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Aug 20, 2009 09:00 AM

Toronto help for family of 6

I am going to Toronto next weekend with my family (2 parents, children 22, 20, 16,13) and was looking for some reasonably priced restaurants. We will be in town for Thursday and Friday. We bought the Toronto Pass that includes the CN tower, the science museum and a couple of other sites. I appreciate your help in advance.

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  1. If you go to the zoo (included in your toronto pass), you can experience SE Asian on your way to the zoo. Toronto's storng points are its ethnic cuisine, with Chinese being perhaps the strongest on the continent (Vancouver would have something to say about that).

    If taking the bus to the zoo from Don Mills station, it goes along Sheppard and you'll pass by places like Maple Yip (Cantonese), Gourmet Garden (Malaysian), Jun Jun (wonton mein). These places are all very reasonably priced.

    Which begs the question? What is reasonably priced to you? Each poster will have a different concept of value, so it's best for you to provide a price range. Also, do give us an idea on what your family's preferences are. I know it's hard to juggle a large group's differing tastes, especially family w/ a wide ranging age group. There usually is a picky eater in the lot. Finally, do tell us where you're from. So we can deduce what Toronto does better/worse than your city.

    Reasonably priced downtown restaurants include.....

    Gilead Cafe
    Caplansky's (maybe not open when you're here)
    Tutti Matti
    Allen's (great burger)

    Slightly more expensive and harder to fit in a table of 6.

    Nota Bene
    Harbord Room

    People will suggest Terroni or Pizzeria Libretto since kids love pizza, but neither do reservations and it's a big gamble with a party of 6.

    2 Replies
    1. re: aser

      Thank you for your suggestions. We are from the Washington DC area. We have one picky eater (the youngest) but she can usually find something on any menu. We would be interested in trying almost anything, it is our first trip to Canada so trying things that are unique to the region is our main goal. Reasonably priced would be about $25-$30 a person or under.

      1. re: eworthy

        You'll have no problem maintaining that budget w/ ethnic eats. The more "whitey" restaurants will be harder to stay within range.

        Since you're from Washington, perhaps you'll be interested in Susur's hometown creations. I know he recently opened Zentan at the Donovan House. He currently has a $35 prix fixe at Lee until the end of the month.

    2. Toronto does Asian food well so you should do one in your 2 days. I would recommend as interesting:

      Mengrai Thai (Adelaide, east of Sherbourne)
      Hanoi 3 Seasons (Broadview, east of Gerrard)

      Other reasonably priced cuisine includes:

      Quince (Yonge, south of Eglinton)
      Terroni (Adelaide, between Yonge & Church)

      aser (above) is correct that Terroni doesn't accept reservations but it's clientele is mostly a younger crown, suitable atmosphere (the one on Adelaide only) that the your teen / 20-something kids might like.

      1. A bit of advice. Call the restaurants that are recommended in this thread to check prices. Then add the sales taxes, national and provincial which total 13 %(?) now, then add the tip, then decide to go where I recommend. My recommendations are good ,interesting, wholesome and cheap. They are bargains. See my previous posts on these places.
        I have experience. I book for my family ranging from 89 to 6 years old . There are seven in the cart and it is pulled by one donkey- me. And everyone is pleased with the meal.

        Friday lunch. Thai Plate, Bathurst and Ranee, This is a buffet costing $10 but it is an excellent and full $25 meal. Chili heat will not be a problem. Good for supper too, but nothing can be the same bargain.

        Bistro Camino. Lunch and supper. Lunch, soup and main, $10. Dinner, four courses plus coffee fixed price supper, about $25. The chef owner is Japanese, trained as a French chef in Japan. He worked for many years in the best clubs ( I mean business people``s clubs) in Toronto. Here he (Hiro) cooks in a French- continental style with a bit of a Japanese influence in some dishes. A very safe bet. Salmon specially recommended. In an inexpensive restaurant like here, don't have a main featuring an expensive protein. For example, the lamb rack. The prices are too cheap to give you what dances before your eyes, a $35 main, so you may be disappointed. An unlikely location. Hiro-san owns the building and he ran a Japanese restaurant there for many years.

        Ibrahim, Lawrence, east of Victoria Park, east of Pharmacy, on the corner across from Nasr. Shawarma, chicken or beef, 2 for $6.99. Now that Abdullah (Ibrahim is his father) has greatly reduced the use of salt, probably the best in Toronto. Good salads for the shawarma. A good size. One is enough, two will fill up anybody. Get some fruit for dessert from Nasr.

        A bit further along Lawrence on the same side, Tangine. Refined Moroccan, no heat grease or weird ingredient problems at all. Newly opened. $22 gets you a full course meal so they are full of enthusiam. The "Royal Meal": soup, "salads", main, pastry dessert, mint tea. Everything housemade, everything good. More than enough for one person. You can share and eliminate at least one complete meal. You can see how it goes.and order further

        You can easily combine the science museum with the above.

        Tucker``s Marketplace . ONLY the Mississauga locations, and ONLY for lunch (value considerations). A "Canadian" buffet and about $13. Good quality if it were a college dorm.

        My Big Fat Greek Buffet. Only for lunch (value considerations). Dixie Rroad in Mississauga. Homemade style by real Greeks. Real food. Can be a bit salty but there is choice. Excellent desserts, I forget how much at lunch, about $13.

        Parking will be free and no problem for any of my recommendations. You will not be able to get 6 into a taxi.

        Good luck, and please report back how you made out.
        I remember from years ago a family, tourists with youngish children, being sent by the local queen of reviewers, Joanne Kates, writing in Frommers, to chi-chi yup-yup restaurants. That,s all she offered. So be careful.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

          Thank you Vinnie, I appreciate all the details. We are also going to Niagra Falls. I would love to know of some places that are NON touristy? Does anyone have any suggestions?

          1. re: eworthy

            You haven't mentioned where you are staying, but just be forewarned that none of Vinnie's suggestions are in the downtown area. There are lots of great spots in the city that don't require a trip on the highway. You received some good suggestions above already.

            Near the Science Center, you could try Congee Queen or further up Don Mills is Island foods for casual caribbean food.

            In Niagara Falls, the place I've been recommending lately is Antica Pizza. Decent food, decent prices, not touristy.

            1. re: TorontoJo

              We are staying at the Residence Inn in downtown Toronto (255 Wellington Street West Toronto, Ontario ) I have never been to Toronto before so I don't know the layout.

              1. re: eworthy

                OK, so you are right downtown. You will be walking distance to Chinatown and Kensington Market, and parts of Queen West. And it's easy to get just about anywhere in the city from where you're staying via public transit (will you have a car?).

                If you could tell us whether you're looking for "cheap and cheerful" (sometimes aka "good hole in the wall") or a bit more upscale, we'd be able to give you better suggestions. Do you want Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Greek, Italian, French, Ethiopian, etc., etc.? There are lots and lots of options for you.

                Just do NOT eat anywhere along King St. between Spadina and University. It's mostly bad, overpriced tourist destinations.

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  I would say more "cheap and cheerful". The older ones like to drink beer and would be interested in places with a good selection. We will have a car, but if public transport is easier we will do that.
                  We are open to trying anything, Italian, French, Thai and Chinese being our favorites. We plan on going to the zoo, the CN tower, science museum, the Hockey hall of fame. Casa Loma and the Royal museum are also included in our pass, are they worth going to?

                  1. re: eworthy

                    I'd say all the above mentioned are worth going to. CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, ROM, AGO are all downtown and probably worth your while to do by public transit (i believe there are day/family passes)

                    If doing HHF, I'd recommend sauntering east on Front to the St Lawrence Market where there would be lots of choice for everyone in the family; you will see from searching this board the usual recs: peameal bacon, eggplant sandwich (mustachios) but one that's often not mentioned is the portugese churrasco chicken place (on main floor, by front entrance) - very yum!

                    You are better off driving to the zoo & science centre: science centre is midtown (Don Mills/Eglinton) and other than the recommendations already mentioned there is a Bamiyan Kabob on Overlea Blvd. The zoo is way out there on the edge of town and i'd recommend packing a picnic for a break in the day and going to eat a full meal after the zoo at one of the chinese places mentioned above

                    apart from the places mentioned, i'd say you get a better taste of toronto (literally) by just walking through its many 'neighbourhoods' ie. annex (bloor west), little italy (college st), chinatown, kensington...

                    oh, for french that is very affordable, can't beat le paradis on bedford/dupont (north edge of university/annex neighbourhood)

                    have fun!

                    1. re: eworthy

                      If you're looking for cheap and cheerful with plentiful portions then you'd be wise to pay close attention to VVM's suggestions. They may not be the very best dining establishments in town, but he certainly knows his way around good food at a good price,

              2. re: eworthy

                I don't know how by what route you are returning (or arriving) but if you are in Niagara Falls N.Y. I highly recommend Buzzy's Pizzeria. This is destination pizzeria, worth a detour, etc.

                My non -Mississauga places are also good for the zoo. Beware of Thai restaurants. Most are owned by non-Thai Asians and are not worth going to in comparison to a good Thai owned place, such as Thai Plate. Similarly Japanese restaurants. Try Konichiwa on Baldwin (Beverly and Dundas,north east quadrant , if you are in the area. Good food, not just raw fish. But you can probably get good, reasonably priced Japanese food in D.C.

                The School of Horticulture Gardens in Niagara Falls are very good. The Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton are superb, although the massive peony and iris gardens have long finished blooming.

                How about staying longer in the area? .

                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                  Surprised to see Buzzy's mentioned here, but I would like to give a huge co-sign. Their wings are top notch, some of the best buffalo wings I've ever had.

            2. Hi are staying right Downtown....great are at a N-S cross St called Spadina Ave....walk N on Spadina to King St ....West or Left...Brassaii, Crush....or on Wellington West of Spadina Le Select..French style Bistro Bon Appetit.....Miranda

              1 Reply
              1. re: miranda

                FYI, Brassaii & Crush are upscale, not cheap & cheerful.

                All of aser's suggestions are excellent.

                Right next to your hotel is an Indian restaurant called 259 Host, which should be decent (although i haven't been yet).

                For beer on a Thu/Fri night downtown w/ 6 people, i suggest C'est What or Bar Volo. Smokeless Joe's is close to your hotel, but it's pretty small.

                A couple of other family friendly suggestions:
                * Chinese Traditional Buns
                * Lahore Tikka House