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Best splurge dinner?

looking for a splurge dinner for my wedding night....any suggestions? thx in advance!

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  1. you would get much better assistance if you were more specific about your preferences re type of food, ambiance, location and even price point, as a 'splurge' is wildly subjectively variable.

    9 Replies
    1. re: shekamoo

      Is it just going to be you and the groom or are you planning to splurge for a selected guest list (small/large)? There are many fine choices, but you'll need to provide some direction first as to what you consider a splurge and what type of food and ambiance you crave.

      1. re: 1sweetpea

        oops...good point! Just myself and husband to be! Something cozy, good service and great food, no limit really.....been leaning towards Colbourne Lane for their tasting menu....

        1. re: Foodiegal

          If you really want to splurge you could take a night and head up to Eigensinn Farm... that would be my first choice.

          Otherwise the Kitchen Table Tasting Menu at Colborne Lane would definitely be memorable... and of course a tasting menu at one the usual suspects (Canoe, Scaramouche George, etc) would certainly fit the bill.

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          Colborne Lane
          45 Colborne Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1P8, CA

          1. re: Foodiegal

            North44
            Scaramouche
            for excellent food and atmosphere that would be appropriate

            1. re: Foodiegal

              If money is no object, then Hashimoto ($300/person before booze, tips and taxes) is an interesting once in a lifetime try for great and attentive service and cozy serene ambiance. Otherwise, Scaramouche is good as well.

              1. re: syoung

                I believe Hashimoto's Toronto liquor license is still pending. No Cava, no dice.

              2. re: Foodiegal

                I couldn't recommend Colborne Lane any higher. I had the tasting menu about a month ago and it was fantastic.

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                Colborne Lane
                45 Colborne Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1P8, CA

                1. re: Foodiegal

                  Eigensinn Farm gave me the best dining experience I've had in Ontario. It's a small venue, only about 20 seats. It's not the fanciest place you'll ever visit but the food dished up by Michael Stadtlander is nothing short of terrific.

                  I would also second your suggestion of Colbourne Lane. They have an interesting tasting menu and the ice cream made tableside is heavenly. Only knock on this place is the proximity of adjacent tables. You WILL get to know the diners sitting beside you and will hear their conversation. Depends on your tastes, never been a problem for me.

                  You cannot go wrong with either of these choices.

            2. Just did North 44 - really worth it. 2 apps, 2 mains, 1 dessert, 1 cheese plate - wine pairing with the whole thing. $350

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              North 44
              2537 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4P 2H9, CA

              8 Replies
              1. re: kawarthagirl

                Really? $350 ? and you say it was worth it? That seems awfully expensive to me. Must have been a great bottle of wine because from what you described, that doesn't sound like a whole lot of food !

                1. re: froglegs

                  Agree. North 44 is a decent restaurant that I last went to for a business dinner. The food was not great by any stretch but pretty good. The tables, IIRC, are quite close to each other and the noise level was not low and thus not really somewhere I'd want to go to for a special romantic wedding night dinner.

                  1. re: syoung

                    I see you also recommend Scaramouche, but I found the tables at Scaramouche even more closely packed than North44, foodwise, they are more or less on the same level. I will go for Canoe for good food and great view combination.

                    1. re: skylineR33

                      With all due respect, I have to disagree skylineR33. The tables are much closer together at North 44. Or at least it seems that way. If I'm not mistaken that one wall is a long bench and to me, I always feel the next party is on top of me. Not so at Scaramouche.

                      1. re: millygirl

                        Do they change the seat arrangement at Scaramouche in the window section ? last time I was there, all the tables are packed very close to each other. The seat near the window section of North 44 is a bit better.

                        1. re: skylineR33

                          Although I can't comment on North 44, I have never felt crowded at Scaramouche when sitting at the window tables, nor at the other tables in the restaurant.

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                          North 44
                          2537 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4P 2H9, CA

                  2. re: froglegs

                    We loved it and found it comparable to Scaramouche for food, though not for service. Nothing compares to Scaramouche for service. We also did wine pairing, and cocktails, which adds up...

                  3. re: kawarthagirl

                    I think our bill at North the last we went was around $230; I thought that was reasonable. I am told North is going downhill though, with alot of staff moving to Oro.

                    Colborne Lane is probably the "special occasions" restaurant that I visit the most, and as much as I like it, the atmosphere isn't something I think of when it comes to romantic wedding night dinners; the noise level there is unpredictable...some nights a conversation is no problem, others...forget about it. I would look at either Scaramouche or Auberge. As for Scaramouche, other than the tables lining the window in the dining room, I've never found it that cozy.

                    Oh, and George as well...looking at the recommendations from all the postings, it seems like a list of the usual places...maybe give Oro a try?

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                    Colborne Lane
                    45 Colborne Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1P8, CA

                    Oro Restaurant
                    45 Elm, Toronto, ON M4W1N6, CA

                  4. When is the wedding? If it is summer - perhaps the Fifth - outside? Globe Bistro on the rooftop patio? Or Canoe - high above the city? For food alone, I would suggest North 44 or Scaramouche as a PP suggested.

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                    North 44
                    2537 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4P 2H9, CA

                    20 Replies
                    1. re: MeMeMe

                      North 44 did nothing for me.

                      Scaramouche would be at the top of my list. If you want a patio though, George would be a close second.

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                      North 44
                      2537 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4P 2H9, CA

                      1. re: millygirl

                        I think that the food, service and ambiance at Hashimoto really support a quiet, romantic evening, which sounds perfect for an intimate wedding celebration for two. It's an expensive evening, but a wonderfully pampered one.

                        1. re: 1sweetpea

                          I'm sorry - but there is no restaurant in Toronto which warrants a $300/pp price tag.

                          1. re: Sadistick

                            I dont think you can dismiss Hashimoto offhandedly with a generalization like that. I am personally not yet entirely convinced about the price at Hashimoto, but considering what he does, it may still be very much worth it. I am waiting for personal reports to make the call.

                            1. re: shekamoo

                              I can, and I did.

                              Within Toronto - I could take my wife to Scaramouch/Splendido/George/Canoe and enjoy a tasting menu while paying the same for the 2 of us, if not less than what it would cost for ONE tasting menu at Hashimoto.

                              Outside of Toronto -

                              I could go to TFL, Alinea, Cyrus and pay less - hell, I could even have 2 tasting menu's at Cyrus for that price.

                              I could go to the vast majority of top restaurants in NYC and pay less.

                              Sorry, but there is no doubt that Hashimoto does not warrant that type of spend.

                              1. re: Sadistick

                                So you've been to Hashimoto... or not?

                                While I agree that $300 seems over the top (and we've done kaieseki in Kyoto and elsewhere in Japan so we just don't think the experience would measure up for us either), still, I can't say that I have "no doubt" they aren't doing something special given then I haven't given the place a shot.

                                1. re: Rabbit

                                  It would be somewhat ignorant of me to make these remarks if I had not....

                                  1. re: Sadistick

                                    Did you post details on another thread?? Would you (please!)?? Despite my skepticism, I am desperately curious.

                                2. re: Sadistick

                                  well I was not referring to your natural capacities when I said you can't dismiss Hashimoto based on a generalization, I was referring to the meaningfulness of that position.
                                  you imply you have tried the $300 menu. if so, it would be much more meaningful to make an actual comparison between Hashimoto and other places you mention and denounce Hashimoto as overpriced based on that comparison. now that would be a defensible position, unlike an offhand generalization based on geographic location.

                                  1. re: shekamoo

                                    Granted there are no similarities between the places of comparison (besides the fact that you leave with food in your belly), it is simply a value for money perspective.

                                    While the place is very nice, almost surreal and the service great - the food is just too 'fussy/artsy' (which obviously requires painstaking attention to detail and work - which in turn raises prices).

                                    Though I do not remember all of the dishes, the few that stand out as 'I am paying $300 for this!?' were a fish broth, though good, with a fish ball, and some vegetable flower on top. The fish ball was boring at best, broth again, good - but no wow factor.

                                    The Kobe beef course we had was very good, but something I could get elsewhere, minus the green tea powder to dip in, which really did not do much for me anyways.

                                    Of the various fish we had, one being the fresh water eel, was again, very good, but left me scratching my head, as I could get great eel at places like Zen or Omi.

                                    By no means am I making any generalization based on location, hell, I would love to be able to say that we have a restaurant in the city that rivals those of the top spots in NY, Chicago, or CA, but the point is that we are just not there yet. Hashimoto, while filling a niche and serving good food, should certainly not be charging 3* Michelin type prices.

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                                    Omi
                                    243 Carlton St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

                                    1. re: Sadistick

                                      Hashimoto is indeed charging more than the 3* Michelin kyo style kaiseki places in Kyoto and Tokyo. I have eaten at Hashimoto, but not the new one, based on what is described in the article about his $300 (before tax and tip) kaiseki meal, it is definitely a pass for me.

                                      1. re: skylineR33

                                        I think we tend to forget that in Japan the items to prepare the meal are locally available. When you have to import yourself or work with suppliers the cost is significantly higher. In addition, when you have a 10 seat business the margins are that much small. No volume to work from.

                                        I will be trying dining experience in June and I will report back then as to my experience but I'm pretty stoked to even have this option in Toronto.

                                        1. re: JennaBean

                                          I do not see any item he imports from Japan that worths the $300 price tag. Also, just to let you know that there are lots of top restaurants with this kind of "small" size in Japan. I have tried Hashimoto's kaiseki as well as top notch kaiseki in Japan, Hashimoto makes some good kyo-style kaiseki, but he is just not good enough to charge this kind of price in all aspect, no way. Regarding getting the "experience", I think munchieHK and jlunar makes some very good point in their post in this thread.

                                      2. re: Sadistick

                                        Thank you for the review. sounds like you are justified in your conclusion that it is not worth the money. oh well. I will wait until my trip to Japan next summer!

                                        1. re: shekamoo

                                          An article was published about Hashimoto in The Star today: http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/...
                                          The implication seems to be that it is more about the experience than the food. One waiter for every customer? I guess some people are just begging to have their cash removed.

                                          1. re: munchieHK

                                            it is a curious review. the food is described like in pictures, but not much about the actual experience of eating it, which I thought was the purpose of food criticism. this is not helpful.

                                            1. re: shekamoo

                                              I think the idea is to offer an approximation of a kaiseki meal in an exclusive old ryokan in Kyoto. For that kind of money, I would skip a couple of meals and buy a ticket to Japan.
                                              It's like trying to find an English or Irish pub here. No matter how hard the proprietors try. it's never quite right. The missing ingredient is always the sense of place.
                                              I try to enjoy what is good about the culture I find myself in at any given time, rather than trying to recapture moments from another time and place. It is never the same. Go to Kyoto. Have the experience there and treasure the memory. It is not exportable.

                                              1. re: munchieHK

                                                Yeah. And with that pricing Hashimoto charges ($300 + tax and tips), it makes more sense to include a night of accomodation in a tatami room with on-sen hot spring facility in a decent ryokan, plus a big Japanese style breakfast. It is about what one paid for in Japan. Now only if there is a Ryokan and hot spring (with hot water since there is no on-sen in Toronto) here, maybe they can build one at JCCC ? ha. I think his original goal is to provide this kind of Japanese experience to people in Toronto with a affordable price (as said in his website ?!)

                                                1. re: skylineR33

                                                  lol, for that price, if he did provide the full ryokan experience, I would happily pay it.

                                                  I went to Hashimoto's eons ago now, but I thought it was nice, and well-prepared food, and almost (but not quite) worth my money. With the price increase, it's just not worth going back a second time.

                                                  Now, keep in mind, I don't know what was, or wasn't, authentic, but I've been to a few ryokan's in Japan too, and it's much more worthwhile to scrape the pennies together, find a cheap fare, and get yourself over there instead (if it's all about the "experience").

                                3. re: Sadistick

                                  He's doing a traditional Kaiseki which is a true dining experience and although I have yet to get there personally if he is doing it well it is 100 percent worth the price tag.

                          2. I would second Eigensinn Farm. It's a powerful experience and definitely a splurge. Depending on when your wedding is, Michaeld Stadtlander is serving dinner out of a new place called Haisai (see this month's toronto life) for a fraction of the price ($150 before drinks and taxes) but starting in June, I think the format of the restaurant is changing....so Eigensinn would be your best bet after June 1 if you want to have a Stadtlander experience.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: farfallastar

                              I beg to differ! Based on my dining experience there, I found the farm, with its $275 prix fix price tag way way over-rated. For the price, I have eaten in Michelin 2-3* restaurants all over the world that offer much better food, service and ambience. In fact, the meals I had recently at the 2* L'Atelier Robuchon Hong Kong, 3* Galera Robuchon in Macau and 3* Caprice in Hong Kong are much more refined, delicious and adventurous. Furthermore the service were much much more professional! And all the tasting menu cost less than $250!!

                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                I agree on Charles with this. I've only eaten at one Michelin starred resto - The French Laundry - and that experience far exceeded the one I had at Eigensinn in every aspect (a true revelation in dining for the noob foodie). I had gone to Eigensinn when it was $150pp ish and I thought that was a good deal for a great adventure. at $275, I will wait for my travels outside of Canada and eat an excellent meal elsewhere.

                                Also: someone else I spoke to about their more recent Eigensinn trip had been served a roast pork. She and I both agreed on this point. Anyone else eat that skin and wish for some Chinatown siu yook too?

                                1. re: jlunar

                                  With all due respect, saying you can get better food in California or Hong Kong isn't all that useful to the OP. The wedding is presumably in Ontario. I bet both of you could come up with a recommendation within the GTA that you prefer to Eigensinn. After all, between the two of you, you've probably eaten at every splurge location in this town.

                                  1. re: graydyn

                                    What I am saying is that Eigensinn is not worth the current charge. I understand that it must be in GTA/ON, and if all she wants to do is spend money for money's sake, then Eigensinn/Hashimoto is the way to go. I think those two are the biggest tickets in town.

                                    If she wants good food, then there are plenty of places to go - I already posted where I thought would be a couple nice splurge dinners in Toronto lower in the thread.

                                    If you're never going to go to Japan, then go to Hashimoto. It is a really different experience. That's something for the OP to consider.

                                    However, I'm not sure I could say the same for Eigensinn. It's nice, but I wasn't blown away by any of the dishes like I have been elsewhere - including restos in Toronto. And that make the dollar price far too high. It is an adventure though, which is also a separate consideration. I'd rather eat twice (or thrice!) at Splendido than go to Eigensinn once.

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

                                    1. re: jlunar

                                      It seems these threads always divide people into two camps.

                                      People who compare Toronto's dining level to a "worldly" standard.

                                      People who resent these comparison, and would rather just focus on Toronto only.

                                      I think at the prices Eigensinn and Hashimoto charges, they're inviting comparisons on a global scale. It comes with the territory when you charge $300 a head, people will inevitably compare you to your peers in a similar price range. It's a bit narrow minded to just restrict yourself to Toronto imo, for discussions sakes. It does not mean we're telling the OP to fly to Napa and eat at FL. It's just the natural ebb of a conversation.

                                      I've been to Hashimoto back when it was $150. While it was good, I know I'll never go back at $300 a head.

                                      My suggestion will be Splendido also, and Canoe if they prefer a more "suits" kind of menu.

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

                                      1. re: jlunar

                                        Love your comment jlunar 'rather eat twice (or thrice) at Splendido than go to Eigensinn once'!!

                                        BTW, by mentioning and comparing with top notch Michelin star restaurants in Hong Kong, California and elsewhere is just a way to convey to readers that the Farm is just not worth the hype and money! How else can one do that without some kind of reference point? Especially now that the two 'closest' TO competitors-'old Splendido' and Susur are both out of business!

                                        With the Canadian dollar at par with the green back, one can now get much better deals in New York!!

                                        Interesting no one bother mentioning Sushi Kaji?!!! Call ahead and one can get really exotic ingredients like Wagyu beef and Abalone tag on to the Omakase. ( for a price of course! )

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

                                        Susur
                                        601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                                        1. re: Charles Yu

                                          I recently eat in some of New York's top restaurants and Per Se stood out as the best, but I still consider Eigensinn Farm to be my most memorable meal. What sets Stadtlander apart from other chefs is his food hits on more levels; intellectually, emotionally and passionately. His whole thing communicates something to you. I enjoyed my meal at Per Se, but I can't really say it was about anything other than being well executed. If we define an artist as someone who has the ability to communicate something through their medium, then Stadtlander strikes me as an artist and Keller as merely a technician. Maybe my experience with Keller would have been different if I had eaten at the French Laundry. I didn't get a sense that Keller's food was coming from somewhere. I understand he takes great pains in finding the best ingredients from around the States and our lobster was from Canada. But Stadtlander not only grows and raises most of his produce, he also builds installations, some of his plates were made by him, and most importantly the cooking comes from his hand. I'm pretty sure Keller didn't cook a thing I eat. Rarely do you find an individual who demonstrates an existentialist like commitment to passion and responsibility.
                                          Keller makes use sous vide to cook a more perfectly tender cut of meat, Stadtlander, because of his real commitment to the land, won't use the questionable practice of cooking with plastic.
                                          Perhaps some don't see value in artistry, if that's the case then Eigensinn my be lost on you. For me, soul is infinitely more interesting than perfection. We are lucky to have one of the world's great so close to our doorstep.

                              2. Not quite sure what kind of atmosphere your looking for or type of food.

                                But for a special occasion like your wedding, I would think maybe something memorable.

                                -Although colbourne lane is something different, besides the "Oooo this is neat" the taste wasn't very memorable. I treated my family to the kitchen table tasting menu and besides the presentation none of them were impressed with the food. Nothing melted in my mouth, the flavours weren't bursting.

                                -Was at scaramouche for my anniversary and cozy is not the word I would use to describe it. The food was alright but the atmosphere was a little....outdated. I felt like I was at a retirement home with dimmed lights.

                                -North 44, Canoe...feels to me its more of a place for business accounts?

                                -Eigensinn Farm although I have not been. Feels like a great place to go.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Anoko

                                  I wouldn't say Canoe is just for expense accounts, although it ain't cheap. I would say that it is probably one of the very few expensive restaurants in TO for which the price point is justified. It really is very good.

                                  1. re: munchieHK

                                    Not really saying that Canoe is not good but its not super memorable cause there isn't a huge WOW factor to it (at least for me). Its a celebration for a wedding, being surrounded by business suits sort of kills the mood??? Then why not Auberge since it has a better atmosphere, cozier then Canoe then?
                                    Although Canoe has a better view....depends what you prefer.

                                    1. re: Anoko

                                      As you said, it is preference, not everyone is "WOW" to drive 2hours to a farm to celebrate wedding too.

                                      1. re: skylineR33

                                        yes....i agree on that as well. Only if they are willing to make the drive.

                                  2. re: Anoko

                                    I agree on Colborne Lane. I have never understood the rave it gets on this board. my tasting menu was good but not mind blowing at all. North 44 is seriously overpriced. Canoe on the other hand is really a great experience. and LOL on scaramouche, I dont know if I agree, but I get what you say!!

                                    1. re: shekamoo

                                      I have to say, I felt Colborne Lane was money not well spent.
                                      Im not saying that Canoe is not good, please don't get me wrong. It just dosen't give me a cozy, intimate surrounding. Great for anniversaries, but wedding...not romantic enough IMO. The 5th feels more romantic to me?

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                                      Colborne Lane
                                      45 Colborne Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1P8, CA