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cool for teens

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My nieces (12 and 14) are coming to Toronto soon for a weekend. I'd like to take them some place 'cool' for dinner after Cirque du Soleil.
The 12 yo is not very adventurous. Her favorite food is Chinese food - but this is of the red chicken ball variety. We've taken her out for Thai in the past, she claims it's too spicy and only eats spring rolls...
The 14 yo loves pizza, and I would consider taking them to Terroni, but I fear the no substitution policy would be an issue. I think she would be more open to trying something new.

They aren't overly keen on Indian, and I think they would like to think that they want to try sushi - but I don't want to push anything too radical on them. I want them to have a fun 'big city' meal, but I'd also like them to enjoy it....meaning I would like them to have a positive new experience with food instead of just a weird experience. It could even be a regular old burger and fries - but at an interesting location.

I've read posts suggesting Korean bbq - which I think could be a lot of fun (despite the fact that I would order a stone bowl as I can't resist). I'm going to offer them a few suggestions, and let them choose - so this will be included in their options.

One last thing - since we're also already splurging on the Cirque du Soleil tickets, we can't afford restaurants like the one on top of the CN Tower....

Thanks to anyone who can offer a suggestion.

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  1. My partner and I have taken kids of the same age to Terroni and they loved it. The menu is large enough that they are bound to find an option that appeals to them. The place (I'm thinking of Queen location though) is busy and kind of fun, which our visitors really liked. They felt it was grown up, but not stuffy.

    1. if you want an alternative to Terroni's I'd try Libretto as you can make changes to the pizza's - but you'd have to be prepared to wait.

      if that's not an option how about dim sum? If you go to a place that has dim sum and cnd style Chinese food I'm sure you could please them both.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JennaBean

        I wouldn't really bring picky people to dim sum; in my experience it's a love-it-or-hate-it type of thing for first-timers. I don't think Terroni's no-substitution thing should be a problem (barring allergies), as they have reasonable menu variety for both pizzas and pastas. Libretto is a good option if you can go earlier... there usually isn't a big problem with seating unless it's after 6:30pm or so.

      2. What about one of the Greektown restos? Food is not too complicated, not too expensive, and there's always lots of big-city buzz. Flaming cheese can be very exciting for the teen set!

        Viet might work too... pho is pretty accessible and the shakes are usually a hit.

        Finally, I've been pitching Negroni Panini. Italian sandwiches, pretty setting, decadent homemade ice cream (and cheap vino for the adults).

        1 Reply
        1. re: Rabbit

          Flaming cheese is a great idea!

        2. Le Select bistro has a $35 prix fixe. French food can be a baby step into finer dining. The decor and food is nice. It will feel like a big city experience. There is adventurous stuff on the menu but also steak and frites.
          If you do end up choosing burgers and such, go to Utopia on College St. A lot to choose on the menu and everything is consistently good, and cheap.

          1. They might get a kick out of going somewhere in the Distillery District, although I can't think of which place specifically. It's close by Cirque in any event, and there's lots of parking.
            http://www.thedistillerydistrict.com/...

            1. Medeival Times is about half price right now. Four people any age for $120. Food is pretty good. The kids will probably love it. I know mine did. I have taken them twice so far and they would go back in a heartbeat.

              1. The Greektown suggestion sounds good to me. Try these guys: www.messini.ca

                Cheap, good and they have fries!

                2 Replies
                1. re: currycue

                  I think messini is a good idea. Its a small but usually very busy in the evening, lots of young people, a lively and exciting vibe.

                  1. re: currycue

                    I also think Greek on Danforth would be a good bet. Lots of shops to peek into, for that age, if a walk is in order, before or after dinner.

                  2. Thanks to everyone for the ideas. Dubchild, you've picked the 2 places they've already been in the city! So far, I'm going to give them the choice of Terroni, Korean BBQ and Greek.