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Aug 12, 2009 06:56 AM

I have no idea and need help....

I've got a bit of a challenge. An 11-year old, a 13 year and their parents are coming in from out of town for dinner Friday and I can't think of a single place to go. I've never had to consider the kid element before when choosing a place to eat.

The kids are apparently adventurous eaters so that isn't an issue. I'd like to go somewhere interesting with a unique atmosphere that is fun for them but also has good food at a reasonable price. I'm in the West end, Queen near Roncesvalles so a walk or short cab ride away would be a bonus.

So far the only thing I can come up with is the patio at Julie's. Any other thoughts?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Mitizi's sister is popular with the stroller mafia, has a kids menu and even a kids night (which i always avoid).

    1 Reply
    1. re: robgm

      ha....yeah, I made that mistake. Once.

      I thought of Mitzi's but these guys are a little older and actually pretty sophisticated. I think they would appreciate something kind of cool. They're from a smaller town so I'd like to show them a good time. The 11 year old is actually paying for dinner. I got him an acting job that paid fairly well so he's taking me out as a thank-you, although I'm sure the parents will kick in for him. Nice thought though.

      Thanks for the reply.

    2. i might be tempted to go to black hoof... i don't think they're as busy as they used to be and i've gotten away from there full for $30 food only. it's interesting though not entirely unusual as everyone will recognize the deli aspect to some degree. one bonus is that they do interesting cocktails there that they've sold me virgin style for $4. i've found that when i don't want to drink y options tend to be very limited and the concoctions at black hoof are interesting.

      alternatively, you could go more downscale and interesting by taking them over to the queen/dufferin area where they could have their pick of the west indies scene between ali's, bacchus, roti lady etc. all with varying levels of atmosphere though certainly not high end. very cheap and cheerful and undoubtedly unusual for a small town group. i'd say ali's fits the middle ground best for their wide ranging menu and sort of fast-food esque seating arrangements.

      by brock and dundas i really enjoy pho phuong as i find their menu has a good range and all items are good to excellent. if pho and bun isn't that new to them then there's so much more here that could be had. i really enjoy all the various items off of the appetizer section such as the bahn xeo. i'm not sure if they've still got it but they were doing a beef starfruit salad that was absolutely wicked but i haven't seen it since. i'd also recommend the house broken rice... it's a textural, flavour and gorging dream. their decor is that low quality modern and so very comfortable. oh and some of the smoothest shakes around, i recommend the avocado or durian. alternatively there is also pho de duyen and another place that is escaping my memory in the nabe that will offer great food.

      my only thing against julie's, which is tonnes of fun and best on the patio, is that you have to be really picky with the menu to get the best dishes. otherwise it is an overall fun experience for sure.

      10 Replies
      1. re: pinstripeprincess

        The avocado and durian shakes are my favourite!

        BTW PSP, where is the beef starfruit salad on the menu? I tried looking for it the first time I was there and when I asked the server, she had no idea what I was talking about (though she did understand when I asked about the bamboo, duck and pork blood jello soup! :-) ), On my most recent visit, my DC tried asking a question on what he thought could've been the salad, but the server (owner) didn't answer the question and just told him that he wouldn't want it anyway. How can I taste this elusive dish??

        1. re: pinkprimp

          the last time i went i noticed they had upped the prices and so updated the menus and didn't think to check for the starfruit beef salad. it was on one of the extra single sheet menus (at one visit we received two!) with other vietnamese dishes though it could have also shared the same page as the disastrous thai ones (no idea why they decided to poorly jump on the thai bandwagon). i'll check the next time i go but the menus looked rather trimmed down. it was a bit like the cabbage salad you get with the duck bamboo and pork blood jello soup but all red cabbage, more citrusy flavour, lots of fruit and meat and strands of crispy things i can't recall.. and gigantic (at $18 it had better be!).

          1. re: pinstripeprincess

            Oooh that salad sounds nice! I'm sure in any case, it'll be much better value than my friend's chicken caesar salad at the Queen and Beaver (teeny tiny for $16!).

            It's slightly alarming to me when restaurants start mixing cuisines (you know, like Pickel Barrel or Spring Rolls because how many can you excel at?).

            1. re: pinkprimp

              i think they had always had thai on the second menu but i've hardly seen anyone order it... mind you i do know an acquaintance that for some reason expects pad thai at every asian restaurant they go to and pho phuong is just doing them a great favour to offer it!

              i should mention... that the crispy duck salad at nota bene really reminded me of these viet salads when i had it. just the aroma triggered the memory... i suspect it was the dressing? i felt pho phuong did it better justice, but that's me.

              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                I'd almost say it was the green papya...! Slightly sour, slightly sweet... (or maybe not, but I had it just recently and enjoyed the papaya a lot - reminds me of a super-spicy, super-yummy Laotian salad I'd had).

                1. re: jlunar

                  i agree on the slightly sour/sweet part but it was literally laid in front of me and the aromas triggered such a strong sense memory. i don't recall green papaya or mago being so strong in scent.

                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                    hmn... neither has a very strong smell when they're green.

                    ... Fish sauce!? (Though, I didn't pick that up in the salad).

                    1. re: jlunar

                      not sure... fish sauce would be what is in the viet salads and would make sense. maybe i'll just have to go to nota bene and sniff someone's salad to be sure ;)

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        It's definitely the fish sauce.

                        Both salads are good but obviously you get more for your money at Pho Phuong.

                        As for the thai menu, I've only seen white people order from it.

                        1. re: aser

                          ding ding ding! and you have correctly identified the cultural background of pad thai desiring friend.

      2. When I was that age (if I was from a smaller town), I would have loved Korean BBQ. Making your own food like that at the table, plus all you could eat, would probably be fun.

        13 Replies
        1. re: canadianbeaver

          I like those ideas. Fun and interactive. I'll run it by the parents.

          Anyone else have any suggestions? Somewhere with an atmosphere or decor that would be unusual for an 11 and 13 year old?

          1. re: jamesm

            How about Fat Cat Wine Bar further up Roncesvalles? Tapas-type dishes, nice patio in back.

            1. re: jamesm

              How about the Local on Roncesvalles at Howard Park? The food is pub food which is always a hit with the younger crowd. I recommend the Butter Chicken or the homemade veggie burger.

              1. re: bustercat628

                I think one of the few places in their town is a similar pub, but if they scoff at a more adventurous suggestion that's a good standby.

                I haven't been to Southern Accent in years but I do remember it being heavy on the decor. Do they still have the pictures of the stuffed dog that has been around the world? They might get a kick out of that.

                1. re: jamesm

                  I think Southern Accent is a great idea -- definitely lots of atmosphere, they still have the travelling dog, and if the mood strikes they could get a psychic reading. I've only been there a few times, but fairly recently, and the food was fabulous.

                  1. re: katsongs

                    And nowhere near the OP's request of Queen & Roncesvalles. What about Blue Bay (only open Friday and Sat nite I think)?

                    1. re: Dimbulb

                      I should have clarified the radius. Queen West would have been a bonus but I don't really consider Mirvish Village too far to travel.

                      Thanks for the suggestions. There are some good ones but others are still welcome.

                      1. re: Dimbulb

                        Given that the suggestion for Southern Accent came from the OP, I think it's safe to say that he's willing to travel there.

                        1. re: katsongs

                          Nah, it was from me, it just got bumped to the bottom.

                2. re: jamesm

                  Personally I hated it when I was there, but maybe Southern Accent? That has atmosphere and decor coming out the wazoo.

                  1. re: canadianbeaver

                    What did you hate about it? Is it that bad? I remember not thinking it was horrible but it was quite awhile ago.

                    1. re: jamesm

                      You can see my review:

                      I was just really disappointed....but it was Summerlicious, so that doesn't necessarily apply to their regular service, which is why I was still willing to recommend it.

                1. What about Japanese teppanyaki? I'm not familiar with your area but the "show" that comes with teppanyaki has always been a hit with older kids.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: ctl98

                    We ended up at Southern Accent and had an enormously dissapointing meal. The big selling feature was the fact that the kids were stoked about the fortune teller. I called to confirm that the fortune teller would be there and mentioned that the kids werre excited. They told me the fortune teller was working that night. I got there early and spoke with the hostess and was told that the fortune teller was booked solid for the night. No mention of this on the phone, or the fact that you have to even make an appointment. I asked if there was anything she could do "Just 5 minutes? I'm more than happy to compensate anyone for the inconvenience."

                    She then tells me the fortune teller doesn't even read kids' fortunes anyway so there was nothing she could do.

                    Brutal. Then our waiter was ridiculous. One of the people at the table asked what made a particular dish cajun. The server told us that it was 'nicely seasoned' then made air quotes and said "so that makes it Cajun." Literally made air quotes, One of the kids asked what maque choux was and he explained that it's a 'nice seasoning." I corrected him and he shrugged.

                    And the food was terrible. Just terrible. Not one person in the party of six finished their plates. The blackened chicken looked like some frozen M&M meats type stuff. Food was cold, underseasoned and just awful. I felt like I was eating off the Appleby's Ragin' Cajun'bration menu or something.

                    On paper it was a great suggestion for the kids so I appreciate those who offered it, but it was dissapointing on so many levels.

                    1. re: jamesm

                      So my initial review holds true.....when I first posted that review, everyone disagreed with me. Just goes to show you shouldn't have any expectations when going there. Sorry that I suggested it :(

                      1. re: canadianbeaver

                        I don't think I disagreed with ya Beav. Southern Accent hasn't been good in years.

                        1. re: canadianbeaver

                          Don't be sorry. Like I said on paper it was a great suggestion for the kids. It just didn't come through on any account. The fortune teller thing pissed me off the most though. The kids were so jacked about it just to be let down.

                          Oh, and she's 30 dollars for 15 minutes.

                          1. re: jamesm

                            Do you get a receipt for that 15 minutes and does she charge GST? That sounds mighty expensive for a cash deal.

                            I couldn't help thinking that you could have done much better by just picking any restaurant that you enjoyed eating at. Restaurants with great food don't need gimmicks such as fortune tellers.

                        2. re: jamesm

                          So sad to hear SA is lousy now. Mind you I haven't eaten anything other than the blackened chicken livers and piquant shrimp there in forever. Their quality could have slipped years ago and I wouldn't have noticed.