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Apr 7, 2010 10:59 AM

Occasion-worthy spot for a group of eight (Scaramouche, Canoe, George, Opus??)

I'm trying to decide upon an occasion-worthy destination for a graduation celebration in June. There will be small group of eight (an awkward number, in my opinion, but families are complicated these days).

Money is no object and we're looking for someplace where both food and atmosphere are memorable. On my short list are Scaramouche, Canoe, George (in part because I hope we might be able to sit outside) or Opus (also motivated by the patio). Alternately, I wondered about Note Bene or Colborne Lane because I think they have private rooms that might accommodate a group our size, perhaps creating a bit more intimacy/mobility for us versus those big tables where you never get a chance to talk with the person on the opposite end.

Any thoughts or guidance about which if these might be most suitable?

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

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  1. Sounds like a good list, I think your set food wise no matter which you choose.
    Canoe has a great big round table that seats 8 and allows for uniform conversation, plus it's the table with the best view. Maybe you could request that table specifically at booking?
    George's tasting menu is also a good option for a big group because it goes on for a really long time so you need lots of company.

    1. We're currently trying to figure out the same thing - it will be the first time the two families sit down together, so we are steering away from the private room option - intimacy just doesn't seem comfortable in this situation. A few things that might be helpful to narrowing down the list:

      1) Is anyone in the group (especially anyone being "treated") potentially going to feel uncomfortable with the money-is-no-object aspect?

      2) How old is the graduate(s)? What will he/she/they be most excited by in terms of atmosphere, wine list, and actual menu items?

      3) Is the focus more on celebrating the graduate or on the coming-together of the family?

      1. Maybe I'm trying to live vicariously through others, since I have no reason to rent the room downstairs at Splendido, but I think the food and service is awesome. It's the antithesis of your desire for a patio though.

        The upstairs patio at Globe is lovely, though I don't know if you can rent that outright. Other patios would be The Fifth and Ultra. Fifth I seem to recall having some nice desserts and okay food - nice space. Ultra was too long ago for me to comment on the food, but the patio was cool.

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

        1. This is sort of the antithesis of sitting on a patio (and George would be lovely, if the weather is nice), but have you ever visited the cellar room at Chiado? I haven't been in years, but it was really lovely the last time I was there. Really intimate and the food is wonderful, of course.

          864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

          1. I vote for Ultra, the food is great and the patio view makes it special.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Nancee Swartz

              Nothing beats the patio at George. Indoor dining, Scaramouche.

              1. re: millygirl

                We went to George recently. Maybe we were there on a slow day, or maybe it was because we went to Colborne Lane a few days before, but it was by far the worst meal I've ever had.

                It might also be that they set very high expectations. The website says how its won so many awards, and somehow people group it into the elite restaurants in Toronto. I think its mediocre at best.

                Splitting the menu into 3 groups is unnecessary. They are small plates, just make it one big menu, and say they're small plates, and suggest 3 dishes. Dont make people think they have to go in order.

                I wouldnt care about any of this if the food was good. It was awful.

                I started with prawns which were almost certainly rotten, or perhaps at the best just old. I cant really describe the texture, but they were pasty, not firm and sweet like they should be. Im not typically someone to complain, but this was too much. I asked the waiter to ask the chef if this is what shrimp should taste like. The response was that they might be a bit over cooked. Its more scary that they dont know what properly cooked shrimp is supposed to taste like.

                The second dish was a sweetbread with white asperagus. We just had white asperagus a few days prior, and they are in season now, so I was very excited by the prospects of this dish. Again, dissapointment. The dish consisted of 4 1inch pieces of white asperagus on a skewer, beside some sort of small quiche topped with a few sweetbread fritters. The asperagus was severely overcooked, limp and tasteless. The quiche was almost completely inedible. The crust was soggy, and the filling just looked and felt like predigested food

                And finally, we ended on the highest note of the night. The lamb loin was cooked ok, nothing special, but after the 2 previous dishes was something that I could at least stomach.

                I'm a long time chow reader, and never have posted before. I felt like this experience deserved a few minutes of my time.

                I'm just wondering, was it an off night? The mistakes seemed amateur and careless. Does anyone actually like this place? There were 2 or 3 other tables full when we went there. That cant be good.

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