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Sep 3, 2009 07:20 PM

Looking for Toronto Classics

dear toronto chowhounders ... visiting from NYC for a long weekend. based on my preliminary research i've got a good feel for the new shining stars in town - Black Hoof, Harbord Room, Nota Bene, Grace - and will probably try one or two of these in addition to the Lai Wah Heen dim sum.

wondering what classic standard / reliable "go-to" restaurants on the higher end i should consider as well. budget is not really an issue. must be "parent friendly" as i'm traveling with my mother-in-law who requires a bit of pampering (read: loud, cramped spaces do not work; must accept reservations).

any suggestions would be much appreciated, including thoughts on the newish restaurants i listed above. leaning towards a meal at Grace. the menu looks right up my alley, and the room looks gorgeous. what about Union? or Gilead Cafe?

thanks for any feedback!

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  1. Grace definitely is not a classics in Toronto, I had a bad meal there recently and is detailed in one of the earlier post. Forget about it especially you are coming from NYC.

    Some of the high end classic and reliable restaurants in Toronto are Splendido, Lai Wah Heen and Canoe is also a good choice which provides a magnificant view with great food. But just don't expect Per Se or Le Bernardin level.

    1. You'll have to strike Black Hoof off your list as there are no reservations, maybe Harbord Room too as res are booked up rather quickly, the dining room is quite small. Both have patios but it might be too cool at night for your mother in-law.

      Gilead is more of a lunch time spot, while Union looks to replace Jamie Kennedy as the "locavore" restaurant of the city. I haven't been so I can't comment.

      Skyline is right, Splendido and Canoe are the most reliable for traditional fine dining. George can be added to the list too. You will not find bang for buck at the fine dining spectrum like you could get back home w/ $88 prix fixe at Eleven Madison Park or $25 lunch at Jean-Georges.

      I would suggest trying more Chinese food as it's one thing Toronto does much better than NYC.

      1. Splendido! Best service in TO, imo and the food is really good overall. Very comfortable.

        1. For higher end restaurant I would definitely try C5. It is a fantastic restaurant, incredible service, great view, and takes reservations. The soups and broths are the best I have ever tasted.

          1. Canoe, Lai Wah Heen, Splendido, and Scaramouche.

            If you are eating with your mom-in-law, you could reserve a table for two next to the window at Scaramouche, and enjoy one of the best views of the city.


            2 Replies
            1. re: Full tummy

              For classic, Full Tummy is right, you definitely need to visit Scaramouche. It's a real gem. Service and food are always spot on, deliciousl

              1. re: millygirl

                You absolutely should go to SCARAMOUCHE as it is slated to close possibly at the end of the year (rumoured, once again). It truly is a special place and considered one of the true classics on the Toronto scene and it has earned it's stellar reputation for more years than I can count.