Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Apr 11, 2010 11:20 AM

moderate to inexpensive restaurants within walking distance Entertainment Area Toronto?

Will be staying in the Entertainment Area in Toronto in April (Wednesday through Sunday). Would like recommendations of restaurants for dinner. One or two worth the splurge and the rest reasonable. Could take public transportation, too. Is the Second City worth going to?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hi - can you give us a sense of what foods you like/dislike?

    Woth a splurge recommendations:
    1. Nota Bene - Queen W and University: I quite like the crispy duck salad and the braised beef short ribs (I am not sure what is on the current menu). Dishes are typically solid; dining companions have not been disappointed

    2. Origin - King E and Church (take the streetcar): this is the new restaurant by Toronto chef Claudio Aprile (also of Colborne Lane) - mostly small plates; sit at the bar area. I was there with some girlfriends recently - we had chef's selection - the beet/goat cheese salad was very good, he did an Asian inspired lobster dish (excellent), plaintains with guacamole (so so), cod cakes (vey nice) and a few other dishes

    More on the reasonable side:
    1. Rodneys by Bay (Temperance St at Bay) - fresh oysters/seafood
    2. Trimurti (Queen & University) - solid Indian
    3. BeerBistro (King & Yonge) - enormous beer selection; excellent mussels, excellent frites, superb pulled pork sandwich, beer inspired foods. Only the pizza-flatbreads have fallen flat food wise

    As for Second City - can't say. It has been years since I have gone

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

    Nota Bene
    180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

    1. Reasonable/Inexpensive:
      1. - Fresh - vegetarian, but don't let that put you off... the food is clean, inexpensive, and tasty in a nice atmosphere -
      2. - Jules - a cheap and cheerful French bistro -
      - Smokeless Joe's - an underground pub with an excellent beer list and a small but respectable men (especially if you like oysters)
      3. - the Rex - standard but passable pub food, but with jazz bands every night so good if you like some entertainment while you eat or just someplace to hang out for a drink or two -
      4. - Ginger - cheap and cheerful (semi cafeteria-style) Viet -

      Splurge -
      1. Nota Bene - A thriving (but not obnoxious) bar area where I think it's very comfortable for solo diners. You will find pretty glowing reviews on this board. It's a splurge, but it won't ruin you either. Crispy duck salad, stilton burger, and sticky toffee pudding are among our favourites there -
      2. Tutti Matti - authentic Tuscan bistro -
      3. If you cross Spadina to King Street West, which is more mental than physical distance, you get a few other very nice options: Buca (italian -, Crush Wine Bar (, Madelene's and/or Lee (
      )4. . I also like Le Select on Wellington, which may be reasonable or splurge depending on your personal budget (same might be said of Buca). Pretty zinc bar for solo dining (


      Second City isn't my thing... I typically find "comedy" un-funny. Please do let us know where you end up.

      Tutti Matti
      364 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1R7, CA

      Le Select
      432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V1E3, CA

      Nota Bene
      180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

      Smokeless Joe
      Toronto, ON, Toronto, ON , CA

      604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA

      5 Replies
      1. re: Rabbit

        Thanks so much for your reply..both of you! My husband doesn't like tapas, but other than that we like all kinds of ethnic/american food.

        1. re: Duncan

          Just to be clear, most of the times tapas is used here all it means is "small plates", most of these places have nothing to do with Spanish tapas.

          1. re: bytepusher

            I second Tutti Matti (so delicious!), Le Select and Jules. Jules is probably the lesser of the three price wise, and Tutti Matti on the higher end of the three, but all are reasonable. Did I mention: I love Tutti Matti? It's a real gem. You should get a reservation, if you are planning to go there.

            If being close to the theatres/Roy Thomson Hall is really important, then I choose Kit Kat on the King St. W. strip. It's reasonably priced. I I would pick Tutti Matti and Jules over Kit Kat for food, but Kit Kat for location/pre-show dinner where time is at a premium. They are very experienced at dealing with pre-show rush. (Note: I had a bad experience with mussels there once many years ago, but have always been happy with their pasta dishes (their Rigatoni Bolognese is my go-to dish)).

            Tutti Matti
            364 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1R7, CA

            Le Select
            432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V1E3, CA

            Kit Kat
            297 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1J5, CA

        2. re: Rabbit

          With all due respect Rabbit, I wouldn't recommend Fresh or Jules to an out-of-towner; both can be disappointing and inconsistent.

          For a cheap meal, go to Ravisoups. Good sandwiches and soups.

          For sushi, Yuzu is decent.

          Nota Bene is good value for money as most main courses are under $30 and food is consistently very good to excellent. Huge, loud dining room -- see-and-be-seen minor celebrity crowd.

          If you like fish, go to Vertical.

          I've been wanting to check out Ame on Mercer Street but can't comment yet.

          Nota Bene
          180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

          1. re: Food Tourist

            I really like Vertical too... and if you get a good patio day their outside space is quite pretty.

            When I first read this post I assumed (for whatever reason) that this was a solo traveller looking for some fast-and-quick options while staying in the ED. I agree that Fresh is not really a destination restaurant, although I do find it consistent and a good quick-pick for cheap-and-cheerful lunch. Same basic story with Jules... I agree that one could definitely do better if willing to venture a bit further afield.

            I really have to get to Ravi.

        3. The original comment has been removed
          1. Chowhound has a very narrow mission--where to find deliciousness. General travel planning questions, like where to stay or what else to do while visiting a town, are off topic for our boards. Please keep your replies focused on helping the poster find great chow, as off topic replies will be removed.