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Aug 3, 2010 07:07 PM

My wife loves olives, salads which foodies can enjoy as much as the entree, and small "tapas" like dishes.

I'm looking for a place to take her for our first anniversary. I'm not just looking for "tapas" places - although Toritos in Kensington is a really good option, I don't think my wife would go for anything involving raw fish, or beef tongue. We're looking for some place $60-$100, and she's expecting so she won't be imbibing, so extra "thank you" points for places that have great choices in drinks that are non-alcoholic but still flavorful and fun.

After dinner, we'd like to frolic around in an interesting neighborhood, and have dessert or seriously excellent coffee somewhere else. I am a home-roasting total coffee snob, and would love it if anyone can find a nice dinner place and a coffee-snob-heaven in the same neighborhood.
So Kensington? Bloor West Village? Downtown-Queen St? Some GREAT toronto neighborhood like that.


276 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L9, CA

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  1. I'd choose Colborne Lane personally for a special occasion dinner like a 1st anniversary. Near the intersection of Yonge and King, just a few blocks east. Fabulous food, small plates and main courses, both. Best soups I've ever tried. Not much in the way of coffee shops/dessert places that I'm aware of in that immediate vicinity but it's just a quick subway or streetcar ride away from lots of good neighborhoods like Queen W, Little Italy, Bloor and Spadina, etc. where there are plenty options. It would be within walking distance of Jamie Kennedy's Wine Bar just of Front before St. Lawrence market which is good for an aperitif and dessert. Frankly the food is much more delicious at Colborne Lane, IMHO.

    Another good, underrated food place is Wish Bistro on Charles near Bloor and Yonge although it's not a small plates menu...has a nice patio, lots of coffee shops in that part of town within walking distance.

    There are hundreds of other options, Lee on King West, Edward Levesque's way out in Leslieville, Messis on Harbord St near the women's bookstore and Robarts library (VERY good food), Jacques Bistro du Parc for traditional french food in Yorkville (don't be put off by the 70's and service are both exceptional, but it's an old-fashioned kind of place..) and I could go on and on....

    Jamie Kennedy
    9 Church St, Toronto, ON M5E1M2, CA

    97 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

    Edward Levesque's
    1290 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L1C4, CA

    Colborne Lane
    45 Colborne Street, Toronto, ON M5E 1P8, CA

    147 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1H1, CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: traccan555

      FYI JKWB has simply been Wine Bar for quite some time now, since he has sold the operation about a year (?) ago.

      1. re: pinkprimp

        Thanks for the update; I hadn't been there in nearly a year and must have missed the news when it happened. Is his sole venture the restaurant in the Gardiner right now or has he opened a new spot?

    2. Oops..missed the "won't be imbibing' part. Can't help you there... I generally don't imbibe when dining out, whether mocktails or cocktails, so I can't offer any suggestions. I would assume either CL or JK wine bar would be as good for that as any other...Wish probably not. I seem to recall they have a limited beverage/wine menu. Just a hunch though, don't hold me to it.

      1. Try Frank's Kitchen in Little Italy - great food and service, and afterwards you could grab coffee at the Dip?

        1. $60 to $100 each or all-inclusive?

          1 Reply
          1. re: curnonsky

            I'm thinking all-inclusive, before taxes, but NO alcohol. (She's pregnant).
            I'd go to $150 for something that was guaranteed to blow our minds though.

          2. A few ideas...

            - Foxley on Ossington has a great tapas-y menu, although there is some more exotique stuff (like ceviche) that might be better avoided given your wife's pregnancy.
            - Nyood has a fun small plate menu, plus it's close to the Ossington strip which is good for post-dinner walking. They do excellent cocktails and I suspect that would make you something special sans alcohol without too much trouble
            - I have not been to Enoteca Sociale or the Atlantic (both on Dundas), but I believe both have small plate menus and they are (again) in an interesting part of the city for strolling

            A caveat: I don't think you can make reservations at Foxley or Enoteca and if your wife is pregnant she may not appreciate the standing around part of waiting for tables at these places. When pregnant women are hungry they need to feed (as I'm sure you've discovered) and waiting for dinner can turn un-fun pretty fast (especially with the non-imbibing).

            207 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Z8, CA

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

            Enoteca Sociale
            1288 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

            3 Replies
            1. re: Rabbit

              I'm pregnant and was able to make reservations at Enoteca. They reserve half the tables, and keep the other half for walk ins. Unfortunately I had to cancel my reservation.

              I would suggest Enoteca Sociale, cause small plates of nonna-style Roman food prepared by a mostly female kitchen is really safe during pregnancy. Not that I advocate drinking during pregnancy, but they offer tiny glasses of wine called 'tastes'. I made a few exceptions and enjoyed a bit of champagne on new years, had a mojito in Cuba.....a little taste of wine on your anniversary will not damage a fetus.

              Enoteca Sociale
              1288 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

              1. re: jnine

                We're going to try this place! Wow! Thanks for all the detail! Sounds exactly right.
                I think a taste of wine would be a very nice thing indeed. Any items on the menu to recommend?


                1. re: jnine

                  I didn't know about the rez policy at Enoteca, jnine. I'm pregnant too, which Is why I've become all stodgy about waiting about for dinner... so this is great news.

                  And I'm with you on the little tipple here and there...

                  Hope you have a great time at your anniversary dinner, W. Please do report back about the meal.