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Visiting from NYC - Need restaurant help

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Visiting Toronto in the next few weeks for the first time in 5 years and need some help selecting a restaurant. Here's what I'm after...

I'd like a place that showcases Canadian cuisine. An example would be Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal where, to me, they highlighted Canadian cuisine. Something meat heavy, but not a steak joint. Locally sourced products too.

The atmosphere should be upbeat, not quiet / Bistro style. Example Au Pied de Cochon or something similar to Momofuku (which we love) like we have in NYC. We can go there in a t-shirt and jeans and feel comfortable.

We'll be eating there on a Friday night 9:00 or after, so the restaurant shouldn't be empty then.

Thanks for the help!

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  1. Locally driven places will be.

    Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar
    Canoe
    Union
    Globe
    Cowbell

    There are lots more good restaurants like Nota bene, Black Hoof, etc but I don't think their menus are very Canadian esque.

    IMO, Canoe is the best of the bunch but is indeed more upscale. Won't find many t-shirt/jeans folks up there.

    No momofuku esque place in Toronto. Personally I'm not a fan.

    3 Replies
    1. re: aser

      You have a good list from aser. I really like Globe, but if you want meat-centric then you might give Cowbell some consideration too.

      1. re: Rabbit

        skip cowbell after 9pm, not much left and they are getting ready to close....

        1. re: robgm

          I agree that Canoe is your best bet. I was there in July, and while t-shirts and jeans are probably a bit too casual, I think the summer crowd is a little less formally dressed. Also, it should be pretty lively after 9:00. Enjoy!

    2. Definitely you've been given a good list of locavores. I'm a fan of both APdC and Momofuku, and got to say, given the vibe you're looking for, JKWB is probably your best bet. It's easily the most casual/fun vibe on that list, although in fairness I haven't been to Union yet and it's been getting some great reviews.

      1. Even though it's not particularly "canadian", I think that you would love the Black Hoof. it's a charcuterie place. It's super laid back, VERY meat heavy and the food is excellent.

        1. Of the places recommended so far, Black Hoof is by FAR the sort of place you're seeking. Has the buzz of both APDC and Momofuku. Similarly there's a whole bunch of places on Roncesvalles that also qualify - except none seem to take reservations (including Black Hoof). Open very late.
          Don't understand the recs for Canoe - think Daniel in NYC! One of the most formal places in Toronto.
          JKWB has gone seriously downhill (actually I'm not sure it ever made the top of the hill) - but it does have an open kitchen, which helps create buzz.
          I think Globe is a good backup - it takes reservations, and is more Boulud than Daniel.

          1. Thanks for the solid help.

            Read a review on Black Hoof and it sounds great. I'll check it out.