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HELP ASAP! Need locals advice!

I am traveling to Toronto this weekend from Buffalo with 10 girls for a group 30th birthday getaway. We have a group with very different tastes so I am looking for a great place to have dinner on Saturday night. Nothing too fancy or expensive. Maybe upscale bar type food? Sandwiches, salads, maybe a few entrees like pastas and meats. Someone else in the group made reservations at Elephant Castle but from what I understand its a chain restaurant. How is the food? Also we are looking for an area to go out also would be good if the restaurant was around the same area. Looking for upscale low key bars. Nothing too clubby but still good music and good atmosphere. Would like an area for an opportunity to bar hop if needed. We are 30 so we don't want to hang out with 19 yr olds...lol. We are staying at the Westin Harbour Castle so someplace we could take transit or cab. I am desperate!!! Please help!

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  1. Hmm, I might mention Mill St. Brewery located in the Distillery District(Mill St. and Cherry St. area), its a nice bar/pub, great for the 25+ crowd, nice atmosphere, classy yet casual, good food, good beer, nice area, close enough to where you are staying.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jmarcroyal

      Thank u sooo much for the advice. I actually think we are going there on Friday for dinner.... looks great!!

      1. re: jmarcroyal

        Nice place for a beer, but with respect, the food and service are not good. Check some other reviews here for more context.

        1. re: Snarf

          depends on what you are lookin for Snarf, I found the food to be decent enough and I cant say I had any service problems when I went there, but the atmosphere was nice and I had a good time...

      2. go to the Drake hotel...dinner would be ideal and turns into an ideal crowd..

        3 Replies
        1. re: burlgurl

          I agree - the Drake is a good idea. It's not too close to your hotel, but would be a pretty easy streetcar ride once you've walked up to Queen (about a 15-minute walk from your hotel). You're not going to find much of anything super-close to the Westin, but a relatively proximate option is Beer Bistro (though you'd probably want to move elsewhere for drinks after).

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

          1. re: torontofoodiegirl

            +1 for the Drake. DO NOT go to The Elephant & Castle for food unless you like pub food.

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            Elephant & Castle
            212 King St W, Toronto, ON M5H1K5, CA

          2. re: burlgurl

            The Drake would be a fitting option and the rooftop patio is an added bonus.

          3. What are you willing to spend per person? Does that include drinks?

            There's an OK Italian restaurant on the roof of your hotel with great city/lake view. It's taking part in the Summerlicious food fest. Three course prix fixe $35.

            Against the Grain is a new gastro-pub about a 10 minute walk east at the foot of Jarvis St. Huge patio right on the water and pretty good pub-ish food (burgers/salads,etc). Entrees $16 to $25.

            http://www.atgurbantavern.ca/

            Il Fornello is a decent local pizza/pasta chain at the south end of the Terminal Bldg just west of the Westin. Big patio on the lake.

            Gabardine is a nice bistro in the financial district about 15 minute walk up Bay Street. No patio, mains around $20, closes at 10 iirc. Wherever you go, you'll need reservations for a group that large.

            Most of the bars in the downtown area are meat markets on Friday night (Kei, South of Temperance). But if that's your scene...

            The cool non-tourist bars are mostly on the west-side (Queen West, Ossington). Do-able on the street-car but about a $15 cab ride in traffic.

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            The Gabardine
            372 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5H 3W1, CA

            5 Replies
            1. re: iMarilyn

              Which location of Il Fornello is the one you are speaking of? There are a few on the waterfront and not sure which is closest.... Is it the one on Queen's Quay?

              1. re: sarahbeth68278

                Il Fornello's is a chain with meh food. There are many better pizza pasta options at that price point in much more interesting areas of the city if that's the food you're looking for. It would be a last resort for me.

                1. re: JennaBean

                  Agreed. Il Fornello is meh - only use it as a last resort. It's also a family-type restaurant.

                2. re: sarahbeth68278

                  @ Sarabeth: Yes, 207 Queen's Quay about a block from your hotel.

                  1. re: sarahbeth68278

                    Against the Grain is a top contender at this point. The patio and menu look good. I made a reservation just in case. lol

                3. My personal choice for a group of 30-something women would be Caren's Wine Bar in Yorkville. It's more upscale than a pub, but it's not fancy, just casual and nice. Fabulous back patio with sparkly lights. Dinner options include a great stilton burger and some nice pastas and salads. After dinner, there are lots of bar/club options within walking distance, from casual to upscale.

                  http://www.carenswineandcheese.com/

                  1. Agree on yes on Drake and no to Elephant & Castle. Marben is another alternative for bar/music atmosphere and it's been getting decent reviews here lately for food and closer to Westin Harbour Castle.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: syoung

                      I had a pizza at the King Street Il Fornello a couple of years ago and it was terrible.

                      1. re: yyzman

                        Not sure why you responded to my post as I didn't mention Il Fornello at all. I agree though that it's not a good restaurant.

                    2. Le Select is a large French bistro with a lovely patio that could accommodate your group that's right on the Queen's Quay/Spadina streetcar line that runs past your hotel. Ten minute trip tops. Lots of bar/lounges nearby. You could walk over to Susur's afterwards.

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

                      Susur
                      601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                      1. Your group might like College ST. west - lots of great restaurants and small lounge / bars too.

                        Utopia has a great patio and amazing food (not too expensive)
                        Il Gato Nero - great vibe, good italian food
                        Black Skirt - AMAZING food, but about a 10 walk from the busier part of the street
                        Calendar was once rated best "date" restaurant

                        there are many bars in the area to hop as well. and walking distance to Kensington Market which also has great bars...

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                        Black Skirt
                        974 College Street, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

                        1. Any reccommendations for restaurants in the the Queen St. West area?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: sarahbeth68278

                            The Drake which was previously recommended is on Queen West.

                            Parkette is casual Italian on Queen West

                            There is also Nyood which is more of a small plates type menu.

                            Edit - There are also many good options on Ossington which is a north/south street from Queen West. Foxley, Libretto, Fish Bar, Salt, Delux etc.

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                            Nyood
                            1096 Queen West, Toronto, ON M6J 1H9, CA

                            Parkette
                            874 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G3, CA

                            1. re: JennaBean

                              Parkette is TINY. Might be difficult to reserve for 10.

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                              Parkette
                              874 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G3, CA

                              1. re: Wahooty

                                The big table would work. I had a group of 12 there when it first opened and we had a lot of fun.

                          2. I like Campagnolo, which would be my current pick for a 30something ladies' night out. Mostly 30 and 40somethings last time I was there, down-to-earth server, good Italian food made with many locally sourced ingredients, and the best mix of music I remember hearing in the last year, with plenty of retro, some classic rock, some Stevie Wonder. The mix reminded me a little of the fun/energetic mix of music that was playing at Babbo the only time I've dined at Babbo.

                            Delux is also a good bet, if you're looking for low-key bistro with a somewhat hip vibe.

                            Plenty of bars (for bar-hopping) are located near both Campagnolo and Delux.

                            -----
                            Delux
                            92 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Z4, CA

                            Campagnolo
                            832 Dundas St. W, Toronto, ON , CA