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Best dinner out near Intercontinental Yorkville?

I'm traveling to Toronto early next week on business with several associates. We're an eclectic mix of people from various ends of the TV business. I'm not sure how "Hollywood" anyone feels inclined to be, but I can say that my writing partner and I are former restaurateurs who appreciate great food -- of any kind, in any setting.

I suspect a full bar is probably an important ingredient in our plans, either for celebration or medication...

The Yorkville is at 220 Bloor Street west. I know nothing of Toronto -- is there anything good in the area? We can taxi to wherever, but I think closer would be nice.

Thanks!

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  1. Do you have a budget in mind? And do you want really upscale? Trendy? Lounge-y? Or is the food more important than the setting?

    1. There are lots of different options - as TorontoJo asks, a lot will depend on the vibe you're looking for...and the price range. Here are a few ideas to start you off:

      Opus - smallish high end Italian resto within easy walking distance of your hotel. Pretty expensive, very good food, cozy and elegant (but not stuffy) - most importantly, a stellar wine list (lots of Wine Spectator Awards). For Hollywood trivia, Brangelina rented it out for themselves for a late night dinner when they were here for the filmfest a couple of years ago. 'nuf said.

      Harbord Room - a cozy, locals spot. Totally unpretentious, cool vibe, very good food, very friendly owner/bartender and a fun bar scene. Very decently priced. One of the tastiest "fancy" burgers in the city. Maybe a 15 minute walk from your hotel or an easy 5 minute cab ride.

      Splendido - touted by many on this board as the best restaurant in the city, certainly one of the most expensive. I won't quibble with the quality of the food but for me, it's too formal a spot (silver domes on platters and the like) - impeccable service, great food, excellent alcohol selection but you have to be in the mood for that. Same neighbourhood/distance as Harbord Room.

      You could consider having drinks after dinner at one of the spots near your hotel - old world elegance at the rooftop bar at the Park Hyatt, lovely room and great selection at the bar at Hazelton One, super self-absorbed scenester stuff at Lobby (though probably not so much in mid-February). I've also heard some good things about Bar Mercurio on Bloor but haven't tried it. All of these are within a 5 minute walk of your hotel. I'd put the Park Hyatt and One higher up on the list over the other two.

      Oh yes, there's also Joso's - very understated but cool seafood restaurant. It's a tiny boite decorated with lots of nude sculptures (kitsch). I haven't been there in a couple of years but it was great back then. It's the favourite spot for the Rolling Stones when they're in town - also about a 5 minute cab ride or 15 minute walk from your hotel.

      Enjoy!!

      2 Replies
      1. re: peppermint pate

        I agree with PP's recs. I think you're better off with separating your drinks from your dinner. My votes would got with the bar at the Park Hyatt or One. For dinner, I'll also throw out Chiado for amazing Portuguese. Sit on the newer, wine bar side for a more contemporary atmosphere. And ask for both menus so you can take advantage of some of the delicious Portuguese small plates they have to offer.

        L'Unita, a newer Italian place up Avenue Rd. has gotten good reviews on the board and is about the same distance as Joso's.

        If you want a single location for dining and drinks, Mistura is a very popular, upscale Italian spot not too far from you. Upstairs from Mistura is its sister, Sopra Jazz Lounge for cocktails and live jazz.

        1. re: TorontoJo

          Agree with Toronto Jo's suggestions of Mistura and L'Unita. I think L'Unita would be totally appropriate to stick around at and drink (provided, of course, that you go late enough that they don't want to give your table to a second sitting of diners). The bar at the top of the Hyatt, as previously mentioned, is also great (though prices can be steep). If going to L'Unita, be sure to make reservations; it's always very busy.

      2. There are many restaurants within walking distance of the Intercon. If you want to dine close to your hotel, my humble recommendation includes Opus on Prince Arthur (great food with an extensive wine list and an intimate atmosphere) or Sassafraz (cool, hip place to be with fantastic food).
        If you are ok with taking a taxi you should try Canoe, Jump or Far Niente.
        Have a great time in Toronto. Hope the weather is pleasant during your visit.

        3 Replies
        1. re: lpires

          Sorry, but no, no, no to Sassafraz. Overpriced, mediocre food served by pretentious servers who are too busy looking for or fawning over celebrities to pay you any attention.

          1. re: TorontoJo

            Splendido, Opus for something nicer, more formal.
            Harbord Room for a laid back, casual night out.

            For drinking, Lobby Bar is on your doorstep and while the food isn't much, it is a place to keep in mind for a nightcap.

            While Queen Street West isn't too close to your hotel, you may enjoy checking out The Drake Hotel, Gladstone, Ossington area for some fun places to drink and get some casual food. Given your in the media industry, you would probably enjoy the flavour of the area.

            1. re: sydandsys

              I agree with your West Queen West rec - great vibe. The Drake is a very cool spot for a drink, Gladstone could be fun for breakfast and any of Pizzeria Libretto or Delux on Ossington. While I haven't been, I've also heard good things about Nyood for dinner (it's a converted art gallery - stunning space).

        2. I would say Prego (corner of Avenue/Bloor ) would be your best bet for dinner, the food is great and will please all your guests. For drinks afterward, Lobby is a good recommendation or even better, the bar at One , Hazelton Hotel for nightcaps. All within a 5 minute walking distance from your hotel.

          1. If you want walking distance, there are many options. For drinks, definitely the top of the Park Hyatt, or Caren's Wine and Cheese Bar on Cumberland. For food, I would suggest Greg Couillard's Spice Room and Chutnet Bar in Hazelton Lanes, which is on the high end of prices, but offers amazing flavours you're not going to find anywhere else. Other options would be Il Posto for very good Italian with amazing service, also in Hazelton Lanes, or Flow on Yorkvile, for very interesting and diverse food with great service.