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Why are there so few decent restaurants in the east of Yonge?

Hi there - I am new in these parts. I live in Scarborough (yes there are decent parts of Scarberia - mainly south of Kingston Rd) after having moved farther east from first Riverdale and then the Beach.

One thing I continually find frustrating is the lack of decent dining in the east end. For example - 0 of the top 10 restaurants according to Toronto Life are east of Yonge (two are on Yonge). Of the Toronto Life best new restaurants only one is east of Yonge. The west end even has a top notch suburban restaurant in Via Allegro and also Sushi Kaji. What do we have in the East end? There are a couple of half decent places in the Beach, but nothing that good. There is Vi Vetha and its sister Vi Pei in the Beach/ Scarb and they're okay but not great.

Even the top notch out of town restaurants, such as Eigensinn and Langdon Hall are west of the city rather than east.

Why the heck is this?

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  1. Coincidence. I don't think restaurants are opened with a secret bias for the west end over the east end.

    I believe there are some great Chinese restaurants in the northern Scarborough area.

    If you like sushi, there is a good restaurant called "Zen" in a very nondescript strip mall in Scarborough. It's easy to miss but worth seeking out.

    Zen Restaurant
    2803 Eglinton Avenue East
    (416) 265-7111‎

    1. i can't comment of scarborough but queen east is becoming the new queen west and quite enjoyable...i don't think the low rents and new buyouts have reached as far as you yet...be patient and know that via allegro isn't all that people in the past have said it is

      1. I don't know that it's true. There are probably more restaurants in the west end -- this is pure speculation -- but still, tonnes of options out east. I hardly ever venture eastward, but I can think of a bunch off the top of my head.

        Little India and (Gerrard) Chinatown are east. Leslieville has some good restaurants, including several great brunch spots and bars. The Danforth has a cluster of Ethiopian restaurants. One of my fave restaurants, Kaiseki Sakura, is just east of Yonge, at Church and Wellesley E.

        3 Replies
        1. re: piccola

          Because Joanne Kates doesn't go east of Yonge.

          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

            This much is partially true, VVM. Kates does indeed go east of Yonge and north of Bloor on occasion. However, I believe the preponderance of reviews written by other critics of west end establishments is directly proportional to the number of critics that live near Kensington Market. Or at least west of Spadina. They're even covering sandwich shops now as long as it has the right address.

            1. re: Googs

              "East of Yonge" is a figure of speech not a geographic demarcation.

        2. Most likely related to concentrations of wealth in Rosedale, Forest Hill, and the Kingsway.

          3 Replies
            1. re: Dimbulb

              Yeah good point. I think the original poster was concentrating on Scarborough and the Beach. However, if we are generalizing to "east of Yonge," there are plenty of spots on Mt. Pleasant and Bayview, etc that are just fine.

              The original question isn't specific enough. It even mentions Eigensinn Farm and Langdon Hall. Heck, Montreal is east of Yonge.

              1. re: Dimbulb

                Dimbulb, there is nothing commercially zoned in Rosedale east of Yonge other than Summerhill Market.

            2. Folks, please keep responses focused on recommending good restaurants, rather than speculating on why there aren't any good spots in the area. Thanks!

              1. Welcome to the neighbourhood! (I am in the Vic Park and Kingston area) This is a really lovely area. Very small town feel and at least on my street you could not hope for better neighbours.

                As to decent places there are a few. Not stunning gourmand cuisine I will attest but there are a few solid spots if you look. Green Dragon at Vic Park & Kingston is a good local pub. I gather Feathers has been purchased by someone who used to manage Rebel House. I haven't tried it lately since the transfer so I would be interested to hear a review. There is also a little lunch/coffee shop west closer to Beach. Can't remember the name but it has a Swedish flag out front. Went in there and had an excellent homemade soup one day. There is supposedly a cafe opening in the vacant storefront for one of the condos. Don't know anything else about it though.

                If you are looking for local vendors ,Close to the Bone and the Cheese monger next door are both excellent. I also gather there is going to be a bakery opening up in the area. Hopefully soon, I spoke with the lady who will be opening it and she seems really nice.

                Sadly though that is all I can suggest. I miss Farmer's Daughter and keep wishing for a green grocer but until then we will see what happens.

                Good luck with your quest. If you find any gems let us know!

                4 Replies
                1. re: Otonabee

                  Feathers was sold? When did that take place?

                  1. re: millygirl

                    It was about a couple of years ago. Still pretty much the same in terms of menu, whisky events, darts and regulars. New website though.

                    1. re: JamieK

                      Have you eaten there since, JamieK? I really enjoyed my food at Rebel House the once I ate there, and didn't so much the time I ate at Feathers. But that was before it changed hands. As I recall the food was dry and lifeless. If I thought it had improved, I might just give it another shot.

                      1. re: Full tummy

                        sorry, I've just been for pints so far.

                2. Just because Toronto Life says Langdon and Via Allegro is top 10, doesn't make it so. Off the top of my head east of Yonge (excluding those on Yonge):

                  Lai Toh Heen
                  Simple Bistro
                  Globe Bistro

                  Zen is the only one on this list in Scarborough, but it's a really good one if you like sushi.

                  1. I'd recommend Walima Cafe - not quite as east as you, but getting there and on the subway line. Very flavourfull food, friendly service & atmosphere, reasonable prices ($12-$15 mains). Also like to give a smaller place that's putting out a quality product my business. Highly recommended.

                    Walima Cafe
                    1450 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J, CA

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: novice_hound

                      I really wanted to like Walima, but when I was there, the service was incredibly slow and erratic -- it took forever to order and get our food, and nearly an hour before the owner/server brought the bill after we asked. And the place wasn't even full.

                      What's more, the vegetarian couscous was basically water-logged boiled veggies on coucous. It was incredibly bland.

                      I won't be heading out there again any time soon.

                      1. re: novice_hound

                        I ate at Walima once and found it far below average. Now that was in the first week they opened, probably about a year ago. If it's as good as you mentioned, it is much better than when we were there. I haven't seen any other glowing reviews of the place other than yours.

                      2. First of all Toronto Life is a terrible guide if you rely on their rating system. IMO the only restaurants that get high ratings tend to be French or expensive. The west side has a larger number of restaurants, also, the west side is where there are larger European ex-pat communities that would support going out to a restaurant more than once a week, that's why the west end has developed more than east. That said, there is lots of hope on the east side. Gio Rana's is decent, Seven numbers Danforth. I've seen good reviews of Globe, although I haven't been yet. Here is hoping that Queen Margherita Pizza is a hit, it certainly has the potential to be.