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Apr 18, 2009 01:15 PM

Toronto Vacation Plans. What do you think?

These are my Toronto Vacation Plans but I still need some advise. Critiisms and critiques would be nice too. We are staying at the Residence Inn Downtown on Wellington just north of Rogers Centre. We have no car. We have two kids, 6 and 7 years old but they do well in nice restaurants. I STILL NEED RECOMMENDATIONS FOR DINNER IN THE DISTILLERY DISTRICT AND LUNCH IN ST. LAWRENCE MARKET.

Day 1 Friday. Arrive. Quick Lunch at Ravisoups. Get Oriented. Dinner at Black Hoof

Day 2 Saturday. St. Lawrence in the morning and for Lunch BUT NEED A RECOMMENDATION. Head down to the Harborfront. Dinner at Chiado

Day 3 Sunday: Ontario place and lunch there. Dinner at Colborn Lane

Day 4 Monday: Zoo and lunch there. Chiado for Dinner

Day 5 Tuesday: Royal Ont Museum then Jamie Kennedy Gardiner Rest for Lunch. Meander through Cabbage Town and Riverdale Farms and then to Distillery District. NEED RECOMMENDATION FOR DISTILERY DISTRICT OR SHOULD WE SKIP IT AS IT APPEARS SOMEWHAT OVER RATED?

Day 6 Wednesday: Ont Science Center for Afternoon and Lunch. Dinner at Lai Toh Heen

Day 7 Thursday: Casa Loma then Lunch at El Rincon and on to Canada’s Wonderland for the rest of the day

Day 8 Friday: Fort York in Morning then on to Chinatown, Kensington and Little Italy. Asia Legend for Dim Sum Lunch then Caplansky for Dinner then Greg’s Ice Cream.

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  1. Did you skip the art gallery (Art Gallery of Ontario - AGO) on purpose? I would highly recommend a visit there, and you can eat lunch/brunch/dinner at the restaurant, Frank.

    When will you be in town?

    Keep in mind closing times, for example Riverdale Farm closes at 5 p.m.

    The Distillery District is an interesting place to see, with its cobblestone walks and unusual buildings. Others may have better suggestions for dining. You may want to try Mengrai Thai; it's fairly close.

    Are there specific kinds of food you want to eat while you're here?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Full tummy

      We are doing AGO prior to going into Chinatown. Looks like we will try to do dinner at Weezie's prior to the distillery which we will go to for dessert. We have access to very good high end Thai down here so we decided not to do Thai. Thanks for help. Will post in another month after the trip!

    2. Hello Raboi -

      Here are some thoughts on your (commendably researched!) itinerary:

      Day 1 - You may not find Blackhoof an entirely satisfactory dinner for your first night in Toronto. It might be better off saved for a day when you've had a pretty substantial feed already and you're in the mood for a meal that is a bit graze-y. It's not that I think you'll have trouble getting enough calories, but there's a different kind of satisfaction that comes with a meal versus a picky dinner. And you've already had a light-ish lunch at Ravi. Also, since it's Friday I might suggest that you'd be better off at a place where you can book a definite rez versus taking your chances. I'd perhaps sub Chiado or Colborne Lane and risk the no-rez policy at BH on a weeknight.
      - Note that whatever day you plan for Blackhoof, it might be a good idea to have a Plan B since it lines up. Pizza Libretto and Foxley's are good options in the same-nabe, just in case.

      Day 2 - At St. Lawrence you might just let everyone freelance and choose what they want and then you can all eat on one of the picnic tables outdoors. Favourites include peameal sandwiches (various options) and eggplant parm sammies (downstairs), but you'll also find sushi (downstairs), fish and chips, and some killer cabbage rolls (can't remember the name of the place... also downstairs).

      Note: You have Chiado listed for dinners on Days 2 and 4, but I doubt you're actually planning to go there twice... do you have an alternate dinner pick?

      Day 5 - Distillery... I have mixed feelings. It's a pretty spot, but a little tourist-y and slick. It lacks great chowing... and that's already a very ambitious day you have planned. If you do end up thataway I like Mengrai Thai, which is a short walk from the DD. Or else you could, for the sake of convenience, eat at Pure Spirits or one of the other outdoor patios. It probably won't be the culinary highlight, but you may feel just fine about eating roadhouse-y food, drinking beer, and looking at the sky.

      Day 8 - I really like Caplansky's. I think it's worth hitting at some point on the trip, but it might feel like a letdown on your last night. Or it might feel like a relief. Either way, I'd really struggle to get down a cone at Greg's after a big feed of smoked meat at Caplansky's (both are "worthy" - it's just a bloody lot of food).

      One restaurant your hotel is quite near that I like (and it's not "the best" in Toronto, just a cozy spot that we return to often) is Le Select Bistro. It's middling-to-good bistro fare with a kiddie menu (but not gross kiddie menu, they're still serving the kids French bistro classics [i.e. little servings of terrine de campagne]). They have a nice patio, good wine selections, and they're easy walking distance for you if you find that you're just too tired to stick to the grand plan one night.

      1. The Distillery is definitely worth a visit, but the dinner options there are a bit hit and miss, especially when compared to some of the other places on your agenda. Two oft-recommended restaurants within an easy walk of there are Weezie's and Mengrai Thai. Both are excellent.

        Weezie's is about a 5-10 minute walk northeast of the Distillery area, at King St. and Power St. Mengrai Thai is about a 10 minute walk northwest, at Richmond St. and Ontario St. For both you will most definitely want reservations.

        354 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1K9, CA

        82 Ontario Street, Toronto, ON M5A 2V3, CA

        1. hey raboi,

          ill keep it simple. your choices are fine.

          St. Lawence is a market. They have alot of different venues to eat. My choice is the veal sandwich at Mustacio's downstairs... very good.

          Distillery i would chooses the Boiler Room... nothing spectacular but solid.

          Caplansky's is a deli.. not a great place for dinner; nice for lunch. The choice is yours for your final nights dinner.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ttran88

            I agree with Rabbit that Black Hoof, while intriguing, may not be the best choice for your first night. In fact, you might consider Rabbit's suggestion of Le Select for dinner the first night, it's within walking distance and you can make reservations.

            If your kids are at all interested in hockey (which I'm not sure if kids in Florida are or not) the Wayne Gretzky restaurant is nearby and, while not incredibly chowish, it's fun and full of hockey memorabilia.

            Le Select
            432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V1E3, CA

            1. re: ttran88

              St. Lawrence is definitely a wander-and-get-what-looks-good kind of lunch. Personally, I like to buy a bunch of stuff from Scheffler's and Olympic, a baguette from one of the bakeries, and take everything down to the lakefront or Centre Island for a picnic. But for a self-contained lunch, one of the best tips I've gotten on here is for the bifana sandwich from Churrasco of St. Lawrence. Get it with everything on it. I have only met two sandwiches with an aroma that can make me salivate all the way home - this is one of them. That being said, I don't think it's possible to get a bad lunch in the market. Go with whatever you're in the mood for.

              Also, Asian Legend is great for northern Chinese dim sum - soup dumplings, onion pancake, etc. If you want more of a Cantonese dim sum experience, there are better places.

              Some reviews point to Caplansky's being more family-friendly during the day. I can't comment, but do agree with those think of it more as a lunchtime thing. It's a deli run in the back of the second floor of a bar. Do with that what you will.

              1. re: Wahooty

                Skip on Asian Legend, it's not a destination restaurant. It's not even dim sum, northern dumplings and such are not considered dim sum, AL don't even do those that well. If you want authentic and innovative dim sum, go to Lai Wah Heen. You have some $$ restaurants on your list so I don't think you'll be surprised at the higher pricing of LWH. Expect $40ish per person for dim sum, higher if you reach for things like shark's fin soup dumplings.


                I haven't been to Lai Toh Heen, but most people agree LWH the main location is better.

            2. The Distillery has at least 3 chowworthy stops, but none of them are restaurants- the Brick Street Bakery has delicious eccles cakes and good sandwiches (there is 1 bench inside where you can sit and eat, or you can get take-out and eat whatever you buy outside), Soma Chocalatemaker has some of the best chocolate and gelato in the city, and Taste of Quebec has all sorts of interesting cheeses, maple products and charcuterie. I drive out of my way to the Distillery to stock up on chocolate at Soma.

              Not far from the Distillery is Leslieville (a stretch along Queen St East less than a 10 minute drive east of the Distillery), which has lots of restaurants (Tomi Kro, Leslie Jones, Joy Bistro, Fare Bistro, Table 17 and more), some of which are considered foodie destination restaurants.

              I wouldn't skip the Distillery- there are lots of interesting galleries, as well as a building that is mostly working studios, and a theatre, in addition to the touristy shops.