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Best place for Chef's Table/Tasting Menu

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I"ve been asked by my boss a senior partner, to arrange a night out consisting of drinks and diinner for some some very important clients from out of town. He wants a restaurant that truly showcases the best of Toronto, with great food, vibrant atmosphere, and one that perhaps offers a Chefs Table or impressive tasting menu.

I want to make sure I dont let him down and truly make it a memorable night, however after looking at 360, Splendido, Ame, North 44, George, Nota Bene, Canoe....I am confused and no where closer to knowing what would be a better fit--PLEASE HELP?????

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

North 44
2537 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4P 2H9, CA

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

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  1. scratch 360, I have taken clients there at their insistence and they did enjoy it but I think it doesn't come up to the standard your boss is looking for.

    I would go with Canoe if this is to be a weeknight, no tasting menu but they won't miss it

    1 Reply
    1. re: bytepusher

      Thank you for your reply...your feedback about 360 is appreciated. It is inedded for a Weeknight, so I will take a closer look at Canoe, my only concern is the amount of game/canadiana influence which makes it tricky if not everyone enjoys this kind of fare.

      Any other sugestions would be greatly appreciated!

    2. I would look at the kitchen table at Colborne Lane. 15 courses, served in a small room off the kitchen (which is in the basement).

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

      3 Replies
      1. re: TorontoJo

        Colborne Lane's tasting menu was Mind Blasting.

        Claudio Aprile is a rare innovative culinary maestro. And he is actually there overseeing his operation, a rarity in today's "celebrity chef" environment....

        1. re: PoppiYYZ

          PoppiYYZ---I appreciate your comments---looks like I will have to strongly consider this place...Thanks!

          Other suggestions or comments are truly welcomed!!

        2. re: TorontoJo

          TorontoJo---Thank You! I've never been but heard that its a pretty trendy spot where they have molecular gastronomy and a great ice cream dish made right at your table

        3. The newly opened Ritz Carlton's TOCA by TOM BRODI has a chef's table within the kitchen (seats 8-10 I think) at around $200 per person, if the caché of going somewhere totally new appeals ...

          13 Replies
          1. re: CocoTO

            Excellent suggestion....did not think of this as an option at all....The brand Ritz speaks for itself and just pulling up to the door should create a wow factor. The fact that they may have a Chef's table is absolutely GREAT....I will definetly look into this!

            1. re: CocoTO

              Ohhh No....I can't beleive it---both the Chef's Table and Private Dining Room are booked...This place would certainly have been a hit, now I am back to square one....I guess its down between Canoe and Colborne Lane unless of course there are some other last minute gems that Chowhound can point me towards....Thanks to all for your assistance!

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

              Chef's Table
              397 McNaughton Ave W, Chatham, ON N7L4K4, CA

              1. re: yy4y

                You should definitely go with Splendido. It is Toronto's best restaurant, bar none. Canoe has a better view, but the food is so-so. Colborne lane has some interesting food, but it isn't the best of Toronto - nor does it have an appropriate atmosphere - it's dark and sultry to a certain extent, and I dont' think it's appropriate for business interaction - nor have I seen any whenever I've been there. Dates? yes. Christmas party? yes. Business function? no.

                Splendido is a lot of those things combined in to one - great atmosphere, well lit, good Sommelier, amazing food, and a very personable co-owner that's there every night - and is much more engaging than many other owners - you really can't go wrong.

                I would also suggest Nota bene, but that restaurant is more about the scene than the food, but does do well for business functions. If you want the 'best' of Toronto, though, Splendido is definitely what I would (and do) go with.

                They also have a private dining room, but it might be overly large for what you're looking for, and they also have tasting menus, either currently or if you ask nicely. I was there last week and I'm pretty sure they had a current tasting menu. Nevermind - it was Valentine's day. :)

                And yes, do avoid 360 at all costs. It's a tourist trap.

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

                1. re: justpete

                  I second George over the other choices. You won't have a bad meal at the other options I just don't think they are at the very top of the game IMO. This is even more true for a place such as Colborne Lane. If your guests have eaten at Alinea then they will be seriously underwhelmed.

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

                  1. re: JennaBean

                    If they've eaten at Alinea they will be underwhelmed anywhere in North America! But what makes you think they've eaten there?

                    You can't go wrong with Canoe - it's where the 'suits' go - AND it's Canadiana - which seems important. Even if it's not the best food, it still works!

                    1. re: estufarian

                      Sorry I should have said "a place like Alinea" meaning that CL (in my opinion) doesn't do a great rep of this style of food. I think it is ok with a few items better than ok. That being said, I've only eaten there twice since they opened and for that very reason.

                      1. re: JennaBean

                        It would also help if they changed the menu.. you know, more often than every 3 years or so.

                        1. re: JennaBean

                          I was concerned I'd 'missed' something in this thread - but, I know I've posted something I 'thought' made perfect sense - only to find out that everybody interpreted it differently.

                          My problem with Colborne Lane has always been the wine. I quite like the food (but not the gimmicks such as the so-called ice-cream that, for me, is all gimmick, little taste and no aromatics). Their winelist is entirely disconnected from their food - and last time I went, they were out-of-stock on the wine I chose anyway. And despite rumours to the contrary, they've always refused to admit to me that they have a BYOW at all.

                          And I refuse to believe that CL can be compared in any reasonable way to Alinea (but that's probably irrelevant for the OP).

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

                          1. re: estufarian

                            How about the tasting menu at C5, is it good with good value ?

                          2. re: JennaBean

                            I agree; even Wylie's WD~50 in NY I found to be a better experience. That's not to say I have no faith in Chef Aprile; I do still hope he can bring his level up even further, but right now it's not even in the top 5 molecular gastronomy restos in NA...

                            1. re: table4onthefly

                              and possibly GTA????
                              OK that's a bit harsh - he might make #3!!!!!!!!

                              And jumping back up thread to skylineR33 post:-
                              C5 is a bit patchy. The food has been consistently better over the past year - the problem is the room and service. Service is an issue as they're not open all week so can't keep the better servers - if you get a good one it's a recommended destination for me EXCEPT the acoustics/environment are weird. I prefer to sit almost head-bangingly close to the edge, which affords some respite to the noise towards the centre.

                              1. re: estufarian

                                Thanks. Yes, I also feel the atmosphere is kind of cold there. Have not been there for a while, will give their tasting menu a try.

                    2. re: yy4y

                      How about the regular dining room at the Ritz? I see from another thread that the menu is local, but limited in scope. However there is the innovative cheese cave, and the pastry coridoor where you can watch things being made. There is also a raw bar in a separate space that might be good to kick things off. I attended a pre-opening publicity event and got to sample some of the chef's food - it was all very good, and the oysters were great.
                      All said and done though it is a restaurant within a hotel, and so you might be better off at Splendido where the chef is not influenced by corporate constraints and trying to appeal to hundreds of visitors. I feel that this is usually an issue that holds back hotel restaurants from living up to the talents of the chef.

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

                  2. I agree with others: in my books, its a tie between Colborne Lane and Splendido -- easily 2 of the best restaurants in the city. Colborne Lane is tops for innovation, trendy atmosphere, a blow-your-mind tasting menu (albeit, no Alinea) and actually, I think a pretty great wine list. Splendido is more subdued, less trendy, but still, standout food and service. [Bymark, Nota Bene and Canoe round out my personal top 5 restaurants]

                    Maybe it'll come down to where you can get a reservation?!
                    Enjoy!

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

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

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