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Mid-Range Must Try Restaurants in Toronto?

Going to Toronto this weekend. Looking for some mid-priced (or even down and dirty) retaurants for dinner, lunch and brekfast (especially brunch on Sunday). Staying in Yorkville. Will not have a car.

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  1. Well there's probably dozens of places around Yorkville for brunch but I'm going to suggest Globe Bistro for its focus on local/Canadian ingredients. It's right at Broadview subway station, only a few minutes away from York ville by the TTC public transit system.
    http://www.globebistro.com/eat/brunch...

    7 Replies
    1. re: JamieK

      I don't know about brunch - it's not my thing - but if by mid-priced dinner you mean under $100 per couple with wine (closer to $75-$80, actually), all in, let me suggest Le Paradis, a French bistro on Bedford Rd., just west of the corner of Avenue Rd. and Davenport Rd. That means it's walkable - 10-15 minutes, I'd say - from the centre of Yorkville. A longtime neighborhood favorite with a classic bistro menu. You can reserve, I suppose, but the place always keeps a long strip of tables available every night for walk-ins. Easy-to-take wine prices. Just about everything on the menu is mighty tasty, though I lean towards the veal kidneys (which you don't see on too many menus nowadays). Good service, lively atmosphere, with a somewhat older clientele, many of whom have been noshing there for decades.

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      Le Paradis
      166 Bedford Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2K9, CA

      1. re: JamieK

        You could walk to Globe Earth on Yonge. About six blocks north.

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        globe earth
        1055 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4W 2L2, CA

        1. re: Herb

          I would recommend Globe Earth over Le Paradis. The latter, on my last visit, was not the kind of place I would like any visitor to experience. It's just like Coquine and Le Select - a DisneyLand experience conjured up to offer French food in a faked up "French Bisro" setting. It's all bullshit. The decor is convincing but the rest is a rip off. They treat you as though you've stepped off a bus tour. Don't go!

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          Le Paradis
          166 Bedford Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2K9, CA

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

          Coquine
          2075 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4S2A4, CA

          1. re: KitchenVoodoo

            I'm sorry to say what you've written about Le Paradis is not even remotely accurate. A restaurant that has been around for over 20 years, has French servers, not to mention French cooks is not what I would describe as a "DisneyLand experience". In fact, its the furthest away from a DisneyLand experience for its honesty and genuine character. I'm sure many of the French expats from Paris and other parts of France that are regulars would also disagree. And $17 plats with no bottle of wine over $65 doesn't seem like rip-off land to me either. I would argue that its not necessarily a destination spot for out-of-towners but it still represents a microcosm of the Toronto scene-on any given night you'll see the well-heeled eating beside students and well respected local academics.

            Either way, its not for you, and that's probably a good thing.

            SWS

            1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

              totally agree. Not a destination for out of towners but to describe either Le Paradis or Le Select as 'disneyland is just misinformed and entirely innacurate. It makes me wonder if the poster has been to either the restaurants or disneyland.

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              Le Paradis
              166 Bedford Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2K9, CA

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

              1. re: jamesm

                Never loved Le Paradis but I agree with sws and james. And to say the same about Le Select? Well that's just crazy-talk, lol

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                Le Paradis
                166 Bedford Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2K9, CA

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

              2. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                Third - agree with SWS. Unfair and inaccurate description of Le Paradis which is a reliable bistro with exceptional value in our city.

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                Le Paradis
                166 Bedford Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2K9, CA

        2. For mid range I enjoy the following places:

          Buca (lunch and dinner)
          Black Hoof (dinner - must enjoy meat to eat here)
          Hoof Cafe (brunch - must enjoy meat to eat here as well - same owner as above)
          Torito (dinner)
          Fire on the East Side (brunch and close to where you are staying)
          Loire (dinner)

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          Torito
          276 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L9, CA

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

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: JennaBean

            i didn't think buca was open for lunch on weekends? and i'm pretty sure they're closed on sundays. sundays might in general be of concern since a lot of places are shut.

            if we're including down and dirty along with mid-priced, then i would suggest taking the walk down yonge street to gerrard and getting a doner from Doner Kebab House (yellow sign, east side).

          2. And I forgot, one of the only places I will eat in Yorkville (as I find more of the food in the area not so great) Caren's Wine Bar! Lovely patio great food for both lunch and dinner.

            1. Cava is very good and a short subway ride to St. Clair from Museum. It's excellent. And the tapas style keeps the price down.

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: Arcadiaseeker

                And they are open on Sunday. I totally ignored the OP's note that it was a weekend trip!

              2. Beer Bistro at King Station...interesting and fun menu and great beer.
                Drake Rooftop is a subway and street car away.
                Tacos Al Asador at Christie Station on the Bloor line.
                Dynasty for dim sum brunch in Yorkville.
                Agree with Caren's, Globe Earth, Cava.

                10 Replies
                1. re: MeMeMe

                  Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Another member of the group has asked around (higher end dining, I suspect) and come up with: Opus, Sotto Sotto, Nyood, Nota Bene, Amei Cuisine, Lee, Madeleine's and Amuse Bouche.

                  Any thoughts on food, proce, etc fo these?

                  Thanks.

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                  Nyood
                  1096 Queen West, Toronto, ON M6J 1H9, CA

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

                  Sotto Sotto Restaurant
                  116 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R2H4, CA

                  1. re: DC Foodie

                    The latter 2 (Madeleine's and Amuse Bouche) are now closed.

                    Opus is a stalwart of the Toronto fine dining scene. Sotto Sotto is a well known Italian resto that often gets slagged for its 'tude on this board but I have never had a bad experience there and the food has been good. If you are in a mediterranean mood thugh, L'Unita and Malena are both popular and get better reviews on the experience as a whole. They are also both right near where you will be staying. Nyood is a hipper place that does small plates and has a new "guest list only" lounge upstairs - food was ok when I went but the kitchen setup is very strange and to me the menu repeated alot. You will find lots of posts on Nota Bene on this board and it is well loved. Do a search and see what you think. Do you mean Ame instead of Amei? If so it is nouveau Japanese lounge that gets mixed (ok mostly negative) reviews. Lee is Susur Lee's Toronto resto, is always packed and in my view a great choice for asian fusion small plates in a lively and well designed room.

                    I think the only ones of any of these I would rate as a must try for someone from out of town would be Nota Bene and Lee. Beware that the wine prices at Nota Bene are ridiculous, though. Neither is in Yorkville but both are pretty accessible on the metro.

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                    Susur
                    601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                    Nyood
                    1096 Queen West, Toronto, ON M6J 1H9, CA

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

                    Sotto Sotto Restaurant
                    116 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R2H4, CA

                    1. re: DC Foodie

                      The food at Opus is conservative but delicious, and it has one of the best wine lists in the city. It's significantly more formal and more expensive than Nyood, Nota Bene or Lee. Dinner at Opus could easily cost $100 pp incl. 3 courses, wine and coffee.

                      Nyood has contemporary small plates with various global influences, including SE Asian and West Indian influences. I liked the short ribs (although according to the current online menu, Nyood has changed the prep to Malta braised short ribs, and the version I had was more Asian-influenced). I have generally found most of the food to be mediocre to decent, rather than great. Not sure why Nyood would be using Australian lamb on their menu when Ontario lamb is so much tastier. I find the items on the Nyood's menu always sound interesting, but the end product often doesn't live up to its description on the menu.

                      I find Nota Bene somewhat boring and safe, but many people love it on this board. Nota Bene also suffers from the "doesn't live up to its description on the menu" syndrome. Their burger is considered one of the better upscale burgers in TO. I like the upscale burgers at the Harbord Room, Caren's and Globe Earth better.

                      Lee serves contemporary small plates with mostly Asian and Mediterranean influences. I love the Singapore Slaw.

                      Out of Opus, Nyood, Nota Bene and Lee, I would probably choose to bring out-of-towners to Lee for dinner.

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                      Nyood
                      1096 Queen West, Toronto, ON M6J 1H9, CA

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

                      1. re: DC Foodie

                        Lee's open for lunch now! I've enjoyed every meal I've eaten there -- nice environment, interesting food. Pricing is reasonable for what you pay.

                      2. re: MeMeMe

                        I wouldn"t eat at the Drake.... it has always struck me as more of a place for happenings related to art than to really good food. I'll never forget the bruch I once had there - the food was the sort of excretions you'd expect from a hung over college student - which our waitress certainly was.... and her multiple tattoos and piercings hanging out all over the place didn't enhance our appetites. The whole place felt really dark and dirty, and the food, when it eventually arrived in its cold congealed fat was beyond awful. In more recent times, some well heeled clients of mine somehow got steered to the Drake (by some dim wit hotel conceirge I suspect) - they sat, they looked around, they fled, and ended up having a much more suitable dinner at Zucca which they loved.

                        1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                          Tattoos! Seriously! In this day and age! Unthinkable! The Drake is a nice spot, certainly not dark and dingy. The rooftop in particular is great. Sure, if you're squeamish about tattoos, like my elderly sheltered aunt with alzheimers, then you may be put off. I've not had brunch there but I've had several very good dinners. And yes, they do often host events and showings there but not in the dining room. That happens at the drake underground. It's an interesting place and the detractors are generally the type of people who feel uncomfortable out of a very narrow comfort zone.

                          1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                            I've always found the food to be quite good at the Drake through the years. I've never found any of the brunches or dinners I've eaten to be greasy, or cold.

                            The servers and bartenders I've dealt with have always been professional and courteous, and I've found the service inside the Drake to be much better than service at most restaurants in Toronto. On my last visit, I did think one of the doormen at the Drake could brush up on his manners.

                            Out of the restaurants already mentioned in this thread, I really like Cava and Buca.

                            My experience at brunch at Caren's wasn't great, and I find the cheese plates overpriced, but I do like the stilton burger.

                            If I was staying in Yorkville, I'd find time for a bowl of goulash and some palascinta at the Coffee Mill.

                            1. re: phoenikia

                              Oh yes - the Coffee Mill. This is Toronto. You have the folks who were hanging around Yorkville in the 60's and still do, you have the Bubies, you have the locals and you have the people who like good Hungarian food. Great suggestion!

                              ps - and the person who suggested Opus is mid-range. Have you seen the menu? Tres cher!

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                              Coffee Mill
                              99 Yorkville, Toronto, ON M5R3K5, CA

                              1. re: MeMeMe

                                The cheapest main at Opus -- by about 10 dollars -- is 30 bucks for steamed vegetables in a consomme. Everything else I believe is 40 dollars plus. Appetizers are almost as much as mains elsewhere. The cheapest meal you can get there is a mixed salad of baby greens with a champagne vinagrette (15) steamed vegetables in a consomme (30), dessert (10.50) Plus the bare minimum tax and tip you've just spent 70 bucks on soup and a salad. And that's without drinks, coffee or wine.

                                1. re: MeMeMe

                                  MeMeMe - the OP had asked later on about higher-end options, which was when Opus was brought up. I don't think anyone was suggesting that Opus was mid-range!