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Hi Fellow Hounds! I need help with Toronto dining

Hi friends! I will be traveling to Toronto on business in August. I will be with a coworker, although we might go our separate ways at some point so I might be a lone female for some dinners. We will be attending a conference at the Sheraton Centre Toronto, 123 Queen Street West, Toronto.

As this is the way my brain works I am already thinking about my dining options for the trip. These boards are a great source of information and I've started putting together a list of possibilities. I would, however love your thoughts on possible dining options for dinners. We can't go crazy with the spending since we are on the company dime. Per diem rates are about $103 per day for food. I usually do 2 meals a day -- with one being cheap so I can save my money for dinner.

I like all sorts of food. I'm from NJ and I'm looking forward to spending some time in Toronto. Thanks for your help!

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  1. You'll be able to eat very well on $103/day here, especially since the exchange rate boosts that to about $115/day CAD. Can you give us a little guidance as to the type of food and/or experience you're looking for? And how far are you willing to travel from your hotel via cab or transit?

    3 Replies
    1. re: TorontoJo

      ah! but don't forget our higher taxation, it'll take a bit out of that exchange rate boost.

      1. re: pinstripeprincess

        True enough. So it will be essentially par. She can still eat well for that amount, though!

      2. re: TorontoJo

        Also, how many days will you be here--so, how many meals are you looking at?

      3. DF, if you don't want to travel far there is a nice Italian restaurant just opposite the hotel called "Little Anthony's". Other good options nearby would be Milagro (higher end Mexican) or Reds (North American I wuld best describe it as). Also nearby is Osgoode Hall http://www.lsuc.on.ca/about/a/osgoode... if you have free time for lunch.

        I'm sure other posters will have better suggestions, these are the ones that came to my mind.

        Have a great trip!

        1. Hi! Greetings from TO,
          Based on my previous visits to NJ, I cannot recall any place that offers great Cantonese and Portuguese cuisine. As such, I'll definitely allocate some of your time for a meal at Lai Wah Heen and/or Chiado. I don't believe NJ or even NYC offers this calibre of fine Cantonese and Portuguese cuisine. The highly touted Canoe, which offers a menu that focuses on Canadian ingredients is also a great choice.
          With your per diem budget, to fully enjoy the above captioned three relatively expensive restaurants, I guess you really need to sacrifice a bit on your lunch. A bowl of noodles with won-ton or Chinese bbq meat from China town at around $5 would be a good, cheap and delicious choice!

            1. Here are some ideas, prices are per person. Unless it says prix fixe, I'm including some wine.
              -Black Hoof $50-60 dinner
              -Cava $70-90 dinner
              -Le Select $35 prix fixe dinner
              -Il Mulino $39 prix fixe dinner (not on Saturday)
              -Tutti Matti $15 prix fixe lunch
              -Grace $80-100 dinner
              -Nota Bene $80-100 dinner
              -Caplansky's $15-22 lunch or dinner
              -The Coffee Mill $20-25 lunch or dinner
              -Terroni $30 lunch or dinner
              -Canoe for drinks only, the view is great
              -Soma chocolate, world class chocolates in a nice setting
              -Asian Legend $20-25 lunch or dinner, best to go with someone to share plates.
              -Simple Bistro $80-100 dinner
              -The Queen Mother $25 lunch
              -Chinese Bun place on Baldwin (don't know exact name, it's around Baldwin and McCaul) $5 lunch
              -Konichiwa $15 lunch
              -Tabule $25 dinner
              -George $ 100-140 dinner
              I hope this gives you some ideas

              1 Reply
              1. re: dubchild

                There are some good suggestions in here; as Charles_Yu stated above, you should be able to enjoy most restaurants in the city, especially if you're conscious about how much you drink.

                Also, in your area, the best bets for Japanese food will be Ematei for cooked food (forget the sushi; also a really good spot for a cheap and delicious lunch specials), and Take Sushi for sushi.

              2. thanks for all the information. I will look over the places you mentioned so far and share the ideas with my coworker.

                I've heard about Note Bene and it was on my list of possible dinner choices.

                Here are some other possibilities -- what do you all think of these places?

                Auberge du Pommier
                Smoke Poutine (I've been wanting to try Poutine -- perhaps for lunch.)
                Loire restaurant
                The Harbord Room
                Silver Spoon
                Table 17

                5 Replies
                1. re: Disneyfreak

                  I'd probably avoid Conviction, Cowbell, and Smoke's (try Poutini instead; it's by no means perfect, but it's better than Smoke's).

                  I'd also add Bymark to the list (for the burger and lobster poutine).

                  How long are you staying here?

                  1. re: tjr

                    Hi Tjr! I will probably be in town from August 2 until August 6 mid day. So I have 4 dinners. Conviction, Cowbell and Smoke are no good? I have to check out your list of choices -- always looking for websites and menus go I can start drooling.

                    Thanks for the help!

                  2. re: Disneyfreak

                    Auberge is a really nice experience food is really decent, as is the service. But it's far from DT Sheraton. About a 20-25min TTC ride and then hmn... 5 min walk from the station.

                    Most interesting these days to me is the Black Hoof. You can check the blog for a write up of our first visit, but we've been more recently and enjoyed it just as much. "Menu" shots are there too. It serves nose-to-tail type stuff and the menu is always in chalk on the wall. Great drinks.

                    You've already got Nota Bene down - slowish service fyi, so don't be in a rush.

                    I really like Harbour 60 at the bar for drinks. Don't know why. Maybe it's the bacon strips or the atmosphere, probably the company I was in, but it's fun. Really good (huge) steak.

                    Toronto does Cantonese food really well and you're really close to Lai Wah Heen, the best dim sum you'll find downtown. I think Pearl @ the Harbourfront isn't bad either, but LWH is just the full package. I'd say go for Dim Sum Lunch if you can. Not cheap, so this might be a splurge lunch.

                    George has a lovely patio. If it's nice, see if you can sit there.

                    Canoe is nice for it's Canadiana based menu as well as the view. I went about 6 weeks back and thought the service and food was ok/good. I wouldn't go back any time soon, but it wasn't bad by any means. I think JK Wine Bar is really good for local ingredients too. The latter is better for single dining. Food tends to get over-salted, but it's not been the make-or-break that it has been for some.

                    http://www.foodpr0n.com -- food. is. love.

                    Lai Wah Heen
                    108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, CA

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

                    54th Floor TD Bank Tower, 66 Wellington, Toronto, ON M5K 1H6, CA

                    Harbour Sixty
                    60 Harbour Street, Toronto, ON M5J 1B7, CA

                    Black Hoof
                    928 Dundas St W, Toronto M6J, CA

                    207 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 1A7, CA

                    1. re: Disneyfreak

                      If you want to try poutine, get yourself up to City Hall (Bay & Queen Sts.) and order it from one of the vending trucks which park there everyday...you'll notice lots of people lining up so it won't be difficult to find. I've heard the "blue truck" is the superior choice. Cheap & cheerful and by all accounts, much much better than Smoke's (which has garnered many a bad review here and in local publications). Second, Conviction was just give a really poor review in a local paper this past weekend, scratch if from your list immediately. I personally would recommend Le Select, the food is consistently amazing and the location is so incredibly charming....a place any lady would feel completely comfortable dining solo. Hope that helps!

                      1. re: Disneyfreak

                        you have the harbord room on the list but right next door it is the DT Bistro which is a favorite for my wife and I. the deserts (DT stands for dessert trends) are amazing as this is the chefs speciality but there entrees are so good my mouth is watering just thinking about them. i would definatly put this place on your list.


                      2. My picks for your 4 nights that'll give you a broad tasting of what Toronto has to offer, that is within your budget and wthin 15min cab ride from your hotel, are:

                        1) Mengrai Thai - Toronto does Asian well and this one is, to me, one of the better and unique in Toronto and you're not likely to find similar in NJ
                        2) George - Consistently one of the better restaurants in Toronto. Classic.
                        3) Lai Wah Heen - What Charles said.
                        4) C5 at the ROM - This might take you above your budget but then Mengrai is below your budget, so they should balance out! Excellent food, modern chic ambiance and you can stay in the lounge for drinks on your last night here.

                        Whatever you decide, hope you enjoy your stay!

                        Too bad you'll just miss the Caribana festivities that will end on the day you arrive. It's one of the biggest events of the year here.

                        1. Also, if you're lucky enough to have a fridge in the room, head down to the St. Lawrence Market for some great snacks: Montreal Style Bagels and cream cheese, any number of cheeses, breads, cold cuts and jams. You could head to Scheffler's, for example, grab some serrano ham, some olives, some Manchego cheese and some rye bread and grab a bottle of Rene Barbier Penedes or Waupoos Cider to wash it all down at the hotel.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: currycue

                            Thanks for the information everyone! Feel free to keep the ideas coming. It's confusing, but fun.

                            The conference has limited exhibition time so I have time to explore (and eat!) I'm thinking that on my last day (the day out of town) I will hit Lai Wah Heen for dimsum.

                            I'm leaning toward Nota Bene an George for dinner.

                            The Black Hoof is probably a little too out there for my coworker. The other 2 nights are still up in the air plan wise.