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Choice of Theatre district restaurants

Hey guys and gals,

I have been reading through the archives of posts about restaurants near the Princess of Wales Theatre and now realize that the general feeling is that they are -- in general -- lacklustre tourist traps.

That said, I bought tickets to Sound of Music that include dinner at one of the following restaurants:

Alice Fazoolis
Big Daddy's
Chic Chinoise
Fred's not Here
Joe Badalis
Kit Kat
The Overdraught Irish Pub
Red Tomato

I'm taking my parents and wife and I'm looking for suggestions as to which restaurant to choose. My parent's like most food, although my mom mentioned she might be in the mood for Italian.

Any help would be appreciated.

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  1. Straight away I would say no to Fred's not Here/Red Tomato and Montana. Joe Badalis is like assembly line Italian. Chic Chinoise is a pricey "hip" Chinese joint. My previous experience with Kama (Indian food) years ago were not good, but recent reveiws have been OK. Toula is a bit far at Yonge and Queens Quay, easily half an hour's walk away. The view can be great though (if you ask for lake view) and they try to be a fine dining resto (with mixed results).

    1. Alice Fazooli's is Italian. I had it at the location across from Square One in Mississauga and it wasn't extraordinary but it wasn't bad either... might be your best bet.

      1 Reply
      1. re: morefoodplz

        If you have to pick from the list, I would say Fazoolis also. I've had their appetizers and they were fair.

      2. Not on your list but I would suggest La Fenice. Really good Italian.


        1 Reply
        1. re: rapsrealm

          The OP's tickets include dinner at one of the restaurants on the list above, so La Fenice won't work.

          I'd go with Alice Fazooli's as well.

        2. the fat belgian isn't on your list but you may want to look at, the irish embassy is a bit farther but i like the food and for straight up pub-gabby's and bit further down is stix and stones-but i've only had brunch there.

          1. None of the restaurants on the list will knock your socks off, but I'll add my $0.02 that Alice Fazooli's is the best of a limited selection.

            1. Although it's part of a chain, some of my best pre-theatre meals in recent memory have been at Big Daddy's. Very nice oysters, and probably some of the best sauces for oysters that I've seen. I would stick to the apps and cajun dishes and avoid the mains, which are somewhat overpriced, but if your deal includes the mains, that won't matter for you.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Snarf

                Have only been to fazooli's and red tomato/fred's .. I thought Fred's was fine - not a huge fan of fazooli's but they do have some tasty apps.. and they have something for everyone.

                For the price you're paying for your package, it's a good deal even if dinner doesn't blow your mind :)

                1. re: mikefly

                  Was at fred's for lunch yesterday.

                  service was not crazy fast.

                  cornbread was good.
                  chicken curry was good.
                  everyone seemed happy with their meals (fish n chips + curry + buffalo wing salad?)

                  1. re: mikefly

                    Was at Fred's not so long ago - food was horrid. Service is not fast. Would never go back. Nor to Red Tomato...
                    Is there anything good along King St. West strip???

              2. Gabby's 309 King Street West
                I just went tonight. Had the quesadillas, and bison burger, shared with friend. Very good food at reasonable prices. The server, Lauren was superfriendly and even gave my friend a sample of Rickert's white just to try it out before we ordered it.
                Delicious, unpretentious good simple cooking.

                1 Reply
                1. re: porgiamor

                  ...also not on the list that is included with the tickets. Out of those possibilities, I've only been to Alice Fazooli's, but I agree that you can probably find something reasonably tasty there.

                2. I have had some good experiences at Marcel's -- nothing stellar, but you can get a decent steak frites with bordelaise.

                  1. Hmm, that's a very tough choice. If I were choosing, I'd take either Kit Kat or Fred's Not Here, with Alize Fazooli's as an alternate. Yes, Fred's is not as good as it once used to be, but they still have good food with some items being very good. I've been to Kit Kat a couple times in the past, though not recently, and found the food to be good. Alice F's is very ordinary and a chain, so your experience will be... well, ordinary. I've also sound that their food quality has declined with each menu change. The last time I went, a couple months ago, I found it be mediocre at best, so that was probably my last time there.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: SMOG

                      Been to Kit Kat once, and actually I thought it was pretty decent. I just had a simple pasta. My main complaint would be that it was a bit overpriced, but I wasn't paying that time so I came away with a positive impression.

                      Been at Fazooli's more times than I care to admit, though thankfully not for a while. Like most chains it's fairly hit and miss. Stick to the basics; do not order anything with rice, or it will have the taste and texture of Uncle Ben's, this I know.

                    2. Ah freedom to choose instead of freedom of choice. How post-war. Of these I'd chose Big Daddy's. While not great, it at least has an atmosphere in which you can have some fun. The back bar area is very relaxing. Food's okay in a kind of The Keg kind of way. Sorry about your Italian choices.

                      1. Instead of starting a new post, I'd like to get suggestions for a similar topic...

                        For tonight, something near the Royal Alexandra Theatre (Queen to Front and Spadina to University) that's consistently good, not Indian, Thai or the like - we eat these too often, has a decent vegetarian option and is not too casual. Unlike the OP, we're not restricted to specific restaurants.

                        My first thought is Nota Bene, but I'm not sure I want to spend that kind of dough on four dinners. Any and all suggestions welcome. Thanks.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: chowow

                          My experience with the original poster's choices:
                          Alice Fazoolis -not great
                          Big Daddy's - not bad, as above, the oysters are good, the gumbo good, jambalya and po' boys pretty decent
                          Chic Chinoise -when it was King's Garden, I loved the food, but haven't been back since they opened the new restaurant
                          Fred's not Here -neither good nor bad, decent
                          Joe Badalis- pretty bad, the only decent dish I've had was the steak pasta which is what I always order (my company used to have every holiday party there)
                          Kama- ordering from the menu used to be pretty good, as the food was made to order. not sure if they just pull food from the buffet now. The buffet is decent, but not oustanding
                          Kit Kat -pretty good italian
                          Marcel's -not bad
                          Toula -in my two dinners there, the fish was excellent and everyone was very impressed with the food.
                          Trader's -very bad.

                          To Chowow, not too far, but not within your boundaries is Le Select at Wellington west of Spadina. I love everything I've ever had there, great bistro food. I recently went to Forte, which is a newish bistro at University and Richmond where Da nu la was located, and it was pretty decent, but not as good as Le Select. Victor's in the Hotel St Germain on Mercer is pretty darned awesome, melt in your mouth pork belly....mmm..

                        2. NOTE - as of Feb 8 the Montana at 145 John Street in Toronto appears to be out of business. They were moving out all the kitchen gear. Other than movers, nobody else was inside during regular business hours. Also the phones aren't being answered and the voicemail boxes are full.


                          2 Replies
                          1. re: sprung

                            the restaurant makeover curse strikes again (albeit much, much after their reno)

                            1. re: ingloriouseater

                              My pick of the list would be Big Daddy's. Not easy to get cajun seafood in TO. So we always like to go to Big Daddy's once in a while.
                              Not crazy about Alice Fazooli's or Joe Badali. Or Marcel and Chic Chinoise either.