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Gastropub-y or Funky Places in Toronto

Looking for great, fresh food, inexpensive to mid-priced, great people-watching, funky places in T.dot. I am coming for a business trip next week and need some inspiration. I also need to take some work folk out and they've never been to Toronto.

I used to live in Toronto but now live in Van and feel woefully out of the loop. Any style, but with a twist or different vibe on the usual. I'm a real foodie so I'd prefer good food, done well, rather than picky little amuse-bouche/fusion wannabes. Recos HUGELY appreciated!

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  1. Beerbistro has good food, great beers and a nice vibe.
    http://www.beerbistro.com/

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: JamieK

      Mmhmm. Don't forget to order the frites!

      1. re: Rabbit

        What do you recommend at Crush, Rabbit?

        1. re: Rabbit

          the portions at the bar are rather miniscule and a bit pricey though generally well executed. i recall ordering the fish and chips ($9-10?) and received two fingers of fish... definitely not filling.

          they do pour a mean beer over there though. it has been reported to me as the best pour in the city though the offerings are rather ordinary.

          1. re: pinstripeprincess

            I'd say that the beer offerings reflect its status as a wine bar first and foremost. And I would say that everything I've ever eaten there has been well executed, particularly the scallops.

            SWS

        2. Should clarify: doesn't have to be pub-/beer-related - just smallish, cosy, buzzy, not cavernous or too posh. Kinda like what I've been hearing about the Harbord Room , that sort of place. But I haven't been so I'm just going on guesses.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MikalaT

            Ah, then Crush probably isn't a good rec... it's not exactly cavernous, but the space has a "big" feeling. Torito is great (second that rec), but it's tapas, so it's picky by nature. And I like Rosebud too (where you would get a real meal). You might like Blackhoof where they're doing the charcuterie thing (I haven't been, so this suggestion is a bit heretical, but most reviews have been rave). Possibly Globe Bistro? Your own instinct re: Harbord Room is probably on target.

          2. How about Oddfellows? It's gotten pretty good reviews on the board and is about as trendy/funky as Toronto gets. It only has one loooong communal table that seats about 24 and is decorated with interesting local art. I haven't been there, so can't comment myself, but it seems like the type of thing you might be looking for. It seems to be frequented by young, artist/intellectual types (based on published reviews).

            Other cool, not-too-pricey spots would include Torito in Kensington Market -- a great tapas-style restaurant. The main floor "cafe" at the Drake is great, too, and definitely good for people watching. A littler pricier, but one of my favourite local spots is Rosebud. It's small, cozy and pretty buzzy.

            2 Replies
            1. re: TorontoJo

              Hey! Thanks so much for this recommendation. I checked out Oddfellows last night and posted a review here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5821...
              Enjoyed it muchly. wanted to get to Torito tonight but too frakkin' cold here to go out LOL. Many thanks again TorontoJo and everyone.

              1. re: MikalaT

                Thanks for the review -- glad it worked out for you!

            2. How about The Only Cafe on Danforth. Definitely funky, limited menu but good, nice beer selection, friendly staff.

              I go more more snacks, drinks, and meeting people.

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              Only Cafe
              972 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1L9, CA