First date drinks...then maybe dinner?
Hi, I'm meeting someone for the first time for drinks...and if all goes well, dinner.
I'd like to keep things centrally located (or in Leslieville), affordable and simple - either have drinks in one location and walk to dinner for second location. Or, even simpler, stay in one place.
From what I've read/heard, Sidecar sounds like a good bet - not too expensive, not too casual or too romantic and has great drinks. The food sounds like it could be a hit or a miss. I can't tell. It would bug me to pay full price and be disappointed considering they offer prix fix during the week and I'm not going at that time (I'd go during the week if only I could trust myself to stick to one drink!).
My date is into red wine, so it would also be nice to go somewhere w/the same idea in mind. I love Gio Ranna's for a first date but I'd like to try something new.
Wine Bar Giancarlo on College is a pretty spot. Small plate menu means that you could compromise on a picky short of shared dinner or snacks if all goes well (or you can order from the main Trattoria menu if you're really hungry). Wine for your date.
Sidecar is more of a restaurant than a bar. I've hit them at peak-ish hours on a weekend and it's not always conducive to just a drink at that point.
You might want to have drinks at Ceili Cottage in Leslieville. You can move on from there. If you want something fun and casual, go for Northern Vietnamese at Hanoi 3 Seasons on Queen E. You could also head up to Batifole on Gerrard (and Logan) after your drinks. There is a nice wine list at Batifole with a wide range of prices. Another idea would be drinks at the Auld Spot (a convivial pub on Danforth) and dinner at Globe Restaurant. I've read good things about Weezie's and Mangia e Bevi, both of which aren't too far from Leslieville, if that is your preferred nabe.
I'm of the mindset that on a first date, you're already a bit nervous, so to head to a formal restaurant means extra pressure. I prefer to choose fun ethnic restaurants, hence my Hanoi 3 Seasons suggestion. I've taken a first date for sushi and would suggest Ethiopian, Moroccan or even Tibetan, without hesitation, provided my date was game for adventure. However, that's just me. You may prefer more standard fork and knife places.
Swirl in Leslieville is a nice way to have wine and light snacks. Can move to Gio's or some other local place afterward!
Though, it might be a bit too "romantic" (though I'd say "girly"). I've got photos on my review in the blog and I think there are tons more online to get a feel for this (very) small place.
I do like it though! If you're early, you may be the only ones there - so you'll have to decide if that's for you!
http://www.foodpr0n.com/ -- more photos. fewer adjectives.
Swirl Wine Bar
946 1/2 Queen St. E., Toronto, ON M4M, CA