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Choosing b/w 4 restos for dinner with out of town friends - pls help pick

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My SO has some friends visiting Toronto this weekend, 2 guys, hip mid-40's, from California. I've been told they like good food but are not "foodies." They are probably not extremely adventurous, but we're not sure what they like so we want to skew:

- French or Californian/Modern
- Asian influences are OK (but not too authentic per se - the menu needs to have variety in case it turns out they don't like Asian food)

We DON'T want:

- Italian food
- Canoe, Bymark, JK, Trevor, Biff's, Splendido, Nota Bene (nothing wrong with these places, they're just not of interest for this dinner)

The food must be good but does not have to be the most expensive, and they won't be impressed by decor that tries hard to impress (e.g. C4). The environment must be good for talking. Must be central downtown (anywhere between Spadina/Jarvis/College/Queen's Quay). Captain John's comes to mind (no, just kidding).

Based on location & food, so far I've narrowed it down to:

La Gamelle (College)
Madeline's
Colborne Lane
Lucien

Of these, I've only been to Gamelle so far. I've read some of the CH reviews. I'm leaning towards Madeline's for a combo of not-too-uptight, cool environment and good food. If you had to choose between these 4, where would you go? (I've drawn a blank as to whether I've missed an obvious choice worth considering.) Thx in advance!

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  1. Gamelle has gone out of business....

    http://www.gamelle.com/

    I would choose Madeline's out of the 4. Colborne Lane and Lucien are both a bit more expensive than Madeline's, might give your friends sticker shock if they're not "foodies".

    1. I haven't been to all of you're selections so I can't say, but La Gamelle is now closed.

      1. La Gamelle is closed. That narrows down your choices.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

          Oh, thanks aser, chocbot & Splendid Wine Snob! That's so unfortunate about Gamelle.

          Sounds like Madeline's will be the choice...

          1. re: balthazar

            Madeline's has $1 corkage Mon - Wed, call and check to see if that's still happening.

            1. re: aser

              Thanks for the tip!

        2. How about Amuse Bouche on Tecumseh?
          The School House now has a dinner menu - haven't been but if their brunch menu is an indication, it should be inventive.
          Try venturing to Queen East and check out the Joy Bistro.
          Also, in the gay ghetto, there is Byzantium.
          How about Crush?
          Spice Route on King is a consideration.
          Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar is an interesting experience
          How about Milagro for upscale Mexican and inventive margaritas?
          Drake Hotel is hip
          Kalendar on College near Bathurst
          Cafe le Gaffe on Baldwin
          Frank at the AGO
          Midi Bistro on McCall
          Corner House on Davenport at Madison

          You've got some research to do!!

          1. Colborne Lane hands down! The rest are not in the same league, foodwise!