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Apr 24, 2010 02:59 PM

Recommendations for 20 ppl party "western food"

Hello fellow chowhounders,

After a great 2 years of lurking, my first thread on the board is sadly a selfish request and not a review that can add to the discussions.

My family is in need to entertain a group of about 20 people from China. They specifically requested "western food"...which leaves me at a loss as to where to find them the magical "western food" they want with restaurants varying from French to Mexican all over this city.

We're thinking about 20 to 30 per head, and would welcome all you can eat types of establishments. They don't necessarily have to be magnificent, or somewhere you would go eat for non-corporate functions, but still relatively tasty.

They are from China, looking for the great fancy western dinner, so I'm hoping the decor is nice. But atmosphere wise, locations that would tolerate noise would be preferred.

We'll be going on the Thursday or Friday night.

Thank you so much for your recommendations!

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  1. What part of the city would you like to be located in? Is the price including tax & gratuity?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Apple

      Any part of this city is fine, I think. We live in North York so we usually have to drive for food.
      The price is just a reference point, any recommendations slightly above would still be lovely.

      1. re: marshies

        I thought about where I would take out of towners & thought the Distillery District might be nice. Dinner might be half decent but you would definitely show them something really special - nothing like it in China - at least, not that I am aware of.

        Archeo is Italian and depending on what people order you could probably get it in you price range. (I have never eaten there)... Alternatively, Mill Street Pub might fit the bill (food is average) or Pure Spirits (only been to the beer garden). If you can do brunch on Sunday instead, then I would recommend the Boiler House.

        Another venue might be the Il Fornello - Harbourfront. It's a nice area to walk around.

        Or how about David Duncan House in North York? It is generally well received and if you call, they might be able to arrange something for you in your budget. They have a select menu at $35 pp. Certainly a memorable experience. What is more "Western" that a big fat steak? :)

        that's what I can think of for now...

        Distillery District
        55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

        55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A3C4, CA

        Pure Spirits
        55 Mill Street, Toronto, ON M5C 3C4, CA

        Boiler House
        55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A3C4, CA

        The David Duncan House
        125 Moatfield Dr, Toronto, ON M3B3L6, CA

        1. re: Apple

          Thank you so much for your thorough response. I'll give them a call!

      1. re: Everythingtarian

        I wish. My initial reaction was actually Buffet King next to H-Mart.
        It seems like such a hassle to feed people you don't even know who may not speak enough English to read a menu by themselves, hence the buffet thoughts.

      2. I'm having a hard time reconciling "all you can eat" with "fancy western dinner" and "decor is nice". Would a Sunday brunch be an option? The Hot House brunch buffet might be a nice option for your visitors -- it's all you can eat, has a wide variety of "western foods" and the atmostphere is actually quite nice for a brunch. They use to have a 3 piece jazz band playing, not sure if they still do. I normally wouldn't recommend Hot House as great food, but for your needs if might fit the bill.

        For dinner, the only thing I can think of right now is someplace like Seven Numbers (or any family-style Italian restaurant), where you can get them to serve you lots of dishes family style -- large platters of antipasti, pastas and meat or fish dishes. You can have them keep bringing dishes until your guests are full, and I'm sure the bill would easily fit your budget.

        Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, give Trio a call. They are a great mid-range Italian restaurant on Yonge, north of Lawrence. They just built out the upstairs area for private parties. I'm sure you could arrange a great menu for 25 - 30 dollars a head (either family style or individual plating) and you can be as loud as you want. :)

        Hot House
        35 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1T3, CA

        Seven Numbers Restaurant
        343 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M5N1A1, CA

        2 Replies
        1. re: TorontoJo

          The all you can eat is by no means a must, it's just that chowhound seems to generally shy away from recommending these places. The decor just needs to be passable. I for one love Senior's Steakhouse, but I can hardly say my guests will find charm in the decor.

          As to the brunch, unfortunately, they're on some sort of business trip and are missing a meal, so it has to be the dinner.

          Thanks so much for the recommendations. I will definitely look them up.

          1. re: marshies

            Frankie Tomatto...Marimba!

            Frankie Tomatto's
            7225 Woodbine Ave, Markham, ON L3R1A3, CA

          1. re: T Long

            What do they typically serve at the Buffet for dinner? Are there many options?
            I've never been and the site only provided a dinner menu. Thanks for your suggestion!

            1. re: marshies

              I've not been to this buffet, but have enjoyed their racetrack buffet on the upper levels. The buffet that I'm familiar with had good quality standard "western" offerings like roast beef, chicken, pasta etc. I would expect something similar at this buffet.

          2. When are they coming? If this is happening when the warm weather arrives, you might consider the patio at the Miller Tavern. It's not buffet and the food is usually not rated great on this board but one of the huge patio spaces would accommodate your group, the view is lovely and no need to worry about noise.

            Miller Tavern
            3885 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4N 2P2, CA

            5 Replies
            1. re: JamieK

              Bistro Camino. French cooking by a chef trained in Japan. Inexpensive and good.
              Danforth and Dawes Rd. They will do something special for a group this size with a bit of notice.
              See previous posts.

              Bistro Camino
              2750 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C1L7, CA

              1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                Bistro Camino is on my personal list to try, but I'm not sure it'll fit their bill as traditional "western" dinner. I'm even thinking of going with a chain like the keg, where it's easy to pick off items that taste relatively standard.

                1. re: marshies

                  Check out the menu. I would think that for 20 people the chef would adjust the menu for your group.

                  You should not have your people mistake crap for a "traditional western meal". remember, this is Toronto. The best thing would be a good buffet, but where is there a good buffet?

                  I recall reading some many years ago about someone in Peking or Shanghai who was newly rich. He went to the best French restaurant in town as a splurge. It was very expensive; it was probably very good. But the meal was not to his taste at all. He dismissed the meal as "French food".

                  You have to find a compromise, either that or go to McDonalds. Its authentic.

                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                    Marshies - Vinnie has a point. I mean no disrespect to other posters but places like Frankie Tomato or the Mandarin are not places I would take guests. I think it is possible to have good food at the price point you are looking for without heading for mediocre (at best) buffet type food.

                    Initially, I had thought of Bistro Camino as a recommendation - but then I thought - not totally Western. (Hiro does have Japanese touches.) Now that Vinnie has brought it up, the more I think about it, I think this would be a good option, too...

                    With a crowd of your size, you could work with Hiro to decide on a menu (the food there is fantastic - steak, chicken, duck are on the menu.) He could accomodate your budget and you could be as loud as you want (you would be taking over the place)

                    They do a great sampler appetizer plate with with little bites of house smoked salmon, duck prosciutto, daily soup - it's like a buffet - but better quality food.

                    Also - the cheesecake & creme brulee are delicious.

                    Basically, you could help customize the menu to showcase some great "western dishes" and you could do all of this for about $30 per head.

                    Bistro Camino
                    2750 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C1L7, CA

              2. re: JamieK

                They'll be here next Friday, so the weather might not be nice enough for patio.
                Thanks for the suggestion though!