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Best of Bloor West/High Park?

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  • sway Jun 1, 2009 09:03 AM
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Just wondering what are your favourite restaurants in the Bloor West/ High Park area?

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  1. creme de la creme for brunch.
    Momiji for sushi
    Vibo for italian
    Patisserie st Honores for danishes

    1 Reply
    1. re: chillihigh

      creme de la creme & pattisserie are both tasty...but they fall under the kingsway village, not bloor west.

      pattisserie st honore is significantly better than hot oven bakery which is in bloor west. But be aware, the owner dissapears for 1 month in the summer to go back home to France & is closed on Sundays.

      Hot oven, theres 2 locations close by (one in bloor west and one on the kingsway). i found the one in bloor west to be better. Anything I have purchased from the Kingsway location is a let down.

    2. I have been to, and actively disliked, the Firkin (what a surprise) and Dr. Generosity.

      The Griffin is passable if you want a burger and a beer.

      Shakey's was fine. Probably loads of fun when it's busy.

      The only place I can remember really enjoying is the Dark Horse pub. They have a big difference between their A team and their B team. The A team has done brilliant pad thai, and splendid blackened salmon caesar. The B team wasn't a colossal failure, but simply okay with some bungles that should have been caught by the servers. I don't know what the trick is to catch the A team. Their patio in summer is heaven.

      1. I personally really like Dr. Generosity for brunch. The Yellow Griffin is good for a huge and interesting burger, but definitely a bit of a dive inside and it can take forever to get a burger when it is busy. Momiji in the Kingsway Village is my fave sushi place. It's not exactly BW but it is just a bit further west on Bloor. I also really like Henry VIII Ale House which is also in the Kingsway Village.

        http://www.henryviiialehouse.com/Home...
        http://www.drgenerosity.com/
        http://www.yellowgriffinpub.com/

        2 Replies
        1. re: Toronto Chower

          Agree with all the above. I also dig Hot Oven bakery for bread-y things.

          1. re: piccola

            Absolutely agree about Hot Oven bakery - we buy all of our bread there. (One caveat, their 'Montreal bagels' are not from Montreal, but are priced as if they are.) We like the whole wheat and the all grain loaves the best. Also the olive bread is amazing - can't recall the name of it at the moment.

            Sway, thanks for giving me the go ahead to try Pho Huong again. Looking forward to it.
            LTL Pho Ga Bahn Cuon is a tad too far for us to consider for a walk down the street kind of meal. One day when we feel like biking or driving we'll make it a destination - thanks for the rec. We're also interested in trying the Stockyards BBQ place out that way...

            Anybody been to Boo Radley's on Dupont? We've been meaning to go there too - love the name.

        2. My wife and I LOVE the perogies at Amber European (just west of Bloor Jane)

          1. I think Dr. Generosity's has consistent pretty good food. It will not blow you away, but it's pretty good. It is very much a family restaurant.
            Bryden's at Jane is also good for pub food and excellent beer prices - much better than Shakey's IMHO.
            I would pass on Griffin. Takes forever, it's expensive and really, once you get past the gimmick, it's not all that great.
            Queen's Pasta can sometimes have some good specials.
            Unfortunately, I don't find my own neighbourhood to be a dining 'destination'. If I didn't live there, I really don't think I would go out of my way to get there...

            2 Replies
            1. re: tochipotle

              Thanks for your suggestions so far. I've been to Dr. Generosity's for brunch and dinner. I was impressed by brunch, but dinner was pretty mediocre, including very fishy tasting calamari, but decent trout. I moved to the Junction about 8 months ago, and have developed a bad habit of not leaving the block.. It's so easy when you can walk to dinner. We thought we'd try to branch out to Bloor West last Sunday, but Yumi was closed so we (of course) ended up back on Dundas again...desperately trying to break free! Thanks!

              1. re: sway

                sway - what are you enjoying on Dundas?

            2. I'm commenting on everywhere I can walk to from my place at High Park and Bloor:
              There's a new Pho (or rather a revived) place on Pacific and Dundas. They do super flour rolls with grilled pork.
              Breakfast and meat related dinner dishes - The Purple Onion on Dundas at High Park
              Sunset Grill is good for early risers. Consistent.
              Wonderful Colombian "Los Arrieros" 276 Jane Street (Jane & Annette) - for chicken soup (Sundays) or Oxtail Suop(Saturday) and their wonderful empanadas
              Sharky's is average but has a great patio.
              Queen's Pasta is one of my favourites - the serve is super friendly and the food is always good.
              Sushi Villa has good sushi - for good prices. Also offer brown rice (actually red rice).
              I also really like Henry VIII Ale House which is also in the Kingsway Village. (not really walkable)

              18 Replies
              1. re: tweeze

                Tweeze - I've been to the Pho place before it was 'revived' and found it to be really lacking. I didn't try the flour rolls tho. Do you know if the menu has changed/improved? I'm hesitant to go back if it's the same old food with a paint job, but would love decent Vietnamese in the neighbourhood.

                1. re: tochipotle

                  Have you tried Pho Ga Banh Cuon (just east of St. Clair/Runnymede)? Their pho is mediocre, but the banh cuon is amazing.

                  1. re: tochipotle

                    Tochipotle, you should go back for sure! We are there once or twice a week. It used to be Pho Tri ki mi (sp) now it's Pho Huong. I haven't tried the rolls, but I always get pho #1 (the one that comes with everything) or the pork bone and crab claw noodle soup. It's new owners, new menu and new recipes. We went to the old place 3 times and decided the broth was flavourless and portions stingy. It's much better now. That being said, most of the vietnamese people I've asked say the restaurant at Keele and Wilson in the plaza with the Metro is better, but they also say Pho Huong is the best one in the area. Besides that, we like Curry Twist and North of Bombay for Indian. I love the whole tamerind red snapper at Young Thailand and the noodles and rice dishes at Friendly Thai. Bronosauraus Burgers is good for burgers, but their poutine was a bit disappointing. Espresso Mi Vida has awesome breakfasts and mouthwatering tamales, but they only open until 6pm and they get their empandas from Jumbo Empanadas. The Beet also serves tasty organice food, but they seem to run out of a lot of their items. I've been there about 5 times and each time they didn't have at least one item that we ordered...but what they have is really good!

                    1. re: sway

                      I've always meant to try Curry Twist. Any recs on hits/misses?

                      1. re: LTL

                        my buddy who eats out a TON says the best indian he's had in TO is at North of Bombay...
                        On the BWV tip though, i'm a fan of Falafel King, heard Amber is excellent, and love Bronto Burger (when i'm into eating that type of thing)
                        For thai BAAN thai on Dundas has been superb, but i've found unfortunately is kinda hit and miss...

                        1. re: dannyboy

                          I too prefer North of Bombay to Curry Twist, but my SO disagrees, so we frequent both. At CT, the chicken korma special was decent, but I thought the chicken was a bit dry. The butter chicken is also not bad. I found Baan Thai a bit greasy when I visited, I should give it another try, but love the food at Friendly Thai and the fish at Young Thailand, so haven't been so motivated... We'll definitely give Amber and Vibo a try, can't wait to hit Bloor West this weekend with your recommendations!

                          1. re: sway

                            sway and tweeze - I've been meaning to thank you for months. Pho Huong is pretty much a weekly destination for us now. Love the food - and apparently so does the rest of the neighbourhood, as it's always packed! I'm so happy that you encouraged me to go back. I'm a big fan of the Bun dishes as well as the Pho. Actually, I haven't had anything there I haven't liked. No need to travel out of the hood for Vietnamese food anymore, in fact, when we have, we've just been disappointed.

                            1. re: tochipotle

                              You're very welcome! Though we have noticed in the past month they haven't been as generous as usual with the meat in the pho. I generally get either No. 1 (everything in) or pho gai (chicken). The beef stew and the pork hock and crab soup are also good.

                          2. re: dannyboy

                            Will have to try North of Bombay then! Thanks for the rec

                            1. re: LTL

                              Another plus regarding N. of Bombay was that they delivered, not sure if they still do. Always enjoyed the food.

                              1. re: damonster

                                Yep, they deliver. I think we've been there twice when they said they were so rammed with deliveries, they couldn't accomodate us for dine-in. Same with Friendly Thai.

                                1. re: sway

                                  North of Bombay is one of favourite Indian places. They used to be further east on Dundas and more of a take out and delivery place - the eat in section lacked a lot to be desired. I actually think the food was better when they operated like this but I still rank it top of list for Indian in Toronto.

                                  1. re: sway

                                    is Friendly Thai better than Baan Thai?

                                    1. re: dannyboy

                                      I think it's much better. We went back to bann thai about 2 weeks ago, and I honestly don't have any recollection what the food tasted like, it was that memorable.

                            2. re: LTL

                              I prefer Curry Twist. Their eggplant dish is really good.

                              1. re: blue bike

                                Another vote for Curry Twist.

                                NofBB has better atmosphere but CT's food is better. Plus, you can interact with the CT owner / cooks, which is always a good thing. We always get them to jack up the heat by asking for "Indian Hot". They give a sly smile and crank up the Scovilles.

                        2. re: tweeze

                          I also love Queen's Pasta and Sushi Villa.

                          1. re: tweeze

                            Yeah, I second the "Los Arrieros" recommendation - fantastic, hearty, home-cooking!! Good luck trying to leave that place hungry!

                          2. If you're willing to venture over to Roncesvalles, you'll find some better options.

                            - Thai Chef is stand-out
                            - The Intersteer has moved a couple doors, clearly hired someone smart in the kitchen, and has a very spiffy art-deco coffin interior.
                            - Blue Moon Bay, mauritius cuisine, never tried it
                            - Cafe Polonez is very easy to enjoy

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: svanegmond

                              Thanks Svanegmond... I'm usually very adventurous, but for whenever we go to Roncesvalles, we always go to Chopin for their amazing tripe soup. They have awesome everything, even their cherry struedel is mouthwatering...but in the interest of moving out of our comfort zone, I will drag my SO to new experiences!

                              1. re: svanegmond

                                I grew up in the Ronces/High Park neighbourhood. Cafe Polonez was always a fave but last year hubby and I were thinking of somewhere different to go for dinner and Polonez came to mind, had been a few years since we were last there. We were a bit disappointed. It seems as though they're under new management, though I'm not sure. I know they did renovations but a lot is different since the good ol' days of going there. Portions seem smaller. Asked for fried mushrooms on the side and we both thought they were using canned button mushrooms. In the past you'd get a nice plate of perfectly seared, very tasty sliced mushrooms. I had the liver and it was over-cooked and full of grizzle. Hubby had the schnitzel which we always used to get. It was a very small portion compared to what it used to be like. I have heard the stuffed potatoe pancake is yummy so maybe we'll go back and give it another try.

                              2. been a few years since I have been but the pizza place on Dundas at High Park - Vesuvios. Any one been recently that can confirm that is still good?

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: ksapd

                                  My highly scientific evidence *read: walking the dog on recycling day* consistently proves that it is the delivery of choice for our area. We had it delivered once about a year ago, and didn't love it.

                                  1. re: tochipotle

                                    I personally love the pizza at Vesuvio's, but my neighbours have said they didn't think much of it. I LOVE the fried calamari there, surprisingly good! The pasta was pretty good, but I usually get the pizza. The entrees (salmon, chicken, veal) are nothing to write home about though, on the bland side. Service is usually sub-par, once the server was outright rude and mocking.

                                    1. re: sway

                                      I adore Vesuvio's pizza! It's my absolute favourite in the neighbourhood.

                                      1. re: Sarah Cat

                                        I always order from Capi's now - i think it's better than Vesuvio's...

                                2. I love the beet. Their food is delicious. But they are only open for dinner Thursday through Saturday. On Roncesvalles, Brad's is great and Tintos!

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: ocean

                                    Roncesvalles has much better options in my opinion. The breakfast at Mitzi's (at Pearson and Sorauren) is the best in the city. And their coffee is so strong and delicious that I often stop there before work in the morning for a cup of java. Cherry Bomb also has good strong coffee and fabulous baked goods. Ice cream at The Film Buff is spectacular. Brad's is great, but a little awkward. Loons has a beautiful back patio and yummy nachos. Tinto has great food. I've heard rave reviews of The Dizzy, Boho and Silver Spoon.

                                    Bloor West and High Park have a lot of catching up to do! I lived there for years and was never as excited about chow as I am in Roncy!

                                    1. re: Sarah Cat

                                      Rents have always been an issue in Bloor West Village -- too high. Junction is more modest, and Roncesvalles is in-between.

                                      From BWV -- Sushi Villa, Bloom, Falafel World
                                      From Junction - Pho Huong, Young Thailand, Curry Twist
                                      From Roncesvalles - River (bargain), Brad's, Buddha Dog, Queen of Tarts

                                      1. re: Dean Tudor

                                        Buddha Dog?! You've got to be kidding! I'm absolutely shocked that they're still in business, considering how crappy and overpriced their product is.

                                        1. re: Dean Tudor

                                          River has good food but awkward service. I don't think I'd go back.

                                          1. re: Dean Tudor

                                            Bloom is our current favourite in BWV. They are under new ownership (since last winter I think?) and they are trying very hard. The food is great and the service is really good.

                                            1. re: Karieann

                                              Ah, really? May have to give them another go. Previous ownership left lots to be desired.

                                              1. re: Davedigger

                                                I tried Bloom's recently and it was very good. ( Ihadn't been in years and last time didn't impress me)Their cocktails were amazing...the descriptions were quite amusing! I would say Bloom is somewhat upscale for BWV ........in case people are looking for something more casual...this place isn't , IMO .
                                                I'd go back. The service was excellent.

                                              2. re: Karieann

                                                Bloom is definately a great addition to BWV.
                                                I also like Yumi for Japanese food.
                                                The best places for bar-type food are Bryden's and Dark Horse.
                                                Sunday brunch: Dr. Generosity
                                                There is also a new thai place closer to Jane, which I haven't tried but is on my list.

                                            2. re: Sarah Cat

                                              Blue Plate used to be Boho. The food now is kind of high-end comfort food, usually delicious and fresh - and the chef is more flexible than a lot of places (more willing to change items on the menu, if she can).
                                              Silver Spoon is no longer. InterSteer serves gourmet fish & chips Fridays, good food in general. Dizzy's food is good for a Sports Bar (TV's flashing sports at you from all directions). Gabby's does some of the best sweet-potato fries in town. Go figure!

                                              -----
                                              Boho
                                              392 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R2M9, CA

                                              Blue Plate
                                              392 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R, CA

                                          2. I've only been to Queen's Pasta but I like it. I don't love it but in my opinion its better than the Rocco's on Islington. I have been to Rocco's more than 5 times over the past few years and I've never liked it that much. I so want to give it a chance as it is in my neighbourhood but I prefer the pastas at Queen's Pasta.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: TOchowgal

                                              I agree that QP is much better than Rocco's. I tend to stick with the specials at QP rather than the regular menu items though.

                                              1. re: Davedigger

                                                QP's black and white pasta is a standard for my wife

                                            2. Anyone try High Park Kebob House (Bloor & HIgh PArk Av) ?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: 5andman

                                                Don't bother. Very slow service although there were only two tables occupied. They only had one pop and one beer from the menu. Food is just OK.

                                              2. Has anyone been to Bloom recently? How was the food and service?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: TOchowgal

                                                  Was there for dinner recently - service was extremely slow and the food was less than desirable. There are so many better options in TO.

                                                2. A few places that have been overlooked:

                                                  - Simply Thai - great veggie rolls and peanut beef curry
                                                  - The Spicy House - Best Indian in the area. Fantastic Butter chicken
                                                  - Cool hand of a Girl - The avocado parmesan sandwich is amazing

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: mortsog

                                                    Not to nitpick, but isn't Cool Hand technically in the Junction?

                                                    1. re: piccola

                                                      Yes, Cool Hand is in the Junction. But back to High Park ( on Bloor West); went to Sharkeys a few weeks ago and the reno is truly scary. Don't kow if this is recent as I haven't been there for a couple of years. Food just okay and lots of room and taking overflow from Dr. Generosity.

                                                      Went there because our small group didn't want to wait last in line on a cold day for Dr. Generosity for lunch.

                                                  2. I have to second (third?) everyone who mentioned Pho Huong.
                                                    I'd like to mention Lenos in the Junction. They're a new Colombian restaurant in the area. You have to try their beef empanaditas. The music is quite loud but the food is good. I think it's a family-owned restaurant.
                                                    For Roncesvalles, my go-to place is Cafe Polonez. I tried Chopin but the schnitzels at Polonez taste fresher. I loved the brunch at Liver Bird (the back of Boho) but alas, Boho is no more.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: eaterjt

                                                      I've been impressed with the smoked ribs at Aquila (Keele & Dundas); the resto is otherwise an Adriatic Italian place.

                                                      Buddha Pie is terrific (Annette and Runnymede), excellent panini and pizza.

                                                      My Place (Bloor and Jane) is variable, but give them points for a "Canadian" menu.

                                                      1. re: Dean Tudor

                                                        We have been to My Place twice now and don't think we will go back. Not terrible, not great. No reason to rush back.

                                                        -----
                                                        My Place: A Canadian Pub
                                                        2448 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6S 1R2, CA

                                                      2. re: eaterjt

                                                        Do you have an exact address for Lenos? Would I need reservations for a Saturday night?

                                                        1. re: LTL

                                                          LeƱos Bar & Restaurant
                                                          2883 West Dundas Street
                                                          Toronto, ON M6P1Y9
                                                          Tel: (647) 351-4296

                                                          Saturdays seems to be really packed. I think there might be some dancing involved so I would suggest calling the restaurant.

                                                          1. re: eaterjt

                                                            Thanks! I may leave this to another day then. Been meaning to try Buddha Pie, so will see how that is and report back.

                                                            1. re: LTL

                                                              We tried Lenos, and found it not spectacular. Mind you, I went to a family-owned Columbian restaurant on Long Island, and the food was identical, so perhaps it's Columbian food I'm not crazy about. It seemed like the picado bandejo was just a platter of assorted fried meat, fried plantains and, well, fries. My SO's grilled chicken wasn't bad though, but I'm not tempted to go back.

                                                      3. When I used to live in that hood I really liked the turkey sandwich and soups at Bread n' Roses.

                                                        I also liked the Janina sandwich at the falafel place near Jane and Bloor...mostly cause I share its name, but also cause its unique, a bunch of middle eastern items all rolled into a pita...lentils, onions, cabbage...its a great veggie meal.

                                                        I also love the schnitzel at Amber and go back there when I get cravings.

                                                        I had a first date with my now husband at Sushi Villa, so thats a memorable place.

                                                        Since I was a little kid, I've been getting the big breakfast platter at the Grenadier Cafe and sharing it. Now I take my son there for brunch.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: jnine

                                                          The falafel place you mention is Falafel World. Excellent and addictive. They put something in it that makes you crave it fortnightly...

                                                        2. Hot Oven Bakery (Runnymede & Bloor) has amazing bread. The baguettes are very very good. Their cheese bread is to die for.

                                                          1. going to the dream in high park this summer...
                                                            any good vegetarian picks for before?
                                                            i read through the posts and cant seem to find a conclusive choice among them...
                                                            veggie or not.
                                                            we like thai, indian, sushi or ?

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: spankyfinch

                                                              The new sushi restaurant at Bloor and Parkside called Wasabi is pretty good.

                                                              1. re: Sarah Cat

                                                                thxs for the suggestion sarah cat...
                                                                we ended up at green mango.
                                                                some good veggie choices and consistent food.
                                                                the play on the other hand...
                                                                even mediocre shakespeare in the park, under stars, is not a bad way to spend a summer's eve.
                                                                now if i could just could have convinced all that a picnic was the way to go:O)

                                                            2. Has anyone tried the wood-fired oven pizza at Grenadier Cafe inside High Park? Do they still have or use the smoker?

                                                              1. Was in the neighbourhood and stopped in at Henry VIII for lunch. Overall was quite disappointed with the food and of mixed opinion on the beers.

                                                                Semi-decent line up on tap, and you can choose from a short selection of English brews. They also have a couple of house brews that look to be Sleeman products and I saw a lager and a red on the menu. I tried the lager and I gotta say it looked just awesome. Great head on a super looking hazy apricot coloured brew. Unfortunately is was way too sour and tart to be a lager. I always appreciate a place that has the courage to get away from serving the same six beers as everybody else, but in the end, you still have to get it right. Beer fail on the lager, didn't try the red. My lunch companion had a bottled Fullers ESB, which was fine.

                                                                The food we had was equally uneven. Quebec brie with crostini and cranberry compote was decent enough. Good job on the crostini. The side salad was abysmal and had a very chemical or plastic taste. The homemade sausage rolls were a total bust. They looked good at first glance, but what they were trying to pass off as sausage may have (MAY have, I stress) had the pig walk past at some point, but I'm guessing it was only a tablespoon or so's worth of pork removed from being a vegetarian meal. The sausage was dry, tasteless and made up mostly of bread filler. They frankly should be embarrassed to serve it and call it sausage. At $15 a plate that sort of misrepresentation borders on theft. Served with the same wretched side salad.

                                                                The shame of it was that it seems like a fairly nice and cozy space. Too bad. Not recommended.

                                                                -----
                                                                Henry VIII
                                                                3078 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M8X1C8, CA

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: wiggy.

                                                                  Henry VIII is on a hopeless stretch of Bloor West. I don't know why everything sucks between Royal York and Islington. It just does.

                                                                  HOWEVER. On the far side of Royal York (east of, north side) there was a phenomenal tapas restaurant that was tapas before tapas was old hat. The food rocks my world; the intrusive entertainment does not.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Henry VIII
                                                                  3078 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M8X1C8, CA

                                                                  1. re: svanegmond

                                                                    Casa Barcelona? Yeah, they're pretty authentic and old-school Spanish.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Casa Barcelona
                                                                    2980 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M8X1B9, CA

                                                                    1. re: Food Tourist

                                                                      I second/third Casa Barcelona for tapas (especially the beef tenderloin with portobello sauce, st peter fish with red pepper sauce, and chicken with saffron sauce) - I think the intrusive entertainment (mariachi singers) only come once a week. On other nights, it's quite a nice quiet atmosphere.
                                                                      Nearby, Hot Oven Bakery has decent baked goods/breads, but unfortunately, their previously excellent freshly made sandwiches are now terrible. I'm quite sure they are bringing them in from elsewhere now. This used to be a viable lunch option in the hood for us....
                                                                      Has anyone tried June Harlowe in the Junction?

                                                                      -----
                                                                      Casa Barcelona
                                                                      2980 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M8X1B9, CA