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Budget Friendly, Quiet Dinner Suggestions

dish_and_rag Mar 31, 2009 09:55 PM

Hi There!

I'm looking for some suggestions for a nice place to celebrate a special occasion for two, where a lovely meal & some wine would come to no more than $100 max (less if possible). My preference is somewhere quiet, but not boring. For us it is most convenient to stay south-westish in the City, and not hard to get to by TTC...but if something is really amazing I'd make an exception.

Thanks in advance!

The Dishwasher
http://dish-and-rag.blogspot.com

  1. s
    stonedtoronto Apr 1, 2009 12:30 AM

    It's in the downtown core, but I would suggest Everest and East! Both are at Queen/John. Very nice restaurants, could easily be mistaken for a higher calibre restaurant. Apps are under $10, entrees, under $20, and most bottles in the $30-40 range.

    6 Replies
    1. re: stonedtoronto
      TorontoJo Apr 1, 2009 05:56 AM

      Sorry, isn't East the Spring Rolls offshoot? If so, please, please stay away for a special occasion. Beyond mediocre "pan-Asian" in a nice setting.

      If you don't mind going a bit further east, Weezie's has gotten consistently great reviews and press for serving quality food in a quiet setting at great prices.

      1. re: TorontoJo
        Muffin__Top Apr 1, 2009 06:36 AM

        Yeah I just went to Weezie's the the past two weeks and dinner was under $100 and pretty amazing. Older crowd, pretty quiet.

        1. re: Muffin__Top
          dish_and_rag Apr 1, 2009 06:03 PM

          I will definitely be checking out Weezie's at somepoint, and my baby sister's bf works the line there. But I think we might wait for a fam-jam for that one, and not a party of two! :)

          The Dishwasher
          http://dish-and-rag.blogspot.com

        2. re: TorontoJo
          s
          stonedtoronto Apr 1, 2009 06:50 AM

          TorontoJo is right actually. I guess I missed the part where you mentioned special occasion. Again, it's not the west end, but how about...

          Sequel - French/Med
          Edo - Japanese
          Amaya Bread Bar - Indian Fusion

          These are all in the Yonge/Eglinton area

        3. re: stonedtoronto
          c
          childofthestorm Apr 1, 2009 12:37 PM

          Also, Everest is pretty terrible.

          1. re: childofthestorm
            dish_and_rag Apr 1, 2009 06:05 PM

            Also, agreed that Everest is terrible. I used to work around the corner from both Everest and East and have been to both. Its fine for a quick work lunch (I guess) but not what I'm looking for this time around!

        4. Rabbit Apr 1, 2009 06:56 AM

          Sidecar might work??

          1 Reply
          1. re: Rabbit
            s
            syrahc Apr 1, 2009 09:51 AM

            Especially if you went with the prix fixe they have.

          2. ChalkBoy Apr 1, 2009 07:24 AM

            Alice's Restaurant.

            3 Replies
            1. re: ChalkBoy
              foodyDudey Apr 1, 2009 07:28 AM

              Unless the prices there dropped, I don't see how you could eat there for under one hundred. There would definitely be no drinks at that price.

              1. re: foodyDudey
                j
                juno Apr 1, 2009 08:20 AM

                Of the places suggested to date, Alice's Restaurant meets all your requirements, except - as foodyDudey has mentioned - the price. In my experience, it'll cost about $125-$150 a couple, tax, tip and maybe three wines-by-the-glass for the two of you included. Perhaps you can cut the total by bringing your own wine, a service Alice's offers at what is probably a modest corkage fee (its website doesn't list the precise fee so you'll have to phone to find out how much it is, which means, I suspect, that the fee varies according to the day of the week and how badly they want you to fill a couple of seats). But the place is easily TTC-accessible, on College Street just a few doors west of Ossington Ave., the atmosphere somewhat muted but not drearily so, the service is caring and - most important - the food is good. Some unusual menu items, and everything done with innovation. Stay away from the more expensive appetizers and you'll cut the bill even more. Nice homey touch: the most agreeable chef/owner pops out of the kitchen every now and then to chat casually with the guests in what seems more than just a public relations gesture. Alice's is a superior neighborhood bistro, one of my favorite joints in that part of town.

                1. re: juno
                  foodyDudey Apr 1, 2009 08:47 AM

                  We enjoyed eating at Alice's, and don't feel we went overboard on ordering but the bill was still over $200 after tax and tip. We had one app, main and dessert each plus a $50 bottle of wine. I doubt that ordering wine by the glass would cost less unless you limit your self to a glass each. It's a good restaurant and I'd go more often if I could truly get out of there for $100 as Joanne Kates reported in her review. I think I'll go back and see if we can eat for $125 a couple.

            2. Teep Apr 1, 2009 10:24 AM

              Camino Bistro (French) is 10 min walk from the Main subway. It's East not West but is usually quiet and prix fix for $35. If you tell them it's a special occasion in advance maybe they can do something about that.

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/452659

              1. t
                torontofoodiegirl Apr 1, 2009 11:54 AM

                Le Paradis (at Ave and Dav) is really good value (your bill would definitely come in under $100, before tax and tip) and has some very yummy menu options. It's relatively quiet (though not super-quiet) and has a fairly nice atmosphere.

                http://www.leparadis.com/index.html

                1 Reply
                1. re: torontofoodiegirl
                  Splendid Wine Snob Apr 1, 2009 12:44 PM

                  I was just going to recommend the same. I wouldn't classify it as "quiet" but its definitely not boring-good classic French comfort food at 1980's prices. You will easily get out of there with $100 (including a bottle of wine). And I am always amazed at the mix of clientele. Its the one place in Toronto where everyone eats-from the rich Yorkvillians (sp-villans?) to students to the established Toronto academe.

                  SWS

                2. dish_and_rag Apr 1, 2009 06:42 PM

                  Thanks you everyone for the input! Lots of great suggestions here, but I've narrowed it down to Alice's, Sidecar, and Le Paradis. I'm going to pass these on to my dining companion and I'll keep you all posted on the results!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: dish_and_rag
                    m
                    merlot143 Apr 1, 2009 07:35 PM

                    I love Le Paradis, but, surprisingly, not because of its food. I like the bustling atmosphere (seems like a real bistro) and the low prices. They also used to have a handy prix fixe. The food, however, is very good, but not excellent. I found the sauces on the main dishes like beef bourgignon were very rich and tasty. However, the meat itself might be a bit overcooked or dry. The salads were nothing special. The desserts were good, esp. their ice cream. If food is your main criteria (and you probably wouldn't be on Chowhound if it weren't), I would skip Le Paradis for a special occasion. There's better in Toronto.

                    1. re: merlot143
                      Splendid Wine Snob Apr 2, 2009 09:31 AM

                      The OP specifically requested a place under $100 with wine for two. What places in Toronto have you been to Merlot143 that you can get an [excellent] meal with wine for two for $100? I would be interested...

                      And I honestly can't complain when I have a delicious, moist and enormous lamb shank for $17 when 99% of places in Toronto charge at least $25-35 for the same.

                      And they do have a prix fixe for $20. When is the last time you were there?

                      SWS

                      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
                        m
                        merlot143 Apr 2, 2009 09:57 AM

                        For a hundred bucks, I'd go to Gale's Snack Bar then get hammered afterwards.

                    2. re: dish_and_rag
                      Splendid Wine Snob Apr 2, 2009 09:32 AM

                      Personally I'm curious about Sidecar so please report back if you decide on going there.

                      SWS

                    3. b
                      bogie Apr 2, 2009 07:22 AM

                      My wife and I love Kama Sutra Indian restaurant at Bayview & Millwood. It's a quiet, romantic, white tablecloth restaurant. They have an excellent dinner for 2 option, $49 for chef's appetizer platter, 2 meat entrees and I veggie entree plus naans and rice. All you have to pay extra for is dessert and drinks, BTW they have an excellent beer & wine list. Very easy to escape with a $100 bill!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: bogie
                        dish_and_rag Apr 2, 2009 01:58 PM

                        That does sound lovely to me! But alas, my picky boyfriend will not eat Indian food. He is clearly insane, but I like him anyway! Also, it is a bit far for us to travel this time around! I'll keep it in mind for other company!

                        Has anyone tried Delux? It sort of popped into my head yesterday. Do you think that's doable for $100? And is it a loud spot?

                        1. re: dish_and_rag
                          grey squirrel Apr 2, 2009 02:57 PM

                          Delux is one of my favourite restaurants! It's delicious and the menu is different enough to make any occasion feel special. Definitely not for under $100 though... sorry!

                          But if you do go, have the fresh baked cookies with organic milk for desert. The chocolate oozes out when you break into the cookie. Dribble.

                      2. sloweater Apr 2, 2009 03:15 PM

                        Why don't you check out Niagara Street Cafe. With the right choices you should be able to do dinner for around $100.

                        http://www.niagarastreetcafe.com/menu...

                        -----
                        Niagara Street Cafe
                        169 Niagara St, Toronto, ON M5V1C9, CA

                        1. dish_and_rag Apr 13, 2009 07:31 PM

                          I wanted to stop in again and thank everyone for their suggestions. We ended up going with Sidecar, and when we got there my fella allowed me to throw our original budget to the wind! :) :) :)

                          It was a lovely suggestion. The staff were incredibly personable and professional and treated us wonderfully. The cocktails were amazing (we had a Spicy Ginger Lemonade and a Badass Mojito). The food was solid (starter: lobster bisque, sidecar salad, mains: 8 oz steak frites, Tiger Shrimp Pasta, enders: cheese plate, creme brulle). The only issues I took with the experience were that I wasn't too keen on the glass of red I ended up choosing to go with my steak (perhaps my fault, but it didn't seem that exciting/complex) and the cheese plate seemed to be comprised of whatever cheeses they used on the menu for other dishes (i.e. both parm-reg and peccorino were present in a selection of 4). The cheese plate did make up for in quanitity what it lacked in quality and imagination...and the creme brulee was was better than we expected, so that was great!

                          Anyways, I would definitely recommend trying this place out, but make a reservation and maybe go a bit earlier if you'd like a quieter atmosphere (the place was bumping on Saturday night, but we lucked out and got the quietest table).

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