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Recs for LONDON, Ontario

Hi all--

My partner and I are spending over three weeks in London, ON, We dine out frequently and are hoping you can share some of your favourite spots with us. We enjoy both upscale dining and hole-in-the-wall spots.

Thus far we have dined at The Tasting Room and Prince Albert Diner. We really enjoyed the wine flights and appetizers at TTR but were dissapointed in the mains (and the televisions--it was almost elegant but the tvs/fake plants/upholstery mitigated it). We loved PAD and it's classic, no-nonsense diner vibe.

We are eager to find a good Mexican and/or Latin restaurant. Also, I am desperate for a good sushi place. We would also like to find a few romantic/charming bistros, preferably with outdoor seating. But any recommendations much appreciated!

Also, any good places to go for a glass of wine or manhattan. We are 30 year old DINKS (double income, no kids) and prefer somewhere that caters to that sort of crowd.

Thanks for any suggestions!

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Tasting Room
483 Richmond St, London, ON N6A3E4, CA

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    1. Si Senor is decent for Mexican in London, although the portions are small, and I have found the food to be somewhat dry. The style of cooking is more Mexican than Tex-Mex, so expect cotija, not melted Monterey Jack. Chowhounds constantly complain about the Mexican food in Toronto, but the better Mexican food in Toronto is significantly better than any Mexican food I have found in London. There's a Cuban place in Wortley Village which I haven't tried.

      I don't think any restaurants in London cater to the 30something crowd, let alone 30something couples with no kids. Joe Kool's and Barney's are basically the 2 main options for people over the age of 24 who are looking for a patio. Barney's is the better bet for a Manhattan. Joe Kool's is probably a better bet for nachos/wings/beer. It's possible Barney's pub food has improved since I was last there.

      Auberge de Petit Prince, David's, The Blackfriar's Cafe, and JJ's in Byron are the best bets for bistro. The Church Key has a nice patio, but the food is so-so.

      Braise on Dundas, and the Only on King attract some 30somethings, but it's likely some 40-50-60-70somethings will also be dining there. Both restaurants are trendy for London, and serve mostly locally sourced food.

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      Si Senor
      394 Waterloo St, London, ON N6B2N8, CA

      The Only on King
      172 King St, London, ON N6A, CA

      Joe Kool's
      595 Richmond St, London, ON N6A3G2, CA

      1. Went to Abruzzi for my birthday this year - on King, between Richmond & Talbot. Delicious simple Italian fare (from the Abruzzi region). Highly recommended.

        The Only on King would be my other pick for dinner - we've been there on multiple occasions and it never disappoints.

        (I'll throw in a vote for Blackfriar's Sunday brunch as well!)

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        Blackfriars
        46 Blackfriars St, London, ON N6H1K7, CA

        The Only on King
        172 King St, London, ON N6A, CA

        1. El Ranchito on Wellington is decent.

          As for sushi. I think you may be out of luck. Nowhere is really *good*. Shiki on Wellington is decent, but for the value...I actually prefer Asahi on Dundas...but it's on Dundas east (re: shady)....

          Agree with Tasting room. We usually just treat that place like a Tapas place and stay away from the main menu.

          Ben Thanh has decent Thai- but only go to the one on Wellington across from White Oaks mall.

          The only real recommendation I feel is chowhound worthy for London would be Rei Dos Leitos (The King of Pigs). reidosleitoes.com ....It is portuguese churrasceria that does amazing roast chicken...it is simple but great. I like the location on Hamilton road, it's family run and everyone is amazingly friendly.

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          El Ranchito
          111 Wellington St, London, ON N6B2K5, CA

          2 Replies
          1. re: jinxie

            I like the chicken at Rei Dos Leitos, but the service at the new Cherryhill location (where they've translated their restaurant name, so the Cherryhill location calls itself King of the Pigs) while ok, was not exactly "amazingly friendly" when I was there a couple weeks ago.

            I walked into the restaurant, which is located inside the Cherryhill shopping mall, at 8:05 pm, hoping to order take-out, and there were at least 3 tables still eating. As soon as I walked in, I was told by an employee that they were closed. When I mentioned I had driven out of my way to stop there for take-out, and that I was surprised a place with a take-out business would close at 8 pm, they told me that they keep the same hours as the mall, but their Hamilton Rd location was usually open until 9 pm. When I asked if they had anything available for take-out, the employee said they could sell me a chicken, but that was it. I bought the chicken, then drove 2 km to Swiss Chalet to buy some sides. The chicken was tasty, but I was surprised that the people at the restaurant weren't a little more flexible or accomodating.

            Imperio Dos Frangos on Hamilton Rd also serves good churrasco chicken.

            dishes I consider chowworthy in London:
            Barakat's shawarma, fattoush and lentil soup
            Hot Oven's (inside the Covent Garden Market) spinach burek and meat burek
            Massey Indian Cuisine's tandoori mahi tikka and dal makhani

            Which dishes do you like at Ben Thanh in White Oaks, jinxie?

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            Rei DOS Leitoes
            706 Hamilton Rd, London, ON N5Z1T6, CA

            Barakat Restaurant
            551 Richmond St, London, ON N6A3E9, CA

            Imperio DOS Frangos
            741 Hamilton Rd, London, ON N5Z1T8, CA

            Massey's Fine Indian Cuisine
            174 King St, London, ON N6A1C6, CA

            1. re: jinxie

              Which dishes would you currently recommend most at The Tasting Room?

              Noticed 2 newish Mexican options- True Taco on Dundas, and Mexicactus in Trafalgar. Haven't tried either, yet.

              Had a tasty meal at the Dancing Greek Taverna, in the plaza at SE corner of Huron + Highbury, last week. Generous portions!

            2. I like El Ranchito.

              P'za Pie is pretty good for thin crust pizza. It's on Richmond Row.

              There is also an Italian place called Amici on Dundas and Wellington. Small patio but really good food decently priced.

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              El Ranchito
              111 Wellington St, London, ON N6B2K5, CA