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another year, another birthday, another meal!

every year i turn to you trusty CHers to help my husband pick our dinner resto for my bday and this is no different. last year you sent us to Harbord Room which has become our favourite resto in the city!!!

we are looking for somewhere TTC friendly we haven't been, with a great wine list, good salads (beets!) and fish-based mains for and steak/cheesey pastas/pork t-loins for husbands. ambiance is key and service, and these trump affordability - it's my birthday after all! but mains at or around or under $25 would be good. we have recently dined at Globe Earth and loved it for food and service, and would somewhere like Harbord Room for ambiance.

the short list i have come up with is so the short list is Grace, Loire, Nota Bene and Union.

thoughts? what's missing from my list? thanks!

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    1. ooooh...i was going to suggest globe earth (had a great meal there last night)....
      love note bene too.
      have you been to l'unita?

      1. I wasn't impressed with the meals I had at Grace. High on presentation but low on taste. In its replacement, I would pick Sequel ( 1000m north of Lawrence subway station ) instead. Dining room on the second floor is nice, romantic and cosy. The food is good and very reasonably priced.

        5 Replies
            1. re: todc1996

              Wow! Didn't realize that?! I was there 3-4 months ago!!

            2. re: Charles Yu

              I agree re:grace. My boyfriend characterized the flavour of my gnocchi as "barnyard-like". Ha, he was pretty accurate with that one. In general, I found the food meh.

              1. re: hungryabbey

                I second Local. Have not been but heard very good things.

            3. It's not dinner, but have you considered Hart House for lunch/brunch? The food is terrific, intelligent wine list, the prices are within your wheelhouse, and the room is quite lovely. Perhaps a couples massage at Stillwater before lunch...

              3 Replies
              1. re: sloweater

                That's exactly what came to my mind when I read the OP -- a lovely lingering lunch at Gallery Grill, finished off with a brandy and a cheese plate. The food is fantastic and the ambience unique.

                1. re: JamieK

                  this year we're sticking with dinner, but i'll keep this in mind for husband's bday in summer :)

                  1. re: LemonLauren

                    You'll love it! Please note they are closed July and August.

              2. I did not have a good experience at Union. Very poor snarky service and some uncooked chicken have, as they say, "left a bad taste in my mouth".

                1. Nota Bene! Definitely of your list, I've enjoyed Nota Bene the most. Always reliable. Try the wagyu burger if you'd like to splurge but everything is delicious, fresh and well-executed.

                  You might want to give Delux a shot. I was there last night, and was very impressed with the trout dish I had, and my dining companions steak frites. Perfectly done trout (I requested as underdone as possible and the kitchen happily complied), delicious brown butter sauce and lovely green bean/brussel sprout/celery root puree to accompany. So good! Steak was done to perfection (medium rare as requested), delicious cut of meat, and perfectly non-greasy double-fried fries.

                  To complete our meal, baked to order chocolate chip cookies ... still doughy on the inside, as I like them! With "milk" (i.e., white russian) that was the perfect completion to a leisurely Sunday meal.

                  92 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Z4, CA

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

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Yum2MyTum

                    Husband chose Nota Bene, I look forward to it and think it's a travesty that as a Toronto foodie I've never been. Will keep Delux in mind - don't like the no-reservation policy, tho.

                    1. re: LemonLauren

                      I think Delux is more of a Sunday supper kind of place. I dropped in at prime time (7:00 - ish) and I had no probelm getting a table.

                      Hope you enjoy Nota Bene, LemonLauren - their fish dishes are always superb, and if you like sweet desserts, the sticky toffee pudding is to die for! And happy early birthday!

                      1. re: LemonLauren

                        when did they start a no reservation policy? last i knew they took reservations... unlike foxley and libretto.

                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                          Yes, Delux still takes reservations...I was there again last Friday & phoned ahead for one.

                        2. re: LemonLauren

                          The crispy duck salad at Nota Bene is yummy. The lobster salad, not so much. The onion strings are also ridiculously tasty. Enjoy your dinner!