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HELP! Eating Out for Three Days; Jarvis and Dundas

  • j

First Chowhound post ever; regular reader - Need advice.
I live in Kingston, but will be at the Hilton Garden Inn; 200 Dundas E, most of next week for Training. Will need to eat all three meals out for three days. I don't mind a walk, will probably be dining alone, and need some-what healthy options. As a food lover, I appreciate all of your suggestions - It would be such a shame in one of the best food cities ever and not have the insider info. When in town for the night we usually go to Ethiopian House; love it, and Golden Thai because it's near the hotel we stay at.... After reading other posts I will for sure try Salad King. Sushi is fave, and not very available in Kingston, but I like everything except pub style.
I can't wait to hear recommendations for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Thanks all. I will, of course, report.

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  1. I would skip Salad King, which is student food and not particularly authentic, and get real Thai at Sukhothai, best in the city IMO. Not far at all from where you are, on Parliament.

    I would also not eat very healthy one meal and go to Harlem, right near you, for fried chicken and other Southern food.

    Sushi within walking distance, Solo Sushi Bekkan is very good. Alternatively for Japanese izakaya you could go to Guu, a ridiculously popular hot spot. Go at 5 when it opens and even then, be prepared to wait.

    Breakfast, head to St. Lawrence Market right around the corner for peameal bacon and egg "breakfast on a bun" from Carousel.

    Also right around the corner is Wine Bar for small plates with local ingredients and a great vibe inside, and its associated casual spot Hank's for lunch would be a good choice. Nearby is Jamie Kennedy's Gilead Cafe, one of my favourite lunch spots in the city. Be sure to get the poutine of the day.

    Not far up east on King St. is Weezie's, a terrific neighbourhood bistro. And over on Queen in the same area is Fusilli, another neighbourhood spot, this time Italian, also very solid.

    1 Reply
    1. re: childofthestorm

      My husband would never forgive me if I went out for Fried Chicken and Southern Food with out him! I might have to save Harlem for my next visit.
      I am NOT looking forward to three days of training, but after checking out some of these menus, I am salivating at the thought of all the good food the city will bring. Better bring my gym bag along.

    2. Healthy eating will be a challenge. You're in college campus central with makes it cheap junk food central as well.

      Breakfast - The Senator for diner style and substance. B Espresso Bar for a little taste of Italia.

      Seafood - Starfish for high end of exceptional quality or Rodney's By Bay for a casual seafood dinner that's also very, very good. At either place you could dine at the bar quite comfortably and enjoy the shucking show.

      Sushi, Traditional Japanese - Though I haven't been in a couple of years, I keep hearing good things about Hiro Sushi lately.

      Sushi, Modern - Omi. The reason I haven't been to Hiro in a couple of years. Ever since Omi reopened in it's new location I haven't had cause to wander. Love, love, LOVE going omakase at Omi. Chef John Lee will surely make a solo diner feel comfortable.

      Thai: I respectfully disagree with the Sukho Thai recommendation. They have to fix their consistency issues before I'd recommend them to an out-of-towner. It's one thing to eat their food time and again in order to hit the really high-high's knowing that occasionally you're going to get a flop dinner. It's another to send a person for a one-and-only experience. More consistent and also of extreme high quality is Mengrai Thai. Bonus points for having a prettier room and being licensed.

      Healthy Frendh & Italian: A HUGE second for both Weezie's and Fusilli. I dine solo at both of them from time to time and they both make me feel comfortable. No behaving as though the single is less important than the rest of the clientele. Their menus are filled with healthy options of the tastiest kinds. I wish I could get a pillow that smells like the Paesana pizza at Fusilli. Comforting, delicious, decadent.

      354 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1K9, CA

      100 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ON M5C1K9, CA

      531 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M5A1V1, CA

      249 Victoria St, Toronto, ON M5B1T8, CA

      171 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1J4, CA

      82 Ontario Street, Toronto, ON M5A 2V3, CA

      243 Carlton St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

      B Espresso Bar
      111 Queen E, Toronto, ON M5C1S2, CA

      Rodney's By Bay
      56 Temperance Street, Toronto, ON M5H 3V5, CA

      3 Replies
      1. re: Googs

        All of these are linked to map for me. Unbeliveable. So, so, grateful. Thanks.

        1. re: Googs

          I'm firmly in the Sukho Thai camp! I have both service (every visit) and consistency issues at Mengrai Thai! However, I must admit I'd go to either.

          1. re: estufarian

            I like Mengrai as well, and decor and vibe-wise it's better. But I prefer Sukhothai food-wise.

        2. There's a Somali restaurant at #183 Dundas E that's very good. Looks dodgy from the street, but then, what doesn't in that neighbourhood? Chicken with rice pilaf for under $10. Friendly people.

          Smokin' Bones is a new barbecue spot at #117 Dundas E. More takeout, than eat-in. Mixed reviews but not expensive.

          Smoke's Poutine at #203 Dundas E gets a lot of abuse on this board, but, hey it's poutine!
          Open late.

          Kathy's at #139 Dundas E does a good rotisserie chicken with Greek-style sides. Small, cafeteria set-up. Busy at lunch.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Herb

            You mean New Bilan for Somali, yes?

            New Bilan Restaurant
            183 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON M5A1Z4, CA

            1. re: Herb

              I've never had Somali; and I have no trouble with dodgy-lookin'. Maybe be a must.

            2. I second B Espresso bar. For seafood try Rodneys by the Bay. http://rodneysbybay.com/

              1 Reply
              1. re: tasoid

                The fact that song that plays on Rodney's website is Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show makes me like them more.....

              2. My wife worked across the street from your hotel for a lot of years, although things are improving do keep in mind that it's a on the edge of the scummy area and you will probably want to avoid being alone, on foot, anywhere east of there after dark, it's not dangerous perse, just unpleasant. Your hotel has a "Caseys" pub as it's restaurant unfortunately.

                A lot of the places people have suggested as "right around the corner" aren't very close at all. The biggest challenge you will have is finding a healthy lunch in that area in the one hour you are likely to get for lunch. Concentrate your foodie ambitions on dinner.

                Don't pay too much attention to the snobs running down Salad King, yes it's not fully authentic but it's reasonably close, it's cheap, it's fast and it's excellent for what it is. Order off menu and get the Thai Islamic Noodles.

                There's another hotel half a block south of you on Jarvis Street called "The Grand" nothing exactly special about it but they do have OK healthy lunches in a dining room that is not a pub.

                7 Replies
                1. re: bytepusher

                  First, I live in that neighbourhood, not just work in it. It's difficult to find healthy food at that immediate corner. I walk alone after dark all the time in search of it. Stay on main streets is much better advice. Then you can go for good food rather than compromise because of some unwarranted fear.

                  1. re: Googs

                    I always appreciate information; and as a particularly trusting and naive soul, it good to have a heads up regarding the neighbourhood. I would very comfortably walk past dark en route to supper, but may take a cab on the way home. There’s always a possibility of making a foodie friend at the training to be my dining companion.
                    Bytepusher might be right about the one hour lunch; but based on the handy map there are few good spots super close by. And with all of the great research I could always call ahead for takeout.
                    Googs – What do you recommendation for a solo diner at Omi? When you don’t get to share it’s a big commitment to order.

                    1. re: JanaJ

                      At Omi - get the Omakase! Just let him feed you. It's good stuff. Haven't been recently, but it usually puts me back about $75? Something like that.

                      1. re: JanaJ

                        Since you say you're after sushi, I'm assuming you'll order the sushi dinner.

                        In terms of app's, I've enjoyed enverything in the "must have" section of the menu except the vegetarian sushi roll. I haven't had it yet and doubt I will. From the 'starters' section, I quite like each new version of Miso soup they come up with plus the pork gyoza, calamari, and the beef enoki mushroom roll. The white tuna in garlic oil confit is terrific as is anything he happens to ceviche that day and let's not forget the fun sweet potato fish dish. Oh and the seaweed salad is great. Phew.

                        It sounds like you want to eat healthy so I'd recommend either a starter or a must-have, but not both before your main course. I'd really recommend making friends so you can go omakase.

                      2. re: Googs

                        I agree as well Googs. I walk in that hood from my friend's place on Ontario street to my place at Queen and Broadview all the time at night and as long as I'm on the main streets no problem's at all.

                      3. re: bytepusher

                        I still like Salad King also - and the Thai Islamic noodles are, indeed, excellent.

                        1. re: estufarian

                          Agree. Thai Islamic and Seafood Fried Rice. Everything is is average. But it's cheap, quick, and great for take out.

                      4. You can make the short walk to Parliament and go to The House on Parliament--a cozy neighborhood pub with great comfort food. You can also have lunch at the Mutual Street Deli--1 block west of Jarvis along Dundas.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: food_whiz

                          I'm not sure when you last frequented the House on Parliament, but when I was there recently (early Feb), the food had really taken a turn for the worse. In the past, I would have agreed with the 'great comfort food' comment, but my last visit was truly dismal. I had the order of calamari and my dining partner had a steak pie with fries. The calamari itself was somehow rubbery with an undercooked, soggy and greasy coating. The steak pie was nearly burnt on the outside and dry/chewy on the inside. But the most disappointing were the fries - they used to be delicious shoestring fries. Instead, they were a gloopy, greasy mess. I would have complained about the quality of the food, but a quick survey of neighbouring tables seemed to indicate that it was just the state of things.

                          For a less disappointing meal of the same genre/price in that area, I think Ben Wicks at Gerrard/Parliament is a better bet.

                          Ben Wicks Restaurant
                          424 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A3A2, CA

                          1. re: raebmv

                            I used to be a real HOP enthusiast.. and while i havent had a very terrible meal yet, like you describe.. I have experienced some poor service lately.. like forgetting orders and mixing up things.. not bringing drink refills requested etc. I was going to go tonight but I'm glad I didn't. I would have been really upset if the fries had gone down hill- the sweet potato fries are some of my fav

                            1. re: raebmv

                              I was there for brunch recently and didn't notice any problems food or service-wise. Still an enthusiast here! :)

                          2. You Guys are all amazing. Thanks for all the tips; I'll have a hard time deciding. I arrive tomorrow and am salivating already.

                            1. Update;
                              So far, so good. Wonderful in fact.
                              Last night I walked from the hotel, down Queen Street East, to Fusilli’s. Fabulous meal; I had Googs’ Paesana pizza. So tasty. I couldn’t eat is all so brought my leftovers back for the Front Desk boys, who were very appreciate. (The walk was fine; didn’t feel unsafe at all - thought I’d take cab back, but didn’t bother as I was back by 9:30pm.)
                              For lunch today I went across the street to New Bilian. I would NEVER have gone without your recommendation, but enjoyed both my meal and the company of the owner. Did you know that he has the record for the fastest Toronto Half Marathon; 1 hour and 2 minutes. I had the Chicken stew; it was very nice, but I LOVED the soup.
                              Not sure where I’ll go this evening.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: JanaJ

                                I wish I had noticed this earlier. I might have been able to help.

                                How did you make out for the rest of your stay?

                                1. re: Googs

                                  I had such a great time, and great food. Love the city.
                                  That evening I went with some of others in the training for Thai; one of the people had been to Sukho and wanted to go back. The non-licensed part was perhaps good; a few less calories! It was very nice. Not out of this world, but good for sure. I would go back under the same conditions, but would try Mengrai first.
                                  For lunches; Hero one day (close) - great. Not a lot of time, so a quick bite and out the door. Far superior quality than Kingston has to offer. The last day we had a shorter lunch so we went to the sandwich place on Dumas a block away from the hotel. It was fine.
                                  For my last supper, (it kinda felt like a last wonderful city supper), I tried to go to Rodney’s. That was the day it turned cold and snowy. I took a cab there. It was very full and very loud. There wasn’t even a seat at the bar. I asked a gentleman coming in for a supper recommendation for something near by; his party invited me to join them. Then they suggested a bunch of ‘trendy and fun’ type places. Not really the scene I was looking for dining alone. So as I as walking and freezing I stopped into to Mercatto. They had my favourite wine on their wine list and the women’s Olympic hockey game was one. The food was above average and I felt very comfortable there. I wouldn’t have picked Italian again after Fusilli, but I had the seafood pasta and it felt like a very different experience.
                                  The neighbour was the best part. I loved being there and now need to plan to trip just to enjoy the food.
                                  Thanks to you all again.