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Jul 12, 2009 05:47 AM


South Floridian visiting and enjoying TO very much. I see LLBO on restaurant signs and do not have a clue as to what it means. Also, do many restaurants allow you to bring your own wine (and charge a corkage)? We are discovering your Ontario whites and would like to bring some to places that do not offer them. I had a terrific Fielding Estates Riesling at Messis.

Toronto is a wonderful restaurant town. Had lunch at People's Food on Dupont and it reminded me of so many coffee shops in NYC. Harbord Street seems to be a treasure trove of good eats. We have been to 93 Harbord and Messis so far and both have been excellent.

Not all places have been good. Tried Pho Hung on Spadina based on this board's recommendation and was disappointed. Had the chicken rice noodle pho (not a beef eater) and the BBQ pork with rice. Disappointed. Is Pho Pasteur any better?

We are here for 2 more weeks. How are the restaurants in the ROM and AGO? Also looking for the best places for dosas.

Thanks for all your help. It has really made this trip chow worthy.

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  1. LLBO is a provincial government organization that regulates and licenses establishments selling alcohol. So the sign means that restaurant is licensed to sell alcohol.
    Two links on BYOW.

    And for a list of restaurants

    1. LLBO stands for Liquor Licence Board Of Ontario, an armof the Ontario government that licences restaurants and public functions for the right to serve alcoholic beverages, also does within those establishments basic cleanliness, confirmation to rules, number of seats, fire inspection, etc. It's orther Ont. Govmnt. arm is the retail stores, the LCBO, the Liquor Control Board Of Ontario where you buy Alvoholic Beverages for home/private consumption. The prices at the LCBO for many products are much higher than in South Florida. Separately, you can buy beer at The Beer Store, there are Ontario Winery outlets with only mostly common, avberage wines. And at the wineries another and beter source of retail wine purchasing of their own wines! This chowhound board with searches should provide a lot of info, complemented with your questions that will be answered. Only will comment on Pho Hung on Spadina, popular yes, was never any good really, just somehow over the years became a cult phenomenon. Although I don't get down very often, I preferred the further north a few blocks Saigon Palace, not a palace, the plainest of decor, never looking newish even after renovations. I have had Pho in many dozens of establishments, but only at Saigon Palace did I ever and always get a nice big piece of Daikon Radish in the soup. And there were other dishes I found quite good, certainly this place was a favourite of the nearby University Students who neglecting the decor, got good food value!!!!

      1. The previous responses on LLBO were 'sort of' correct. Except the LLBO hasn't existed for 3 years now. You may also see AGCO (the new version) - Alcohol & Gaming Commission of Ontario - gambling and drinking being the twin evils in Ontario - and so similar that it makes more sense to govern them with the same organization.
        ROM and AGO both get good reviews - but not from me! I find C5 (ROM) to be pretentious and just adequate food. Frank (AGO) had better food before the renovation. But both are gorgeous locations. Go for the ambience rather than the food.
        If you're downtown (relatively) then Rashnaa (Wellesley E of Parliament) is your best bet for Dosas. Cheap too.

        As for BYOW - ALL the links mentioned above are out-of-date (or almost impossible to use). Best bet is to ask when reserving. There was a recent discussion on this - this is far more helpful. Link:

        (and in this thread, click on the link in original post)

        1. Welcome to Toronto!

          In short LLBO just means a restaurant is licensed to sell alcohol. All licensed restaurants used to have this on their signs back in the day (I believe it was mandatory) but you rarely ever see it now, as I believe liquor regulations have relaxed somewhat in recent decades and that signage is no longer required. I'm not sure it relates at all to BYOW.

          I tried Pho Hung once too and also thought it was.. not very good. And I'm not particularly picky by chowhounder standards. I'm a bit puzzled why there are so many hearty recommendations for it on here, and I can only speculate that maybe it used to be better than it is now, and the reputation has not caught up yet. Or maybe we both went on off days... six months apart :)

          For pho I really like Bun Saigon on the west Side of Spadina a bit south of Dundas. It's just a hole-in-the-wall but they have really tasty beef and rare beef pho (but I've never tried anything chicken there) and the service is relaxed and friendly. After many repeat visits they've yet to let me down.

          1. Pho Pasteur is much better, their broth is great. Stick with the pho though, everything else on their menu is meh.