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$25 pp?

Hey everyone,
Another couple invited my bf and I for dinner on monday. They said that I could pick the restaurant but that we stick to approx 25-30 per person NOT including drinks.
So where would you suggest? I'm having a hard time.. everyone on my current "to go" list is significantly more than that.
In terms of cuisine.. we need to stick to italian, continental, the basics.. no asian, sushi, indian, etc.
No pub, we want a nice atmosphere and a good meal.
And the only other specific requirement is that its open on a monday night.
Thanks in advance.

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  1. Do you think you could eat at Weezie's for that? I'm thinking it's a possibility.

    354 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1K9, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: Full tummy

      Oopsie. Sorry, don't think Weezie's is open on Mondays.

      354 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1K9, CA

    2. Le Select might work for you.

      Le Select
      432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V1E3, CA

      3 Replies
      1. re: ace123

        I think most entrees at Le Select are around $25.

        How about Il Fornello - many locations.

        Jules - price is right, but their prix fixe is really boring - steak frites or grilled salmon.

        Le Select
        432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V1E3, CA

        1. re: Teep

          Le Select's steak frites prix fixe is $19.95 iirc.

          Le Select
          432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V1E3, CA

          1. re: Herb

            Le Select is definitely over that budget. The OP won't be able to order anything other than a vegetarian main (or steak frites prix fixe) for that price.

            With careful ordering, you could do Enoteca Sociale (app + pasta) for $25pp, or Mercatto (again sticking to app + pasta or pizza). I particularly like the College St. location of Mercatto. Its insanely busy at lunch, but very lovely in the evening, especially with the glass windows and candlelight. Both open on a Monday.

            You could also do Le Paradis easily for that price. And that would include a full meal (app+main+dessert).

            Sidecar is also a good suggestion.

        1. re: childofthestorm

          In a similar vein, Negroni. You can get apps, mains, and dessert for $25pp.

          1. re: childofthestorm

            Ditto Sidecar and Negroni. Sidecar has a $25 prix fixe Sunday - Wednesday. And Negroni is cheap-ish and cheerful and very tasty.

          2. Including tax and tips ?? McDonald's.. I would suggest the Keg ..seems to fit except the Italian part.
            But don't expect an app and dessert..well maybe one. You can split them ya know..Keg has big servings!



            1. Jules Bistro Cafe
              has $25 prix fixe menu mon-sat


              1 Reply
              1. Queen Margherita Pizza has a prix fixe for $25. App, a whole pizza, and dessert.

                Queen Margherita Pizza
                1402 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L, CA

                1. What the heck people? I keep having great meals at Fusilli, yet no one's trying it. Hungry, you could easily dine well for $25. pp No fixed menu and no sandwiches necessary. Go with the specials, have Giuseppe pick the wine, and you can't lose. Oh, and the only place where I'll order a steak because he actually does it better than I.

                  531 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M5A1V1, CA

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Googs

                    That's it, this is THE Saturday I go to Fusilli for dinner.

                    1. re: Pincus

                      How do you keep a blonde in suspense? Did ya?

                      1. re: Googs

                        I did go!

                        Service: excellent.
                        Food: OK.

                        I partially blame myself, because I fell for his change to lobster in the pasta special from the scallops originally listed there. The lobster meat was of the chewy variety, so rock lobster? Not sure. Not silky soft, at any rate.

                        But the organic salad he gave me before that was a revelation. The greens themselves had a smoky pepperiness, the pomegranate dressing was light and sweet to complement the greens, and the little mandarin orange segments added that small extra layer. Also, his olive tapenade he gave me with the bread was really delicious.

                        So, two out of three. Next time I go, I'm ordering a pizza and seeing how that goes. Everyone else in the restaurant was making satisfied noises, so it was just me not wild about my pasta entree.

                        1. re: Pincus

                          I'm surprised a change was made to a special. He's always right the first time, so changing it up I find a little unusual. He has excellent instincts as evidenced by the salad you had. I've felt the same over a calamari salad he once served me. Everything was terrifc, but the dressing he made was what really made it happen.

                          To that end, I find he sizes up customers quite well and delivers what they want. I feel quite comfortable saying "I'm in the mood for (pasta/pizza/seafood/meat) and (insert colour here) wine," and let him run with it. Mind you, I've been going for years so he knows my tastes well. I recommend going this way once you've developed a trusting relationship with him as so many of his customers have.

                          The other thing Giuseppe's generally willing to do is, if you want something that isn't on the menu , but he has the supplies on hand he'll make it for you. I discovered that quite by accident when another regular ordered an aglio e olio. Well thank goodness I overheard that because his is as good as it gets. Once upon a time after much begging he made a canneloni for me that was unimaginably good. Neither dish is on the menu. At least the aglio e olio should be as its fairly simple to make, but oh so hard to get right. I don't recommend going this way. See paragraph 2 under "trust him".

                          It would be a shame to miss out on his soup, but one thing I love to do when dining with a friend or two is ordering a pizza as an appetizer and the special for my main. You get the best of all worlds that way. I can recommend pasta dishes off the regular menu if you like.


                          1. re: Googs

                            The pasta was off his "Valentine's Week" special menu, so maybe he just ran out of scallops and had to substitute whatever was at hand.

                            Yes, please pass along your favourite pastas. I would love to work through them.

                            1. re: Pincus

                              My favourites when not letting him decide what I eat are:

                              Appetizers - Mushroom soup, mussels, caprese salad (during tomato season)
                              Pasta - Fusilli Salmone, Spaghetti Pescatore, spaghetti & meatballs
                              Pizza - Paesana, Margherita

                              The thing you get used to is, when a dish is described, it sounds simple and uninteresting. Once you taste you realize the simplicity (a way of thinking I struggle with in the kitchen) the simplicity makes it work. And I'll say again, trust. When the peppermill and parmesan come out I always ask, "Do you think it needs it?"

                  2. Sidecar, Negroni and Le Paradis are, in my view, the best suggestions to date. Negroni especially so because, as an added fillip, you can get a bottle of quite drinkable Italian red or white at $20. I'm partial to Le Paradis, but it'd be a tight squeeze to keep it under $25 or so. Perhaps if you passed on dessert, you could pull it off. Some tasty main dishes there at $15 or so. Also, wine prices are easy to take at Le Paradis. But there's nothing like that $20 bottle at Negroni (or $5 per six-ounce glass). I don't know the also-suggested Fusilli.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: juno

                      At Le Paradis, an app for $7, a main for $15, and dessert for $5 will put you $2 over budget. I'm curious about Fusilli too-must check it out.

                    2. Depends on how hungry you are (I'm a bit cautious after your SF adventure).

                      We tend to eat out on Mondays (after night class) and it's tough. Recently we had a good time at Atlantic - slight caution, it's a 'small plate' restaurant (but big enough to share). I think everything was $13 or less, so a couple of dishes each would certainly be doable (but to be fair, I think we stuffed ourselves with 3 each).
                      Sidecar is good too, but Mondays the service is erratic and the food of variable quality (sometimes overcooked). But still worthwhile.

                      1. Some people here don't like Pan and others do. I just received a email mentioning the "Pan fest" $25 dinner. More info here: http://www.panonthedanforth.com/menu_...

                        I've never had a bad meal there, but haven't eaten there in 3 or 4 years.

                        1. thanks everyone for your suggestions.
                          So it doesnt have to be TOO strict.. this is just a guideline..
                          I am thinking now either sidecar, le paradis or table 17 (which no one mentioned, but its cheap enough)
                          I looked at the pictures of le paradis, and it seems a bit... minimal. I'm not a snob, and have been known to enjoy meals in the dodgiest of places, but I was asked specifically pick somewhere with a nice atmosphere. Am I stretching it with this?
                          Has anyone else had bad experiences with the service on monday at sidecar?
                          What are your last thoughts between these 3 options..

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: hungryabbey

                            I've only been to Table 17, but you may want to check if they have their prix-fixe on Mondays still. I didn't see it on their website, but it'd be good to double check.

                            Table 17
                            782 Queen St. East, Toronto, ON M4M 1H4, CA

                            1. re: hungryabbey

                              Le Paradis is a 'bit gloomy'. Service can also be somewhat terse. But I guess that's reminiscent of Paris!
                              I've always enjoyed their food.

                              Haven't been to Table 17, but friends said they'd return and said I should try it - but I didn't ask about atmosphere.
                              And my visit to their website shows a $35 prix fixe on Sun/Mon. And no corkage those nights for BYOW - so I will be able to report back soon (unfortunately busy next Monday).

                              Table 17
                              782 Queen St. East, Toronto, ON M4M 1H4, CA

                              Le Paradis
                              166 Bedford Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2K9, CA

                              1. re: estufarian

                                estufarian's right - I got the popup on a subsequent visit.

                              2. re: hungryabbey

                                We eat at Table 17 fairly regularly and have never done it for 25pp. If you only ordered an entree, it might be doable, but if you are interested in apps, sides, and/or dessert, it would probably bust that budget.

                                Table 17
                                782 Queen St. East, Toronto, ON M4M 1H4, CA

                                1. re: drjolt

                                  fair enough.. maybe we will try sidecar. Thanks all!

                                    1. re: Googs

                                      Pff. I wish. Everything was closed!! I called everywhere.. and I couldnt do a strictly italian place.. bc one of my dining companions cant eat gluten.. so a place that ONLY serves pasta and pizza.. is kind of out..
                                      We ended up at Table 17 on Queen St. E, near Broadview. I knew they had a pre-fix on Monday evenings ($32) so I felt it would be a budget-friendly option. The room is young, hip, and dimly lit. The decor is great, reminded me of Ruby Watchco just a few steps away.. but everything else was... meh.
                                      Lets talk about the service. We arrived for a 6:30 reservation and were pretty much the only ones in the restaurant, but we were told that we couldn't move to a table away from the doors because "those were reserved". I'm sorry... but if I show up for a reservation first.. and I ask for a specific 4-top table.. I should get first dibs, should I not? Whatever. We dealt with the breeze by eating with our jackets over our shoulders.
                                      Our server was just totally clueless. She forgot one of our drinks.. and when she was reminded.. she said "oh... yah. Sorry...." in the most unenthusiastic way. We constantly had empty glasses, yet no one offered us a refill.
                                      Another example of poor service was when my dining partner's dessert came (it was sticky toffee pudding... and she can't have gluten and didnt realize it is a steamed pudding).. we asked if there was anything else they had.. like ice cream for example that she could have that wasn't on the pre-fix.. No, no ice cream and no apology.
                                      Finally, when we were getting ready to leave, after we had paid the bill, the server pretty much asked us to leave to accomodate another party. Which is fine, and understandable.. but it just didn't make my impression of the service any better.

                                      Okay, now to the food. Like I said, it was a pre-fix on Monday and Sundays. I didn't know that they ONLY offered the pre-fix or I may have reconsidered my choice.
                                      Between the four of us.. we had a lot of the same dishes but tried...

                                      Roasted Pear and Fennel Soup with blue cheese crumble
                                      I actually liked it. It could have used one more straining, and maybe a touch more salt, but it had a bit of lemon oil drizzled on top which really bumped up the flavour and cut the richness.

                                      Heirloom Beet Salad with crispy shallots, hazelnut vinaigrette, toasted hazelnuts
                                      Simple, nothing special but nice.

                                      Arugula Salad with pickled shallots, toasted pistachio, pecorino, champagne vinaigrette
                                      I didn't try it, but just from looking at it, I felt it probably had a bit too much pecorino on it to be able to taste anything else.

                                      Braised Ontario Beef Cheeks with pomme puree, roasted root vegetables and confit cipolin onion
                                      Very tender, as beef cheeks should be. The star of the dish was the pomme puree. Buttery, creamy and very smooth.

                                      Steak Frites- 8 oz Canadian thick cut top sirloin with chimichuri sauce
                                      I didn't try, but it was well received.

                                      Sticky Toffee Pudding with Barchard Orchard Apple Butter
                                      It was delicious, but nothing like Beast's. I have really high sticky toffee pudding expectations now.

                                      Churros with red wine ganache, toasted almonds and chili sugar
                                      Nice and crispy churros, thought I found the portion a bit too small (very stingy on the ganache!!). The chili sugar was a nice balance.

                                      So, in general, I found the food to be very meh. The service to be bad. And the atmosphere to be good. So it gets an average score of meh. If I went again, I would definitely not go on a Monday or Sunday... maybe the service and food would be better. But... I don't expect I would be rushing back any time soon. Has anyone had this type of service there?

                                      Table 17
                                      782 Queen St. East, Toronto, ON M4M 1H4, CA

                                      Ruby Watchco
                                      730 Queen St E, Toronto, ON , CA

                                      1. re: hungryabbey

                                        Great report. ONLY the prix fixe!!!! So it's Winterlicious (in effect).
                                        I checked back with my friend - he had the Steak Frites! At least I'd know what wine to bring.
                                        And sounds like Monday evening service at Sidecar.

                                        Next time Atlantic - I don't think crickets contain gluten.

                                        1. re: hungryabbey

                                          Abbey - did you call Sidecar? They are open on Mondays. Unless this was on Family Day and maybe they were closed for that?

                                          1. re: TorontoJo

                                            I called them. they were closed for F day.

                                2. I would say Zucca. They have a $25 prix fixe on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday that includes a salad, choice of any pasta and choice of any dessert. According to their wesite though, it's not available in February.

                                  2150 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 2A8, CA