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Fine Indian Dining

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apple_pie May 11, 2010 08:34 AM

Hi everyone,

I'm planning a nice dinner for a friend and his fiance as I won't be able to make their wedding abroad, and would like to take them out for dinner before they leave the country - they've suggested Indian, so I'm looking for suggestions on a slightly more upscale place than many of the casual places you find on Gerrard Street, which has good food and nice ambiance.

I've research this board and a few other sites and come up with some ideas, some of which I've never been to so I'd appreciate any feedback!

Jaipur Grille
The Host - Yorkville
Banjara
Dhaba
Amaya Indian Room
Amaya Bread Bar
Utsav

Any other suggestions would be appreciated, or feedback on these places as I've only been to The Host and Dhaba. We'd like something in the area roughly bounded by Front to the South, Finch to the north, Spadina to the west and Bayview to the east...closer to the TTC line would be preferable though, but we're willing to drive if it's worth it. Thanks for your help!

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Banjara
796 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1L7, CA

Utsav
69 Yorkville Ave ( Near Bloor and Yonge ), Toronto, ON M5R1B8, CA

Amaya
1574 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G3B7, CA

Jaipur Grille
2066 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4S2A3, CA

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    Cat123 RE: apple_pie May 11, 2010 08:55 AM

    I would suggest in addition to your list to consider 259 Host at Wellington and Blue Jay Way. The decor is very modern and clean and the food is very good.

    http://www.259host.com/

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    259 Host
    259 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cat123
      a
      apple_pie RE: Cat123 May 11, 2010 10:52 AM

      Thanks for the suggestion! I've been to 259 Host actually and my first experience there was such a turnoff that I'm a little hesitant to go back - the food was great, but one of the managers was extremely unprofessional and even though we talked to Sanjeev and they were very accomodating and offered us a free dinner to make up for it, I'm sticking to the other locations. I did a separate writeup on that night if you search the board for 259 Host.

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      259 Host
      259 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

    2. estufarian RE: apple_pie May 11, 2010 09:17 AM

      Of those listed, I think Amaya Bread Bar fits the bill best - but go early; service suffers when the place gets crowded.

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      Amaya
      1574 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G3B7, CA

      1. Herb RE: apple_pie May 11, 2010 09:36 AM

        Debu's

        1. m
          MeMeMe RE: apple_pie May 11, 2010 10:26 AM

          The Host is right at the Yorkville stop - and it's a lovely room (as you know). Plus the neighbourhood is good if you want to take a stroll or go for an after dinner drink! The service is a notch up from the other restaurants....there's a feeling of occasion. I too like Amaya Bread Bar. Dhaba's room isn't as nice, and Banjara definitely is more moderate in terms of price and decor. Jaipur is okay but not as lush feeling as the others. I've heard Kama Sutra is a very nice resto as well.

          1. f
            furhead RE: apple_pie May 11, 2010 10:30 AM

            Amaya is a great suggestion. The other one I really was impressed with was the Indian Rice Factory. Had a fantastic meal there with terrific service.

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            Indian Rice Factory
            414 Dupont St, Toronto, ON M5R1V9, CA

            Amaya
            1701 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON M4G 2C1, CA

            Amaya
            1574 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G3B7, CA

            1. s
              Snarf RE: apple_pie May 11, 2010 10:48 AM

              Banjara has fantastic food, decent service, and the location on Eglinton and Mt. Pleasant is quieter than the one on Bloor. I wouldn't call it fine dining, but it's some of the best at the price range and nicer than most places on Gerrard.

              The Host in Yorkville is a nice set of rooms, but service and quality can vary.

              Debu is definitely fine dining, with very interesting out of the mold takes on Indian cuisine. Very good service, nice room and priced for the fine dining market.

              Indian Rice Factory has the wine list, but is fairly standard on the food end at higher prices.

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              Indian Rice Factory
              414 Dupont St, Toronto, ON M5R1V9, CA

              Banjara
              796 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1L7, CA

              6 Replies
              1. re: Snarf
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                phoenikia RE: Snarf May 11, 2010 02:10 PM

                What dishes would you recommend at Banjara & Debu, Snarf?

                http://www.debusaha.com/?id=menu

                http://www.torontobanjara.com/

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                Debu's
                552 Mount Pleasant, Toronto, ON M4S, CA

                1. re: phoenikia
                  s
                  Snarf RE: phoenikia May 12, 2010 09:01 AM

                  The menu at Debu changes every two weeks, so what's up now is mostly new with some things I've had in the past. Quail three ways is amazing, as is the crab when it's on. He does meat and fish to perfection, and the description of the sauce combinations are usually spot on, so you can generally picture in your mind what's going to happen. While Biryanis are not what I generally order, some Indian friends from London rave about them.

                  Banjara does great breads, really good, non-oily veg dishes, and the house made chutneys which aren't on the website are worth the extra dollar or two. The Andhra ginger chutney is fantastic. They will customize the spice level if you ask them, which is worth it as they dumb it down a bit on Eglinton. Enjoy!

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                  Banjara
                  796 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1L7, CA

                  1. re: Snarf
                    p
                    phoenikia RE: Snarf May 12, 2010 09:24 AM

                    Thanks for your detailed reply, Snarf.

                    Quail 3 ways sounds great- and I have a quail-loving friend who is coming to visit this week, so I'm thinking we should drop by and check it out (hopefully it might still be on the menu).

                    Will have to try some of the veg dishes at Banjara. Always looking for a killer dal makhani, and I like comparing notes on variations of mutter paneer & aloo gobhi around town ;-)

                2. re: Snarf
                  g
                  garfield RE: Snarf May 12, 2010 09:31 AM

                  Have you been to Jaipur Grille? I would definitely prefer it over The host or Banjara. Haven't been to Debu's yet.

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                  Banjara
                  796 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1L7, CA

                  Jaipur Grille
                  2066 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4S2A3, CA

                  1. re: garfield
                    s
                    Snarf RE: garfield May 12, 2010 10:25 AM

                    What's good at Jaipur? I crossed it off my list a few years ago, which may in retrospect have been due to the company rather than the place.

                    1. re: Snarf
                      g
                      garfield RE: Snarf May 12, 2010 11:47 AM

                      In my last two visits I had lamb nalli gosht and goan shrimp. Both were delicious. The naan was very good too.
                      Here is a review
                      http://www.spotlighttoronto.com/site/...

                3. a
                  apple_pie RE: apple_pie May 11, 2010 10:55 AM

                  Thanks guys...I'm leaning towards The Host (tried and tested) or Amaya right now - the other thing I forgot to mention is that my dining companions only eat halal meat - most Indian restaurants do serve halal meat anyways to cater to a wider audience (I know the Host does and I know Amaya Express at FCP does so I'll doublecheck and see if their other locations do as well).

                  I'll definitely give some of these other places to find out though...thanks for the feedback. When you guys recommend Amaya, which one is better - Amaya The Indian Room or Amaya Breadbar?

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                  Amaya
                  1574 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G3B7, CA

                  Amaya Express
                  1168 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

                  1. e
                    evansl RE: apple_pie May 22, 2010 05:11 AM

                    Having recently had my 4th dinner at the Cinnamon Club, I am reminded that you can't get Indian fine dining in Toronto. If you'd ever eaten at a top end Indian restaurant in London, you'd know that. But even by Toronto standard, The Host and Dhaba are hardly fine dining. The Host is average and Dhaba below even this.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: evansl
                      Full tummy RE: evansl May 22, 2010 05:43 AM

                      Wo, by Toronto standards, what do you recommend?

                      1. re: Full tummy
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                        evansl RE: Full tummy May 22, 2010 07:46 AM

                        Don't get all excited. I realize that London is exceptional for Indian food and that Toronto is probably good for most everywhere else. But once you've had something exceptional, your whole scale shifts way way upward. The scary thing is that people tell me that there are several places in London even better than the Cinnamon Club. Hard to imagine.

                        As for TO, I seldom go out for Indian food anymore because I've not a found any place especially good. My long-time favorite, Cuisine of India, went badly downhill about 6-7 years ago and I've not found anyplace that stands out. The best alternative I've ever found is Nirvana in Mississagua, but although the good meals are very good, they tend to be a bit spotty. Anyway, it's too far to be a regular haunt and I haven't been there since they started loading the menu with Hakka dishes. I took that as a bad sign.

                        My big hope was Amaya after hearing the hype. I went there when they first opened and was underwhelmed. Maybe I had visions of the Cinnamon Club, but food was no better than OK. It didn't help that it was served barely warm. I plan to give them another try soon. Maybe the results will be better.

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                        Amaya
                        1574 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G3B7, CA

                        1. re: evansl
                          Herb RE: evansl May 22, 2010 07:55 AM

                          Your thoughts on Debu?

                          1. re: evansl
                            c
                            chillihigh RE: evansl May 22, 2010 07:40 PM

                            You might want to give Utsav in yorkville a try. Its unpretentious and good food

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                            Utsav
                            69 Yorkville Ave ( Near Bloor and Yonge ), Toronto, ON M5R1B8, CA

                      2. a
                        apple_pie RE: apple_pie Jun 16, 2010 07:31 AM

                        So we did end up going with 259 Host and I was very pleased - the service was excellent, in an unobtrusive way. The food was good as always - we started with their take on chaat papri, and had the butter chicken, chicken xacutti and squash baaji with naan and roti as our mains, and then shared the paan kulfi (very unusual and delicious dessert) and the mango firni for dessert. I like that the place is classy, and quiet enough that you can talk and linger a while, definitely a good choice for special occasions!
                        Thanks for all the suggestions - if you haven't tried this location of the Host yet, I suggest checking it out as it's a nice take on Indian food.

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                        259 Host
                        259 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

                        1. sweetie RE: apple_pie Jun 16, 2010 01:13 PM

                          I know it is too late for apple_pie but when I saw this thread I had to put in my vote for Debu. I tried it last week. I was really impressed with the presentation and the food was great.
                          To be fair though I haven't been to any of the other places

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: sweetie
                            a
                            apple_pie RE: sweetie Jun 17, 2010 09:47 AM

                            I'll have to check it out! Debu's cooking seems to get good reviews on this board

                            1. re: sweetie
                              s
                              stonedtoronto RE: sweetie Jul 7, 2010 03:42 AM

                              What did you have?

                              I only went once, granted it was a year ago, possibly more. But I remember there be good service, nice atmosphere, and absolutely horrible food. I recall there being only 2 other tables occupied beside ours. I was not impressed, and neither was my Indian date. I really want to like it though, chefs trying out new things can only be a good thing.

                              Was your experience really that good? Should I give it another try?

                              1. re: stonedtoronto
                                sweetie RE: stonedtoronto Jul 7, 2010 12:04 PM

                                Well, as you know peoples taste varies wildly, I will tell you what I had and you can decide if it sounds different from what you had.
                                My friend had ordered biriyani ahead of time, we had the chicken although I am told by my friend that the lamb is better (one person in our party is lamb phobic).
                                We ended up ordering every app on the menu,
                                pakoras- which were a little more like bahjis then pakoras, but crispy and well seasoned
                                bison samosas- very good, kind of taste like lamb though
                                Chaat- loved the combination of flavours, cilantro, a little chili, boiled peanuts, don't remember what else was in it it was good though
                                Tandoori shrimp- it was okay, the shrimp were cooked well but not outstanding
                                there was actually two more apps, but I don't remember what they were, some thing else fried.
                                The biriyani, was served in individual portions, each had a drumstick that was lollipoped (the meat was all pushed to the end) and the bone was sticking out of the phyllo wrapped biriyani. I liked the rasins and spicing of the biryani, and the raita that came with it was nothing special, but it was served in a shot glass which I though was interesting.
                                Perhaps I have not been exposed to enough Indian cuisine to know what is good and bad. But I didn't think any of the food tasted horrible.

                                Check out the current menu...it looks good.
                                http://www.debusaha.com/

                            2. Food Tourist RE: apple_pie Jul 28, 2010 12:44 PM

                              I'm looking for upscale Indian food for a 60th birthday dinner party for an Indian lady who is Hindu Vegetarian. Party of 10 guests (most are not vegetarian); private room preferred. Downtown, east end, or midtown preferred but not suburbs and not north of 401 unless fabulous. Please help!

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: Food Tourist
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                                stonedtoronto RE: Food Tourist Jul 29, 2010 03:55 AM

                                Amaya
                                Amaya Bread Bar
                                I would hesitantly say "Host" in one of it's locations...

                                And also people have been posted good reviews on Debu's

                                -----
                                Amaya
                                1574 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G3B7, CA

                                1. re: Food Tourist
                                  a
                                  apple_pie RE: Food Tourist Jul 29, 2010 07:52 AM

                                  I'd suggest 259 Host - the service was very good on my last visit, they can accommodate both vegetarians and non-vegetarians and they do have a private area upstairs. Plus I'd say this one definitely feels more upscale than their other locations.

                                  -----
                                  259 Host
                                  259 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

                                  1. re: apple_pie
                                    smudgebee RE: apple_pie Jul 29, 2010 09:59 AM

                                    I really like Jaipur Grill and Indian Rice Factory. The thing that makes Indian Rice Factory special is the backyard patio. It is really gorgeous on summer evenings. The service is amazing too.

                                    -----
                                    Indian Rice Factory
                                    414 Dupont St, Toronto, ON M5R1V9, CA

                                    1. re: smudgebee
                                      estufarian RE: smudgebee Jul 29, 2010 12:54 PM

                                      My problem with Indian Rice Factory has been the service (or lack of it). Food is fine (although occasionally they overdose on the chili's) but service is a word I normally don't use for this place.

                                      -----
                                      Indian Rice Factory
                                      414 Dupont St, Toronto, ON M5R1V9, CA

                                      1. re: estufarian
                                        Herb RE: estufarian Jul 29, 2010 01:02 PM

                                        Were you aware Mrs. Patel is extremely ill and has been for some time? There was a story recently in the Globe. Obviously, things have changed since IRF's heyday.

                                        1. re: Herb
                                          estufarian RE: Herb Jul 29, 2010 03:16 PM

                                          Yes.
                                          I knew that - but they're still using her recipes and she hasn't cooked there for years (or at least I haven't seen her there).

                                  2. re: Food Tourist
                                    Herb RE: Food Tourist Jul 29, 2010 10:17 AM

                                    Debu's has a vegetarian tasting menu. Highly recommended!

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                                    Debu's
                                    552 Mount Pleasant, Toronto, ON M4S, CA

                                    1. re: Herb
                                      burningrome RE: Herb Jul 30, 2010 06:56 AM

                                      My wife went to Debu's last night and raved about how great the food was.....

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