Yonge and Clark - delicious, reliable, inexpensive
Have to rendezvous with someone tomorrow around dinnertime in the Yonge St. and Clark Ave. area (north of Steeles). I know there are lots of eating options in that area, but don't know which ones are good. Am open to (literally) any cuisine - need casual but delicious and not expensive. Suggestions? Thanks.
Thanks for all your suggestions which I have filed for another time I'm stuck in that zone. What we actually ended up doing was going to the Night Market on Steeles at around Esna Park - oh. my. god. What a zoo! It was fun in a very crowded crazy way. There were dozens of food booths, but all the good ones had long line-ups. The one that sold stinky tofu had the longest line, followed by the one that sold raw oysters which came in second. I ate some not-so-great sushi (no line and I was starving), a fried fish ball, some kind of Taiwanese omelet thingy, a Malaysian thing called a Murbarak (incorrect name but we started calling it all sorts of things, none of the accurate so now I can't remember the real name of the dish) but it was a large crepe filled with chicken or veg or beef and the folded up and fried. It was billed as "the perfect street food" which it only is if you are able to use a knife and fork while walking or, like us, put the plate on the front hood of a car in order to eat it. It was delicious, actually, but unwieldy and funny. My son got the worlds biggest hunk of barbecue squid on a stick which he loved but he said it was like eating a whole chicken. I can't remember what else we got but the atmosphere is intense and very very crowded. Lots of fun. It's on again tonight if you're interested.
If you're looking for Indian, try Nawab Indian Restaurant, it's behind Promenade Mall at Bathurst and Clark Ave. West (there's a strip-mall/plaza with an M&M, Swiss Chalet and medical offices just behind the mall, Nawab is at one end of the plaza).
It's a bit pricier than Indian Kitchen and it's not a buffet place, but the food is really good. Try the Tandoori Chicken or Chicken Tikka, they're amazing. I've been to Indian Kitchen and it's pretty good too.
Some of the good Korean options in the neighbourhood are:
Located just north of Yonge/Clark on the west side. They have really excellent Korean BBQ. Excellent Kalbi (BBQ ribs). You cook the food right at the table which adds an element of fun - go with a bunch of people and you can order some of the meat BBQ, and add on the seafood (they have shrimps and mussels, or shrimps and squid I think).
They have great side dishes too that come with it and in particular, I really love this Korean "Slaw" they serve when you order the BBQ.
Cho Sun Oak
Located in a small plaza on the East side - Britannia Pub, and Daisy Mart in the same plaza. They really specialize in Naeng Myun which is a bowl of cold noodles (they have some crushed ice in the bowl). It is fantastic on a hot summer day, and you will find this place packed in the summer.
They serve 2 types: Bi Bim Naeng Myun which comes with the red pepper paste, and the Naeng Myun with soup (name escapes me at the moment). Not as hot and spicy as the Bi Bim type but really tasty. Their other dishes are really quite good too, but in the summer, the Naeng Myun is super popular.
There are a couple of Italian places a few blocks north - Santos (Yonge & Royal Orchard) and Tutto Bene, a block further north, but you might consider them a bit pricey. I don't care to dine out Italian, so I've never been to either, but friends have recommended both places. In the same plaza as Santos is Royal Orchard Thai, a favorite in my family. Sageese's suggestion of Indian Kitchen is a good one. I have enjoyed it and many friends, including South Asians, like it as well. humuhumu has commented on the many Persian options a but south, and I can second the suggestion of North, at 1000 Steeles West. Here's a thread that discusses the Persian options in the area:
I've been meaning to try the Korean barbeque place in the plaza just north of Yonge & Clark, as several friends have recommended it, but I've not had the chance yet.
Personally, I'd avoid Golden Star. Some people find the banter of the guy that runs the place entertaining, but there nothing special about the food.
Over the last few years, I haven't been impressed with Indian Kitchen. Ginza is good, as suggested. If you want to venture south slightly to Steeles, then Steeles Deli is good, as is Sababa (both a couple blocks west of Yonge). Sushi Fun is good if you want all-you-can-eat sushi. Nino D'aversa is also there if you want very casual (order at the hot table and sit down). And of course, yes, Golden Star!
"Delicious, reliable and not expensive", you say? Sounds like you're talking about Steeles Deli, mentioned above, which is - in effect - a diner with a slightly Jewish twist to accommodate the many Jewish seniors who live in the area. It's in a plaza on the north side of Steeles just west of Yonge, diagonally across from a large Canadian Tire store on the south side of Yonge. Good soups, daily specials, classic comfort foods, all fairly priced and tasty. I'm partial to the main dish liver-and-onions plate, which comes with potatoes and veggies for about $13. Immensely popular with the locals because of its consistency - and modest price points. About a five-minute drive from Yonge and Clark. It's not licensed.
Indian Kitchen, also mentioned above, is also quite good and fairly priced, but though usually good, it's not all that consistent. Better some days than others. They do a nice whole salmon, so long as they don't overcook it, which they tend to do occasionally. Last time I was there, I told them that they overcooked it again, I'd send it right back to the kitchen. It came perfectly cooked, which suggests that you have to be somewhat insistent. Most everything, though, is usually well presented and flavorful. It's not one of the great Indian restos in town, but it's good enough. Good service, easy parking, pleasant room. Licensed. It'll cost about $60-$70 for two, all in, with a beer apiece.
I don't find the Persian spots along Yonge south of Steeles to be up to much. The fanciest one, Zaffron, is, in my view, an overpriced dud, unless you're into kabob dishes with too much rice and not enough meat. But it's certainly popular. It's a couple lights south of Steeles. In the same strip plaza as Zaffron, though, is Kenzo, a small Japanese ramen soup joint. Two can eat quite well - say, a substantial bowl of ramen soup apiece, plus splitting a tasty gyoza appetizer - for$30-$35, tax and tip included.
Totally forgot about one more that deserves special mention. Laterna is about 3 blocks south of Steeles on the east side. Great spot. It's family owned and run and a mix of greek/italian. If you go there, I'd strongly suggest the chicken in a pita. It's a home-made pita with a chicken kebab and all the fixings. Goes for about $8 and by the far the best thing there. Otherwise, pizzas are good, and they are also known for their gynormous salads (greek is the way to go).
Indian Kitchen is really quite good. I think it should be your first choice. I've been to Ginza Sushi in the same plaza and was unimpressed: sleek decor but food was about the same as Sushi on Bloor/New Gen but twice the price. I know a lot of people that like it, however. In the NW plaza, Sariwon is really popular for Korean BBQ (never been).
Another plaza is on the east side at Yonge/Glen Cameron. Legend makes some really good casual Cantonese dishes, not up to the quality of some of the Hwy7 places, but they have amazing vegetarian options. I think there's a Shanghainese place also, and some other restaurants.
If you're willing to go a little further afield to Yonge/Steeles there are a number of Persian places, eg Shomal/North in the plaza across from Centrepoint (on Steeles), Patough on Yonge across from Centrepoint, and Zaffron south of Centrepoint.
Unfortunately, Dante's at Yonge/Royal Orchard has closed. Always liked that place.
There's an indian restaurant at the bottom of the condo on the southwest corner of the intersection called the Indian Kitchen that is pretty good. I haven't been there in a long time, but I've seen good reviews of it. There are also a bunch of mostly Korean restaurants in the plaza at the northwest corner, can't comment on the price nor quality, however.
Really, that's about it. Short of the Octagon ($$$) there isn't much along Yonge in that area.