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Sidecar, Harlem or Globe?

Hello all!

My best friend is visiting from Zurich next week, and I wanted to take him somewhere special for dinner. Doesn't need to be extravagant, just a fun atmosphere with great food. The above 3 places were some of the suggestions I received and ideas i've had. Looking to spend $50-75 per person not including drinks. Any other suggestions would be great!

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Globe is nice and local food-ish. Harlem is "soul food" and decent. Not been to Sidecar. From what I know, I'd choose Globe for a nice meal. Try and hit the patio up on the roof first. Opens at 5, I think.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jlunar

      Agreed. I havent been to sidecare either, but globe is really a beautiful room, and in my experience, has had great service and food. Harlem's food is also pretty good, but much more casual, so I think it really depends what type of experience you're looking for.

    2. globe is fancier for sure, but i really like sidecar for the amazing patio and drinks. it is more casual tho. for the record, they served me the biggest portion of salmon i've ever received in a TO resto, and for the 24$ prix fixe no less.

      1. haven't been to harlem, but have been to the other two. sidecar is good and has a very reasonable prix fixe menu. I've been to globe a few times and always had excellent food without being gouged.


        1. Given the local nature of Globe, with its emphasis on Ontario-sourced ingredients, I think this would be my choice for an out-of-towner. Harlem is doing American South, and Sidecar is doing affordable bistro...things one can find in cities around the world.

          1. This is hillarious; my former housemate and groomsman is visiting from Zurich, as well, and we're trying to find a good place to take him for dinner in TO as well!
            Thanks for putting the question out there!
            Tip: we've been feeding our friend lots of meat (humongous barbequed rib steaks, 12-oz.portions of cedar planked salmon) for which he is extremely hungry given the price of fresh meat in Switzerland....and of course the Chinese cuisine that is garnering quite a reputation in the GTA ....

            3 Replies
            1. re: unturtlesoup

              It must be the Swiss invasion, one of my sisters and her family just arrived from Vevey this past weekend. I'll eat at with them at Globe before they return..

              1. re: foodyDudey

                thanks for all the info. I agree about the price of meat in Switzerland. The price of everything seems a bit outrageous to me, but what a beautiful place to live. Worth it I think (if you can afford it)! Globe remains my number one now, and I think Harlem will be our backup choice! I must say, i'm intrigued by all the comments regarding their mac &cheese.

                1. re: tj2007

                  Globe is a good choice for a special dinner, but I should note that I wouldn't categorize it as "fun atmosphere" as you asked in your post. The main dining room is actually quite elegant, so it may feel a touch more formal than you're looking for? But the food and service are great, so no warnings there. Also, if you start out with drinks on the rooftop patio, you'll get more of a fun vibe.

                  BTW, I'm not so sure what all the fuss is about the Harlem mac and cheese. I found it pretty bland and overly thick. But I love Harlem (except the collard greens), so I just don't order it anymore. The best mac and cheese I've had lately at a restaurant was at Caren's Wine and Cheese -- creamy, cheesy, spicy...delish.

            2. I've actually gone to Harlem & neither of the other two! I had a really pleasant experience there. Their candied yams are really yummy. The mac & cheese is really good too, seems like they use good cheese and it's not too saucy. I've heard the fried chicken is really good and it's my friend's favourite. I want to go back to try it. In general, all their food had really fresh ingredients and were flavourful. The prices are reasonable and the decor is nice. They had interesting chairs by the bar area and now they have a patio outside which should be nice. (Speaking of patios, Sidecar's patio is suppose to be really good.) I think the only downside about Harlem is the area it's in because there isn't too much interesting places to go around there, Although there's an Irish bar on the street corner near by that's suppose to be fun times. BTW, if you order the "sides" you should intend to share them because the portions are big!

              2 Replies
              1. re: lily.violet

                Love Harlem as well. Probably nothing like it in Zurich. I disagree that there's nothing interesting around it, though! Walk south and you're in the St. Lawrene Market neighbourhood, great for wandering. Walk west and you're near the Eaton Centre, great for shopping. Just don't walk northeast ;)

                1. re: Gary

                  Well said! Not the best area north east of the restaurant...Will have to give Harlem a go sometime soon!

              2. What a great choice of restaurants, offering a different slice of the city each time! For any future searches, Harlem is a fantastic choice if you're doing any downtown stuff like Massey Hall, the theatres, Eaton Centre. Small, know what they do well. There is now a patio with great murals, but you're still sitting on Richmond, so perhaps inside is best. Price points low as well.
                Sidecar is comfortable, offers delicious food, and the emphasis on cocktails makes it stand out just that little bit. Prix Fixe great for early week dining. Little Italy neighbourhood great for a stroll, a coffee or a movie.
                Globe offers a lovely patio and an interesting inside space. Food of a higher calibre with prices to match. Again the Danforth is another strolling neighbourhood.

                124 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K1N1, CA

                67 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5C1N9, CA

                577 College St., Toronto, ON M6G 1B2, CA

                1. I'm throwing my vote in for Sidecar. Has become one of my favourite go to spots in the city and if you have a pleasant evening weather wise the back patio is fantastic. I haven't been to Globe, and Harlem is definitely lovely but I think Sidecar is definitely a step up in terms of atomosphere and at least on par with food. Good place to linger with friends over cocktails pre and post dinner.

                  1. Harlem has just opened a quite nice patio. Doubt you get soul food in Switzerland.

                    1. I haven't been to Globe or Harlem.
                      Sidecar has a nice patio and great drinks... the food... well, I wasn't impressed last time. The steak was way too tough (ordered medium rare and came out more on the well-done side) and the garden salad-like thing was not great. Fun atmosphere, yes... great food, no (in my opinion).
                      What about Weezie's (near King and Parliament) or Niagara Street Cafe (near Wellington and Bathurst) or Torito (near August and College)?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Hondapendragon

                        Torito is a great suggestion as well! Thanks! The only consideration is my husband who is not the most adventurous person in the world with food. So I have to make sure there is a safe menu option for him (no pork, no seafood, nothing too exotic, etc...)

                        Thanks to everyone for the suggestions! Will probably head to Globe. Has anyone had the chocolate torte for dessert?

                        1. re: tj2007

                          I had a chocolate torte from the summerlicious menu last week and although it's good I would suggest the "Eton Mess" if it's still on the menu.

                      2. If your friend is really into food then I'd suggest Globe since the Canadian angle is kind of special and it has the most sophisticated menu. That said, I agree with the poster who suggested that the room could risk feeling a bit formal and less fun than you'd like.

                        My second pick would be Sidecar (which I do think is more "fun" than Globe)... great neighbourhood, good patio, food is solid and cocktails are fab. It's probably going to be a bit easier on your wallet too.

                        I don't think you can go wrong with any of these picks

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Rabbit

                          I haven't been to Sidecar or Harlem, but I didn't find that the room felt formal on my last few visits to Globe, though it has appeared that way on occasion. And I've seen customers wearing jeans and sandals to what looked like a dress for flamenco dancing. (last weekend) and everything in between. If the Globe menu looks like what you want to eat, I wouldn't bother about how formal it is perceived to be, as I think it's pretty casual. I had two good Summerlicious dinners there on the past two weekends.

                        2. It all depends on what he likes. I was at Sidecar last week and it's mediocre,I felt. I went for the much-touted prix fix. It was like the food you get at a wedding, a piece of not great quality, dry chicken, some potatoes, greasy, and a veg, green, I don't even remember what. Why not try the Harbord Room or somewhere that showcases local food,