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Never Been - Toronto Downtown - Lunch/Dinner Recc'd?

Hi -

Husband and I will be traveling to Toronto in April. We have never been & are staying at the Sheraton Centre downtown. We are traveling as part of a group that provides breakfast each day at hotel, and a dinner Friday night. We are on our own for dinner on a Thurs & Sat...lunch on Thurs, Fri, Sat. We know nothing about the city, but of course will have GPS phone maps to get us where we want to go.

-Location - walking distance from Sheraton (123 Queen St. West) or short cab...or is there other public transportation - train/subway? Not too far away...

-Price - we care not to spend all our budget on food, but are willing to splurge on one good dinner ($75-80 total for two)...other than that - looking for value ($40-50 for two total) & good food. Casual /cheap spots are fine too. Will probably be near tourist locations - museums, shopping etc. Not too dressy - maybe sport coat for him, dress for me.

-Cuisine - we like most kinds of food, are willing to try something new & would like to try some Toronto/Canada specialties, whatever they may be. Even though hubby is, I am not a huge Asian food lover, however that is because my Asian food has been limited to Chinese buffets - I know that is NOT a good representation at all. May be willing to try Asian...but no sushi or weird seafood. We are not drinkers, so booze quality not important.

Is the restaurant at the CN tower worth it? Admission included, but some reviews say the food is mediocre and views are a crapshoot, depending on when you get there.


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  1. I guess this post could elicit almost any kind of response, given the breadth of things available here. The range that you are looking in could lead to many mid-range eclectic joints, some neighbourhood faves in some of the downtown enclaves, or some of the interesting ethnic experiences (ie South American tapas). For you to enjoy it, though, it would probably help to get a handle on where you are from, whether there are things apart from seafood that might not work for you, and whether you are comfortable in close set tables.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Snarf

      The tapas place I was referring to is Torito, on Augusta in the Kensington Market area. Evenings only, but the market during the day has a lot of casual food options (see other threads).

      A good casual pub is the Queen and Beaver on Elm. Ciao on Yorkville has fairly reasonable and reliable Italian in an otherwise expensive part of town near museums.

      276 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L9, CA

      1. re: Snarf

        Snarf, which tapas does Torito do best? How are their patatas bravas? http://www.toritorestaurant.com/menu.php

        276 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L9, CA

        1. re: prima

          They do good ceviche, which is fish cooked in acidic citrus juices, and most of the warm tapas are good (the squeamish might want to avoid tongue and tripe). The patatas are very nice, not much to go wrong with there.

          1. re: Snarf

            Thanks! I'm not squeamish- might have to try their take on tripe & tongue. Love good versions of patatas bravas- I order them whenever I see them on a menu.

    2. Maybe list some of the areas you wish to visit. I see the museum is listed, will you go to the Distillery or Kensington Market?

      1. I have been to the CN Tower 360 Restaurant. It was 'ok'. It wasn't terrible (I can't even really complain about it much) but Ive had much better, especially for the price in the city. (You probably won't do it on your budget) We spent over $300 for two (with a bottle of wine, but that wasn't that $$) The view for us was great as we got a window seat and it was a clear night. If you eat at the 360 you don't have to pay to go up. I would recommend it if you wanted to go up the CN tower anyways as its is a fun experience, but if you are the 'foodie' type I would suggest find somewhere else to go.

        There is the Horizon's cafe which I have never eaten at. They are cheaper and may be within your budget. However I do not know if its free to go up to this restaurant.

        1. Here would be my suggestions for your splurge place


          There are also tons of chains in that area for cheaper eats (Jack Astors, Casey's, etc) not sure you want to eat at places like that, but there cheap and have large menu's.

          1. THANKS so far!

            We are coming from Albany, NY. When we go out we eat at family friendly local pubs, mexican, greek, pizza, burgers, italian, casual places and some chains. To splurge - higher end steak houses, seafood, bistros type places...I would choose a pasta, chicken, pork, salmon, crab, flaky white fish or maybe steak. I will try most mexican, but we'll be in Canada - don't think that is a specialty! :)

            We are willing to maybe try a chain - but something different that what we would have here.

            Husband dislikes fussy food that is too 'small' (ie - we're paying $30 for a steak this small, and a piece of lettuce?!) He will eat mexican, asian, italian, all meats, all seafood, large portions, etc.

            What is the local, 'if you come to Toronto/Canada - you must try the...."?? Fries w gravy I have heard? French food of course...

            @snarf - the tapas sounds interesting
            @dubchild - haven't planned where we will go when, but wanted to have a list of suggestions to pick from, depending on mood/location
            @Kassi22 - sounds like we will just do the pass to observation tower, not dinner - thanks! Checked out the links...prices are fine, but I guess I am picky-er than I thought - not sure what I'd pick...but I guess I should try new things!

            3 Replies
            1. re: kelly567

              Hi Kelly567,

              A few suggestions:

              For poutine (fries, gravy and cheese curds) - Smoke's - http://smokespoutinerie.com/
              Close to your hotel and casual dining - The Garbardine - http://www.thegabardine.com/
              Cute, cozy French and very affordable - Le Paradis - http://www.leparadis.com
              One good dinner (in your price range) - Sidecar - http://www.sidecarrestaurant.ca or Beer Bistro - http://www.beerbistro.com

              Good luck and enjoy Toronto.

              Beer Bistro
              18 King St. E, Toronto, ON M5C 1C4, CA

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

              1. re: kelly567

                A few suggestions and an observation. $80 for two for a slurge dinner, I'm assuming that is before tax and tip, means $40 each, so you can forget about any higher end steak houses. Le Select is a very nice french bistro which offers a prix fixe for $35 and they do a good steak. You will probably go to the Museum and Yorkville, both are near each other, so I would reccomend going to the Coffee Mill, a Hungarian place which has been around forever, you can eat there for about $20 each. The Art Gallery of Ontario is a world class gallery and the restaurant does a good brunch, but I think it's tough to get out of there for less than $40 each. If you go to the Distillery district, which I highly reccomend, make sure you visit Soma for chocolates. In Kensington Market you can get empanadas at Jumbo Empanadas for under $10, and they're big, also Agave y Aquacate, a Mexican joint, is getting good buzz. You'll probably end up at Dundas Square, Kenzo Ramen is not far and fairly cheap. Khao San Road, a thai place, is not too far from your hotel and you can eat there fairly cheaply. I'll let others recommend somewhere in Chiantown, but if you need some quick fuel the pork buns on Balwin Street near McCaul are tasty and $1 each. Finally the Queen Mother offers an ecclectic menu, is near your hotel and you can eat there for about $25 each. Toronto is one of those places you have to do a bit of research but it will pay off. Sorry two last ones, Ravi Soups and the Corner House are both not too far from your hotel.

                Coffee Mill
                99 Yorkville, Toronto, ON M5R3K5, CA

                Jumbo Empanadas
                245 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L8, CA

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

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

                Kenzo Ramen
                6180 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2M, CA

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

                1. re: dubchild

                  Slight mistake, I meant to say Corned Beef House on Adelaide not the Corner House.

                  Corned Beef House
                  303 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V1P7, CA

              2. Further what others have recommended, I would also suggest a visit to Kensington Market just to take in the atmosphere and to try some casual food from there.

                Distillery District as an area is worth visiting too just to see, and close by the is Gilead Cafe which is pretty good for a relatively casual (although a bit more pricey than some more casual palces) for lunch. You can do dinner there too, more bistro like for dinner from what I understand.

                1. Welcome to Toronto! In the Shearton you have the Tom Quinn Steakshouse and Shopys - very safe. With your limited budget I recommend exploiting Toronto's multicultural food scene. Kensington Market. Start early (11 a.m.) to get great Chinese Dim Sum at Rol Sal on Spadina avenue, then cross the street and venture into Kensington Market - get tacos at Salsas 249 Augusta Ave, and finish up with Austrian crepes and coffee at the Hungarian place 253 Agusta Ave. If you are in the mood for sherry and tappas after all that, stay on Augusta and go to Toritos, a nice Spanish place.
                  If you are really on a very tight budget, some of the fast food trucks outside City Hall (opposite your hotel) are reported to be decent. - but that's lunch time only.
                  South of your hotel on Elm Street are many restaurants - ask your hotel if you can get a discount at Adega, OPA, (for splurge) or the Queen & Beaver - all have good food. Can't say you would get out much below $80 pp so check before you book.
                  If your husband requires really large portions - I'm not sure where to direct you.
                  Hope you have a great time in Toronto and please report back on your dining experiences!

                  276 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L9, CA

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                    Hmm, you might be interested in trying The Keg Steakhouse, its a chain but they have pretty good food. Might end up costing over $80 but I think the average meals are $20-30 range. The food is good, definetely classier then your average chain.

                    IF you could get up to the Danforth you can try some good Greek food. We have the largest Greek community outside of Greece so there are plenty of food options(I like Messini's, Athens Pastries)

                    There are tons of Chinese options in Toronto, others here will have to help you with recommendations because im not too familiar with any Chinese locations near you. I would actually recommend you try some Thai, not sure again what is in your area but there is lots of good Thai options in Toronto, maybe someone could name a few near you.

                    I like that you are coming to see the city, so maybe I could recommend you go watch a Blue Jays game, so long as they are in town. Its a nice experience going to the ballpark, and its really an amazing feeling when you are inside and look at the field, the place is absolutely massive. Ballpark food is decent for what it is, but for a pretty reasonable price you get a good entertaining evening. Tickets from $14, and you really dont have to be a fan of the Jays to enjoy the game. The Yankees are in town on April 19 and 20, so if you are here then, that might interest you!

                    Also, as far as transit, the whole city is pretty easily accessible. You are on Queen St, and there is a Street Car line that spans the city. You will also be close to the Subway and many bus lines, so if you dont mind the trip or the waiting, its cheaper then a cab(around $3 per person per trip).

                    445 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

                    Athens Pastries
                    509 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K, CA

                    1. re: jmarcroyal

                      Given your limited budget I would sign up to


                      If you are going to the Hockey Hall of Fame check out Marche in the BCE place for good food on a budget ( lunch

                      If your a sports fan check out the largest indoor screen in North America. The food is upscale , try the lettuce wrap or stir fry . Reservations a must to sit infront of the big screen at night


                      I agree with above rec'd, Coffee Mill for good value

                      Coffee Mill
                      99 Yorkville, Toronto, ON M5R3K5, CA

                      1. re: Luvtooeat

                        Great place for coffee and dessert after a long day is Toula at the Top of the Westin Hotel. GREAT view of the city

                        If your a fan of the TV Show Diners Drivein's and Dives and your staying on Queen you have to check out
                        The burgers are the best in the city !

                        1 Harbour Square, Toronto, ON M5J 1A6, CA

                        1. re: Luvtooeat

                          yikes, Dangerous Dans is not the best in the city! the biggest maybe, but not the best, and the place itself looks pretty dirty, I dont even want to sit at their tables!

                          Take the Streetcar further east on Queen to Coxwell and go to The Burger Priest, great burger, many say its the best in the city, done in an In-n-out style!

                          Dangerous Dan's
                          714 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1H2, CA

                  2. For your splurge night I would recommend Adega on Elm St. It is a 5 minute cab ride from your hotel. Authentic Portuguese cuisine in a quiet atmosphere. It is a mid priced restaurant for downtown but the dishes are ample and the quality is top notch.

                    DO NOT GO TO A CHAIN! Life is too short.

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

                    1. I would strongly reccomend to check out the ossington neigborhood ($10 cab ride) because it is a great neighborhood! You could go to foxley (fusion-ish) or enoteca sociale (italian). This area has a much nicer vibe than downtown toronto and is reasonably priced!!
                      If you are experimental guu is about a 10 minute walk from you and is WONDERFUL!!!!