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May 11, 2011 05:26 AM

Baldwin Restaurants - what's new, what's good?

A friend is planning to have a birthday dinner and she is considering restaurants on Baldwin. She is looking for something moderately priced (under $50 per person), interesting like Ethiopian (even though she doesn't know what that type of cuisine is) and no North American cusine. She also wants to sit out on a patio if the weather is nice. I took her to Pomegranate last year and she really enjoyed that.

She has asked me for suggestions on Baldwin but I haven't been there for ages (ever since I heard Yung Sing is gone), so have no clue as to what has closed, what has opened up and most importantly, what's GOOD. Last I recall, most of the restos on that stretch were Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Malaysian) or French / Italian.

Doing a quick search, I found this old thread: but nothing recent.

Any thoughts?

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  1. I went to Vegetarian Haven on Friday and absolutely loved it (


    We where a party of 4. Only 1 of us was a vegetarian and we all left stuffed. The food was excellent and I will be going back again and again. (and I eat meat) The service was good as well. The only thing is, it was busy and its not very big... so depending on party size it might not be great. They also do not serve Alcohol. Though, they do have a patio.

    I've eaten at Bodega ... thought it was awful.. well.. not 'awful'.. but not something I remember and the service was snooty, and I wouldn't go back as there is much better places to eat... but its a bigger place and can accommodate a large crowd I would assume.

    Vegetarian Haven
    17 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T1L1, CA

    6 Replies
    1. re: Kassi22

      Thanks, we won't be a large group - just 5 people.

      1. re: Kassi22

        Vegetarian Haven is a great spot but I know for my friends being able to order a glass of wine is important for a celebration.

        Vegetarian Haven
        17 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T1L1, CA

        1. re: JennaBean

          I agree.. it is one downfall of the place (It would do so much better if they did serve it...)... but you can always eat, and run to one of the many pubs for drinks after :) (which is what we did)

          1. re: Kassi22

            True! I think my friends may have "problems" ;-)

            1. re: JennaBean

              No.. its true.. I was grinding my teeth in that sense through out the meal as I too like wine with me meals :) But the food was good enough I didn't notice it after the first 15 minutes. ahahah :) (They also have some interesting drinks on there menu which helps deflect)

        2. re: Kassi22

          I adore Vegetarian Haven. I've been there several times, the last time being for their Mother's Day brunch buffet, and the specials have always been good and the service great. I agree about it being too bad that they're not licensed, though..

          Vegetarian Haven
          17 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T1L1, CA

        3. Yup you are right - asian or french/italian for the most part...

          Try this link if you are set on Baldwin -

          or this for Ethiopian:

          1. No Ethiopian on Baldwin.

            1. My favoroute on the strip is Matahari for Malaysian. I've also recently enjoyed Hanoi Bistro for Vietnamese; I found it more refined and the flavours more clean than most of the viet restos on Spadina. I also really enjoy Etsu for both their Japanese and Korean dishes, certainly not the best in the city, but defenitely good for a restaurant that focuses on two seperate types of cuisines.

              My experience with all the Italian places on the strip have been dissapointing. I have had cafe le Gaffe recommended to me but have never tried it.

              39 Baldwin Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1L1, CA

              45 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T 1Y9, CA

              2 Replies
              1. re: Santeria

                Cafe la Gaffe was pretty good when they first opened, but now they're kinda meh. Also, no patio. John's Italian Caffe across the street has outdoor seating, but the food's about mid-range. I do prefer their pizzas over QMP, but only b/c I don't like Neopolitan wet and sloppily made pies.

                John's Italian Caffe
                , Toronto, ON M5G, CA

                1. re: GoodGravy

                  Thanks for the suggestions. it's what I had suspected for the strip. I was at Cafe la Gaffe about 5 years ago and it was meh then. John's was just ok - last there eons ago, over 15 yrs -- eek.