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Best restaurant for Birthday?

Kassi22 Jan 3, 2011 05:05 PM


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

  1. k
    Kassi22 Jan 5, 2011 03:44 PM

    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
      max.i.am Jan 22, 2011 10:39 PM

      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
        Kassi22 Jan 23, 2011 03:59 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.


    2. grandgourmand Jan 5, 2011 12:12 PM

      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. e
        Elfinn Jan 4, 2011 07:00 PM

        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. n
          newgirl1 Jan 4, 2011 02:37 PM

          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
            Kassi22 Jan 4, 2011 03:14 PM

            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
              themiguel Jan 5, 2011 12:08 PM

              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. d
              Dee Gee Jan 4, 2011 09:00 AM

              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
                Kassi22 Jan 4, 2011 12:37 PM

                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
                  Dee Gee Jan 4, 2011 12:46 PM

                  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
                    Kassi22 Jan 4, 2011 12:51 PM

                    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
                      Dee Gee Jan 4, 2011 01:02 PM

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


                  2. re: Kassi22
                    JennaBean Jan 5, 2011 06:34 AM

                    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
                      Kassi22 Jan 5, 2011 11:37 AM

                      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
                        TorontoJo Jan 5, 2011 11:43 AM

                        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
                          Kassi22 Jan 5, 2011 11:57 AM

                          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
                            foodyDudey Jan 5, 2011 12:34 PM

                            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
                              Kassi22 Jan 5, 2011 03:41 PM

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

                2. k
                  Kassi22 Jan 4, 2011 07:03 AM

                  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
                    jlunar Jan 4, 2011 07:48 AM

                    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
                      Dee Gee Jan 4, 2011 08:58 AM

                      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
                        Herb Jan 4, 2011 09:16 AM

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

                        1. re: Herb
                          Dee Gee Jan 4, 2011 10:37 AM

                          Guess so... :0)

                    2. c
                      CocoTO Jan 3, 2011 05:35 PM

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

                      1. c
                        childofthestorm Jan 3, 2011 05:23 PM

                        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.

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