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May 19, 2010 06:45 AM

anniversary dinner that must include oysters (everything else negotiable)

It's not a major milestone anniversary, but still a reason for a nice meal..would really love to start with some oysters but open to next courses..prefer to stay downtown or midtown and have a non-stuffy atmosphere..I would likely lean to a fish main course, but the idea of something meaty is also appealing. I was thinking of the following: Starfish, Rodney's, Origin, Marlena...thoughts or suggestions most welcome!!

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  1. I would nominate Starfish. A wonderful selection of oysters, perfect martinis, and while on my last visit my DC and I opted to skip mains in favour of appetizers (soft-shell crab & fishcakes), the mains I saw other people enjoying looked very good. They also serve a fantastic sticky toffee pudding if you like that sort of thing. Great atmosphere as well, not too casual and not too stuffy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dxs

      That would be my rec as well. Great spot and not too fussy and AMAZING oysters.

    2. Rodney's By Bay has great oysters and its a small quaint setting for a nice meal. If you want something really great- I'd say go to Origin. I was there for dinner last night and it was outstanding. Susur Lee and his sons sat beside us- its really quite the happening new place. They have an oyster tapa on the menu.

      601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

      Rodney's By Bay
      56 Temperance Street, Toronto, ON M5H 3V5, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: gourmetnista

        another vote for starfish...we've had many a celebratory dinner there.
        rodney's by bay is o.k. but the atmosphere doesn't scream 'anniversary' to me.
        origin is fantastic but their oyster dish includes 3 oysters...i'd need about 7 of them...

      2. Malena, the new restaurant getting lots of good reviews, typically has two types of oysters available as an appetizer. It sounds like they rotate the species of oyster offered based on what is available.

        1. Though I've yet to try Malena, I think you'd be hard pressed to go wrong with any of those choices. Best way to distinguish is probably by atmosphere - Origin is hipster cool with fantastic food. The fish/seafood dishes there probably lean towards bright Asian flavours -we enjoyed sitting beside each other at the lounge though a seat at the kitchen bar could be fun too. Starfish is more elegant, totally unstuffy, less hipster but really well executed dishes. I love Rodney's By Bay - I'd be very happy with a couple of seats at a hightop table, a platter full of oysters, some fish and chips or one of their daily fish specials and a couple of beers. The reviews of Malena have been glowing. Does Malena have a patio? That could be another tie-breaker on a warm, summer evening. Great choices - enjoy the celebration.

          Rodney's By Bay
          56 Temperance Street, Toronto, ON M5H 3V5, CA

          7 Replies
          1. re: peppermint pate

            Me thinks it will be Starfish this time round..although all the comments have left me wanting to try them all..I am very clearly NOT "hipster cool", so perhaps will skip Origin for the time being till the bloom is off the rose and any old schmoe can go...should be in another 2 weeks if it's a typical Toronto Resto :)

            1. re: redhead

              Re: Origin - I should have been more careful with my words. I was just trying to contrast the different places you had chosen - Origin is definitely newer/younger/cooler than say, Starfish, n terms of decor, clientele and even the menu BUT if I gave you any sense that they are unwelcoming or too cool or anything similarly off-putting, I apologize - I was there the other evening and the many staff I encountered were incredibly friendly, laid-back, professional. I think any shmoe would be welcome...:). You'll have a great time at Starfish but do please keep Origin on your list for a future evening.

              1. re: peppermint pate

                Origin is great for but the room gets really loud, so if you want to have an intimate conversation with your SO, it would be a bit of a challenge.

                1. re: Degustation

                  .,@ degustation..hmm, intimate conversation? what's that? After being together for as long as we have, it's enough just to come up with a reasonably interesting topic :)

                  1. re: redhead

                    LOL...well then, if you forgo the sotto voce musings and prefer the stimulation of a minor shouting match, then by all means...Origin delivers...but go for the food..

              2. re: redhead

                for evenings like this i'm a bigger fan of starfish. the atmosphere is laid back, i'd make sure to reserve a booth that i can sink into and ignore the rest of the small room, but the service is far from polished and the only thing that makes me waver. but i also haven't been to any of your other picks and so can't offer any compare and contrasts.

                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                  I've not had the same experience with service as you - it's always been attentive and skillful. Have taken advantage of their corkage to bring special bottles of bubbles for special meals and the waiter was able to handle the bottles with skill and knowledge. My fave for oysters in this city. Sitting at the bar is also enjoyable.

                  Also, best oysters in the city.

            2. Starfish is an old standby for us and it's definitely the kind of boite-y bistro we'd seek out for the anniversary. I like to sit at the bar and drinks champers while we watch the shucking.

              But I had a great meal at Malena last weekend, and if you're looking for something new it might be a good spot. Pretty room (feels much like L'Unita, no surprise), and they do have a nice (although small) bar space, if that's your preference. Room is slightly buzzy but definitely not obnoxious. And the food was great... fish and seafood are wonderfully executed, but they also know their way around a porkchop, which bodes well in case you get a meat craving.

              If you head to Starfish I think their molten chocolate cake is one of Toronto's sleeper dessert hits. Malena had softshell crab last weekend, which was a total treat, the halibut cakes are also smoky and great, and the lemon phyllo tart, which looks like a meringue-topped cupcake, is recommended if you have a sweet tooth.

              134 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R2H6, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: Rabbit

                mmmm champagne, oysters, molten chocolate cake..what more could a girl ask for on her anniversary? (well, there's always more, I'm sure) Looking forward to my meal and will post a report for those who are interested!