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special dinner...cant decide.

d
dmartins123 Jan 10, 2010 05:49 PM

hello everyone,

longtime reader...first time poster here.

i enjoy the nice restaurants with the wife and we dont nearly do it as much as we should; we have lots to celebrate! our last "fancy" meal was at via allegro. while it was good, it was hardly memorable; before that was george.

i have looked into both nota bene and auberge du pommier. what do you recommend? budget not an issue and i feel bad that i missed david lee at splendido. however, auberge seems to have better atmosphere.

thanks!

  1. s
    swissmissy Sep 4, 2010 01:49 PM

    I agree with most of the posters here and can easily say Scaramouche is overall an amazing experience. I also recently had a fabulous dinner at George. My husband and I had the 5 course tasting menu with wine parings. No complaints at all - service and food were both impeccable.

    1. p
      pkfinn Sep 4, 2010 07:36 AM

      For all of my special occasions (anniversary, promotion, birthdays), I usually check out what the Chowhounders have to say/recommend. Having lived in Toronto for the past two years, I've been slowly enjoying fine dining when the opportunity presents itself.

      I ate at Splendido last night and have eaten at Scaramouche, Bistro 990, Biff's Bistro, and Rosewater Supper Club. Last night at Splendido, we ordered the chef's special which was the Chateaubriand ($98). It was lovely. Perfectly cooked, moist, tender. It was served, though, over a bed of gnocchi with truffles which was an awful pairing. The gnocchi was soggy and overcooked, and it did not have a pleasant accompanying flavor. As it was half the meal, it was disappointing. As a side, we ordered the Yukon Gold Potato Frites with Malt Vinegar Mayonnaise which were delicious and flavorful. With a pre-dinner cocktail and a bottle of wine, the meal set us back over $400. I was not impressed with the atmosphere and the service was overkill. It was hard to identify who our server was. The host who sat us who kept coming back to flirt with my SO? The sommelier who kept coming back and asking to take our order, inquire about bread, or check in? The back waiter who kept asking the same questions as the other two? I don't mind the attention, but I did mind the lack of coordination. Within a three-minute time span after the check, three separate servers came up and asked if we needed a taxi arranged for us. That's all well and good, but by the third inquiry it was a bit intrusive as we finished our wine.

      Of all of my fine dining experiences in Toronto, I prefer Scaramouche followed by Bistro 990 (amazing steak tartare) and then Biff's. I would return to any of those three but did not find Splendido worth the expense (but I do not regret checking it out, either). One of our best discoveries is a small French bistro in Corktown called Weezie's (354 King Street East). The atmosphere is simple, but the food was fantastic and the price could not be beat. It's not "upscale," but it's a definite, definite hit.

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

      Bistro 990
      990 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5S3A8, CA

      Biff's Bistro
      4 Front St. E, Toronto, ON M5E 1B2, CA

      1. estufarian Jan 12, 2010 03:52 PM

        I've had several good meals (and occasionally amazing) meals at Splendido since the change in ownership - the amazing one was at the end of November, and was only rivalled by the 'farewell' dinner at Splendido for my best Toronto meal of the year.
        While I give full praise to David Lee for building the place up, he also deserves the credit for training his replacement.
        And of course, Nota Bene is worth considering - although it is a bit frantic.
        I haven't been a fan of Auberge de Pommier - but it could have improved since my last visit (I've documented my issues elsewhere, so won't repeat them here).

        5 Replies
        1. re: estufarian
          d
          dmartins123 Jan 12, 2010 05:20 PM

          maybe i shouldnt write off spendido just yet for this...

          auberge or splendido? hmmmm.....

          1. re: dmartins123
            jlunar Jan 12, 2010 06:27 PM

            food-wise, splendido is better, though I still think the atmosphere is better at auberge if you're going for romantic. Not that the atmosphere at Spendido is bad, it veers toward more casual/trendy.

            ---
            http://www.foodpr0n.com/ -- food. is. love.

            -----
            Auberge Du Pommier
            4150 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M2P 2C6, CA

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

            1. re: jlunar
              estufarian Jan 13, 2010 06:29 AM

              I go for the food!

            2. re: dmartins123
              t
              Toronto Chower Jan 13, 2010 09:11 AM

              The SO and I went to Splendido at the beginning of December for our anniversary and we absolutely loved it. Our service was excellent and when we mentioned to the server that it was our anniversary, he casually introduced himself to get our names and then came back with a personalized card from the chef, server and owner wishing us a happy anniversary. Obviously a pre-signed fill in the blank card but the extra touch was appreciated.

              On to the food as it is the most important. I had the rabbit pappardelle as an appetizer and it was honestly one of the best dishes I had all year. It was so flavourful without fbeing too rich. The SO had the special pappardelle with butter and shaved truffles to start. We both had fish for the main, him skate and me bass and they were both great, but the appetizers were the stars.

              We split the sticky toffee pudding for dessert which was excellent. They also were showcasing Tawse wines which we had by the glass and were excellent. Not sure if that showcase is still on.

              Overall it was an excellent experience and I would recommend Splendido to anyone (and have been) for a special occassion.

              1. re: Toronto Chower
                TheDewster Jun 8, 2010 09:58 AM

                I went to Splendido and had a similar experience to Toronto Chower, Rabbit was really mild but tasty, Charcuterie was superb best I've ever had. Had cassoulet for two half size with boudin noir, and blanc I almost cried it was so good the crackling on the pork slice was superb. Expensive but worth braving the freezing rain. They have Vega-Sicilia and a recorking licence and will treat your wine well without being miffed about byob. Classy and not intrusive service best food in Toronto unless looking for steak then go to 1800 degrees or Barberians

                -----
                Barberian's
                7 Elm St, Toronto, ON M5G1H1, CA

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

          2. p
            Porto Jan 10, 2010 06:25 PM

            Hi Dmartins,
            If you have never been to Auberge you owe it to yourselves to try it out.
            Food is done really well, service as good as it gets in Toronto. You have
            underground parking or the subway really close by. The warmth and comfort
            of the room is one of the finest around. Truly a great night out at Auberge.

            I have been to both Slendido and Scaramouche within the last year. Go to Auberge,
            you will enjoy it without a doubt. Note Bene is much to noisy and the food is not what David brought to Spendido past.

            Porto

            5 Replies
            1. re: Porto
              d
              dmartins123 Jan 10, 2010 08:34 PM

              Thanks Porto (portuguese by chance? I am. I have never been to chiado though....something about spending lots of money on food i get at my parents doesnt appeal to me! lol).

              i think we will be going to auberge. how did you like scaramouche?

              1. re: dmartins123
                p
                Porto Jan 11, 2010 05:25 AM

                Hi again D,
                No, not portuguese, it's just that Port is my favorite.

                Although Scaramouche is a great place, it never dazzled me personally.
                I dont find the food much greater than Auberge, it is great food nevertheless.
                Yes the view of Toronto from the room can be nice.
                I still find Auberge has a greater warmth in the room and the whole overall
                experience leaves you having a great evening out.
                Porto

                1. re: Porto
                  a
                  acd123 Jan 11, 2010 05:53 AM

                  My wife and I go to the same place every year for our aniversary. Sushi Kaji on the Queensway. After the meal is done, we start our countdown until the next time. If you love Japanese food like we do, you won't be sorry. We usually spend about $300 for the two of us.

                  1. re: acd123
                    m
                    millygirl Jan 11, 2010 06:31 AM

                    Scaramouche is our go to spot for special occasions. We've never had anything but fantastic food, excellent service and love the atmosphere. It's elegant and sophisticated but never pretentious. In fact it's pretty laid back. They will go out of their way to please you, esp. if they know it's a celebration of some sort.

                    We go out a lot and love to try new restaurants but more often than not, we are disappointed by either food or service and pretty often comment on the way home that we should have spent our money at Scaramouche instead.

                    1. re: millygirl
                      d
                      dmartins123 Jan 11, 2010 06:33 PM

                      sushi kaji has definately been thought about...just not right for this occasion.

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