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looking for restaurant for anniversary dinner

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Lgirl Dec 11, 2009 07:48 AM

Four years ago, when I first moved to Canada from my native New York City, I went to this board for a restaurant recommendation for my partner and I to celebrate our first anniversary in Canada. You sent me to Splendido, and it was, at the time, truly splendid. (The maitre d' saw my post on this board and came to the table to welcome us!)

Since then we've been more focused on exploring restaurants where we live in Mississauga (surprisingly many choices!), and less expensive places in Toronto.

Now anniversary time is coming up again, and this year I'd like to go someplace very special in Toronto. What would you recommend?

It can be any kind of restaurant, as long as it features great food, great service and a beautiful atmosphere. Money is not really an issue, but value is. I don't mind spending hugely, but then it should be a very special experience.

Many thanks! I look forward to reading your replies!

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  1. Ms. Taken RE: Lgirl Dec 11, 2009 09:41 AM

    Why not go to Nota Bene? It's the same owners as the old Splendido. Similar scene, slightly cheaper.

    1. Rabbit RE: Lgirl Dec 11, 2009 09:57 AM

      Since you're native New Yorkers it might be fun to try a Canadian angle. For a special occasion you might consider Canoe (fantastique view is a great bonus) or at slightly lower price point (with a more casual and yet still occasion-worthy vibe) Globe Bistro.

      www.globebistro.com
      www.canoerestaurant.com

      PS - Do note that Canoe is not open on Saturdays. Also, Canoe might be fun for a drink and a snack before dinner elsewhere if you're looking to make it a multiple-stop evening.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Rabbit
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        Lgirl RE: Rabbit Dec 11, 2009 11:10 AM

        Thanks! I've been to Canoe, but I dislike the location. We both work in the downtown core, and I'd rather not socialize there, too.

        Is the food at Nota Bene really superb?

        1. re: Lgirl
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          childofthestorm RE: Lgirl Dec 11, 2009 11:36 AM

          Nota Bene has too much of a corporate vibe, not great for a date unless it's a "get to know you" thing.

          I always make this suggestion in this sort of thread, but here we go again. Scaramouche. Window Table. Tasting Menu. In fact, call ahead and tell them it's your anniversary, and you'll be having tasting menus, to be sure you get the great view. Pound for pound I think Scaramouche is the best combo of great food, service, and romantic ambience in Toronto.

          1. re: childofthestorm
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            Lgirl RE: childofthestorm Dec 11, 2009 12:36 PM

            Thanks very much! I'll check them out online. Sounds perfect.

            Sorry to put you out. This kind of thing is not easy to search for, when you don't have a restaurant name in mind.

            1. re: Lgirl
              m
              millygirl RE: Lgirl Dec 11, 2009 12:39 PM

              I agree, Scaramouche is a great choice in terms of location, ambience, food and service. You will not be disappointed. It's our go to place for special occasions. They know how to treat you right without being 'in your face' or pretentious. Enjoy and happy anniversary!

              1. re: millygirl
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                Lgirl RE: millygirl Dec 11, 2009 12:48 PM

                Hey, thanks for the confirmation. That sounds like what we're after. The menu looks fabulous.

                Thanks everyone!

                1. re: millygirl
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                  Crepes Suzette RE: millygirl Dec 11, 2009 12:48 PM

                  I seem to always chime in to support Scaramouche for these occasions too!

                  1. re: Crepes Suzette
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                    Idas RE: Crepes Suzette Dec 14, 2009 06:29 PM

                    Count me in. Scaramouche has not disappointed me yet for special dinners.

        2. s
          sydneydelicious RE: Lgirl Dec 11, 2009 02:52 PM

          Hi, I'd recommend Auberge du Pommier. 10x better than Scaramouche - ambiance, food, everything.

          12 Replies
          1. re: sydneydelicious
            jlunar RE: sydneydelicious Dec 11, 2009 03:17 PM

            I'd second this one. Much more romantic, IMO. Scaramouche has noise issues and I don't think the view makes up for it.

            1. re: jlunar
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              JPJ RE: jlunar Dec 13, 2009 06:36 PM

              I have posted countless times now that the sound issues at Scaramouche make the suggestions of a romantic ambience laughable. I have sat by the windows twice and it doesn't help at all. Fact is the place is packed fairly tight and on most nights it is noticeably loud. Great food in contemporary space, check. Intimacy, not a chance.

              I would throw my support behind Auberge as well. There is no real difference in food quality between Auberge and Scaramouche, but the ambience at Auberge is much better for dinner for 2.

              1. re: JPJ
                Full tummy RE: JPJ Dec 13, 2009 07:05 PM

                You are right. And it's 10x more charming, too.

                1. re: Full tummy
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                  Idas RE: Full tummy Dec 14, 2009 06:31 PM

                  I recall a stupifying long delay for dinner my last Auberge group dinner (4 couples). Nice food, but the slow service was frustrating. Love to try Pastis.

                  1. re: Idas
                    estufarian RE: Idas Dec 15, 2009 01:59 PM

                    I'm stunned! Either Auberge has changed DRAMATICALLY or we've entered a parallel Universe.
                    Scaramouche is superb (although I'd avoid Saturday nights when it tends to get a little hectic and the service slips a little). Sometimes the food isn't superb - but it's always very good at least.

                    Auberge is a 'pretty room' - but neither the food nor service seem (to me) to put it into the top ranks. I have to admit it's now been a few years since I've been - and there was good reason for that ( service that I can only describe as insulting when I sent the food back). So it may certainly have improved, but I'd take a 'safe' Scaramouche.

                    1. re: estufarian
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                      JPJ RE: estufarian Dec 16, 2009 06:54 PM

                      Critic rankings and customer feedback are fairly similar for both Auberge and Scaramouche. Both also are generally recommended (with the odd dissent) here for fine dining. Both were ranked by Chatto (for whatever that is worth) in his 2009 Best Restaurant's in Toronto list.

                      People can reasonably disagree on issues involving food, differences in taste abound. Saying that the recommendations here for Auberge are stunning is a significant overstatement, the place has had consistently good press and feedback for years now. It seems unlikely that the consistency of feedback about Auberge is an anomaly. I don't think Auberge improved, its just not your taste.

                      1. re: JPJ
                        estufarian RE: JPJ Dec 17, 2009 08:01 AM

                        No dish that is oversalted to the point of being inedible is to my taste.
                        Neither is a server who accuses me of adding salt before I've tasted (which I NEVER do).
                        And when I left the dish entirely and it was still included on the bill - that's not to my taste either.
                        One of the three occasions in my life (I think) where I didn't tip.

                        1. re: estufarian
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                          JPJ RE: estufarian Dec 17, 2009 02:42 PM

                          Bad service is a hazard of eating in restaurants. I have received bad service on a few occasions in well known and recommended restaurants all around the world, some of which are renown for excellent service. I still remember fondly my meal at Le Bernadin which was marred by a waitress with a severe attitude problem.

                          Oversalted food is a question of taste, some people like a lot of salt, some don't.

                          True the proper thing for the restaurant to do was to simply accept that the plate was too salty for you (whether you and the chef agree on the saltiness is irrelevant, customer is always right) and offer to either remake it with less salt or make you something else, or simply remove the dish from your bill, or if the restaurant is truly special - offer you something else on the comp.

                          My point however was that your experience appears out of step with the norm, you had a bad experience, it can happen anywhere.

                          1. re: JPJ
                            estufarian RE: JPJ Dec 17, 2009 03:28 PM

                            Fair enough.
                            I also had to return two different wines at Le Bernardin - neither matched what was on the wine list (and the second was offered by the Sommelier as the best match to the style I had attempted to order).

                            1. re: JPJ
                              ingloriouseater RE: JPJ Dec 17, 2009 04:03 PM

                              the customer is not always right, BUT they are never wrong...i would be happy to expand on this, but it is for a different thread

              2. re: sydneydelicious
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                phoenikia RE: sydneydelicious Dec 13, 2009 08:47 AM

                My last meal at Scaramouche was tastier than my last meal at Auberge, but I think a lot depends on whether you have a preference for contemporary continental or contemporary French food.

                I found the dishes at Scaramouche to be more in line with my palate, and they seemed more innovative than what was offered at Auberge. I have to admit I am not a fan of the coconut cream pie at Scaramouche that gets many raves on this Board.

                If you like rich French food, Auberge might be the right place. Came across to me as deluxe French food made by someone who isn't French, made for people who are not French. NTTAWWT. Auberge's main reason for success is that there are no other deluxe restaurants within a 10 minute drive of Hogg's Hollow and the Bridle Path.

                If I want French food in TO (which is rare for me), I'd rather support a restaurant owned by a Francophone, like Pastis.

                1. re: sydneydelicious
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                  igk RE: sydneydelicious Dec 14, 2009 10:19 PM

                  I think Auberge has the best romantic atmosphere of the places mentioned, but I like the food at Scaramouche better, especially their famous coconut cream pie! Despite all the votes for Scaramouche's famous window seat, I really didn't find the ambiance anything special, though I have used it for special occasions in the past as well. Perhaps it is for a different target age group. I am in my early 30s and I have found that a larger portion of the other diners at Scaramouche could have children my age or older. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, but it is something I noticed.

                  I prefer the food at Nota Bene over both of the other 2. Can't get enough of their tuna tartare! Nothing special about the ambiance, more of a corporate scene in my mind.

                2. Rabbit RE: Lgirl Dec 15, 2009 04:20 AM

                  I can't really say how the food is these days (does anyone have a report?), but I think that The Fifth is probably the among the prettiest dining rooms in Toronto.
                  www.thefifthgrill.com

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Rabbit
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                    millygirl RE: Rabbit Dec 15, 2009 05:05 AM

                    The Fifth is a great room! But I've had such terrible service in the past and it seems to have a consistent turnover problem. I would not return for those reasons alone.

                    1. re: millygirl
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                      Eatertainer RE: millygirl Dec 15, 2009 02:41 PM

                      I went to Scaramouche for an Anniversary dinner about 10 years ago and the meal was passable. But, the decor was bad 80's back then. So, I can only imagine how stale it is now!?
                      I would recommend Nota Bene or for a more interesting experience get the tasting menu at Colborne Lane and request the chefs table.

                      1. re: Eatertainer
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                        millygirl RE: Eatertainer Dec 15, 2009 03:39 PM

                        Funny I happen to like the decor. I would describe it as quietly elegant. and understated. For me, it's all about the vibe and atmosphere and I just love it there. Auberge just doesn't have it for me.

                        1. re: Eatertainer
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                          igk RE: Eatertainer Dec 15, 2009 07:47 PM

                          I'd have to agree that the decor is very dated and in need of some revitalization. Also would agree with an above post that I think Scaramouche may have my favorite service in the city. Attentive, but not overbearing. Not too formal, like I found at Splendido.

                    2. e
                      expensivetaste_tightbelt RE: Lgirl Dec 16, 2009 08:59 AM

                      I took my boyfriend to Colborne Lane for his birthday dinner this year. We eat out a lot, so I really wanted something that would be memorable and different. Colborne Lane was pricey, but what an unforgettable experience if you're into the whole molecular gastronomy sorta thing. I've sent a couple of other couples (haha) there for romantic evenings and they've all come back happy and bright-eyed.

                      -----
                      Colborne Lane
                      45 Colborne Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1P8, CA

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: expensivetaste_tightbelt
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                        jon.russell1212 RE: expensivetaste_tightbelt Dec 18, 2009 05:54 PM

                        If you're looking for something charming and quaint, I highly recommend La Parisienne Creperie in Oakville. Its nothing like Canoe (which I also love) or Scaramouche, but it is like stepping into France for an evening—the real, everyday France where Madame cooks while hubby serves. After dinner, a walk out on the pier in Bronte is a perfect close to a lovely evening. This tiny restaurant only has about six tables, and is certainly not cutting edge cuisine, but it is truly a memorable experience.

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