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DC hound ISO of your best wine bar(s)

j
joann.hill12 Jun 18, 2009 11:55 AM

My husband and I will be traveling with friends to Toronto in early July. We are all huge wine drinkers and would like to go to a wine bar at least one night during our visit.
What are your favorite places that have great wine & great food?
The only requirement is that it's accessible by public transportation.

Also, speaking of wine...we are heading out to Niagara for a day and will be staying overnight in Niagara-on-the-Lake. After the obligatory visit to Niagara Falls, our day will devoted to wineries. Any suggestions? We will be staying at the White Oaks Resort.

Thanks in advance for your help!

  1. p
    Paula from Toronto Jun 18, 2009 12:02 PM

    If you're going to be in the city proper there are a number of options, but my personal fave is Reds at Adelaide and University (in the financial district). They have an extensive list of wines by the glass, and the resto isn't bad either. Enjoy your stay!

    1. j
      jamesm Jun 18, 2009 12:38 PM

      For great food and an excellent wine list I'd recommend Chiado.

      http://www.chiadorestaurant.com/

      There's the restaurant proper and a tapas/wine bar. They list there wines on the website so you can have a look and see if any of them appeal to you.

      1. Splendid Wine Snob Jun 18, 2009 01:14 PM

        Welcome to Toronto.

        Crush Wine Bar
        Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar

        While I respect Chiado's list, you should know that its Portuguese-centric, nonetheless very interesting and unique.

        Here's some more links:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/624944
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/609138
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/406423

        SWS

        1. a
          acd123 Jun 19, 2009 06:27 AM

          When you're in Niagara, have lunch or dinner at Treadwell. Lots of wines by the glass and the food is excellent.

          http://www.treadwellcuisine.com/

          1. a
            astrazed Jun 19, 2009 09:12 AM

            I agree with the suggestion to try Jamie Kennedy's Wine Bar and Crush...
            and my favorite Niagra vineyards are Henry of Pelham and Cave Springs. Not sure how close those are to where you are staying, but you could even order a glass if you are out for dinner.

            1. j
              joann.hill12 Jun 19, 2009 09:41 AM

              Thanks all for your fabulous recommendations! We are leaning towards Jamie Kennedy's on the Sunday night we're there and then heading over to Reservoir Lounge for some good jazz...what do you think? Anyone know if there's a particular time we would need to get over to the lounge for a performance? I saw on their site that they're open from 8pm-2am on Sundays.
              Love the idea of the classic cabs---we're definitely looking into it. I will be looking into all the wineries that were suggested.
              No question we will have to check out Treadwell for either lunch or dinner.

              On a different note, I've made dinner reservations for North 44 and Mistura...any thoughts? While perusing the board, there seemed to be consistently favorable reviews for both.
              Thanks again for all your help...really looking forward to our visit to Toronto!

              2 Replies
              1. re: joann.hill12
                TorontoJo Jun 19, 2009 10:36 AM

                JKWB followed by Reservoir Lounge is a great evening. The band plays until late at RL, so no worries about getting there. At worst, you'll get there between sets, but the breaks are usually only 20 mins or so.

                I personally would pick Mistura over North 44. I find North 44 to be on the stiff and stuffy end of fine dining.

                1. re: joann.hill12
                  t
                  tuttebene Jun 19, 2009 02:50 PM

                  Both North 44 and Mistura are good choices. Of the 2, I prefer Mistura because the menu is more to my liking. Equally matched for food and service but Mistura is more centrally located - both have valet parking.

                2. estufarian Jun 19, 2009 10:57 AM

                  First, be warned that wine is relatively expensive in Toronto (we have a government monopoly). However, JKWB has a good selection (although I’ve never been impressed with the food) – it’s also about a 10 minute walk from the nearest subway stop (and 5 mins from any buses).
                  Chiado is the best balance of food and wine – but their by-the-glass selection is very limited. Their ‘bar’ (used to be known as Senhor Antonio) is great (but small) and I’ve found it closed (abandoned? – they move the entire menu/list to the dining room on slow nights) quite often.
                  With 4 (or more) of you, then bottles may be a better bet in many ‘bars’. Nyood and Kultura used to be excellent (the food’s still good) but the by-the-glass selection has slimmed down recently (and both closed Sunday).
                  Reds and Crush have decent (but unexciting) by-the-glass selections (not sure if either open Sunday), and Cava (open Sunday and zero corkage on Sunday if you BYOB) is also worth considering – decent food, but wine prices are a bit higher there.

                  I’m guessing you’ll have a car for Niagara (as White Oaks is inaccessible any other way! – although it’s ‘nominally’ in Niagara-On-The-Lake, it’s about 10 miles away). From White Oaks (or returning to there) Niagara Stone Road is your best route – and it passes several wineries (the first you’ll see will be Southbrook, Canada’s first (only?) biodynamic winery) – then skip 30 Bees and head towards Stratus – just before you reach Niagara-On-The-Lake (obviously if you go to Niagara Falls first, then NOTL, you’ll do this in reverse).
                  Most wineries, naturally, feature their own wines – so the best stop is indeed Treadwell, as already mentioned above, in Port Dalhousie (for both lunch and dinner) which is about 15 minutes drive in the opposite direction (if you’re touring the wineries head west from NOTL on Lakeshore Road (Strewn Winery is my fave along there – they also have a decent restaurant; If you’re leaving from hotel take the QEW highway towards St Catharines). The food at Treadwell’s is local and excellent (it’s a bit more formal than many places) and their wine list is the best in the area.

                  Back in Toronto, you’ve mentioned North 44 and Mistura – I think of both as ‘safe’ – sort of places one would go with business acquaintances. Good service, solid food – but a bit unexciting.

                  And if you are driving to Niagara – depending on the day you might consider dining ‘on the way back’. You’ll be passing through Burlington (a dormitory suburb – although I’m sure I’ll get flak for that comment) – whenever I visit Niagara I stop at The Blacktree (in Burlington, Exit Guelph Line, open wed-Sat eve only) which IMO is the most exciting restaurant in the area right now. Wine list is adequate (hey, it’s the suburbs) but the menu changes monthly (almost always with 1 or more game options) and everybody I’ve taken there has returned! But it’s 45-60 mins from Toronto – which is why I stop on the way back from Niagara.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: estufarian
                    Googs Jun 20, 2009 08:13 AM

                    Based on my last experience there, I wouldn't recommend JK Wine Bar. Hubby & I both had wines that were well past the point where they should have been served. I'm sure they were good when they were first opened, but one whiff should have said 'don't serve'. These two glasses were amongst the most expensive on their list I might add. Very disappointing.

                    1. re: estufarian
                      j
                      joann.hill12 Jun 21, 2009 01:11 PM

                      Thanks so much for your detailed response and suggestions...greatly appreciated!

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