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Toronto Recommendations - Aug 12-14

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Seige Aug 10, 2010 11:05 AM

I'm a Minneapolis/St. Paul Chowhounder who will be in Toronto on business this Thursday afternoon - Saturday afternoon. I'll be staying at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel and would love some recommendations for good food nearby, although I'm willing to cab it a distance for really remarkable food too. I've never been to Toronto and am not sure when I'll get back, so I'd love your absolute must visit places. Places/food unique to Toronto preferred, but I'm game for most anything.

Thanks!

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  1. meatnveg RE: Seige Aug 10, 2010 11:43 AM

    - Nota Bene
    - La Palette (get the horse steak)
    - Black Hoof (further away on Dudas St. W)
    - Canoe (really high-end)
    - Guu Izakaya
    - The Boulevard Cafe
    -
    More here: http://www.blogto.com/restaurants

    Whats the price point?

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    La Palette
    256 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L9, CA

    Canoe
    54th Floor TD Bank Tower, 66 Wellington, Toronto, ON M5K 1H6, CA

    Boulevard Cafe
    161 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1H1, CA

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

    Guu
    398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2, CA

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

    4 Replies
    1. re: meatnveg
      s
      Seige RE: meatnveg Aug 10, 2010 01:24 PM

      Please tell me the horse steak isn't really horse. I'm adventurous, but not THAT adventurous!

      Price point is probably $20-$30 entrees, so not completely over the top, but I'm not going to be slumming it either. :)

      I'd also be interested in any unique shops - great places for coffee, pastries, candies, etc.

      1. re: Seige
        s
        Seige RE: Seige Aug 10, 2010 01:30 PM

        I'm answering myself, but I just looked this up - it really is horse which certainly meets my requirement of "something I can't get at home!" I think I'll have to mentally prepare before order that, but it's under consideration. Thx again for the recs!

        1. re: Seige
          estufarian RE: Seige Aug 10, 2010 02:24 PM

          Unfortunately La Palette has really gone downhill (couple of years now) so the horse steak is really a gimmick (although possibly their best dish). I agree you can't get it at home - but you can get cuy (guinea-pig) back home (Chino Latino) - give that a try first!

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          La Palette
          492 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

        2. re: Seige
          meatnveg RE: Seige Aug 10, 2010 05:37 PM

          For Coffee and pastry shops, you can search to your heart's content on the site I linked, they do a good job of listing them (the reviews are not always dependable)

          The better ones off the top of my head are:

          - Dufflet
          - Sweet Flour Bakery
          - Designer Cookie (make your own cookie place)
          - Greg's Ice Cream (Get the grape-nut ice-cream)

          Tour the Distillery District if you can and you'll find
          - The Brick St Bakery
          - Soma Chocolatiers

          Walk up Spadina until Bloor for some unique Chinese offerings

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          Distillery District
          55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A, CA

          Dufflet
          787 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

          Greg's Ice Cream
          750 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5S2J2, CA

          Designer Cookie
          292 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M4R, CA

      2. estufarian RE: Seige Aug 10, 2010 01:08 PM

        If anything, Toronto is more diverse (ethnically) than Minneapolis/St Paul, but many of the cuisines are duplicated. IMO Toronto is a bit better at the upscale - but that costs more!

        On Saturday morning walk to St Lawrence market (15 min) for 'back bacon on a bun'. I prefer it with honey mustard.

        West along Queen Street about 5 mins is Nota Bene - excellent - except can get very busy if there are shows at the Performing Arts Centre at the west end of your hotel. About 10 mins east is George, that does a pretty good tasting menu - something I found lacking in Minneapolis. They have an internal patio that is gorgeous in this weather, so reserve for that.
        Another possibility is Colborne Lane (molecular cuisine for beginners) - also something you rarely find at home.

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

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

        9 Replies
        1. re: estufarian
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          akhorasanee RE: estufarian Aug 10, 2010 04:34 PM

          Colborne Lane is wonderful
          so is guu, scaramouche & cornerhouse.

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

          1. re: estufarian
            s
            Seige RE: estufarian Aug 12, 2010 06:28 PM

            Super lame and just ate at the hotel tonight, but tomorrow night I think I'm totally trying Colborne Lane. Molecular cuisine is really lacking in MSP, so I think this will be fun! Is casual dress ok and will I need reservations? It's just me - don't think I can get co-workers geared up for this.

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

            1. re: Seige
              TorontoJo RE: Seige Aug 12, 2010 06:59 PM

              Casual dress is fine. It wouldn't hurt to make reservations, but there is usually room at the communal table, even when the other tables are booked. I just had the 15 course tasting menu there a few weeks ago and it was fantastic. Just note that this is molecular "light", so nothing is too extreme. Very, very good, though.

              1. re: TorontoJo
                s
                Seige RE: TorontoJo Aug 12, 2010 07:04 PM

                We don't really have molecular anything in MSP so even molecular light is cool. :) Thanks!

                1. re: Seige
                  TorontoJo RE: Seige Aug 12, 2010 07:18 PM

                  Heh, fair enough! If you aren't doing the tasting menu (which I think is 10 courses in the dining room), let me recommend focusing on the fish/seafood dishes, both raw and cooked. The kitchen has a really, really nice touch with seafood.

                  1. re: TorontoJo
                    s
                    Seige RE: TorontoJo Aug 12, 2010 07:44 PM

                    Do you recall how much the tasting menu was? I don't see prices on the menus on the website.

                    1. re: Seige
                      estufarian RE: Seige Aug 12, 2010 09:12 PM

                      I think it's about $120. Their wine list sucks, so just do the food. Plus taxes of about 15%

                      1. re: estufarian
                        TorontoJo RE: estufarian Aug 13, 2010 04:22 AM

                        Sounds about right. The 15-course is something like $160 or $170.

                        A glass of bubbly goes well with most of the dishes there. :)

                        1. re: TorontoJo
                          s
                          Seige RE: TorontoJo Aug 13, 2010 06:50 AM

                          Thanks! I think I'm going to have to just go for an entree and dessert. Don't think I can justify a $120 - $160 meal for just me to my boss. :) Looking forward to it!

          2. jlunar RE: Seige Aug 10, 2010 05:33 PM

            Not knowing what's in Minneapolis:

            Thursday - The Black Hoof (casual, interesting, get the corn/n'duja/tagliatelle. There's a horse tartare sandwich here too, if you want to brave the equine meat)

            Friday - Guu (Loud, boisterous, Japanese bar. Food is okay-to-good. Better if you can drag someone with you so you can eat more, but these are small tapas-like dishes)

            Saturday - Estufarian's suggestion! Or be lazy and walk to Petite Thuet and get a sandwich or a croissant and a coffee.

            There's also a Jerk Chicken Roti place with roasted pineapple at King and uh.. Bay? That you can hit up at lunch. It's busy though. And when they say hot, they mean *hot*

            Queen St. West is full of shops that you can walk, or Eaton Centre (mall) is nearby, but that's only if you're really bored. Chinatown is a bit of a further trek up at Dundas and Spadina, but it's interesting if there isn't a big Chinese community where you are.

            ---
            http://www.foodpr0n.com -- food. is. love.

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            Petite Thuet
            1 King St W, Toronto, ON M5J, CA

            Guu
            398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2, CA

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

            6 Replies
            1. re: jlunar
              estufarian RE: jlunar Aug 11, 2010 08:39 AM

              Just a comment - Minneapolis/St Paul has one of the largest Asian populations in North America - even the airport signs are all in hanji characters. Who knew (and large Somali too)?

              Also, if a visitor is only here for a couple of days, I wouldn't recommend going to places (Black Hoof, Guu) that don't take reservations - especially on busy nights where there's almost always a wait.

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              Guu
              398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2, CA

              1. re: estufarian
                jlunar RE: estufarian Aug 11, 2010 09:10 AM

                Re: No reservation places - it's true, he's here a short time. Hadn't quite factored that in. Good point.

                1. re: jlunar
                  ekim256 RE: jlunar Aug 12, 2010 09:40 PM

                  Ohh but those places are so delicious...if the visitor can get there at a decent hour, then it's worth the risk!

                  1. re: ekim256
                    estufarian RE: ekim256 Aug 13, 2010 05:47 AM

                    But why, for example, would a visitor that has ongoing access to Chino Latino and Subo (which take reservations) feel it necessary to rush to Guu?

                    1. re: estufarian
                      ekim256 RE: estufarian Aug 13, 2010 08:13 AM

                      ah I don't know of those places, I should let the more experienced foodies take the lead on this :P

                      1. re: ekim256
                        estufarian RE: ekim256 Aug 13, 2010 08:57 AM

                        They're both in Minneapolis - I try and tailor my recommendations to the visitor.
                        Just wanted to show why 'favourite in Toronto' places (for us locals) may not be the 'best' for visitors (e.g. presumably you wouldn't recommend Guu to someone from Vancouver).
                        But ALL suggestions are valuable - just trying to guide the OP.

            2. s
              Seige RE: Seige Aug 13, 2010 04:42 PM

              Just returned from Colborne Lane. Absolutely perfect recommendation! Totally met the requirement of a place I wouldn't find at home. Would have loved to do the tasting menu, but wasn't really hungry enough for it and $129/menu wouldn't go over well with the company.

              First, I wanted to stash those hot rolls in my purse like an old lady at a funeral luncheon. So good! I started with the corn soup. The flavors all meshed so well. Really, really good. My only regret is not getting a picture of it before the corn/lobster broth was poured in. All the powder, dried chorizo, merigueish looking creme fraiche was really fun! For the entree I had the black cod. Absolutely LOVED the softness of the cod paired with the crunchy puffed tapioca pearls. For dessert, I went with the lemon plate. Super refreshing! Would totally recommend to others.

              I also strolled St. Lawrence Market before going to Colborne Lane as I had some extra time. Reminds me a lot of Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. Didn't really see anything that excited me for breakfast tomorrow morning. Anyone have other suggestions? Has anyone tried Wanda's Belgian Waffles on Yonge? Or any place that makes awesome omelets/eggs would be great!

              Thanks!

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              St. Lawrence Market
              92 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E, CA

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

              4 Replies
              1. re: Seige
                TorontoJo RE: Seige Aug 13, 2010 07:40 PM

                So glad you enjoyed Colborne Lane! That black cod is wonderful.

                Le Petit Dejeuner is one of my favourite breakfast spots in the city. It's just down the road a bit from where you were tonight. They have fantastic Belgian waffles -- they are the yeast/raised type and are crisp and light and delicious with strawberries and cream They have a few different eggs benny dishes, but I haven't tried those. I would recommend ordering a waffle with strawberries and a side order of their house made sausage terrine -- kind of like a sausage patty, with a delicious cumin hit. Really good, strong coffee, too. They open at 9 on Saturdays, and I recommend getting there at 8:45 at the latest, or be prepared to wait (though you might be able to get a seat at the bar).

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

                Le Petit Dejeuner
                191 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1J5, CA

                1. re: TorontoJo
                  s
                  Seige RE: TorontoJo Aug 14, 2010 07:44 AM

                  Thanks - I had actually thought of going there, so that's where I headed this morning. Got there a little after 9 with no issues getting in. Got the strawberry waffles which were good and thought I should also try the peameal bacon since that seemed like a quintessential Torontan thing to do. Guess I don't get the appeal of the peameal bacon. Seemed like just really salty ham to me, but the cafe mocha was also yummy! Reminded me of the mochas I'd get in Europe.

                  Thanks again for all the recommendations. Headed back to MSP today. It's been fun!

                  1. re: Seige
                    TorontoJo RE: Seige Aug 14, 2010 07:55 AM

                    I hear ya on the peameal. The best way to enjoy peameal ham is on a soft, chewy bun with lots of mustard.

                    Thanks for all the reports back. Have a good trip back home!

                    1. re: Seige
                      estufarian RE: Seige Aug 16, 2010 07:35 AM

                      Thanks for the feedback.
                      Consider the bacon in the same category as the 'Juicy Lucy'!
                      Not necessarily the best chow - but something that should be experienced once to at least try it.

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