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Taking Friends Around Town - Suggestions?

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so one of my best friends is coming to visit (from chicago) with his girlfriend for about 4 days. i'm looking to take them around town for different foods and have been brainstorming a list. please feel free to suggest/add anything to the list. we're looking for variety as much as possible...

we're also flexible to go either high end or hole in the wall as long as it's something they don't have in chicago. also the list is not in any particular order

1. Rodney’s – oysters, maybe king crab?
2. Sejong – Korean bbq, Korean soon tofu soup
3. Caplansky’s – montreal smoked meat sandwiches, cheesecake
4. Gandhi’s – butter chicken rotis
5. Churrasco’s – bbq chicken, ribs
6. Barbarian’s – steak, lobster
7. Hua Sang – lobster, seafood, Chinese steak
8. El Plebeyo/Chachy’s – Peruvian food
9. Backyard Gadne (Ban Mu Yuan – Midland/Finch) – Sichuan food
10. Go for Tea – bubble tea
11. Hamdi – Somali food
12. Lahore Tikka – Pakistani food
13. Bamiyan Kabob – Afghani food
14. Doner Kabob (Gerrard/Yonge) – Middle Eastern food
15. Burrito Boys – burritos
16. Vegetarian Haven/Fresh – vegetarian food, cheesecake, carrot cake
17. Terroni’s – pizza
18. 7 numbers/Graze – Italian food
19. Embrujo – Spanish tapas, live flamenco
20. Pan/Astoria – Greek food
21. Bella Vista – Italian food
22. Dolce – gelato
23. Le Pain Quotidien –breakfast
24. Crepes-a-gogo – crepes
25. Day Break – breakfast, omelets
26. St. Lawrence Market – pemeal bacon sandwich
27. Yang’s Sushi – cheap all you can eat sushi, includes unagi
28. Gregg’s – ice cream
29. ‘Nawlins – live jazz
30. Coquine – French food
31. Foxley’s – Thai food
32. Fran’s – chili, 24 hr fun
33. The Senator – breakfast, burgers
34. Allen’s – burgers
35. St. Louis – wings...don't like Duff's. the hot sauce is too sour.
36. Royal Meat BBQ – Eastern European BBQ
37. Rooftop Lounge (Hyatt)/Panorama – drinks, view of the city
38. Seven West – 24 hr fun
39. Sushiman/Hiro Sushi – Japanese owned sushi
40. Batifole – reasonably priced French food

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  1. Skip Coquine for French and take them to Celestin (high end), Le Select or Le Paradis (cheaper). Much better choices for classic French bistro. Haven't yet been to Didier but many French friends love it there too.

    I would also replace Embrujo with Torito in Kensington for tapas. Plus you can take them around the market.

    Il Gelatiere for Gelato

    SWS

    5 Replies
    1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

      thx for the ideas. i was thinking embrujo just for the flamenco. haven't been to il gelatiere but i'll keep that in mind.

      1. re: Piggy Smalls

        What about Ethiopian? That's a pretty unique thing in Toronto. And I hated Foxley but that's just me (it gets a lot of love on this board).

      2. re: Splendid Wine Snob

        Chicago does a lot of things very, very well. There's not a whole lot you can't get there...

        I would nix Burrito Boyz. Chicago has plenty of burritos, and better ones. The halibut burrito does have a distinct novelty factor, but I wouldn't rank it high on my list of Toronto foods. I could be wrong - some people love it, but I just don't get it. I'd rather have fish and chips OR a burrito.

        Might I suggest the Kensington/Chinatown grazing tour? Like SWS says, you can show them the market and snack your way through, then find some banh mi, and Chinese pastries at Kim Moon/Yung Sing/etc.

        You could take them to Batifole or La Palette for horse - you can't get that in Chicago. Ditto for poutine. Caplansky's is DEFINITELY something you can't get anywhere else - personally, I'd put that high on the list.

        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

          I whole-heartedly agree on your Coquine point of view SWS. They're long on ambition, short on execution.

          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

            Pastis might be another good option for upscale French.

            -----
            Pastis
            1158 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W2L9, CA

          2. Skip Middle Eastern, any Middle Eastern.

            They have MUCH better Turkish, Persian, Levantine, Maghrebi etc food in Chicago. No comparison whatsoever.

            1. - Caplansky's
              - Dim sum at LWH or Yang's
              - Any of the Chinese recommended by Charles_Yu or skylineR33
              - Ethiopian
              - Kaji
              - Bymark burger and lobster poutine
              - Peameal bacon at SLM
              - Banh mi
              - Swiss Chalet for real poutine; sometimes the curds suck, but it's much better than any of the other options for a classic poutine!

              I don't think that people from Chicago will be impressed with our Mexican or Italian, though the higher end Italian places would probably be okay (Mistura, Via Allegro, etc.). If they're only here for 4 days, show them things they really aren't going to get in Chicago, which, by the way, has a pretty thriving food scene.

              2 Replies
              1. re: tjr

                Please don't bring them to Swiss Chalet for poutine!

                Second the idea of Yang's for dim sum.

                I think Globe Bistro, JKWB and Cowbell would be good pics for Toronto-type/locally focused / mostly Ontario produced food. And Frank for locally focused food, if you're visiting the AGO. JKWB usually has a Torontofied version of poutine that isn't authentic, but is usually quite tasty.

                If you're thinking crepes, maybe try to get into the newly opened Le Brehandaise on Queen West- more authentic crepes are available there than at Crepes A Go Go.

                I wouldn't take them for Greek food in TO since Chicago has a big Greek population, and I'd think they have better Greek restaurants than we do.

                I'd also bring them to Soma Chocolate in the Distillery- chocolate and gelato made in TO. The Brick Street Bakery in the Distillery sells good Eccles Cakes as well as other mostly British style pastries- I'd guess that it isn't easy to find Eccles Cakes in Chicago.

                -----
                Globe
                124 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K1N1, CA

                Jamie Kennedy
                9 Church St, Toronto, ON M5E1M2, CA

                Cowbell
                1564 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6R1A6, CA

                1. re: phoenikia

                  Swiss Chalet is pretty much the closest thing you'll get to a decent authentic poutine in Toronto (having tried pretty much everything else). I was skeptical when I first heard about it, but figured I might as well try since it couldn't possibly be worse than eating a poutine anywhere else in the city. Interestingly enough, it was actually quite good despite the curds not being that great. If there's a better example of authentic poutine in Toronto, I'd really like to know.

                  I've had a few bad meals at JKWB in the past few months, so even though their poutine is okay (Bymark's is far better for an inauthentic poutine), I wouldn't suggest that anyone eat there.

              2. i like Coquine, but not as a special destination.

                a great bistro-best burger- uberToronto-hip experience can be had , with Ontario craft beers and a great wine list, at Harbord Room. i have not been to many place on your list, but i would replace Allen's (recent negative reviews), Senator, Foxley's and most of the italian places with Harbord Room. the service is excellent and the vibe is worth the visit. actually, so are the salads.

                2 Replies
                1. re: LemonLauren

                  LemonLauren, does the Harbord Room serve any other salads besides the Arctic Char Salad small plate and the Simple Salad side dish? I don't see any others on the online menu.

                  http://theharbordroom.com/food.html

                  1. re: phoenikia

                    they often have a special salad i think? a daily salad sorta thing, may be not listed on the menu, served as a small plate. i love the artic char one, tho.

                2. Nice idea, I am going to start making a list of places to take my friends who are visiting for a week next in May.

                  How about Breakfast/Brunch - Aunties and Uncles?

                  My list will include a lot more asian places though including many chinese food courts!