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group dinner near university

nzach Jun 16, 2009 06:33 PM

hi everyone,

I'm looking for a recommendation for a dinner for about 15-20 people on a week day night near the U of T campus. Price range should be in the $20-30 per person all included. I'm finishing my stint as a postdoc at U of T so this is my going away dinner, and to tell the truth I don't have any ideas! Kind of sad... it needs to be walking distance and able to accommodate the large-ish group. I would like to go somewhere nicer than chinatown but we still have a fairly hard upper ceiling on the price. Also not very fond of the numerous sushi/asian places on Bloor. I was thinking of Baldwin, but the Japanese restaurant I like (Konnichiwa) isn't big enough, and Bodega is too expensive (people should be able to order an entre and either a salad or a desert and maybe a drink for the price). Cafe la gaffe? How about something on Queen? There's an Indian restaurant there I remember liking but I don't remember the name.

Sorry for the somewhat generic question but I'm hoping that people who get out more will have better ideas that I do!

thanks in advance!

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    fickle RE: nzach Jun 17, 2009 06:30 AM

    What about Supermarket in Kensington Market? They can definitely accommodate a group that large and the prices are in your range.

    2 Replies
    1. re: fickle
      Arcadiaseeker RE: fickle Jun 17, 2009 07:46 AM

      Sorry to say it but Supermarket has really gone downhill -- the last couple of meals I had there have been truly abysmal. Soggy, over-cooked food (the green beans were literally shriveled up and mushy from overcooking - it is hard to screw up beans!). If you like Indian, Nataraj at Bloor and Brunswick is probably big enough and it's reasonable and tasty. I've been to a couple of larger group dinners at Bar Italia on College -- the food is pretty decent and it's not too expensive. I'm sure you'll get some other good suggestions but those are the ones that came to mind.

      1. re: Arcadiaseeker
        ChalkBoy RE: Arcadiaseeker Jun 18, 2009 10:48 AM

        Have you had Supermarket's new $15 prix fixe? I had it a week or two back and thought it was a great deal.

    2. Splendid Wine Snob RE: nzach Jun 17, 2009 10:00 AM

      I think you are probably referring to Trimurti-an Indian resto on Queen at McCaul. I've never been but it definitely fits the price range and our local Indian lovin' hound, Estufarian, likes it.


      There is also Torito-a Spanish tapas bar in Kensington, but sadly I think its slightly out of the price range as typically I find you need about 3-4 plates per person to feel full. It does have a lovely, patio though and would be fun for a larger group.


      There's also the new Mercatto in the MaRS building. It fits the price range too (but just).



      2 Replies
      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob
        ms. cornbread RE: Splendid Wine Snob Jun 17, 2009 04:25 PM

        Do you happen to know the hours of the new Mercatto on College? They are not listed on the website or in their voice mail. I just wanted to make sure they are open at night, and not just a lunch spot.

        1. re: ms. cornbread
          Splendid Wine Snob RE: ms. cornbread Jun 18, 2009 07:21 AM

          Don't know-sorry, but they do seem to be open past 5pm as they have a dinner menu posted on the website for the College location. Best bet is to call I guess and hope you don't get transferred to voicemail.

      2. d
        dubchild RE: nzach Jun 17, 2009 11:36 AM

        Your price range is really tight. I think the solution is the Coffee Mill in Yorkville. Simple, inexpensive Hungarian food.

        2 Replies
        1. re: dubchild
          nzach RE: dubchild Jun 17, 2009 01:44 PM

          yeah, i certainly didn't set it myself... academic budgets don't really allow for your typical business dinner :).

          1. re: nzach
            Splendid Wine Snob RE: nzach Jun 18, 2009 09:04 AM

            Can't your fellow colleagues/students pay for their own drinks? I totally understand the academic budget thing, but if the PI pays for the meal, then surely everyone can get their own drinks! If that's the case, then many suggestions on this thread would fit into the budget just fine.

            Another thought is to have a lunch at Le Paradis, which would most certainly fit with that budget (and the food is tasty too). But they only take reservations for larger groups at lunch so you would not be able to do dinner there.

            And congratulations on finishing up your post-doc!


        2. aser RE: nzach Jun 17, 2009 01:49 PM

          You can try Ematei, $30 is doable if you do 1 drink only. You're going there for the cooked food, not sushi.

          1. z
            Zengarden RE: nzach Jun 17, 2009 02:33 PM

            I know that you said that you weren't fond of the Asian spots in Chinatown but I am going to recommend Asian Legend for price point and also for the fact that you can book your party into the downstairs private room. There is a minimum order that is expected but you will hit it with the price ceiling that you have mentioned.

            1. Rabbit RE: nzach Jun 17, 2009 03:12 PM

              Negroni Panini is a great little spot that would fit your budget... but I'd call first to be sure they could accommodate the group. $20 bottles of wine!

              I also like Espresso Bar Mercurio... nice menu, pretty patio, not too expensive... and near campus.

              One of the pubs might be another budget-friendly although admittedly not-glam offering... Bedford Academy has a very pretty patio... Duke of York is also in the nabe.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Rabbit
                Arcadiaseeker RE: Rabbit Jun 17, 2009 03:16 PM

                The Duke is a great idea -- the food isn't the greatest but the beer's yummy and it's lively. And definitely fits your budget -- a pint and main course might end up costing you under 20 bucks if you play it right.

              2. h
                Hondapendragon RE: nzach Jun 18, 2009 09:01 AM

                I was also going to recommend Mercatto at the MaRS building. Also, I checked the Bodega website and they have prix fixe menu for $31.95.

                1. n
                  nzach RE: nzach Jun 19, 2009 09:20 AM

                  a number of good suggestions thank you all! now i'll definitely be able to find something.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nzach
                    cheeser RE: nzach Jun 21, 2009 08:18 AM

                    on baldwin, the best on the block is probably matahari bar and grill and you could get by with $30 (dinner + 1 drink). if you have big drinkers in your lab/group, you might head over to another location after dinner. you might also consider rivoli on queen...nice mix of food and in the right price range. great atmosphere as well. congrats on finishing your post doc!

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