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What restaurant would you gladly spend $500 in?

What restaurant in Toronto, would you gladly spend $500 in? Not counting extremely expensive wine.

The last restaurant that I spend that much money in, was George, and although the service was great...the tasting menu was too hit and miss.

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  1. I have and would spend that much in Splendido- Dinner for two plus one bottle of wine- which was not too insane with all things considered (just under $100)
    We did the tasting menu- the service was out of this world and the food was just to die for...actually all this talk is making me want to go again....

    1 Reply
    1. re: Neebom

      I wouldn't spend $50 dollars there. The most overrate, overpriced food that I wouldn't even rate as mediocre.

    2. None.

      The only places I would spend that kind of cash in are in NY, and Italy/France/Spain.

      Restaurants in Toronto while although some of which are fantastic, do not warrant that type of spend.

      20 Replies
        1. re: Sadistick

          Interesting. While may favourite dining experience(s) have been outside of Toronto, I think a $500/dinner can go a long way in Toronto. Generally, you can do a tasters with wine pairing or a "decent" bottle for $500 t&t included.

          Good luck trying to spend anything less than $500 CND at a 3* Michelin tasters with wine pairing anywhere else in the world. And a la carte in Paris - no chance!

          As much as we Canadians or Torontians like to "eat our children" this fine city represents fantastic value for high end dining IMO.

          1. re: Apprentice

            No one said anything about that money necessarily being spent in a Michelin starred resto!

            SWS

            1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

              So you're saying that generally speaking the non-michelin resto's in Spain, France, Italy and NYC that charge $500 CDN completely out-class Toronto's restaurants at the same price point? It would be interesting to see your list.

              1. re: Apprentice

                Yes, generally speaking I've been pretty darned disappointed with TO but that doesn't necessarily reflect food per se-it reflects the whole experience. And that also doesn't mean that I think the industry scene isn't trying hard to raise the bar, because it is, but oftentimes I've found the atmosphere lacking in this city for a variety of reasons restauranteurs cannot always control! I would spend that kind of money with some friends at Toque or Au Pied de Cochon in a heartbeat for example.

                  1. re: Apprentice

                    You're welcome :) I think we are really on the same page in the end...

                    I've just always felt that Toronto lacks the whole joie de vivre in eating out. I'm soooo tired of feeling like I can't make noise, have fun, and eat like I'm having great sex in this city!

                    1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                      "I can't make noise, have fun, and eat like I'm having great sex in this city!"

                      Thank God for that! I wouldn't like to be at the next table :)

                      1. re: Squeakycheese

                        Yes-certainly-life's a bitch and then you die, so my motto is that I might as well enjoy eating and living to the fullest of my capabilities. So with that, I prefer to LIVE and EAT!

                        SWS

                  2. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                    And maybe it is because toronto is "home" I find when you are travelling even problems become adventures and a "story". face it everything is relative when you are travelling it is an adventure, people seem freindlier, food taste better, service seems better..

                    When I was in Dominican eating the standard resort buffet.. I enjoyed it.. would I pay for teh same food in Toronto NO WAY... but when the sun is in your face and the sexy brown girls smile at you everything seems good... then you get home and it is Montezuma!

                    I am sure if you read Chow France they will complain that the service and food sucks in Paris... :-)

                    1. re: OnDaGo

                      No, Toronto is not home and never will be for me even though I live here.

                      And I have also had DEPLORABLE experiences traveling abroad...trust me!

                      SWS

                      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                        SWS - OUCH. Yes it appears we just have different "needs/wants" in terms of ambiance and perhaps service?

                        OnDaGo - you have a point, the dining experience can be impacted by our mood & expectations as well as many other things. Also "fine dining" lends itself to overanalysis - I'm just as guilty as anyone else. And yes a lot of the France hounds do criticize (I was actively reading during the summer in prep for my fall trip). I've read one popular member mention there were more bad restaurants in Paris than good ones and finding the good ones takes time. How many times have you heard a potential tourist say "I could sit at any bistro in Paris and have a great meal..."

                  3. re: Apprentice

                    If you know your way around those countries (Especially Spain) you can easily find an exciting meal at a restaurant that outclasses anything in Toronto for much less than $500 CDN including wine. When I was in Barcelona last year my wife and I did a full tasting menu at Michelin rated Cinc Centits with an excellent bottle of wine and Cava as an apertif for $200 EURO. Even a more casual meal at a high end tapas place like Cal Pep will give you a more cutting edge dining experience for much less $.

                    I personally do not think that any restaurant I have eaten at in Toronto would justify that type of price tag, but obviously opinions will differ.

                    1. re: Matt H

                      Matt,
                      Couldn't agree with you more.
                      We did better.
                      Had one of the finest meals of our lives for $110.00 for two including wine pairing.
                      Nothing close in T.O. at any price..
                      Food, presentation, and a truly talented Chef.
                      Posted the menu on the Africa board.
                      There is no restaurant in Toronto that is worth $500.

                      1. re: erly

                        There's some sophism in making the argument that you can get a better meal for less than $500 outside of Toronto. It's irrelevant to the answer. Furthermore, you're ignoring transportation, accomodation and standard of living costs (e.g. a meal in Africa). Would either of you spend $500 at the restaurants you mentioned above (e.g. Cinc Centits, Cal Pep, or the restaurant in Africa)?

                        I understand the value statement behind your arguments, but the comparisons to me are invalid.

                        1. re: Apprentice

                          Though Toronto restaurants' food are improving and approaching the quality of places in the US and other parts of the world, Toronto doesn't even come close to to the service and consistency of the food that other good restaurants elsewhere provide.

                          Generally if I spend more than $100 per head, I expect the service to be of a certain level and in my experience, getting that level is really a crap shot in Toronto.

                          1. re: Wandering Foodie

                            That is just a complete load of manure. About 8 years ago (Feb 13, 2001), I was lucky enough to have Gourmet magazine's "advance scout" contact me; he was coming to Toronto, and wanted to dine with someone local. (His job is to try out places and make recommendations for the travel writers, so they don't spend their time at disappointing eateries.)

                            We went to Ambassador Chinese in Richmond Hill. We were frequent visitors at the time, and I dropped in on the maitre d' a couple of days before to arrange the meal. The meal was heavy on seafood - lobster, scallops, abalone, black cod - and a few things he'd never tried - 5 spice pigeon, peking duck (which surprised me). Total came to $700 for three (my wife joined us) with no booze at all. I apologized for the expense, and he told me a similar meal in NYC would cost well over $1,000 US (and that's back when the C$ was 70 cents US). He said he thought the meal was excellent, and better than any Chinese he had had in NYC.

                            Then, he offered to take us to the Courtyard Cafe for another dinner - foie gras, rack of lamb, rib steak, etc. with two bottles of wine. Total for that was around $800 IIRC, and again, he told me he considered a great value, and that a similar NY meal would cost over $1,000.

                            The Gourmet review of Ambassador still hangs on their wall, and is quite complimentary. I don't think Toronto has to apologize to anyone for the quality and diversity of food.

                            1. re: Wandering Foodie

                              What's wrong with restaurant service in Toronto? We've been to some of the best restaurants all over the world and do not find service at Toronto restaurants to be any better or worse, generally speaking.

                            2. re: Apprentice

                              The price was just a tongue in cheek response to Matt.
                              The meal blew us away.
                              The quality and presentation of the food was outstanding, was my point.
                              I couldn't get a memorable meal at any price in Toronto.
                              Good food yes, but "great" no.

                    1. For how many people?

                      1. for just food? for one or two?
                        If it's for two wouldn't you be able to get a full on "menu" for two at any of the top 50 restos in the world for that kind of money? or at least a 3 course meal?
                        http://www.theworlds50best.com/2008_l...

                        Once you add in alcohol things could spiral out of control of course but $500 would buy you a lotta food i imagine. Is George really that expensive that you can hit $500 for two? What was on your bill for that kind of money?

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: CoffeeAddict416

                          When I was last at George, in 2007, two tasting menus with wine pairings would have been roughly $400 (tax & tip included). However, it is possible to eat at George for considerably less.

                          1. re: embee

                            To me my sense of "value" has shifted considerably since my last trip to Europe. I felt like Toronto overall is a very cheap place to eat but to get really excellent, fancy, gourmet food for a reasonable price is very very difficult. The last meal I spent of lot of money on in Toronto was my last visit to Susur over 3 years ago now! For two that bill came out to roughly just under $300 with a 1/2 bottle of wine. I felt like that was a bit steep but I got what I paid for.

                            Compare that to one resto i visited in France. It was a 1 michelin star resto so about the same level as the old Susur in terms of service, ambiance and execution. The difference was the 6 course menu was 38 euros and was similar to this:
                            http://www.lamaryllis.com/Menu%20Gour...

                            So with taxes and tips already included in the price tag that's only like $150 for two to eat at that resto with a couple of glasses of wine. After experiencing something like that I find it hard to justify dropping more than $150 on a meal for two including a glass of wine each in Toronto when every meal will fall short of that standard set at that restaurant in France.

                            I know that obviously France and Canada are two different planets when it comes to availability of product, and the psychology of the consumer. It's not a very fair comparison. But I'm only human! I'm always going to make those comparisons.

                            1. re: embee

                              At this point in time, I would not spend that kind of money for a dinner for two persons. I have other priorities and no amount of convincing could prompt me to do otherwise, even though I can well afford the cost of such a meal... I find it morally reprehensible...I will admit to doing it during the 1980's and now am left with the thought of "What were we thinking!"

                              1. re: pearlD

                                I've been having a lot of "What was I thinking!?" thoughts lately. Basically every time I open a newspaper these days. I reckon if I had have been cagey with my cash over the years I could be retired now -- in my 40's. Oh well, 20-20 hindsight. I'm doing lots more cooking at home these days. Bad for restaurants, good for my culinary skillset.

                            2. re: CoffeeAddict416

                              FYI, the tasting menu at Per Se is $275 per person + tax, excluding wine. I don't think it is cheap to eat in Toronto compared to other cities in Asian.

                              1. re: skylineR33

                                ah of course... the Asia factor is another thing
                                I remember watching the episode of of No reservations in HK where he went to Bo Innovation and couldn't believe what he was getting for $100 cdn

                                And my parents' trip to Seoul to visit the motherland.... they ate like royalty for next to nothing compared to here. Korean dishes anyway

                                1. re: skylineR33

                                  I think the problem is that most of us who have traveled abroad to dine are now a bit jaded when it comes to Toronto. Not only in terms of fine dining, but most other styles of cuisine. Chowhound itself, in a way, represents a constant lament for unavailable products (best sushi? best burrito? authentic poutine? best *, etc.). Toronto does some things well, and some things are reasonably priced (or cheap) in comparison to other places. Toronto itself will never be Paris, Tokyo or NYC, at least, not in my imagination. Without the right environment, we won't get the same things people would be accustomed to having in other places, at least on the fine dining front.

                                  I doubt I would spend $500 of my own money for dinner for two in Toronto. In France or Japan, it's a different story. Not only that, but you will get food that rivals or betters the same thing here for a fraction of the price.

                                2. re: CoffeeAddict416

                                  It was for two at George. A 7 course taster; we got a bottle and not the wine pairing. But we did get two glasses of champagne after. With tax and tip, it came to actually $490 if I remember correctly.

                                3. I would spend that money for special tasting menus only, with certain chefs at the helm. David Lee in truffle season? You bet. Kaji gets some insane shipment of rare goodies from Japan? I'm there. Marc Thuet and his friends kill a bunch of wild game, break out the foie and truffles as well, and have some fantastic wine pairings to go with it? In a heartbeat.

                                  Otherwise, $500 can get me a great meal in most Michelin 2*, and many 3*, restaurants around the world. Splendido maaaayyybe gusts up to a 2* level on its best nights and that is it for Toronto's fine dining scene. Alas.

                                  1. In Ontario it would have to be Eigensinn Farm but if we're talking anywhere, the French Laundry for sure!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: JennaBean

                                      In my view, dinner for two with wine isn't worth $500 - anywhere, in Toronto or elsewhere.

                                      I've had a few such dinners - happily, some high roller was always paying - and it was good, but not THAT GOOD! In Las Vegas, for example, dinner at the prime restos on The Strip will ring in at $500-$1,000 U.S. a couple (at least, till the recent downturn in the economy). A reviewer for a major U.S. magazine a while ago bellied up to the tables at most of them and decided, not surprisingly, that - with one possible exception - they just ain't worth the obscene price. I concur, having been to some of them (when someone else was calling for the bill, naturally). In Toronto, I'll sit still on special occasions for $250 a couple, but certainly no more. Because you can dine extremely well in this city at many good, imaginative restos for about $150 a couple, and leave supremely content.

                                    2. I don't know what you mean by "extremely expensive wine" and with all due respect to George which is a very good 2nd tier restaurant with food that appoaches 1st tier (e.g., Scaramouche or Splendido), but George would not be one in which I would spend nearly that kind of money, gladly or otherwise. Having said that, there are no restaurants in Toronto that merits a $500 price tag without expensive wine. The closest I spent was former Susur at $400.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: syoung

                                        I spent close to $700 at Perigee for two with a wine paring.. was it worth it... as an occasion yes, nothing beats a dinner for two with a a beautiful woman in a fancy restaurant. Did the food blow me away.. no.. but I eat out a lot so that did not surprise me... I am sure even at the Fat Duck if you have eaten there several times that things get "old" but that does not mean I felt ripped off. I made the choice.. Just like the choice between $20 running shoes and $200 running shoes.. are they 10x better.. no .. but people still buy them...

                                        1. re: syoung

                                          I agree that Scaramouche is a better restaurant than George. I have enjoyed all my experiences at Scaramouche, but funny enough, I have never spent $500 at there. I guess it gives a much better value.

                                        2. Yes I would spend $500 for two at a number of Toronto resto's did it a couple weeks ago at Reds. It's often more about the company, and the ceremony of eating out - we don't pay for meals in restaurants often so when we do it's special.

                                          Someone mentioned Bo Innovation in Hong Kong... I ate there in November, HK tourism flew us over to eat at restaurants that were going to get Michelin stars in the new HK guide - rather the resto's they thought would get stars. Bo Innovation ended up with 3 stars (i think) and it was the worst meal I've ever eaten! 20 minutes later we were in a night market eating clay pot rice for $1 and the meal & experience was a million times better...

                                          G.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: legourmettv

                                            Boo to hearing that bo innovation sucked! On tv it looked like it had so much potential!

                                            It got 2 Michelin stars
                                            http://s.wsj.net/article/SB1230935389...

                                            1. re: legourmettv

                                              Interesting!
                                              Klyeoh and Peech, both real gourmand CH on the China board and have eaten in Michelin 3*s like El Bulli, Fat Duck, French Laundry... etc found Bo's food to be most inventive and tasty! eg., The 'lap-mei-fan' and the hairy crab souffle. May be Bo's Modern Chinese Molecular fusion food using 'funky' Chinese ingredients is more friendly towards the Oriental palate?
                                              Molecular cuisine tends to create tons of controversial view points amongst foodies. Here in town, I know people who just love Claudio Aprile's food at Colborne Lane. Then again, I also know people who absolutely hated it!
                                              But to quote a meal at Bo innovation, 'the worst meal I've ever eaten'!! Wow!! What makes you say that? Was it the odour/aroma of the 'Durian rice'?

                                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                                It looks as if Toronto is being thoroughly ignored in favour of Vancouver, with both Boulud (taking over "Feenie's" Lumière) and J-G moving in! I'll probably get a chance to sample the wares in the next couple of weeks, but this is kind of depressing that the NYC contingent would head out West instead of a few hours away!

                                                1. re: tjr

                                                  Wait till the 5* hotels ( Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Shangri La and Trump Towers ) are built then the celeb chefs and the Michelin guide will start paying attention and move in. Right now, without those top notch hotels as anchor, TO unfortunately is not 'world-class' yet!

                                                  1. re: Charles Yu

                                                    I hope so! With Gordon Ramsay planning a resto here, maybe we can anticipate some of the better French celebrity chefs landing in Toronto with hotel restaurants! It would definitely provide some incentive for Toronto restauranteurs to step up their cuisine!

                                                    1. re: tjr

                                                      Except that 1 Bloor (where Ramsey was to be located) has been mothballed due to the recession.. so do not expect anything anytime soon... As Far as I have heard the new Four seasons building is not planning a fine dinning restaurant as part of the building and I am sure Trump would be hyping one if it was in the works... Now if we had the Olympics like some other province I think you would be seeing some Top chefs opening here...

                                                      1. re: OnDaGo

                                                        Ramsay said he was looking at two locations for his TO restaurant.

                                                        http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/loca...

                                                        The nice part is he is planning to invest his own money into the place, so he'll make sure it's successful.

                                                        I've haven't heard anything on the new hotels (FS, RC, Shangri-la, Trump). They are all large projects, so I'm guessing they'll have multiple dining options. I haven't heard about the new FS. I would guess they would want a top-notch dining restaurant in their hometown restaurant.

                                            2. From my wish list of places I'm curious about:

                                              Mistura
                                              Colborne Lane
                                              Sushi Kaji

                                              If the $500 was too extravagant for two, I would invite more friends. :)

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Pincus

                                                I hate to admit it but we've spent close to the $500 mark a few too many times (Perigee, Susur, The 5th) and in retrospect, it was not worth it. On the other hand Scaramouche and Mistura often runs us over $200 but I never regret it.

                                                1. re: millygirl

                                                  We have also spent that amount of money at both of those restaurants and also at Auberge du Pommier and no I don't regret those meals either but it's a far cry from $500. for two people!

                                              2. Folks, just a quick reminder to keep the focus on this thread on local places where you'd spend that much. If you wouldn't because you don't think any local restaurants offer that kind of value, that's okay to say, too, but discussions of restaurants in other places or the morality of spending that kind of money on dinner are really off topic for the Ontario board.

                                                1. I would like to offer another 'totally different' option! Go 'high end' Cantonese cuisine in places like Casa Imperial or Yang's Cuisine. You'll have no problem spending your half-thousand if you order a la carte 'Braised Japanese abalone'. top quality Sharksfin, Double-boiled birds nest, Braised sea-cucumber, steamed live French Turbot etc. Actually, depending on ingredients, one could even spend $500 per person san wine! Easy! FYI, Yang's Cuisine is currently offering a $2688 set dinner for 10.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Charles Yu

                                                    Wow, great Charles, what a option for people who like going to high end restaurants with no budget and all-in ? The abalone,etc for the $2688 at Yang can probably be upgraded to a better one too.

                                                    1. re: skylineR33

                                                      it's funny was literally dreaming about a no limit chinese banquet dinner!
                                                      That's probably one thing i think would be worth it
                                                      The only hitch is you need to bring another 4 pairs willing to drop $500 =(

                                                      I was looking at Pearl's set menus and they offer $588 menu for 10
                                                      http://www.pearlharbourfront.ca/menu1...

                                                      I'm sure you could do better than that resto for over $500 for a table but it's the only one i know of where you can find the menu online :P

                                                      And for Western food now that I think about it I would spend $500 for two at splendido based on their reputation and the math breakdown that someone above did ($216 pp incl wine flights taxes and tip). Only it's not completely fair in this case because the food portion is only $132 pp incl taxes and tip this month for example. That doesn't seem too bad for a one michelin star equivalent for about 80 euros for dinner.

                                                    2. re: Charles Yu

                                                      Haha, when I first read the post, this was one of the three or four things that instantly came to mind as things that would be worth that amount. It might be hard to think of a meal being $500 if it used pedestrian ingredients, but when you think of high end Cantonese and ingredients like shark fin, abalone, bird nest, etc. you can easily see how a meal could be that expensive based on the price of the ingredients alone! Same thing goes for meals loaded with truffles, caviar, etc. in European cuisine, or something like Kobe beef in Japanese cuisine!

                                                      Whether one would actually want to spend the money for high end ingredients is debatable, but you can't really have them without the added cost.

                                                    3. Truffles at the Four Seasons. Sushi Kaji. Kaiseki Sakura. Imperial Dynasty.

                                                      12 Replies
                                                      1. re: stapler

                                                        Hi stapler, have you tried Hashimoto? If you liked Kaiseki Sakura, you will probably love Hashimoto!

                                                        1. re: tjr

                                                          Hashimoto's food and presentation is way more refined than KS. Ingredients are more sophisticated too. Lots of special Japanese imports.

                                                          1. re: Charles Yu

                                                            Yes, much better quality in both ingredients and presentation. Approximates kaiseki far more than Sakura, which is a pale imitation at best.

                                                            1. re: tjr

                                                              Not for me.
                                                              I've been to both Kaiseki Sakura and Hashimoto several times. First they're different styles (sort of irrelevant but to say one is better is not realistic). The fact that I've been several times means I enjoy both - but Sakura at least has a wine list (important for me) whereas Hashimoto has maybe 2 wines and 2 sakes. Also at Hashimoto EVERYBODY gets the same dishes - I can order from a menu at Sakura. I can understand sushi lovers preferring Hashimoto (as it's almost entirely fish) - but I appreciate the diversity at Sakura (especially the tongue).
                                                              And of course I can take the TTC to Sakura (instead of a plane - Hashimoto is further out than the airport).
                                                              Just trying to balance the picture.

                                                              And back to the original question.
                                                              At the $500 level (all-in including an average wine) I would consider:
                                                              Splendido and Chiado at the top end
                                                              Truffles, Colborne Lane and Scaramouche as a notch below.
                                                              George has dropped in quality for me as has Perigee.
                                                              I find both North 44 and Centro too 'corporate'.

                                                              And if I would drive as far as Hashimoto - I wouldn't go there - I'd go to Blacktree in Burlington which is roughly the same driving time (for me - but not the Richmond Hill contingent).

                                                              1. re: estufarian

                                                                I've never heard of Blacktree before
                                                                I love how whimsical the website is!
                                                                I didn't know that Burlington had cooking on this level
                                                                It's prett far out for me so I doubt I'd ever go (carless in d/t Toronto) but it's nice to know it's out there.

                                                                1. re: CoffeeAddict416

                                                                  The website is irritating, but the food is good and priced reasonably. I wouldn't go out of my way to go there, though.

                                                                  1. re: tjr

                                                                    I'm going to give that place a try.

                                                                    The website is just horrendous. I suggest it be updated...it's definitely a business killer.

                                                                2. re: estufarian

                                                                  Of course they aren't the same style of cuisine; Sakura isn't even anything remotely close to kaiseki, whereas Hashimoto at least approximates the style. My meal at Sakura was lackluster, whereas Hashimoto was quite good, and probably the best Japanese food I've had to date in the GTA. Sakura's ingredients are not as good, are not as authentic, and the presentation and flavours are significantly inferior to Hashimoto. Sakura reminds me more of a generic Japanese restaurant, whereas Hashimoto has focus. I've never found a lack of diversity in Hashimoto's cuisine either; fish can be just as diverse as other meats (which, traditionally, are not exactly present in kaiseki cuisine). I'm sure if you called ahead with suggestions, Hashimoto could do something with them (for example, if you really wanted tongue or something, which is certainly more izakaya fare than kaiseki).

                                                                  I'm not sure you'd like kaiseki cuisine in Japan either, based on your assessment of Hashimoto. Everyone is supposed to get the same dishes. Personally, I'd rather a restaurant with "Kaiseki" in the name to serve at least something based on kaiseki-ryouri. Sakura is, in every way, an upscale version of the typical sushi-tempura-teriyaki restaurant. In terms of kaiseki, Hashimoto is the better restaurant (Sakura is not kaiseki, you will not get kaiseki), and, imo, the better Japanese restaurant overall. Kaji is also much better than Sakura (again, imo). Then again, I'm not really concerned with how many wines a restaurant attempting to focus on kaiseki cuisine offers. I imagine we are coming from different places here, but for the sake of balance, it is at least worth noting these things.

                                                                  I'm also not sure how distance of travel required for you is evidence to support your disagreement with my assessment, or to the quality of the food. If I have to take a plane and fly to Japan, or France, or Italy, or Spain, etc. the food is still going to be the same. Whether it is worth it or not is another story, but I can't imagine liking food any less just because I had to travel an extra... half an hour.

                                                                  1. re: tjr

                                                                    please read the wiki on Kaiseki... as you will find there are many variation in Japan of this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiseki

                                                                    In fact the chef and owner of Sakura was trained and regsitered as a kaiseki chef in Japan and was the personal chef of the Japanese conulate in Toronto for years. When he opened the restaurant he had to pass certain requirements to be able to use the word Kaiseki (and he passed) while anyone can actually use the name in canada as we do not go by japanese rules he followed them to the letter because of his training and his connection with the japanese government.

                                                                    I do not think anyone who as eaten there would say that it is a "typical sushi-tempura-teriyaki restaurant". That is like saying Susur was just a typical chinese restaurant...

                                                                  2. re: estufarian

                                                                    Greetings Estufarian from the 'Richmond Hill contingent'! Ha!

                                                                    Yes, the ox tongue of Sakura is pretty good. Guess what? I was served a 'similar, equally tasty version' on board an Al Nippon flight from HK to Tokyo last year! The hostesses are much 'prettier' though! Ha!

                                                                    BTW, can't you bring your own wine to Hashimoto? Also, when you were visiting Japan a few months back did you try any Kaiseki in Tokyo? I don't think you have updated me on the Michelin restaurants you tried in Tokyo yet?!

                                                                    I'll definitely give Blacktree a try after my trip to the Orient next month! However, I'm not sure whether I'll be in the mood for western cuisine after I return. The reason being that my trip to Singapore/HK will coincide with the Singapore food and culture festival. A number of Michelin 3* chefs will be be guest chefs during that period. So far, I already know S'pore CHs Fourseason and Klyeoh will be taking me to the Raffles Hotel for a lunch cooked by the Head chef of Tokyo's 3* French restaurant L' Osier (?)

                                                                    1. re: estufarian

                                                                      Here was the original question:
                                                                      "What restaurant in Toronto, would you gladly spend $500 in? Not counting extremely expensive wine."

                                                                      While the threads on what constitutes kaiseki and what great places there are in other countries, probably all deserve their own discussion - I'm not sure how this helps the original question posed.
                                                                      My comments were simply to provide some support for Sakura and to provide an alternative to Hashimoto - which I pointed out was not really in Toronto. I also added a couple of suggestions.
                                                                      Let's move all the other stuff elsewhere - it's just not relevant to this thread and I'll be happy to provide responses (by all means provide a link so I can follow you).

                                                                      1. re: estufarian

                                                                        Mississauga is part of the GTA, which most people consider to be Toronto, hence my suggestion. It is also no more of a drive than Kaji for most.

                                                                        I've started a new thread here, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/587497, feel free to respond.

                                                            2. In the Toronto area? Are we talking $500 for a couple?

                                                              Maybe Eigensinn Farm...possibly Perigee before the big change over and Pat Riley left.

                                                              1. Opus on Prince Arthur. Remarkably warm service, even if you don't think you 'fit in' with the higher rollers. Very definition of professional. The food and wine list are very well worth the cost, even if your wine choice is modest. Great attention to detail. Nowhere else in this city will you find a kitchen willing to french a rack of rabbit...as a garnish!

                                                                1. Toque in Montreal. My god! For my money, the best Italian in the city is still underpriced. Il Sogno on Yonge near Davisville is incredible! We ate for two (brought a BYO wine) and paid $200.00. had we paid for 2 bottles (which is our norm) and had a few cocktails we would have been in the $350.00 range, and left stuffed and satisfied with the expense.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: dwyld71

                                                                    I had dinner at Il Sogno on Yonge last week and wouldn't go back. I didn't spend that much money (most mains are under $25). I found the crumbed calamari rubbery and the homemade tiramisu soggy. My main was lobster ravioli in a thick sweet cream sauce. Tried the lamb chop and the gnocchi with sundried tomato, too. Not a chow destination.

                                                                  2. i personally loved Colborne Lane. I have also enjoyed Kaji Sushi each and every time I've been there. Those are two places I would invest my five hundred bucks in... :)

                                                                    1. I very much enjoyed the erstwhile Susur, where the bill for two exceeded $600. Was it worth it? You bet. It was inventive, beautiful, multi-sensorial and delicious. The service was impeccable to boot. It was a total dining experience. The same can be said for Hashimoto. While not quite $500, it's still no bargain. But again, worth every penny and I can't wait to return. Both Susur and Hashimoto have left indelible memories, which can hardly be said for most restaurants.

                                                                      While Toronto may not be on par with the world's best, I believe the above named places offered a superb experience and are/were among the best of what we have to offer. I'm happy to drop some dough for the best of what we have to offer simply because it's better than the vast majority of what's out there. I would rather have one very expensive, memorable "best" meal only occasionally than many frequent mediocre and uninspiring meals.

                                                                      1. Is Gordon Ramsay still looking to open here in Toronto, considering his financial mess?

                                                                        Any word on what the Ritz-Carlton, new Four Seasons, Shangri-La, Trump Tower, and Thompson Hotel properties are planning when it comes to dining?

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Eastwind

                                                                          An older thread, but I see the RC site has a brief preview of its dining options set to open later this year:

                                                                          http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Propert...

                                                                          I'm guessing Gordon Ramsay in Toronto is a dead project now (considering his meltdown and the end of the Bloor One project that he was said to be looking at)?

                                                                          Is the high-end segment where Toronto just lacks and prevents it from emerging into the great restaurant cities of world?

                                                                        2. No restaurant! Although I have spent that much -- at Splendido and also, a few years ago I mistakenly booked my SO and I into Thuet for Valentine's Day - a special menu with no prices listed and we had the wine pairing. The bill for two came to $530. In my ignorance of the two restaurants at the time I mixed up Theut with Didier and thought we were going to a mid-priced bistro type place!! So when the bill came I nearly fell off my chair. It was not worth it, although some of the wines were rather nice.

                                                                          1. I just dropped almost $500 on a client dinner for two last night at Canoe, but that's tasting menu with matching wines and cocktails beforehand.

                                                                            Window seat, great food, impeccable service...boy do I wish I was rich, I could get used to do that sort of thing on a regular basis!