer torontofoodiegirl mentions...interesting.

          Anyone have any suggestions for places open Sundays for dinner? That's my current challenge since it's a tough time and most seem to be closed. Anyone been to Torito? (I know it's not local food, but that's cool with us...the local thing is more an interest, and it seems like we can easily get that Saturday night).

          Thanks again!

          3 Replies
          1. re: RosemaryHoney

            Two places with very good, fairly local, food and great beer are just a subway ride away. Rebel House, just across from Rosedale Subway station on Yonge, focuses on Ontario beers and does interesting food. Abbot on the Hill, west side of Yonge just south of Woodlawn by the Summerhill station, focuses on imported beers and is somewhat more ambitious for food and decor.

            Both do roast beef dinners on Sundays and serve food fairly late.

            -----
            Rebel House
            1068 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W2L4, CA

            Abbot on the Hill
            1276 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4T1W5, CA

            1. re: preppycuisine

              mmm yes, 2nd the Abbott - lovely atmosphere!

            2. re: RosemaryHoney

              Torito is a great spot! Reasonably priced Spanish tapas and they have great sangria (not sure if you still consider that wine!).

            3. A interesting newish place you might consider just for the experience (especially if you like meat) is The Black Hoof, which focuses primarly on charcuterie and has been getting rave reviews (haven't been myself yet). They have a few beers on tap and a few local items. Open on Sunday as well.
              http://www.nowtoronto.com/food/story....
              http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/...
              http://tinyurl.com/7san48

              1 Reply
              1. re: JamieK

                +

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                Black Hoof
                928 Dundas St W, Toronto M6J, CA