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Good spots in Toronto to eat alone

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jason0360 May 2, 2010 02:44 PM

Hi - in TO for a few weeks and finding it hard to find non-fast food places where it feels comfortable to eat by myself - i.e. can sit at the bar and eat there or something... I am a real foodie, but dislike stuffy linen tablecloths and the like. Found a great microbrewery place down front street (can't remember the name, but it was in the basement) - any suggestions for similar type places downtown? (or easy subway access) Good food, unique food, fun atmosphere, etc.?

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  1. Charles Yu RE: jason0360 May 2, 2010 02:59 PM

    Once in a while, I like to head downtown by myself and eat at the oyster bar at 'Starfish'. A platter of oysters sampler plus a piece of nicely cooked fish. Healthy and yummy! Lots of beer and wine by the glass to choose from also!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Charles Yu
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      jason0360 RE: Charles Yu May 2, 2010 03:21 PM

      This place looks great... thanks for the tip, I will go check it out. I love the oyster etiquette on their website :)

    2. jlunar RE: jason0360 May 2, 2010 03:56 PM

      I can't say I've dined alone at all these places, but these are certainly places I've pulled out a magazine or sketchbook to read.

      Manpuku, is my local joint, and am quite comfortable there. So I'm biased. However it's not a fancy place at all and serves Japanese rice and udon comfort food. Eat for under $10.

      Beer Bistro has many bar perches. Food is decent-to-good. My default tends to be the tartare and a side of fries. Pizzas can go from awesome to just barely okay. Beer is used in everything on the menu. And of course, an extensive beer list.

      Nota Bene's bar area, I've only visited later at night. It's sorta empty, but you get a spill-over of noise from the main dining area. It's a bit fancy-pants, but less-so at the bar. And I really like the pasta + morels that they have going on right now.

      I like Ceili Cottage for its convivial atmosphere, though food can vary. It's a neighbourhood place for sure. Decent beer selection. Cozy. Mid-range. Don't be in a rush, as service can be slow. Bring a magazine or newspaper.

      Duggan's is along the same vein as Beer Bistro, but with consistently better food. However, their beer is limited to their own brand (I really like their porter), as they're a microbrewery.

      Additional places that might qualify (but haven't pulled a magazine out at...)

      I think Guu is a spot to dine alone and drink - it's loud though, and may not be to your taste. Over-the-top Japanese izakaya. Mid-priced.

      The Black Hoof is awesome food all around. Hard to get a seat during prime-time, but there are several bar stools. My best meal, was in fact, at the bar. I snagged some awesome shots that night and ate... a lot. House-cured meats, interesting drinks, lots of less-common meat bits 'n' pieces done up in creative ways.

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      http://www.foodpr0n.com/ -- food. is. love.

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      Beer Bistro
      18 King St. E, Toronto, ON M5C 1C4, CA

      Manpuku
      105 McCaul St, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

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

      Ceili Cottage
      1301 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L, CA

      Duggan's Brewery
      75 Victoria St, Toronto, ON M5C, CA

      Guu
      398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2, CA

      The Black Hoof
      928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

      6 Replies
      1. re: jlunar
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        ggom1 RE: jlunar May 2, 2010 04:03 PM

        Yeah I would say Guu and Black Hoof/Hoof Cafe also. And maybe the sushi bar at Yuzu too. Or smoked meat at Caplanskys.

        1. re: ggom1
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          jason0360 RE: ggom1 May 2, 2010 05:34 PM

          I will need to look up Caplanskys... hard to imagine coming from Montreal to Toronto for smoked meat ! Especially after I read the poutine thread on this forum :)

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          Caplansky's
          356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

          1. re: jason0360
            mrbozo RE: jason0360 May 2, 2010 06:36 PM

            I'm a Montreal transplant and I'll say that you should try Caplansky's smoked meat, it's excellent, but don't expect Montreal-style flavour. It's one-of-a-kind and very tasty.

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            Caplansky's
            356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

        2. re: jlunar
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          jason0360 RE: jlunar May 2, 2010 05:31 PM

          Wow - that's excellent, thanks. I am going to have to try to drag this business trip out a little longer. I think Black Hoof is at the top of my to try list.

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          The Black Hoof
          928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

          1. re: jlunar
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            jason0360 RE: jlunar May 6, 2010 06:11 PM

            Now for the beer bistro you didn't say that the tartare was horse tartare!! I think it will take a a couple more visits to wrap my head around that...selection of beer was great, though, and the pulled pork pizza hit the spot.

            1. re: jason0360
              jlunar RE: jason0360 May 6, 2010 08:55 PM

              I think I'm just used to the thought of horse tartare, but it's true - not for everyone. But I'm the girl who's able to pet a cuddly lamb, feed it, and think "so cute!" and "delicous..." at the same time. I should make note of that and update my post on Solo Dining (thanks for the inspiration!)

              Glad you had a good meal though. I'm fond of the Ephemère Cassis at Beer Bistro. I wonder if they've changed it to Pomme yet..!

              --
              http://www.foodpr0n.com/ -- food. is. love.

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              Beer Bistro
              18 King St. E, Toronto, ON M5C 1C4, CA

          2. g
            Gary RE: jason0360 May 2, 2010 04:40 PM

            The basement place on Front St. is probably C'est What. Great beer selection and vibe, the food is... just okay.

            If you're into beer, another good spot to kill a few hours at the bar is Smokeless Joe, on John St. between Richmond and Adelaide. It's tiny, but their international beer selection is enormous and the bartenders and other customers seem more open to chat than at a lot of places in this uptight town. The food menu is very small, though, mostly oysters.

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            C'est What
            67 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E1B5, CA

            Smokeless Joe
            Toronto, ON, Toronto, ON , CA

            1 Reply
            1. re: Gary
              j
              jason0360 RE: Gary May 2, 2010 05:25 PM

              C'est what... that's it. I think I ended up having more beer than food, but liked what I had. I will check out Joes - thanks. It seems that in Ontario if you want to eat dinner past 9:00, a bar is pretty well the only choice!!

            2. c
              clairelizabeth RE: jason0360 May 2, 2010 06:47 PM

              I second Smokeless Joe's, Caplansky's, and the Black Hoof or the Hoof Cafe. Anh Dao on Spadina is a tiny, friendly, Vietnamese place with great food. My local is the Old York - pretty laid back, nice patio, sammies, and a good selection of Ontario beers.

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              Caplansky's
              356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

              Smokeless Joe
              Toronto, ON, Toronto, ON , CA

              Anh Dao Restaurant
              383 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2G6, CA

              The Black Hoof
              928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

              1. chef_vegabond RE: jason0360 May 2, 2010 06:54 PM

                Cafe La Gaffe, food is okay, it's fine actually but the total package is amazing in the evening when the lights go down.

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                Cafe La Gaffe
                24 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T1L2, CA

                1. j
                  JaclynS RE: jason0360 May 3, 2010 01:32 PM

                  How about The Wine Bar, formerly JKWB, on Church just south of front. They have bar seating and tapas style menu...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JaclynS
                    jlunar RE: JaclynS May 3, 2010 02:07 PM

                    I was going to suggest, but since Scott Vivian is slated to leave it any time now (if not already), I left it off the list. Don't know what this will mean for WB. Was joking that they'll drop another word off the name and just call it "Bar" or "ar"

                    1. re: jlunar
                      j
                      JaclynS RE: jlunar May 6, 2010 12:22 PM

                      haha, fitting!

                  2. p
                    peppermint pate RE: jason0360 May 3, 2010 02:29 PM

                    I have a preference for places with bar seating when I dine solo. If you're up for a festive atmosphere, Guu is the place. Other places I would highly recommend for are: Pastis, Cava, Harbord Room and Torito.

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                    Torito
                    276 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L9, CA

                    Cava
                    1560 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4T 2S9, CA

                    Harbord Room
                    89 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

                    Guu
                    398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2, CA

                    1. mrbozo RE: jason0360 May 3, 2010 02:45 PM

                      Harbord House if you enjoy comfort food done impeccably at a good price point. Great service and a nice selection of beers.

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                      Harbord House
                      150 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1H2, CA

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mrbozo
                        Manybears RE: mrbozo May 4, 2010 05:28 AM

                        Harbord House is also my casual dining alone choice. They've got bookshelves there and lots of people solo at the bar eating. Friendly staff too. I don't know if I'd say the food is "impeccable" personally but most of what I've had has been well above your average bar food, especially for the price.

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                        Harbord House
                        150 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1H2, CA

                      2. JamieK RE: jason0360 May 7, 2010 12:10 PM

                        I second Duggan's Brewery. There is a bar but even better, there are a few small tables right by the windows facing onto Victoria Street (on the bar side of the restaurant) that are perfect for solo diners/drinkers. The beer is good and the food may not be fantastic but it's pretty good. Service and ambiance good too.

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                        Duggan's Brewery
                        75 Victoria St, Toronto, ON M5C, CA

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