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One night/morning in Toronto - dining recs needed

Whigsboy Jul 11, 2011 02:03 PM

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. atomeyes RE: Whigsboy Jul 11, 2011 02:41 PM

    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. iMarilyn RE: Whigsboy Jul 11, 2011 03:18 PM

      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
        currycue RE: iMarilyn Jul 14, 2011 08:12 AM

        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. www.thesenator.com

      2. jlunar RE: Whigsboy Jul 11, 2011 03:50 PM

        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."

        http://www.foodpr0n.com -- 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. w
          Whigsboy RE: Whigsboy Jul 11, 2011 07:08 PM

          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
            jlunar RE: Whigsboy Jul 12, 2011 07:32 AM

            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: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlunar/t... 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
              Charles Yu RE: Whigsboy Jul 12, 2011 04:02 PM

              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
                prima RE: Whigsboy Jul 12, 2011 08:27 PM

                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
                  Whigsboy RE: prima Jul 19, 2011 12:01 PM

                  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
                    iMarilyn RE: Whigsboy Jul 19, 2011 12:17 PM

                    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
                      Whigsboy RE: iMarilyn Jul 25, 2011 01:37 PM

                      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
                        iMarilyn RE: Whigsboy Jul 26, 2011 04:19 AM

                        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
                          Whigsboy RE: iMarilyn Jul 26, 2011 11:02 AM

                          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
                            iMarilyn RE: Whigsboy Jul 26, 2011 11:04 AM

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

                            1. re: iMarilyn
                              aser RE: iMarilyn Jul 26, 2011 10:00 PM

                              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. j
                johnandjane RE: Whigsboy Jul 12, 2011 08:40 AM

                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

                1. j
                  JennaBean RE: Whigsboy Jul 12, 2011 08:49 AM

                  If you are here on a Sunday morning you may want to check out Beast for brunch.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: JennaBean
                    aser RE: JennaBean Jul 12, 2011 11:07 AM

                    beast 120 is great deal for good whitey food in Toronto. Wed-Sat 5-7pm.


                    dim sum at Lai Wah Heen will destroy any brunch spot in the city for breakfast.

                    Lai Wah Heen
                    108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3, CA

                    1. re: aser
                      The Chowhound Team RE: aser Jul 13, 2011 04:05 AM

                      Folks, a discussion about the term "whitey food" has been split off and moved to the General Chowhounding Topics board. You can find it at the link below.


                      1. re: aser
                        jamesm RE: aser Jul 13, 2011 12:38 PM

                        I'd take Beast over dim sum in a heartbeat for brunch.

                    2. e
                      Ender RE: Whigsboy Jul 12, 2011 08:53 AM

                      Be aware that the Black Hoof has some odd hours and only takes cash/debit no credit cards. They also don't take reservations so you can be in for quite a wait if its busy. I would still go if its fits into your schedule just be aware of there...intricacies.

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

                      1. sloweater RE: Whigsboy Jul 19, 2011 01:55 PM

                        The Queen and Beaver is relatively close to where you're staying. It's a pretty solid gastropub.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: sloweater
                          Whigsboy RE: sloweater Jul 25, 2011 11:51 AM

                          Thanks for the recommendation. Will be there on Saturday and will try to report back on where we eat.

                          1. re: Whigsboy
                            iMarilyn RE: Whigsboy Jul 26, 2011 04:20 AM

                            Have the burger. Expensive but DH loves it.

                        2. w
                          Whigsboy RE: Whigsboy Aug 3, 2011 07:43 AM

                          Here is my report back on our one night in Toronto. Thanks again for your help.


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