Elderly Irish Couple - looking for downtown dining suggestions
Hi all - I'm meeting for the first time some elderly (65+) Irish cousins Friday night for dinner. They are on a tour of Canada and are spending one night only in Toronto (I guess the tour organizers didn't feel our city deserved more time, LOL).
If anyone has any suggestions for dinner - I'd prefer something quiet as we'll be talking and exchanging info (so no Benihana-type restaurants). I've ruled out the revolving restaurant at the CN Tower as it seems universally panned by fellow Chowhounders. Something with a variety of dishes but nothing spicy or too exotic - Irish palates don't seem too adventurous!
I'd love not to be stuck with The Keg!
Actually, I didn't find the food at 360 (the restaurant in the CN Tower) to be as bad as people have said - in fact, I enjoyed my meal there last summer considering the food ordered was prepared fine and we had a nice view. Service was horrid though.
If I were in your situation, I would likely take my guests to Canoe if it were a weekday night (they are closed on weekends). I'm usually very happy with my meal (though if you are ordering fish, I would specify having it a little undercooked as they seem to overcook the poor thing) and they have great cocktails :-) . It's quite a Canadian menu, nothing too "exotic" and a beautiful space/view to boot.
What's your price range?
- Scaramouche has a renowned cityview and a menu that's "fancy," but classically so.
- My one meal at the CN tower was perfectly mediocre, but I don't think it's worth the rigmarole of dealing with the elevator and it feels pretty tourist-y.
- Globe bistro is a nice introduction to Canadian food (nothing too scary, not crazy-price-y... I'd recommend a booth on the mezzanine for quiet conversation)
I'm not going to fuss at you but perhaps you should turn loose of some stereotypes :) My husband is 65 and I'm not far behind him and we are VERY adventurous diners. We have an 85 y.o. friend who we cooked seared ahi tuna for recently and she loved it. Also there's a lot of great and innovative cooking going on in Ireland. So these people may simply like plain food (whatever that is these days) but it's not because of their age or country of origin.
PS: And, young lady/man, don't go referring to my age group as elderly or I may have to take you out behind the wood shed for a little corporal punishment ;)
re: c oliver
C Oliver. I couldn't agree more! I have often been turning to the U.K for inspiration, a lot of great food is coming out of Ireland, Scotland and England right now! And I've learned that 65+ often love the "adventurous" food because that's what their parents cooked for them. Any of the nose-to-tail stuff used to be absolutely common. It's my parents generation and also mine that were raised on crap!
re: c oliver
Oops! OP here.... Sorry to indulge in some stereotypes, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
In my defence, all the Irish cousins I've met have really been very timid about eating difference types of cuisine - and seem to think that using red pepper flakes is well, really far out. I remember one couple in particular that sniffed at Canadian peameal bacon as being "unusual". But that could just be my family!
Thank you for the feedback - much appreciated!
I ate at 360 recently and would say it was fine, but nothing special. You pay a premium for location; the rotating view is quite something, though, and makes for a memorable experience, even if the food does not. Keep in mind, though, that it is a bit of an ordeal going up and down the elevator, though not nearly as bad as visiting the CN Tower as a tourist (as opposed to diner), for which the lineups can be very long. Having reservations at the restaurant means you bypass all of that and go straight up; so, if the CN Tower is not already on their itinerary, and it's something they would like to do, it might be worthwhile eating at 360, especially since it sounds as though they aren't fussy foodies.
Canoe is also a good option. As is Scaramouche.
Lovely view of the city, excellent food, and it shouldn't be too noisy.
re: Full tummy
Having been faced recently with a similar situation, I can't resist getting in on this subject. My solution: the Pasta Bar at Scaramouche. Easy to get to, free valet parking (though a tip is always appreciated), a civil atmosphere, lots of space between tables, wonderful service and, most important, damn good cooking with subtle flourishes. Nothing too wild. But it's kinda expensive - about $150-$175 a couple with wine, tax and tip included (though it's worth it if you're prepared to pop that much). If that's too rich for you, someone above has mentioned Globe Bistro, which I regard as Scaramouche Lite. Many of the same attributes as Scaramouche, but somewhat cheaper. Lower still in price is Le Paradis, a French bistro on Bedford Road, near Avenue Rd.-Davenport Rd. A mainly older crowd who know cooking, and know good value as well. Ask for a table in the side room if you can get it, though it might be tough to corral on a weekend night. There are a few offbeat dishes on the menu that might frighten the wary - veal kidneys, for example (delicious) - but most dishes are pretty straightforward in the bistro style, and tasty. About $80 a couple with wine, tax and tip, and you'll have a most satisfying nosh.
There's Irish and then there's Irish. Some people are more adventurous than others. I'd turn to French for comfort food if they're not too adventurous, such as Le Select, which has a wide and varied menu. If they're a little more adventurous, you could go with JK Wine Bar, Globe, Starfish, or Simple, all of which do interesting things with Canadian ingredients.