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Anyone been to Canoe Restaurant in Toronto? [moved from Manhattan board]

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Hi all,
This is wrong location for the post, but I would really appreciate a NY chowhounder's perspective on Canoe Restaurant of Toronto. Good? Great? Not worth the money? This is one of the most recommended restaurants in Toronto along side with the Portuguese restaurant Chiado, which I went to yesterday and was quite disappointed. Nowhere near as good as Aldea, but a lot more expensive.
Anyway, thanks in advance.

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  1. Who recommend you to Canoe ? Toronto hounds always ask where the poster comes from before making recommendation. If people is from Japan, there is no point to have Japanese food in Toronto, or people from NYC, Canoe won`t be recommended. It is obvious that NYC has much better choices for the type of food Canoe provided (which is continental cuisine). Foodies from NYC should focus on Cantonese food in Toronto such as Dim Sum in Lai Wah Heen or a lobster 4 ways in the north part of Toronto. Or spend a hour or so go to the winery in Niagara on the Lake. Or Cambridge`s Langdon Hall for some comparable continental cuisine. Have you done any of these ?

    20 Replies
    1. re: skylineR33

      Canoe absolutely is not the same as you'll find in NYC. The other places you recommend are good, skylineR33, but Canoe is just about the only restaurant in the city that makes a serious effort to offer a truly "Canadian cuisine:" wild game from the arctic, takes on tourtiere, seafood from the west coast. I always send out-of-towners with a bit of cash there, because the food represents the country's foodways well and because the cooking/service/view are always very good to excellent (except when it's foggy).

      1. re: pimentdespelette

        I agree with this - the restaurant FEELS truly Canadian and the food is not what you'll find on most New York Menus. I loved the service and the view, the food was sublime, and their focus on using lighter vegetal sauces instead of heavy butter laden dishes was refreshing....in an almost Charlie Trotter's kind of way. It, along with Conviction for Brunch, were must returns on my next visit to Toronto.

        http://uhockey.blogspot.com

        1. re: uhockey

          Hey uhockey: Love reading your opinions about Canoe....so refreshing to hear someone with your experience rating at least one place in Toronto so highly.

          1. re: T Long

            The French Toast at Bonjour Brioche also haunts my dreams and although not perfect, I did enjoy Bymark, Lai Wah Heen, and Colborne Lane.

            http://uhockey.blogspot.com

            -----
            Lai Wah Heen
            108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, CA

            Bonjour Brioche
            812 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

            Bymark
            66 Wellington St. W, Toronto, ON M5K 1J3, CA

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

            1. re: uhockey

              Uhockey: Great blog! Too bad you don't cover Toronto more....I liked reading your reviews of Canoe and Lai Wah Heen in particular. Looking forward to your eventual return to Toronto someday.

              1. re: T Long

                Thank you - look into Conviction as well - Thuet is quite the talent. Will possibly be back in December.

                http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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                Thuet
                609 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                1. re: uhockey

                  Conviction closed six months ago.

                  1. re: Herb

                    Really? Last I looked it was on vacation. That is too bad - though given Thuet's track record he'll fill the space with something new quickly.

                    http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                    -----
                    Thuet
                    609 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                    1. re: uhockey

                      he's in vancouver filming for a new "conviction". until that's done he won't have anything new in that space.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        I think he just wrapped that up and... is on vacation? Something like that.

                        1. re: jlunar

                          I hate Chef's that become celebrities and the kitchen suffers. I prefer to dine at a high end establishment where the chef is actually in the kitchen and not busy promoting things on TV (exception is Joel Robuchon but he seems to have such high standards that both of his establishments I have tried can't be compared to anything in Toronto maybe even the whole of Canada!)

                          1. re: elvisahmed

                            Same could be said of Keller.

                            http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                            1. re: elvisahmed

                              any of the times i dropped by conviction, thuet was in the kitchen (sometimes mid-week and not for show). he even shut down his toronto restaurant since he wouldn't be there to do the vancouver show. if you felt the food suffered, well then that's something else entirely.

                              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                Well I guess then the food at Thuet wasn't good to begin with.
                                uhockey I haven't tried Per Se and haven't been to French Laundry since the good old days of living in San Francisco. French Laundry was amazing btw. I did try Bouchon in vegas and I think it was above average but not spectacular but I guess to put in words its in another weight class :)

                                -----
                                Thuet
                                609 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

        2. re: skylineR33

          Restaurants in Cambridge or NOTL are not in Toronto, and I would not recommend any of them to someone from NYC specifically asking for Toronto recommendations. I also wouldn't recommend "north part of Toronto" Cantonese unless the original poster is renting a car or has a lot of money and time to spend in a taxi. Canoe is an excellent restaurant with superior food, service, decor and food.

          1. re: caviartothegeneral

            Well, if someone from NYC or anywhere else 'specifically' asking for something or have some kind of constraint, of course the recommendation is different. If someone is 'specifically' asking for a nice view of Toronto, I would recommend Canoe, other than that, I have my list of recommendation which I think is worth eating or travel to eat for someone visiting Toronto. I would travel for good food, same with many of serious foodie I know of.

            1. re: skylineR33

              I did travel. I did get excellent food. I got it at Canoe.

              As you are consistently against Canoe, might I ask what your issue is with it?

              http://uhockey.blogspot.com

              1. re: uhockey

                I am not consistently against Canoe, I find the food there good, but not particular interesting. I know you like it, but at the same time, there are also lots of people not crazy about it and won't recommend it to people especially if people are from NYC which has much better selection in this criteria with much better value (and again I am not the only one on this). As in my reply to your post earlier (the one you points out 4 reasons from A to D why one should visit Canoe), I do not disagree it is a good restaurant, I only disagree that it is not a steal to eat at Canoe with the price it charges and Canoe is not Michelin 2 star material. There are also other restaurants with similar caliber and quality in Toronto such as Splendido and George in my book. What is your issue with that ?

                1. re: skylineR33

                  George when it's on, is the best restaurant in Toronto. Food, service, and atmosphere wise. Plus the wine list is affordable. My only complaint is mediocre desserts

              2. re: skylineR33

                Yes, we know.

          2. I've from Ohio - but I've eaten at 15+ of the US Michelin Starred restaurants in NYC (including all the trois etoiles except MASA) and can say without a doubt that Canoe is A) Great. B) Worth the money (it is a steal at lunch, as well.) C) A Great Setting. D) A Michelin 2 Star establishment if they ever go to Toronto.

            http://uhockey.blogspot.com

            11 Replies
            1. re: uhockey

              I have also been to all the trois etoiles except MASA in NYC. But disagree on your comment about ``it is a steal at lunch`` at Canoe and Canoe as a ``a michelin 2 star establishment.

              How do you compare a michelin 3 stars JG lunch (2 course for less than $30 US) and the michelin 1 star EMP lunch (2 course for less than $30 US) to Canoe`s lunch ($20+ for just a main) ?

              1. re: skylineR33

                They are both a steal, as well, but I vastly prefered the food at Canoe to JG.

                EMP should not only have one star - they are 2-3. The fact that they got their first in 2009 while Ko (expensive, loud, uncomfortable, and rude) has 2 is outrageous.

                http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                1. re: uhockey

                  If talking about lunch, I would consider NYC's JG, EMP, Macau's Robuchon, HK's Bo innovation a steal, all michelin starred. But Canoe, no, definitely not a steal and it will not get a michelin star if Michelin comes to rate Toronto.

                  1. re: skylineR33

                    To each his/her own. If Canoe wouldn't fetch a star from Michelin I rather doubt anywhere in Toronto would.

                    http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                    1. re: uhockey

                      Never been to Canoe but if you're looking for a fabulous meal while here in TO, then go to Scaramouche. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. A hundred times better than Chiado.

                      1. re: millygirl

                        Thank you very much for your replies. I decided to cancel Canoe and take my chances at more casual places. I've been to Black Hoof twice already in 3 days!
                        I've been to both EMP and JG, and even without knowing much about Canoe I have to say I agree with SkylineR33. You can't really get any better deal than lunch at those 2 places.

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

                        1. re: nohofoods

                          I was going to suggest lunch at The Hoof Cafe, but I think they're closed for a two-week holiday right now. Worth checking though, especially if you've enjoyed your meals at The Black Hoof.

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

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

                        2. re: millygirl

                          Can't agree about Scaramouche, had a window seat which was stunning. Duck three ways was cold leftovers dried out carcass. Service started great then disappeared entirely. Mediocre main course, truly forgettable but a fantastic coconut pie. Really the best I ever had, actually, I wouldn't return. Amarone recommended for a roast chicken breast ,weird. Strange I listened. Oh Well.

                        3. re: uhockey

                          Well I tend to agree with skylineR33 doubt any place here would be hard pressed to get a single Michelin let alone 2. But there have been some surprise entries by Michelin so you never know. The high end food scene can't be compared to NYC.

                          1. re: elvisahmed

                            exactly. I also don't trust Michelin for NYC. For Europe, the guides are reliable. For NYC, they are hit and miss. And for Asia they are completely useless.

                            In any case, I went back to Black Hoof on Monday (they started closing after Tuesday) and try the rest of the menu, Amazing!!!!! I also tried Foxley, love the ceviche but blah about everything else on the menu. I also went to a Vietnamese and a Thai restaurant, pretty good, but my quest for true Northern Vietnamese food goes on.

                            -----
                            Foxley
                            207 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Z8, CA

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

                            1. re: nohofoods

                              Hanoi 3 Seasons

                              -----
                              Hanoi 3 Seasons
                              588 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Y3, CA