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Best restaurant for Birthday?


I'm looking for a new (well, new to us) restaurant to take my partner for his birthday. I'm completely stumped on finding a place as all the reviews I read are all over the place. I wanted to try Canoe, but they are closed for Reno's this month (I'm looking for a few weeks from now).

We have been to several good places (Adega, Lucien, Biffs, 360, Hy's) but are looking for something different that is easily accessible. I am 'thinking' about Ceno which is newly opened in Yorkville... but its a little out of the way for us. I would rather something that is within the Queen street car (no driving as we will have wine, and we live in the beaches). We can walk up or down a few blocks north or south.

We are pretty open to any type of place (Steak and Seafood is our fav though) though I'm limited as I can't have anything heavy in cream or cheese. (I have checked some places with tasting menus that have a lot of this which won't work)

I would also like some place that is romantic and cozy.

Anyone have any other suggestions?

There has to be some place downtown!!! (As there seems to be lots north of Bloor.. boo :( )

Thanks & Cheers

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  1. Given that you seem to like steakhouses, why not go to Jacobs&Co, which is probably the best in town? Or for seafood, Starfish would be a good move.

    1. Check out George ... food is excellent and it's on Queen just west of Jarvis ... high end, elegant, romantic ...

      1. How about Barbarians? Anyone been there and is it good?

        Is Barb's better then Jacobs? From what I see Jacobs gets a lot of mixed reviews.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Kassi22

          Jacob's is more modern and clean-lines.
          Barbarian's is super old-school.

          Depends on what you're looking for and how you define romantic!

          1. re: Kassi22

            Avoid Barbarians - the biggest let down. The restaurant is completely dated, the food overpriced and really, nothign special. Biggest let down ever.

            1. re: Dee Gee

              One person's "dated" is another's "timeless classic."

              1. re: Herb

                Guess so... :0)

          2. I recently went to Ceno and it's worth the cab/subway ride to Yorkville....If you're open to spending significant coin at places like Hy's, Canoe etc, you may as well throw in a few more bucks to try Ceno out, esp. if it's a special occasion like a birthday - Ceno has live music Thurs, Fri and Sat.

            10 Replies
            1. re: Dee Gee

              Is it loud live music though?
              Ive been some places that you cant think with music playing so loudly in your ears :)

              Ive read a few reviews about Barbarians lately being unclean.. but I can't see how it gets high reviews (way better then Jacobs) on places like Trip Advisor if its not any good. ooh.. so confused!

              Maybe I will have to flip a coin :)

              Thanks all!

              1. re: Kassi22

                No, actually, the music isn't too loud (i had the same reservations when we were seated...I was worried i wouldn't hear my date!). The restaurant is divided into an upper and lower level and the musicians are on one end (at the front) and the dining room is on the other towards the back. The space is divided by a large bar and steps to the second level.

                I work near Jacobs - apparently the food is great (esp. cesar salad), but mega $$$$. Maybe you should have someone take you there on YOUR bday. :)

                1. re: Dee Gee

                  Ahaha. My birthday was two weeks ago and my BF surprised me with a trip to Vegas.. so yeah.. I'm competing against that.. boo! (with less funds, and less time to prepare!!) I suck.

                  I'm going to look deeper into Jacobs and see. It was recommended to me years ago but I forgot about it. I don't mind spending money on something that is worth it though. I can eat tins of soup for a few weeks to make up for it ;) ahahah.


                  1. re: Kassi22

                    I wholeheartedly agree...Buca is also close by Jacobs as well. Great food for sure. Good luck!


                2. re: Kassi22

                  Unless you're really into old school (and by that I mean a 1950's kinda feel) I really suggest you skip Barbarians.

                  1. re: JennaBean

                    Yeah, I canceled out Barbarians. I actually made a reservation for Jacob's but the BF doesn't' want to go there ... arg. So.. I told him to pick something! I give up!

                    1. re: Kassi22

                      If you liked Adega, go to Chiado. Fantastic seafood, and I seem to recall that their steak was pretty good, too.

                      864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

                      33 Elm Street, Toronto, ON M5G 1H1, CA

                      1. re: TorontoJo

                        I saw that place. It looks good.. I will definitely go there soon.. but its to far off the track for this night. We want something close to Queen/King area :( (other plans in the area)

                        1. re: Kassi22

                          Last time I checked, King and Queen were parallel. Chiado is on College and that is parallel to King and Queen, so it must be close by. :-)
                          Chiado is a great place for dinner.

                          864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

                          1. re: foodyDudey

                            yeah, but its down past Ossington.. just to far for what we want this night.. I was looking for something more central

              2. Finally went to Buca on NYE for an early sitting with a few friends. We all found it to be poor value for money. Considering the price, the food (and service) was unexceptional. I also found them to be a bit... pretentious. (And I live on Queen West, so that's pretty bad. ;-)) Just my opinion, of course, but I was not impressed. I think you would be better spending your hard-earned bucks elsewhere.

                604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA

                2 Replies
                1. re: newgirl1

                  Ok. Thanks. I just looked up some reviews on it so its not really shouting out to me to go try it.. not at this point anyways. :)

                  1. re: newgirl1

                    What a coincidence, I had an early seating at Buca for NYE as well with a ton of friends and we had a fantastic time!

                    The apps were amazing as always, the dugg egg pasta was delish. The only minus was the charcuterie platter (learned my lesson, wont get it again) but their cheese platter is always perfectly chosen if quite expensive.

                    Service was also more than fine, its funny how people can have such differing perceptions of an establishment.

                    604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA

                  2. Go to George, go to George!
                    Location is perfect for Beachers. Even if you splurge on a cab home, it's not so far as to make it ridiculously expensive. Food is lovely, service attentive, birds eye view of the kitchen - great patio, but a bit chilly at the moment, methinks.
                    I love it there.

                    1. Starfish...easily accessible.

                      Cozy and romantic, i'll throw Weezie's out there and Niagara St. Cafe (transfer to 504 streetcar to go King for both). They're both casual. For my birthday I don't care, but others like to do it up, so it depends on the person.

                      George is good, but if you're a light eater don't do the tasting menu. You'll be too stuffed. Great service and food quality is top notch, though.

                      Globe Bistro is romantic, I guess. Food is nice. Good reviews on this board.

                      354 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1K9, CA

                      1. I was told three places to choose from

                        Splendido, Crush Wine Bar or Forte Bistro. Have anyone been to any of these? (Maybe I will make a new post on that question)

                        88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

                        Crush Wine Bar
                        455 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K4, CA

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Kassi22

                          Don't know when or if your bday has passed but I've been to Forte Bistro and would only recommend it for its ambiance. The food was meh. I would recommend the Boiler house and the 5th grill for both the ambiance and the food. I'm checking luma @ the end of this month. I hope its as good as some people say it is.

                          1. re: max.i.am

                            Thanks for the input. Will keep it in mind for next time. We actually went to Jump Cafe and Bar and it was excellent... one of the best dinning experiences we have had in TO. Would recommend.