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Jul 11, 2011 02:03 PM

One night/morning in Toronto - dining recs needed

My wife and I will be in Toronto (from Pittsburgh) for an overnight later this month. Staying right by Massey Hall. I have not had time to do any dining reconnaissance, so figured I'd start with the best source of info, Toronto Hounders!

Pretty much like all kinds of food. Love gastropubs, any kind of Asian, any kind of fusion, etc. Would prefer to stay away from Italian. I have access to really good Italian most of the time. Anything within a few miles of Massey would be great, but not bound to that particular area.

Finally, not looking to spend a ton of money, but willing to spend a good amount for top quality food. Also looking for something that's more laid back, nothing too stuffy.

Sorry if this is too much detail. I always find that the more detail provided, the easier it is to make recommendations.

Finally, if there are any must-go-to breakfast places, I'd love to hear about them.

Thanks in advance for your recommendations.

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  1. The only time I gleefully use the "f word" (fusion) is when I suggest Foxley.
    Its not all that far from Massey Hall - a 10 minute streetcar ride west.

    Breakfast - you have a, erm, old standard beside your hotel - Fran's. heh. Instead, go to Origin (if its the weekend). its not far.

    207 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J2Z8, CA

    1. Do you have a car?

      And the obvious breakfast choice: The Senator is across the street from your hotel. Retro diner, OK food tho a bit pricey for locals.

      Avoid Fran's.

      249 Victoria St, Toronto, ON M5B1T8, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: iMarilyn

        Another vote for The Senator. You really want to avoid Fran's and Eggspectation. The Senator has great food and has been running since 1929. Not retro, but the REAL DEAL.

      2. Origin is close by. I don't love, but there are enough who do (so it could have just been a bad visit for me) and it fits your Asian/Fusion profile. Though it might be a little too trendy.

        A solid gastropub(ish) would be Beer Bistro. Bonus if you like beer.

        If you like Asian and want breakfast, why not have dim sum instead? There is Crown Princess not too far away from you - a little fancier. Chinatown (less fancy) is also a pretty quick streetcar ride away. Depends on your timing.

        I will say that none of these are "musts."

        --- -- food. is. love.

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

        Crown Princess
        1033 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3A5, CA

        1. Just to clarify, I was just throwing out "Asian" and "fusion" as possible examples. I'm really open to pretty much anything, as long as it's something that will be an enjoyable meal. Have seen mentions of Black Hoof, Origin, Grace, Rodney's by the Bay, and Chiado, and will be looking further into these.

          Any opinions on any of these places?

          864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

          The Black Hoof
          928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

          10 Replies
          1. re: Whigsboy

            Black Hoof is my fave resto in the city, but it takes neither reservations nor credit cards. If you're only a pair, going either at opening or around 9 pm is best for getting a table quickly. Great food though. Here are a bunch of photos from my (many) meals there: There are also menu shots in there (their chalkboard) to see what they serve.

            I was there last week and current faves are the tacos (they've been on the menu for a while now) and the tripe and meatballs (very very tasty). Menu changes relatively frequently though, so don't set your heart on anything...!

            The Black Hoof
            928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

            1. re: Whigsboy

              Can one really avoid 'fusion' nowadays? Authentic Chinese restaurants are using foie gras, truffles, French puff pastries, Italian Balsamic vinegars in the creation. Supposedly 'French' restaurants now use lemon grass, Thai curries and Asian spicies like star anise and Szechuan peppercorns in their sauces! Italian pastas and Spanish hams are appearing in Japanese cuisine! I even tasted some roasted pork in Norway that I swear has Chinese five star powder rub on it! So, where does one draw the line?!
              I think as foodies, we should just eat what taste good and forget about the flag!

              1. re: Whigsboy

                If you like seafood, Rodney's by Bay and Chiado are good bets. Chiado serves contemporary Portuguese seafood in a fairly formal (possibly slightly stuffy, compared to Rodney's by Bay) restaurant for Toronto. Much of the seafood is flown in from the Mediterranean.

                Rodney's by Bay serves a contemporary take on Maritimes-style seafood, in a more rustic, down-home, casual setting in the Financial District. Rodney's feels more cozy inside. You could walk to Rodney's by Bay from Massey Hall in 10-15 minutes. Another down-to-earth, with quality seafood option even closer to Massey Hall is Starfish, which also serves some of the best seafood in Toronto.

                I haven't dined at Grace in a few years, but last time I was there, Grace offered solid, tasty comfort food, but the portions were relatively small.

                If you're in the mood for a Torontonian take on bistro food, you might want to consider Weezie's or Simple Bistro (mentioned by Snarf further down).

                For moderately-priced sushi downtown, you might want to consider Yuzu on Adelaide St W. For moderately-priced Thai, consider Khao San Road on Adelaide St W. For reasonably priced South Indian food, Rashnaa in Cabbagetown you isn't too far from Massey Hall.

                For a moderately priced, and fairly interesting weekday breakfast/ weekend brunch, Lola's Commissary is within a 20 minute walk of Massey Hall. If you're planning to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario, Frank also serves a nice brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. If you're visiting on a weekday, Le Petit Dejeuner is a good place for breakfst- I like their eggs benedict, eggs florentine, and waffles, but I'd avoid their savoury crepes. If you're visiting on a weekend, Le Petit Dejeuner usually has a line by 10:30 am.

                Hope you have a great stay in TO!

                354 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A1K9, CA

                307 Wellesley St E, Toronto, ON M4X1H2, CA

                100 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ON M5C1K9, CA

                864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA

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

                Simple Bistro
                619 Mount Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S2M5, CA

                503 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1A5, CA

                Rodney's By Bay
                56 Temperance Street, Toronto, ON M5H 3V5, CA

                FRANK @ The Art Gallery of Ontario
                317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5T I4G, CA

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

                Lola's Kitchen
                634 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2G3, CA

                1. re: prima

                  Thanks very much for the thoughtful reply. Rodney's sounds great. Might try to grab some seats at the bar at Rodney's and Black Hoof over the period of a few hours, since we only have one night and will be seeing a show at 10:00 at Massey.

                  Is bar seating an option/feasible at either/both places on a Saturday b/w 6-9:30?

                  The Black Hoof
                  928 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                  1. re: Whigsboy

                    Rodney's By Bay is closed Saturday and Sunday. You can sit at the bar at the Hoof - tho the patio would be nicer - but they don't take reservations. If you show up right at 6, you shouldn't have any trouble. After that...

                    Rodney's By Bay
                    56 Temperance Street, Toronto, ON M5H 3V5, CA

                    1. re: iMarilyn

                      No offense to the folks at Rodney's, but closed on Saturdays? That just seems staggeringly dumb to me. But apparently the place is quite successful, so perhaps I'm the dumb one.

                      Thanks for letting me know.

                      1. re: Whigsboy

                        They close because it's in the centre of the financial district and that's their target audience. Negligible business on weekends otherwise. Their other restaurant is about eight blocks west and open 7 days a week.

                        Rodney's Oyster House
                        469 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1K4, CA

                        1. re: iMarilyn

                          Makes sense. Thanks very much. Is the other restaurant worth checking out? Although Starfish sounds like it's great for oysters/apps and appears to be close to our hotel, so may get a seafood fix there before heading elsewhere.

                          1. re: Whigsboy

                            Toronto's not really a seafood town like Boston or San Fran. Almost everything's flown in.

                            1. re: iMarilyn

                              I don't think in this day and age, with modern refrigeration and airmail, it matters much. Especially if a city is serviced by a major airport hub. Matters more in smaller towns.

                              Think of some of the best seafood restaurants in the world. A lot of their seafood will be flown in, even if they're located on a coastal city. Take a look at a menu like Le Bernardin, west coast salmon, oysters, tuna, geoduck, etc........all flown in.

                              Toronto not being a seafood town has a lot to do with history of eating patterns. Yes, it was once shaped by the limitations of being an interior city. Slowly we're breaking our way out of it.

              2. Depending on the day, your best breakfast bet is probably walking over to the St. Lawrence Market for a peameal sandwich... (closed Sunday/Monday)

                St. Lawrence Market
                92 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E, CA