Best Mid-Range Dinner Spot?
I'm looking for a mid-range spot to hold a birthday party for about 15 people. We're open to any kind of ethnic food, but we're looking for a location in the midtown-downtown area. PLEASE HELP!!!!
Yes, I had my last birthday party there - about 16 people, and they even worked out a set price menu within our budget - really great service, the food was awesome as always and I felt Diana (the owner) really went out of her way to accommodate us - everyone loved it! I highly recommend talking to her about what you're looking for.
Hmm markk93, that leaves open a wide range of factors, depending upon people's tastes/expectations. Here are a few suggestions given the size of group/price/location needs:
Terroni (either on Adelaide downtown, or Balmoral near St. Clair & Yonge; as long as no one in the group is has special food requirements or likes to make substitutions! I've organized large group dinners at the Adelaide location before and they were able to handle it fine. They also have a private room in the basement if that's of interest that can hold probably about 15 - 20 people. I've never been to the one at Balmoral so can't speak for it)
Memories of Japan (Don Mills & Eglinton): not super-amazing food but it's decent and reasonably priced, and for the size of your group their space could probably accommodate either for dining or cooking (teppanyaki). There is also a Mongolian Grill place in that same strip mall that looks like a big space. I've never been there so I have no idea if it's good.
Spring Rolls at Yonge & Eglinton. I personally think Spring Rolls (all locations) is just OK (and hate that they skimp on their eggplant dish, which only ever has lots of onions with a few pieces of eggplant!), but the concept, menu variety and setting seems to work well for groups.
Dynasty Chinese Cuisine (Bloor & Avenue Rd.): for decent Chinese food in a central location
There are pubs like Cam's Place (Lawrence/Eglinton & Yonge), and smaller places that might be able to accommodate with advance reservation/planning: e.g. Vero (Italian) and Segar (South Indian Fusion) at Bayview & Eglinton.
Maybe Le Paradis (French) on Bedford Rd., if you can get a reservation for that size?
I'm probably missing lots of obvious choices, but that's what comes to mind immediately. Good luck!
Wouldn't really approve Memories of Japan. The food is mediocre, and the cooking table isn't suited to conversation - which is the only reason to go in the first place. The service is slow to boot. I have heard better things about the Mongolian Grill in the same plaza, but have not tried it myself. The Chinese restaurant in the same plaza, Congee Star, is pretty cheap, reasonably good (certainly ahead of Spring Rolls by a long shot) and suited to groups as well, as they have pretty large tables available, even if it lacks atmosphere.
Terroni, however, is not a bad suggestion, so long as no one has funky diets or enjoys Diet Coke.
One more thought: Granite Brewery at Mt. Pleasant & Eglinton. To be clear, this is pub food: definitely not fine dining, but decent pub grub and with a much wider selection of proper meal choices than most pubs. Good for a casual group get together. Not just things-with-fries, but also curries, stir-fries, etc. Excellent beer selections including their own brews - this is a big draw if your gang likes beer. They have a big room at the back and with advance reservation should easily accommodate 15 or more people. I've seen them close the back section off for private parties before.
Again, I'm not sure what you're aiming for in terms of people's tastes or culinary standards, so I'm suggesting mainly for space/location/price factors...
Simple Bistro (South of Eglinton on Mt. Pleasant) is a cute little french place with excellent food.
It's tiny but I'm sure can accomodate your 15 guests in a private area.
I'm not quite sure what mid-range means to you, but to me Simple Bistro is great value for your money. Dinner for 2 with 2 glasses of wine and coffee runs us about $90.
Here's the website: http://www.simplebistro.com/home.html
To me, "mid-range" means about $50 per person, all in, in which case three of the above-mentioned suggestions seem to fit your parameters: Tabule, Simple Bistro and Le Paradis. I'd put Tabule at $35-$40 a person, even less if you take advantage of no corkage charge on bring-your-own wine Mon. and Tues. Accessible by subway. Tasty food, good service, space for your crowd of 15 in the south room. I found Simple Bistro a tad more expensive than Hondadragon did. It's about $50 a person or more, maybe less with $10 corkage from Sun. to Wed. The main dining room is small and narrow, but they should put you in a newly-opened upstairs room. Le Paradis' food is a cut below Simple Bistro's, but it's cheaper as well, and quite tasty - with easy-to-take wine prices. There's room for you in a side room to the right - as you come in - off the main room. I've been in it with a group many times. The best inexpensive all-round bistro in town, in my view.
balthazar has Granite Brewery pretty well pegged. If it's a beer crowd, they'll love it. The food isn't up to much, though. Certainly acceptable, but not much more than that. Stay with the simple dishes and you'll do just fine. Often a lively atmosphere.
When I'm charged with finding a spot for a disparate group of 10-15, I invariably pick a good Chinese joint. Order a slew of dishes, and everyone will usually find something they like, even those who don't care all that much for Chinese dishes. Easy to split the bill as well: just divide the total price equally. The price is usually right as well. You'll usually eat well for $25 a person (even less). But I don't know downtown and midtown Chinese restos well enough to recommend one. Most of the good ones I know are north of Sheppard Ave.
I've had great success planning dinners for a group of that size at both Torito and Terroni. In both cases, I chose to pre-order and serve the food on platters "family style". I also chose specific bottles of red and white that paired well - simplified things and kept budget in my range. Great fun and great help in both spots. I quite like Tabule also and I imagine they'd do a great job as well.