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early casual dinner on a Saturday in the Entertainment District

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I'm leaning towards Queen Mother http://www.queenmothercafe.ca/dinner.htm or Jules Bistro on Spadina (which is open for dinner until 9 on Saturdays) http://julesbistrocafe.com/ .

I've never eaten at the Rivoli. http://www.rivoli.ca/themenu.htm#dinner Should I also consider dining there? What about Peter Pan? Have not heard anything +ve or -ve about the food at Peter Pan in a long time.

I'd like to try Ematei one of these days, but I'm not sure Japanese will work for my DC. Babur, Trimurti et al also probably won't work for my DC.

Nota Bene and Forte are more upscale than I have in mind. Not a fan of the food at Tutti Matti.

Are there any other restaurants you'd recommend, especially places closer to University Ave?

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Ematei
30 Saint Patrick St, Toronto, ON M5T3A3, CA

Tutti Matti
364 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1R7, CA

Queen Mother
206 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V1Z2, CA

Trimurti
265 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V1Z4, CA

Jules
147 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5V2L7, CA

Peter Pan
373 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V2A4, CA

Babur
273 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V1Z9, CA

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

The Rivoli
334 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

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  1. I like QM and Jules. Rivoli and Queen Mum have the same owner so food quality is quite similar.

    Although the menu is very limited, I really like Smokeless Joe's at Richmond and John. I also like Fresh OK (there is a Queen/Spadina location), but I have to be in the right mood (whatever that means!).

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    Smokeless Joe
    Toronto, ON, Toronto, ON , CA

    The Rivoli
    334 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

    6 Replies
    1. re: Rabbit

      Thanks Rabbit!

      Thanks for mentioning Smokeless Joe's. What would you recommend to eat at Smokeless Joe's besides the mussels and oysters? I don't like mussels or raw oysters enough to order them, and I noticed in another post that Smokeless Joe's doesn't have a deep fryer so I'm guessing fried oysters aren't on the menu. I'm wondering if Smokeless Joes might not have much on the menu for a gal who likes her oysters fried ;-)

      I know what you mean about being in the right mood for Fresh OK- I have to be in that same kind of mood for Live or Mocha Mocha, as well. I like a good salad, but sometimes Fresh OK tastes too healthy for my palette ;-)

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      Mocha Mocha
      489 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P5, CA

      Smokeless Joe
      Toronto, ON, Toronto, ON , CA

      1. re: phoenikia

        I don't eat oysters either (allergy!) so the choices are admittedly pretty limited. There are a few sandwiches and I like the vegetarian chili. I think there is perhaps one more crock pot-y sort of entree or a soup typically available.

        It may not be the best choice if you're really hungry of if you want something interesting. I go because I like the atmosphere, the beer selections are fab and I have my one go-to dish that satisfies.

        1. re: Rabbit

          Thanks for mentioning they have a good vegetarian chili ;-) Always nice to have a go-to dish that satisfies. I wish I had more go-to dishes in TO these days ;-)

          1. re: phoenikia

            They also have an African peanut soup that is fantastic. Also vegetarian, and quite spicy.

            1. re: Wahooty

              That sounds delish, Wahooty. Thanks for mentioning the soup!

      2. re: Rabbit

        Has anyone been to Jules lately? Is it still a good option for the Entertainment District?

        Has anyone dined at Peter Pan lately?

        Adding Khao San Road to the running list, since it's a good, moderately-priced, casual option.

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        Jules
        147 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5V2L7, CA

        Peter Pan
        373 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V2A4, CA

        Khao San Road
        326 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7, CA

      3. There's the new O&B Canteen at King and John. A nice space with moderately priced food. Might be busy during TIFF but a nice spot.

        WON
        http://whatsonmyplate.net

        4 Replies
        1. re: wontonfm

          Thanks wontonfm. Didn't realize that was where Canteen is located. Sounds like a good option.

          1. re: phoenikia

            I'll have photos up soon, but I went for breakfast one morning. I had two of their "butties." A bacon butty, a generous portion of bacon... in a bun... (it's not really more than that - but tasty. Just that I OD'd on bacon afterward) and their Canteen Butty, which had a fried egg with a runny yolk. Made my morning, though you'd want to be careful - messy y'know! I thought the Butties were tasty and a decent value. Should do well over TIFF and beyond. It brings to mind the Starbucks breakfast sandwiches, but made with fresh ingredients.

            Also had their almond croissant and thought it merely okay.

            Based on my small experience, I would return to explore more of their menu.

            1. re: jlunar

              if you go in the evening the fries are pretty delicious :)

              WON

              1. re: wontonfm

                good to know!

                breakfast menu:
                http://www.oliverbonacini.com/OliverB...

                all day menu
                http://www.oliverbonacini.com/OliverB...

        2. I'm going to suggest a chain. I don't usually do that, but the E district is so abysmally vapid from a culinary perspective that a little surgical intervention with a very focussed approach has to be tried every once in a while.

          Big Daddy's is a nice kitschy room that almost evokes Ed's Warehouse that serves very credible cajun and extremely good oysters (including Rockefeller style). Stay away from the mains, which are pricey, and consider appetizers or a fairly decent gumbo (I have high standards for this dish, and theirs is good).

          1 Reply
          1. re: Snarf

            Good to know about the gumbo. I've walked by Big Daddy's dozens of times, but I've never eaten there. Also good to know a source for Oysters Rockefeller downtown. They're getting harder and harder to find in TO. I haven't had any in TO since Christmas 2002, just before an old school steakhouse near Yonge & Sheppard closed its doors.

            Thanks Snarf.

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            Big Daddy's Restaurant
            460 Elgin Mills Rd E, Richmond Hill, ON L4C5E7, CA

          2. Grindhouse Burger Bar, Milagro, Canteen and Queen Mother would be my choices in that hood. Haven't been but maybe Paese on King is also an option?

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            Queen Mother
            206 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V1Z2, CA

            Grindhouse Burger Bar
            365 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K1, CA

            Paese
            333 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

            2 Replies
            1. re: fickle

              Thanks Fickle. I haven't been to Grindhouse or Paese yet.

              I'm guessing the Paese is owned by the same people who own the Paese on Bathurst near Wilson? If it's the same people/kitchen, the food is better than most Italian resto food in TO.

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              Paese
              3827 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M3H, CA

              1. re: phoenikia

                Grindhouse is a good choice if you enjoy a good burger

            2. I didn't want to start a new post, but just wondering if Paese would be most people's pick for dinner on a Saturday night in the Entertainment District. I like Milagro as well, but need to keep the food less "adventurous" to make sure everyone has something they can eat and enjoy. I see Paese is popular on the board.

              I think I'm going with Canteen, as prices are a bit better. Hopefully it is okay for dinner.