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May 29, 2011 07:54 AM

Oxymoron: Intimate, Moderate $, Downtown?

I’m looking for a restaurant within walking distance of the Royal York. Would prefer NA. French, Italian, seafood cuisine but open to suggestions. This would be for a weeknight (likely Tuesday)

I’m more interested in an intimate spot where a couple who don’t get much time together can linger, talk quietly, hold hands or cosy up in a booth rather than a spot where we’re blown away by the food – but if we can get both, all the better.

I’ve searched Splendido, Bymark, Harbour Sixty, Far Niente, Starfish etc. but find them a little dear for this budget. I know Le Select Bistro well and like it – but find it a bit noisy. Am considering Biff’s; like the look of the menu and can live with the prices (also like that I can bring my own wine with a fairly moderate corkage fee) but I have never been there and don’t know if it has the feel of the place I’m seeking.

Can anyone give me a hand with some other suggestions? I know that the area I’m looking at will be short on moderate price and romantic atmosphere, but this is a night for a few stolen hours before we both head off again in different directions. I’d love an atmosphere that will stick in his memory until we can do this all again. So I'm asking all of you romantics to dig deep!

Thank you for you kind assistance. I really appreciate any suggestions you have.

Harbour Sixty
60 Harbour Street, Toronto, ON M5J 1B7, CA

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

Far Niente
187 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5L 1G5, CA

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

66 Wellington St. W, Toronto, ON M5K 1J3, CA

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  1. Beast may fit the bill - literally. Take a look at the web site:

    2 Replies
    1. re: sloweater

      My sole lunch at Biff's during the week was an incredibly noisy affair. I was with my husband and both sets of parents and we could barely hear the person sitting closest by without having to have everything repeated. It's possible that things are more sedate at dinnertime, when the downtown suits head home. Maybe someone else can enlighten?

      I was going to suggest Niagara Street Cafe, but you'd have to be up for a good walk before and after dinner. Of course, you can always walk one way and cab it or take the TTC the other.

      Niagara Street Cafe
      169 Niagara St, Toronto, ON M5V1C9, CA

      1. re: 1sweetpea

        I agree on Beast - Was there on Friday night and this should work perfectly for you - Relatively quiet and intimate - Plus the food was spot on - Left very impressed

    2. Beast would be my first choice as well - outstanding food, warm and friendly service, great pricing. And if they have their front patio open -and if it ever stops raining, very romantic. Other spots that hit all your criteria, especially if you can get on their patios - Boulevard Cafe and Torito. I also really like Woodlot - it's crowded but dimly lit and cozy, good food and pricing. George is lovely and very romantic but presumably outside your price range for this occasion.

      276 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2L9, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: peppermint pate

        When I finally made it to dinner at Boulevard Cafe I didn't get what the fuss has been all about. It was okay but nothing stood out.
        In that neighborhood I suggest 93 Harbord, which I found to be excellent and all counts.

        93 Harbord
        93 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

      2. Given your request for walking distance of the Royal York, my recs would be Biffs or the Wine Bar. At the Wine Bar, ask for a table in the corner, at Biff's, I *think* they have booths. There are different seating areas at Biff's, perhaps ask which is the quietest and most romantic. It sounds like you have a great trip with your SO planned -- good luck and I hope it goes well...

        1. If you want quiet and lingering, I would suggest Little Anthony's, provided you don't go at pre-show times. Very old school and not in your face service.

          Little Anthony's
          121 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON M5H2K1, CA

          5 Replies
          1. re: Snarf

            Thanks to all for the leads. I'll follow up on each. I appreciate the timely and thoughtful replies.

            I don't want to make it feel like we've worked too hard at this - but time is precious and I didn't want to spend it looking blankly at one another and going "Huh?" over the din!

            Many thanks

            1. re: 7Cees

              I actually think Biff's is a great can walk to Royal York, service is very kind, food, while not "blow you away" is tasty and competent. They will have their buck a shuck oysters too, which is a nice treat. Toronto restaurants can be somewhat inconsistent, but I always know what I'll get at Biff's. Tuesday should not be too noisy, it's a big space with lots of can easily sit there all night if you like. Their house red (Juicy Red) is one of my faves too. Love the liver and the artic char, but a few dozen oysters, some frites and a nice salad is more romantic.

              1. re: 7Cees

                It gets mixed reviews here but you might want to check out Le Petit Dejeuner. To me it is romantic in a very cute way and I quite liked the dinner menu there.

                Le Petit Dejeuner
                191 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1J5, CA

                1. re: Cat123

                  +1 on Le Petit Dejeuner and Biff's tried both of em out recently. Le Petit was almost empty in the evening but had a nice cozy vibe not to mention they have delirium tremens on tap. As for Biff's tried it on a Sunday and guess what no corkage!! had a dozen of the 1$ Oysters and the Bone Marrow Flan followed by Steak and Frites. Service was great and the place was very quite unlike weekdays.

            2. I would suggest Niagara Street Cafe, although maybe not quite walking distance but only a short cab/streetcar ride away.

              Niagara Street Cafe
              169 Niagara St, Toronto, ON M5V1C9, CA