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Jan 13, 2009 06:45 AM

Best bets on the Danforth

Looking for a casual dinner on the Danforth with some good food, but didn't want to go as pricey as Lolita's Lust? Any suggestions? Past searches on the board seem to indicate my gut feeling that most of the greek places on the strip seem to be mediocre at best. Doesn't need to be greek food, we're open to anything, the Danforth is just a handy location....

Thank you!

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  1. What price range are you looking for? You can eat at Lolita's Lust quite reasonably. If you order two "small plates" per person to share and no main course, it may be as low as $24 pp + drinks.

    4 Replies
    1. re: foodyDudey

      What dishes would you recommend at Lolita's Lust, foodyDudey?

      1. re: phoenikia

        I also enjoy Rails and Ales, but to play pool. There beer on tap is tasty too. I don't eat meat but my boyfriend did enjoy the burger.

      2. re: foodyDudey

        A personal favourite of mine is Rails and Ales on the north side of Danforth, just a bit east of Pape. Don't go for the atmosphere but their 1lb burger is great. Super juicy, proper ground meat, decent fries. It's just a shame the place is a bit on the dank side....

        1. re: Brain of J

          I like the Greek fries at Rails and Ales, mad with round slices of potato rather than standard french fries. Haven't tried the burger yet.

          Rails and Ales Billards Lounge
          1106 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1L5, CA

      3. There's 4 of us, we usually order an appetizer or 2 to share, I wanted to then keep mains under $16 - is that doable?

        13 Replies
        1. re: fussychow

          The menu is online:

          Amost all mains are over $20, as I said you can just order 2 "small plates" each and you won't leave hungry.

          Another option for you (from the GLOBE newsletter) is this:

          Globe's Best Burger and Beer - $15 in January
          I'm throwing down the gauntlet and can state unequivocally that Globe Bistro has one of the best burgers in town (and I have had them all). We start with 8 ounces of freshly ground naturally-raised Ontario prime rib on a house-baked bun that fits just right. Accompanied by a pile of crispy frites and topped with cheese curds, Northern Woods mushrooms, double-smoked bacon and house-made pickle, I would cross the Bloor Viaduct for this lunch.
          In January, we will be featuring our burger and a local pint for $15. Nap optional

          Available in the lounge area at dinner.

          1. re: foodyDudey

            That's actually a good price for a high end buger and a pint. Have you tried it?

            1. re: grandgourmand

              I had one in the summer and it's good. I'd go there for lunch today but since I'll be there Thursday evening for the winemaker's dinner, I'll wait till next week.

              1. re: grandgourmand

                I haven't tried their burger, but at that price, I can't see it being a bad deal. Considering how much a pint costs at most restaurants, the burger would have to be pretty awful to not be worth the price. I can't see Globe selling a garbage product, so I guess I'll try it out as soon as I get a chance!

                1. re: tjr

                  Could do a burger comparison. Split one w/ a companion at Globe then hop across the street to have one at Allen's. I call that a good day.

                  1. re: tjr

                    No kidding. And it comes with fries and "the works". Not to mention a good way to test out Globe's cuisine if you haven't yet. It's on my "to do" list.

                    1. re: grandgourmand

                      I was at the winemaker's dinner last night, and the four of us had a great time. The people I took had not been there before, and they loved the food. I'd suggest going to a winemaker's dinner as you will be able to try quite a few courses. We tried 6 different wines last night Each course was excellent and perfectly matched with the wine.

                      Click here to see what was on the menu.

                      1. re: foodyDudey

                        foodyDudey, what was the crowd like last night at the Winemakers' Dinner? How many people attended? Is it one big table, or the regular Globe set-up? I was thinking about taking part in that dinner;)

                        1. re: phoenikia

                          It's held in the room on the second floor, that's the one between the balcony level and the rooftop. There are usually 4 or 5 tables set up.
                          I didn't count how many attended last nught, but there were 7 at our table. (the 4 of us plus 3 others). The three other tables had either 8 or 10 people at them. At our table, was Daniel Speck from Pelham estates who would get up and speak about each wine we were trying, and someone from the Cheese Boutique. (I was at the other end of the table so didn't get a chance to talk to him much)

                          The age group looked anywhere from 30's to late 60's, with not as many younger ones as I remember from the previous dinners. But that shouldn't matter. Everyone is friendly.

                2. re: foodyDudey

                  That's a good deal. I want to go tonight. Do you think I could sneek in on Saturday night without res? Thanks

                  1. re: haggisdragon

                    Allen's turned me off because they seem so snobby. They gave my party a hard time about choosing our own table, I am paying I want to choose where to sit. The wait staff/host acted as though it was some high class joint and not just some pub on the Dan. Food was nothing special but nice choice of beers on tap. Will not go back though.

                    1. re: pluckypear

                      Amen to that. I recently went in at about 4pm and tried to make my way to the back patio. I was actually stopped, and asked whether I planned to eat. I had only been planning on having a drink, and so I was told I was not allowed to sit on the patio because "it's our busiest time"!!!!! Excuse me?! It was four pm--and the place was EMPTY. Naturally, I left straightaway. Such a shame that many of the places with decent patios in Toronto (Victory Cafe, I'm looking at you) also have Nazis in charge of them.

                      143 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1N2, CA

              2. Aji Sai for sushi
                Zorba's for steam table Greek, giant plate of tasty food for $12.95, little atmosphere
                Allen's burger, I heartily recommend only beer as your side

                1. As a Greek, and a fierce supporter of our cuisine (yes, we have one, you just haven't seen the best of it...yet), I would say that our cuisine is best experienced, here on the Danforth, when enjoyed old-style, and old-school. And for that, I highly recommend Astoria. High-quality, old-school Greek food is exactly what you'll get. And, within the price points you're looking for.

                  And to be honest, I know you said it doesn't have to be Greek, but other than Lolita's Lust, which I also highly recommend (both for food and service), the Danforth is most well-known for Greek food. I would go with that.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: Raquel

                    Souvlaki is not Greek. Greek restaurant cooking in Toronto ended when Strouga closed. Any diissent? Oh for the Acropolis when it was above LIndy's Religiou sGoods on Dundas!

                    1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                      Of course souvlaki is Greek, but it's street food rather than "dining" food. The Greek food you refer to is still available at Zorba's.

                      1. re: embee

                        Souvlaki is Greek the same way that a knish is Jewish.

                        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                          Of course a knish is Jewish. If it wasn't, it would be called a pastie or something :-)

                      2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                        I was just about to be outraged by your post. And then I stopped for a second. And thought for a second if, as a Greek child, we were ever served souvlaki. The answer is a resounding "NO". Actually, I think you'd be hardpressed to find ANY Greek homes that ever served souvlaki at home.... This is a very good point that you make and an important one, because I don't think Toronto has really seen the likes of any "real", (and delicious) Greek food. Perhaps it's time..... Thanks for reminding us.

                        1. re: Raquel

                          On my street, at least 25% of the neighbours are Greek. The family right beside me is Greek, and they cook souvlaki on the BBQ in the summer.

                          1. re: Raquel

                            It depends on the Greek family. Souvlaki has always been a part of our family's summer bbqs, probably because a whole spit-roasted pig, goat, or lamb (aka souvla) doesn't make sense if you have less than a dozen guests coming to eat. Many of the Greek gatherings in Toronto are large enough that families choose to roast an entire goat, pig or lamb, rather than serving souvlaki.

                            The meat (lamb in our house) marinates for several hours and I always have the task of putting the meat on the skewers. We grill it outside, the old-fashioned way with charcoal briquets. None of that modern propane bbq stuff.

                          2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                            According to wikipedia, souvlaki is Greek and dates back to ancient times.


                            1. re: Full tummy

                              It all depend what you mean by Greek. The word souvlaki is certainly Greek and the food is certainly pieces of meat grilled on skewers. But...

                              Just about ever Mediterranean culture, and even far beyond, has an almost identical dish. So yes, souvalaki is Greek, but it is not uniquely Greek. I've had Italian spiedini, for example, that was virtually identical to "souvlaki."

                              BTW: I've tried most of the souvlaki places on the Danforth. I am now convinced that deep beneath Danforth Avenue there is a single huge kitchen that makes souvlaki and sends them on a system of conveyor belts up to the restaurants all along the street. It's all the same stuff, no matter where you go.

                              I can remember when going to the Danforth meant that the the waiter invited you into the kitchen and you pointed at the pot with the food that you wanted. Now that's Greek food in a Greek restaurant. No conveyor food belt then.

                              1. re: evansl

                                Of course all the souvlaki on Danforth Ave should taste the same, they all use the same time-honoured recipe from the ancient times. :-)

                                Or they buy frozen marinated souvlaki from the same supplier. But who cares about souvlaki? It keeps getting mentioned every time we talk about food in Greektown. I've lived here since 1992 and don't think I've had souvlaki in a restaurant here more than once and that was probably in 1993. There's a lot more available on the menus, you should try something different.

                                1. re: evansl

                                  You can still do that at Zorba's, except you point to what's on display behind the protective glass shield between the kitchen food and you.

                                  1. re: Pincus

                                    They used to let you do that at Ellas, on Pape just north of Danforth, but truth be told, since moving to Richmond Hill, I haven't been to Ellas in years (is it still open?!). The kids prefer grilled items over stews and moussaka, so we normally end up at Astoria or the Friendly Greek (atmosphere at the latter - meh, but the food is simple and good, and a pretty good value).

                                    1. re: KevinB

                                      Ellas on Pape expanded and "upscaled" many years ago. While some of the stews they did so well in the seventies remained on the menu, they really expected you to order things such as steak and (mainly frozen) fish, possibly preceded by some mezes. It was better than average for the area, though not wonderful.

                                      They closed the Pape location a few years ago. It's still vacant. They still have a large banquet hall on Danforth Rd. I've been to several Greek weddings there over ten years. There was very little Greek food served at these weddings (none at all at a couple of them). We mainly got well done steak or roast beef.

                          3. Thanks very much to all of you!