HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >

Discussion

Is there a restaurant in Toronto worth getting dressed up for?

I've never really felt the need to get dressed up to dine; maybe I have the wrong mindset, but I am hoping it's because I haven't been to the "proper" restaurants. I've gone to some nice places like George, Colborne Lane, etc; but the only place I've ever semi-dressed up for was Scaramouche.

I was told that Truffles was worth it, but it's close now right? Is there a place in Toronto still worth getting dressed up for?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. We dined at Bellini's in June, and we dressed up for the occasion. I noticed that except for one couple, everyone else was dressed up. I thought it to be a lovely restaurant, with great food!

    1. That is kind of a funny question don't you think? I don't think you would be out place getting dressed up in any of the restaurants you've mentioned. Maybe somewhere classic like Auberge Du Pommier?

      1. I do not think that there is anywhere in Toronto where a strict, old-skool dress code is still enforced (i.e. the old jacket and tie rule). As long as one doesn't look like a complete vagrant I can't imagine being turned away from even the finer establishments. Money talks.

        But whether someplace is worth getting dressed up for is a different question and entirely subjective. I (often) dress for dinner when the occasion merits or just because I think dressing up is fun. Then again, I've probably been watching too much Madmen. You've been wining and dining this girl all over Toronto for as long as I can remember, stoned. It seems that even if the restaurant isn't "worth it," she probably is!!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Rabbit

          I have to agree here. It depends on whether or not you'd feel uncomfortable amongst people who aren't dressed up or how comfortable you feel dressed up.

          Personally, it's nice to get dressed up and go to a nice restaurant. It gives a certain feeling to a person. At least it does to me. Then again, on the rare occasions that I have to wear a suit to hockey it gives me a sense of importance. Since all the pros wear them to games.

          DT

          1. re: Rabbit

            Rabbit,

            Agree entirely! Except, you would be surprised at how some people who dress to the nines owe everything to the bank and some people who dress like vagrants can be millionaires...

            Personally, I've never found Torontonians to dress up when dining out, at least not nearly like Montrealers or New Yorkers. I've seen people dressed up in fancy "sweatpants" at some finer dining establishments in the city. Actually, sometimes the way I eat, sweatpants may be the way to go : )

            1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

              Sometimes it depends on how you dress most of the time. People who dress up in business clothes every day for work might prefer to wear comfortable, casual clothes when out and not working, and vice versa. I work at home and could get away with spending the entire day in pyjamas and a housecoat, if I wish. I don't, but I wear jeans and very comfortable (read: casual) clothes most of the time. I love the opportunity to dress up, be it for dinners out or parties. I get few chances to dress up, so I take them where I can. Any evening at a fine restaurant can be a special one, regardless of how I'm dressed, but for me, having taken care with my dress and appearance adds a touch of grandeur to what might otherwise be just another meal in a restaurant.

              I would add Opus to the growing list of restaurants where I'd dress up. I've dressed very casually (before a hockey game) at Starfish, but I would gladly dress up for a nice evening out, which includes dinner at Starfish.

          2. I'd say Il Mulino, Scaramouche (formal side), Auberge Du Pommier, and any of the old school Italian restos like Sabatino's.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MeMeMe

              I guess certain places like Scaramouche like to keep things a certain way. Obviously if you make reservations at the dining room, that's where they'll put you. But I remember on a few occasions when we felt like just going in randomly...if we were dressed somewhat "appropriately" they'd put us in the dining room, but whenever I've gone in wearing jeans, they'll always lead us to the pasta bar.

              I am not complaining, just a funny observation.

            2. I'd say Auberge too, but I've also gone there in jeans and a nice top.... maybe Canoe?

              1. because i've dined at most of the restaurants mentioned for work, i've worn a suit and tie to all of them. if i'm going on my own, i will be semi-causual. no place in Toronto warrants formal attire.

                3 Replies
                1. re: dickiegreenleaf

                  Unless it's that "Local" place on Danforth Ave, I've only seen people wearing suits in there.

                  They've tried to go "downscale" but it still appears quite empty.

                  1. re: foodyDudey

                    Local on the Danforth makes most of its money after 11 pm Thu-Sat when it becomes the Danforth's answer to a King West club. Food is still an afterthought, as far as I'm aware.

                    1. re: phoenikia

                      I know that, but just wanted to mention it as it seems so out of place. I see they have changed the menu and opened the curtains but that just allows us to see how empty it is in there. The greeter/doorperson in a suit is also gone.

                2. Not that you should get dressed up for Yang's, but I felt underdressed last time I was at Yang's for dim sum. I've always shown up for dim sum in casual clothes or jeans, but at Yang's, on a weekday, everyone around me was sporting $1200+ handbags (they were the real thing), Missoni, Chanel, Prada, you name it. I felt like a country mouse.

                  Chiado is another place where I feel more comfortable when I'm more dressed up.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: phoenikia

                    There's a Yang's in Richmond Hill that I go to sometimes....this isn't the same that you're referring to is it?

                    1. re: phoenikia

                      You'll find the same at Casa Victoria and such, that's the crowd it draws. Chinese versions of stepford wives, out to spend their husband's money.

                      The old people that dim sum regularly can't afford Yang's, they're at the cheaper spots.

                      1. re: aser

                        Except the well dressed set at Yang's seemed much friendlier than the WASPy version of Stepford wives lunching in north Toronto;-) My generalization is just based on anecdotal evidence, so anyone reading this, please don't get your knickers in a knot;-)

                        I had taken my 20something cousin to Yang's, and we stood out because we were non-Asian, and we were wearing polar fleeces with jeans. The well dressed lady at the next table leaned over to inform me that I had ordered 2 types of turnip cake (lo bak gao)- steamed and fried. When I mentioned that was intentional, since my cousin loves turnip cake and sesame balls (jin deui), and that's about it, she laughed, and smiled, and continued a conversation with us.

                        The only other place I can remember another diner being so friendly and talkative in the GTA was at Europa on Bathurst ;-)

                        1. re: phoenikia

                          I think it's the whole Toronto mindset...I mean, I don't like the idea of a communal table at a restaurant. The few times I've been put on communal tables, my DC and I just ignored the rest of the table...like the rest of the table ignored the rest of the table, lol. I think it works better in Montreal or NY...just not here.

                          I can't believe we're talking about the same Yang's. I mean, across the forums here, people do seem to like it; but I've found it only marginally better than other Asian places. Service is better...but given the standards of service in said restaurants, it's not saying much.

                          Anyways, I figured Auberge might be fitting to get dressed up for...I know it's further out, but has anyone been to Rundles?

                          1. re: stonedtoronto

                            Stoned, I'd definitely dress up for Auberge du Pommier. I've been one time, a number of years ago. I wore a sweater and nice-casual pants, but was not dressed up. Most other diners (at the time) were in business attire. I felt under-dressed. If and when I go again, I will step it up a notch or two. I vaguely recall my SO's father advising him to wear a sport jacket/blazer.

                            1. re: stonedtoronto

                              It wasn't a communal table, stonedtoronto. The friendly lady was sitting at the table next to us. We each had tables of 2, spaced a few feet apart.

                              The upscale restaurants in Stratford are no dressier than midrange to upscale north TO restos like Celestin, Sequel, Zucca, etc. When the theatre season is in full gear, I'd say the upscale restaurants in Stratford (including Rundles, the Church, the Old Prune and Bijou) are less formal than an average night at a midrange north Toronto restaurant. A lot of clientele in Stratford wear practical/tourist type clothing- baggy, elastic waistbands, khakis, Tilley, etc. It's not like they are dressing for the opera.

                              I wouldn't necessarily dress up for Auberge- certainly no more than I would dress up for Coppi, Scaramouche, or any other restaurant charging more than $23 for a main course. Although I might wear a beret and an Hermes scarf, just for effect.

                              That being said, I prefer dim sum at Yang's over lunch or dinner at Auberge, on any given day. Even if the food at Yang's is only equal to the food at Casa Victoria, or Empire Court, or wherever else. Et oui, I know I'm comparing har gow to quenelles.

                      2. Dress up if you want to. In order to amortize a tux purchase, some friends and I wore formal wear to North 44 a couple of years ago. We got the best table in the place and incredible service. You could tell everyone was wondering what the occasion was. At the end of the meal, the waiter asked about it and we had to admit it was just for fun. The entire evening was an absolute blast and we are planning to do it again very soon. Although this time we'll have to come up with a better story about why we're so spiffy (I'm thinking something very James Bondish).

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Baggins

                          That's the spirit Baggins! Sounds like dinner with you would be a good time.

                          1. re: Baggins

                            I've found that many a time when I was underage here and in the US but wanted a nice dinner with wine, if I dressed the part and so did my friends, we'd never get carded.

                            Whether it is right or wrong you can definitely alter the kind of service you receive by how you dress, your gesticulations and the topics you converse about during dinner.

                            1. re: Baggins

                              lol. my friends and I went to Harbour 60 and did a "Bond" night (we'd known each other for 25+ yrs!). I got dressed in formal full-length gown and they did their tuxes. Drank Vespers at the bar and then went to eat. Lots of fun.