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Sep 9, 2009 10:14 AM

Reasonably Priced Dinner Ideas in Central/East Toronto

I'm planning a trip to Toronto in a few weeks, and having never been there before, I'm looking for a few good suggestions for dinner. Although I love the idea of splurging on vacation, given this economy, we're looking for a reasonably priced meal (about $20 pp entree) that won't "break the bank."

Since we've never been to Toronto, I was hoping for a restaurant with a cool atmosphere .... maybe in a neighborhood we could poke around in and enjoy the sites. Although we eat all kinds of food, I think I'm leaning towards either steak, seafood, Chinese, Cuban or a good mix of everything.

We'll be staying in East Toronto, near the Zoo, but have no problem (and were actually planning to) venture into the city to poke around.

Also, if you have any ideas for a good place to grab some yummy cocktails w/ a cool atmosphere, we'd welcome that as well.

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  1. Don't know what you'll find in the way of cocktails and cool atmosphere out that way, but in the city, you might want to consider Sidecar. Here's their website, with a link to their cocktails menu.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Full tummy

      I am not too familiar with Scarborough (This is where you are staying) but if you venture to Leslieville check out Edward Levesque's (A little bit more than your looking for but definitely tasty) From this restaurant you can easily catch a streetcar that will take you downtown :)
      Another one of my favourites is El Sol - slow service as it's family run but the food is sooooo worth waiting for
      If I think of anymore i'll be back. Right now I'm leaving work!

      1. re: akasharaine

        Sorry, but I'll have to recommend avoiding El Sol. The OP is from the States and telling her to go to Mexican up here would be a waste of a meal. And Edward Levesque gets really mixed reviews on this board, especially regarding service, so once again, I'm not sure I'd send a visitor there.

        burbgirl, given that you say you are staying out near the zoo, you are not far from Markham and Richmond Hill, which has some of the best Chinese restaurants the city has to offer. That area is our "Chinatown North", and while it's not a downtown, walkable neighbourhood, there is an amazing concentration of restaurants and Chinese malls. You could have a great meal, then pop over to Pacific Mall for a stroll and a gawk at all the crazy shops selling everything you could imagine. I'm not the Chinese food expert here, but there are a ton of great threads on food in that area. If you can give us an idea of what kind of Chinese food you like, I'm sure our local experts can point you in the right direction.

        To echo Full tummy, Sidecar has great cocktails and a reasonably priced menu. Their steak frites are particularly good and from Sun - Wed, they have a $25 prix fixe menu -- 3 courses. Awesome deal. And Sidecar is in the heart of Little Italy, which is great to wander and people watch after dinner.

    2. I would definitely wander around the Distillery District
      It's right off the Gardiner Expressway making it easy to get to from the East. I always have a great meal at the Boiler Room and it's nice to check out the sites in this quaint and funky area.

      Another option for you is The Beach. If you like cheap and cheerful, you can check out our old favourite, The Goof.
      After, you can stroll along the boardwalk and check out the waterfront.

      To second the Leslieville suggestion, the Ceili Cottage is AMAZING. It's quickly becoming our "local" for drinks and tasty food.

      3 Replies
      1. re: CanadaSweetheart

        O.K. I am so sorry, CanadaSweetheart, and no disrespect, but I sincerely hope burbgirl doesn't go to the Goof. It is fine if you live in the neighbourhood and are satisfied with so-so Chinese and Canadian diner style food, and for a lot of people there is nostalgia associated with the place, largely as a result of its pre-haute design days. Alas, the Beach is notoriously short on good food, except for Bibiche Bistro, but it doesn't have the atmosphere burbgirl is looking for.

        Ceili Cottage, which may have the atmosphere, has been disappointing for many posters to this board; it's a new place that's still sorting out service issues--people report waiting excessively long times for drinks and food, the restaurant being out of a lot of menu items, inexperienced servers, middling to good food (if you can get some)--but cool atmosphere, yes. Perhaps it's improved, maybe others can comment?

        Here is a thread about Ceili Cottage:

        Search for the word "Goof" on this thread for info. about it:

        1. re: Full tummy

          I went to Ceili Cottage last Friday night for the first time and the service was fine. We sat on the patio and our server was friendly and relatively prompt. She even brought out some blankets in case people wanted them when the evening turned cool which I thought was a nice touch. We didn't eat too much but tried the oysters, mac and cheese and kettle chips. Everything was basic but good.

          As someone who also lives in the Beach, I would have to agree with Full tummy about the Goof. I get take out from them on occasion because I live nearby but would never recommend it to someone from out of town, especially given the great Chinese options we have in Toronto as mentioned by TorontoJo.

          1. re: Full tummy

            If you decide to go to The Beach to walk around and enjoy the sights, I'd go to ViVetha for a meal. They get busy very quickly for weekend brunches, with long lines. Lunch or dinner would probably be better bets unless you don't mind waiting a long time to get a table. The food is very good, well executed and affordable. Service is friendly and efficient. They also have a location on Kingston Rd in Scarborough, called ViPei. Same menu, but sometimes not executed quite as well.