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Student Foodies' Toronto Weekend

So we're three student foodies about to embark on our 3 day odyssey into the heart of T-town.
Being foodies above all else, the pursuit of the revelatory meal will be our goal for the trip. That being said, we're students, and have to pick accordingly. We'll definitely hit up some the cheaper Asian places - thinking Chinese Traditional Bun and Khmer Thai - and of course the St. Lawrence Market, but would like one or two 'higher end' experiences. I've heard good things about Globe Bistro and Nota Bene, but then the ones that turn up on countless "Best of" lists aren't always aimed at our demographic. If anyone has a better suggestion, well, guys, have at please!

Thanks 'hounds!

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Khmer Thai
1018 St Clair Ave W, Toronto, ON M6E1A4, CA

Chinese Traditional Buns
536 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

St. Lawrence Market
92 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E, CA

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  1. I would replace Khmer Thai with Sukhothai without hesitation.

    For finer dining what would your budget be?

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    Sukhothai
    274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

    1. don't forget Mother's dumplings, veal sandwich at Mustachio's (St Lawrence market), possibly Sidecar (easy on the wallet on weekdays), Negroni, possibly Utopia Cafe, Manpuku (unless you are from Japan), Pizza Libretto!

      1. For a nice evening meal I'd recommend Politica. A really great neighbourhood resto just south of Queen West. They don't turn tables, it's a tiny place and no attitude so they won't like treat you like "students." You'll have a meal you won't regret and feel like a local. Then you can stroll up to Queen and hit that scene afterward...

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        Politica
        127 Strachan Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2S7, CA

        1. You're aware Khmer Thai is a Cambodian restaurant, right?

          1. Go to Black Hoof where you can taste some animal parts that you may not have tried before.

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            Black Hoof
            928 Dundas St W, Toronto M6J, CA

            1. Add to Sukhothai, The Prague (www.theprague.ca) for a great meal at a very reasonable price. I'd also suggest Swatow on Spadina, Big Fat Burrito on Augusta in Kensington Market. Black Camel (pulled pork sandwiches, just outside Rosedale Subway station) Chippy's on either Bloor west or Queen West (for an exceptional Fish 'n' chips) The Senator for a great hangover breakfast (www.thesenator.com) Kathmandu Restaurant for a mean butter chicken (on Yonge Street) and La Hacienda on Queen west for a cheap, yummy tex-mex guilty pleasure.

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              Black Camel
              4 Crescent Rd, Toronto, ON M4W1S9, CA

              Big Fat Burrito
              285 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2M1, CA

              Swatow
              309 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E6, CA

              La Hacienda
              640 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J1E4, CA

              Sukhothai
              274 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

              1. Nota Bene is nice, and you can eat pretty much eat for about $60pp, no wine, but entree+app+shared desserts.

                I feel Globe has a cozier atmosphere, whereas NB is more trendy-people-place. I think Splendido is also nice, though you'll have to pick through the menu carefully if you're budget-conscious.

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                http://www.foodpr0n.com -- more pictures. fewer adjectives.

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                Globe
                124 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K1N1, CA

                Nota Bene
                180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

                1. Thanks for the recs so far!
                  We're coming in from Montreal, a haven for french(inspired)/portuguese/generally continental cuisine. Very much looking forward to filling in the far-east blanks this weekend.
                  Rol San, Sukhothai, and the pricier Lai Wah Heen have all piqued our interest so far.

                  One night though a 'splurgier' meal may be in order, if only to get another view of the Toronto scene. I'd say our budget for the meal would be around $60 - $80 a person, but for something really, really phenomenal, then a cap of $100 a head (wine included).
                  But if we can avoid spending that much and still get the sensory experience we crave, well, more power to us (and you - whomever could recommend such a quasi-mythical place! Salut!).
                  We're staying around the U of T area, and'll be moving around, seeing shows, checking out the ROM and the cinematheque and whatever else comes into our purview.
                  I see that there's a gourmet food and wine expo that weekend, but the board consensus doesn't seem too hot for it. Skippable?

                  7 Replies
                    1. re: thebenc

                      And fyi, Lai Wah Heen can be quite expensive!

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                      Lai Wah Heen
                      108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, CA

                      Wah's Restaurant
                      23 Simcoe Plaza, Terrace Bay, ON P0T2W0, CA

                      1. re: thebenc

                        Yes, definitely skip the food and wine expo. You're money is much better spent elsewhere. For your splurge dinner, both Globe and Nota Bene are good choices. Nota Bene is a bit "corporate chic" in atmosphere, so it may not have the type of vibe you're looking for. Globe has a few different seating areas. The main dining room towards the back of the first floor is quite elegant and modern. But the front bar area is much more casual (same menu). There is also a mezzanine that is quiet and romantic.

                        A couple of alternatives -- you could splurge on Splendido if you are careful with your ordering. Or you could go across the street to Harbord Room, which is still a hot spot with great buzz. I've had mixed experiences there, but it is well loved by many and is a bit of a restaurant industry hang out. It's small and has great atmosphere -- it has a hip vibe, great cocktails and a really excellent burger.

                        I'm also going to give a shout out to Negroni for one of your lunches or casual, inexpensive dinners. It's a deceptively simple menu of panini and some small nibble plates, but the quality, service and value are top notch. It's also on the far East end of the College St. (Little Italy) strip, so afterwards you can walk down into the heart of Little Italy and bar or cafe hop.

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                        Splendido
                        88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

                        Harbord Room
                        89 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

                        Nota Bene
                        180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

                        1. re: thebenc

                          I like 93 Harbord - it's slightly upscale middle eastern food, beautifully prepared, nice room. Definitely within your budget.

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                          93 Harbord
                          93 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

                          1. re: Nyleve

                            Love 93 Harbord and also had a great experience at Harbord Room. I found Nota Bene to not have any 'fun factor' at all and really would have preferred to have spent my money in either of the Harbords (though certainly many would argue that Nota Bene is all that). Nota Bene on my particular Friday night seemed to be about a much older, monied crowd. Yes, the food was good, but when the experience doesn't back up the food, I always find it less than satisfying.

                            -----
                            93 Harbord
                            93 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

                            Harbord Room
                            89 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

                            Nota Bene
                            180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

                            Harbord
                            147 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1H1, CA

                            1. re: Nyleve

                              Ditto on 93 Harbord. It's not fine dining, but it's a great spot. As are many of the restaurants along Harbord, actually! My favourite restaurant strip in the city.

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                              93 Harbord
                              93 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

                            2. re: thebenc

                              for the splurge, i'd say black hoof. you'll love the food and the vibe. after you can hang out in the ossington/queen west area, and hit some bars (a number of which have pretty decent late night snacks menus).

                              in a totally different direction, for lunch you might want to consider jamie kennedy's gilead cafe (on gilead, off king, east of parliament). food is wholesome and all about the ingredients. from there you can venture into the queen east strip, or go down to st. lawrence mk.

                            3. Do yourself a favor - set aside one day and some cash for lunch at Canoe. You won't regret it.

                              1. You could try pomegranate at bathurst and college, its reasonable and has excellent persian food. Only thing you may need a reservation, coz its very small and gets filled very fast. Enjoy