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Steakhouse with the family

Hi Everyone,

Looking for a decent steakhouse with the family (wife, parents, in-laws and our 2 year old). While I would love to go to Jacobs, I don't want to destroy the bank account, so I am thinking something like the Keg downtown. Are there any decent places to get a steak in Toronto that are suitable for my crowd?

I am not against the Keg, or other "chain style" restos, so let me know any recommendations. It just seems the only place to grab a steak at a reasonable price is at these chain places...

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  1. I know a lot of families still go to the Steak Pit. Avenue and Lawrence. reasonable prices, old school vibe. I can't comment on the steak as I haven't been in several years.

    Steak Pit Restaurant
    1666 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5M3Y1, CA

    1. I actually think you would be fine at the Keg. Stick to the steaks and you'll have a good dinner. Whatever you do, don't stray into their non-grilled main dishes. :)

      1 Reply
      1. re: TorontoJo

        How is Montana's? I have actually never been...how would it compare to the Keg?

      2. I'd also consider a place like Senior's. If you want to save a little money, the more casual, first floor diner-style restaurant below the more formal part of Senior's offers an early bird steak special, but this part of the restaurant closes by 8 pm.

        Also, although it's not a steakhouse, I really liked my last ribeye at Globe Earth. I preferred Earth's ribeye to any steak I've ordered at the Keg, Earth only offers two cuts- ribeye and tenderloin, and sells their steaks by the ounce, so you can choose a smaller or larger cut. Side dishes are a la carte..

        From Earth:
        the local butcher - by the ounce
        dry-aged wellington county beef
        ribeye $2.99
        tenderloin $3.49

        Roughly the same price point as the Keg, if you stick to the steaks, and order a few sides for the table.

        1397 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4T1Y4, CA

        1055 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4W, CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: prima

          I was thinking Senior's, too. Perfect.

        2. Frankly I've never been impressed by The Keg. Price to quality ratio is poor. I actually liked Outback better than The Keg when they were still here. If you're willing to pay Keg prices you might as well step up to Ruth's Chris and get even better product for not much more.

          I know it has its haters but I find Canyon Creek does a better job. Avoid their Scarborough location which is probably the weakest link in the chain.

          5 Replies
          1. re: TexSquared

            I agree. The lower-end steak chains leave much to be desired. Spend a little extra and go to one of the better chains - Ruth Chris, Morton's, etc - if at all possible. You can view their menus online as well. My impression is also that Morton's will be substantially more expensive than Ruth Chris - and given, Ruth Chris' steaks are a little beefy - but they do serve a purpose. They also drown them in buttery goodness. Arg. I think I just talked myself in to a streak tonight.

            1. re: justpete

              Curious- how does the steak at an economy-minded independent like the Tulip compare to the steak at the Keg?

              Here are the current steak prices at the Tulip, according to their online menu:
              Steaks and Chops
              All Steaks and Chops are served with tossed salad & your choice of mashed potatoes, french fries or home fries.* Split dinner with potato, vegetables and bread $ 5.75 extra per person
              Beef Tenderloin ........ 8oz $22.50 .. 12oz $30.95 .. 14oz Club Cut .. $34.95
              Porter House Steak ......................................(22oz - 24oz) $32.95
              T-Bone Steak ............................................(20oz - 22oz) $30.95
              Certified Black Angus® N.Y. Cut ......... 10oz .. $25.95 ..... 12oz .. $27.95
              Small Top Sirloin ............................................... 12oz $19.95

              1610 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L1G2, CA

              1. re: prima

                Not certain - I've never been to Tulip - it is on my list of destinations, however. Thanks for reminding me. With that said, I'm 99% certain I'd personally like the streak at Tulip much better than one of the aformentioned chains - however, my impression, right or wrong, is that it's not a very nicely decorated place - more of a 'diner' than a 'restaurant', per se - not somewhere you'd want to bring a family, perhaps a place almost solely dedicated to foodies and/or passers-by/regular customers... my impression is that if I had to choose (while dining with the 'fam), I'd go to the Keg/Canyon creek before I'd go to Tulip, although I would go to Tulip before the Keg or Canyon Creek, myself - but if I were willing to spend a little extra, without spending too much, I'd go to Ruth Chris.

                1. re: justpete

                  I found this old thread where some Hounds weighed in on the topic: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/388876

                  Understand Tulip fries their steak on a griddle, rather than grilling it. I've always wanted to try Tulip, too, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

                  I'm not a fan of the food at the current Keg, which has usually been the York Street location, for me. Liked other Keg locations a lot in the mid-90s, but my tastes have changed and/or their product has changed.

              2. re: justpete

                I hear you. If you're on a budget (as the OP is), go to Canyon Creek. If you are thinking Keg, might as well go to Ruth's.

            2. Does it need to be downtown or in the city core? If not, we have had good experiences at a little place called the Blackhorn, located at Ellesmere and Warden. It's been around for a long time and is pretty traditional/old world in it's decor, but we have really liked their steak dinners (as well as other choices). We took our extended family there a few years ago to celebrate a special occasion and all enjoyed their meals.

              1. I'm astounded by some of the responses so far. The Keg is LESS than half the cost of places like Ruth's Chris (Keg around $25 including sides, bread; Ruth's Chris $50). And the other 'upscale' places are similarly priced to Ruth's Chris.

                So, if an upscale place is appropriate choose whichever you fancy. I don't go enough to recommend anything upscale.

                Downtown, both the Keg on York St and Canyon Creek are acceptable options. Depending on the day of week, you might be influenced by the typical patrons. Canyon Creek is noise with a 'beer 'n baseball' crowd. Keg is more wannabe Bay Street movers and shakers. Keg is also fairly dark. I find the Keg on Yonge just below Eglinton is also fairly good, with a quieter crowd, but have only been once. If a Sunday I'd choose the York St Keg, otherwise Yonge/Eglinton with your demographic grouping.

                The 'suburban' places are a totally different vibe, of course. But steak houses aren't noted for refinement! All of Steak Pit, Senior's and Tulip are a little tired (admittedly my experiences at all 3 are now dated - I haven't been back recently to any of them).

                The Earth Rosedale suggestion is interesting - indeed they do offer steaks 'by the ounce'. If you have small eaters that might work, but the costs quickly mount up. In my experience a steak 'dinner' there costs more than any of their regular entrees (so you can see whether the cost is worth it; plus you get a full menu choice as well). But they do have a private room that holds 8-10 people that might suit your group perfectly

                Ruth's Chris
                145 Richmond Street West, Toronto, ON M5H 2L2, CA

                Steak Pit Restaurant
                1666 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5M3Y1, CA

                12 Replies
                1. re: estufarian

                  " The Keg is LESS than half the cost of places like Ruth's Chris (Keg around $25 including sides, bread; Ruth's Chris $50)"

                  I dont' know about that. Keg steaks seem to average around $30, and go as high as $35.

                  Ruth Chris' steak house average around $50, and I'm not sure what there most expensive is, although I'm sure it would be a dramatic difference.

                  Yes, you order sides a la carte, but those sides are enough for the entire table.

                  So, you spend a bit more - say 25-40%, but you get better cuts of meat, better quality meat, bigger cuts of meat, better atmosphere, and better food in general. Of course, I may be biased, because I avoid the Keg like the plague - but even if I had to stretch my budget a bit, I would still try and get to RC over the Keg.

                  Ruth's Chris
                  77 City Centre Dr., Mississauga, ON L5B 1M5, CA

                  1. re: justpete

                    The only chain steakhouse than was worse than The Keg (in terms of price vs quality) was Biftheque. Or maybe Ponderosa. Both are no longer in business in the GTA.

                    If you can't afford Ruth's, Canyon Creek fits the bill. I also avoid The Keg like the plague.

                    1. re: justpete

                      OK - maybe "less than" is stretching it, but comparison still works for me - Ruth's Chris doesn't specify the size of their steaks, so I can't compare evenly. But Keg does specify sizes:

                      I’ve attempted to compare ‘identical’ cuts – at least according to the menu

                      New York Strip
                      Keg 12 oz $34.95 (includes Caesar salad, vegetables and mushrooms)
                      Ruth’s Chris $51.95 (sides additional at $8.95 – but could serve 2/3 people; cheapest salad (iceberg) $8.95)

                      T-bone (same issue with sides)
                      Keg 20oz $35.95
                      Ruth’s Chris $59.95

                      Rib (eye) (again with/out sides)
                      Keg 16oz $31.95
                      Ruth’s Chris $49.95

                      Cheapest steak:
                      Keg Top Sirloin 8oz $20.95
                      Keg Top Sirloin 12oz $24.95
                      Ruth’s Chris Petit Filet $39.95
                      Ruth’s Chris Filet $48.95

                      Keg $8-$12
                      Ruth’s Chris $10-23

                      However I try I get ‘at least 50% more’. If I throw in sides and salad I’m pretty much up to 100% more.
                      But, of course, quality could be different (probably is) and sizes aren’t specified for Ruth’s Chris – if their steaks are 50 % larger, then my analysis makes them ‘much closer’ – as long as I don’t have salad or sides (OK, technically they’re also closer but the pendulum still has to swing further!).

                      And I obviously have too much time on my hands!

                      1. re: estufarian

                        Unfortunately, so do I (have too much time on my hands - ha). Let's say our family of four goes and orders NY strips at both restaurant. Now, you said that the Keg is "less than half" the price of Ruth Chris (pretty adamantly, I might add - as if to say it will be significantly less than half).

                        So Let's see:

                        Keg RC
                        A 34.95 $51.95 8.95
                        B 34.95 $51.95 8.95
                        C 34.95 $51.95 8.95
                        D 34.95 $51.95
                        139.8 $234.65

                        I figured 3 sides are good enough for 4 people. Maybe even 2. Those are bigs steaks. But never the less, let's say 3. I'm not counting salads, as just because it's included, it doesn't mean the persons' going to want it. I certainly wouldn't want a salad on a greasy plate with finger prints on them and wilted lettuce from the kitchen from the Keg - but who knows. To each his own. In any case:

                        The totals become $139.80 and $234.65 respectively.

                        Half of $234.65 is $117.33. $139.80 is more than 10% higher than the half you theorized. Now, going back to your rule of the Keg being "less than half of RC", we see that unequivocally, we have a potential real world scenario where this simply isn't true - and that isn't even counting wines, because the ones at the keg won't be 50 percent less than the ones at RC, which would further narrow the gap percentage wise - and they'd also be better quality.

                        So, can you say that the Keg is significantly less expensive than RC? Yes, definitely. Like 40 percent less expensive. But is that less than half? Clearly not. And as a bonus, you get better food, better steaks, nicer decor, you've taken your family out to a nice meal instead of the trough that is The Keg - and yes, you've spent significantly more - but so what? If we all wanted to just spend money on the cheapest food we could find, this board wouldn't exist - n'est pas?

                        1. re: justpete

                          Ok we both agree we have too much time!
                          I agreed I was stretching it - thanks for calculating that it's only 67% more.

                          1. re: justpete

                            LIKE. or Favourite.
                            We need a "like" or "favourite" button. :)

                          2. re: estufarian

                            None of which helps the OP.

                            If I wanted to retain quality and price advantage, I'd split the difference down the (sorta) middle and go to Barberian's. Enough rooms that the family can feel cozy and avoid the loud ambient noise of most chains. The wine cellar is one of the most impressive in town with a range of prices suitable for most any budget. Always a bonus because a great steak deserves a great red.

                            If you really miss the Ruth's Chris experience, add a pat of butter to your steak.

                            7 Elm St, Toronto, ON M5G1H1, CA

                            1. re: estufarian

                              I love the USDA prime that RC uses....i get it without the sizzle and i usually start with the crab cakes....yum.

                          3. re: estufarian

                            Re: Earth
                            I'm pretty sure I ordered a 10 oz ribeye the last time I ordered steak, and split some cauliflower and potatoes with a friend, so my meal came to less than $30 before tax and tip, not including wine.

                            I guess a salad, larger steak, and sides at Globe Earth could easily add up to more than a dinner at the Keg, but if you're happy to skip the salad, and stick with 8-10 oz of steak and shared sides, it might end up being roughly equivalent pricewise.

                            1. re: prima

                              Here is what you get at GLOBE BISTRO if you order a steak:

                              Wellington County 12oz Bone-in Strip Loin $34.00

                              Warm red fingerling potato salad, capers, Drew’s heirloom garlic oil, charred lemon

                              I doubt anyone is going to leave hungry after eating that, and it's only $34. Go eat dinner on a Sunday if you like wine, as bottles are 1/2 price then, which means just around cost.. You won't see that at any steakhouse.

                              1. re: foodyDudey

                                The OP is clearly price-sensitive, but also wants decent quality, so it seems to me that Globe Earth - mentioned above - offers the best bang for the buck. Agreed, it's not essentially a steakhouse, but then there's no guarantee all six adults in his party will actually want steaks at dinner, so there are other value-priced options on the menu. And the three cuts that are on offer, priced by the ounce, give enough choice for steak eaters with varying appetites. Add a few sides and the bill should be manageable - if the two-year-old in the party isn't too ravenous and demands the biggest ribeye on the menu. But Globe Earth is midtown. If the OP insists on a downtown boîte, which he indicates, then the above-mentioned Globe Bistro - under the same good management - is a viable alternative, especially on half-price-wine Sundays. And if you're not too, too fussy, most Kegs are perfectly acceptable, though the bill there always seems to come in higher than you imagined it would be. But then, the bill ALWAYS comes in higher than you thought at most steakhouses. Which is why I stick to good joints like Globe Earth, where both steak eaters and non-steak eaters are equally satisfied.

                                1. re: juno

                                  There is also a Globe Earth near Bloor and Jane, so there is one close to almost everyone.

                          4. The Tulip

                            1610 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L1G2, CA

                            1. I choose harbour 60, Mortons or Barberians when I want excellent steak. I like to think I know the difference between great and awful steak. In the least, I know what works for me :)

                              I was at a birthday party last month at the Leslie St Keg and had the rib steak. It was great and I would have to say excellent for the price! It was perfectly cooked, tender and very tasty. The baked potato was a throw back for me and it was also perfectly cooked. I baked potatoes at home three times the following week because it reminded me how good they can be.

                              Obviously I am not a chain snob but I certainly do understand the downside of how quality differs from location to location and a seemingly good location may differ night to night.

                              The OP is budget-minded (which means saving 40%) so I fully vote for the Keg.

                              1. I am a little surprised that no one has mentioned Quinn's Steakhouse at the Sheraton Centre,
                                ( 96 Richmond). I have never been and yet am curious. I expected a comment from a fellow Chowhounder who had visited..

                                Quinn's Steakhouse & Bar
                                96 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON M5H, CA

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: AzulH

                                  I can say I have heard bad things about the meat quality at Quinn's - because of that, I have never been.

                                  1. re: AzulH

                                    If that's the latest incarnation of Biftheque then I say pass. After that chain failed in Ontario, the Sheraton location just changed names, this must be their 2nd or 3rd name change already.

                                    I know their Etobicoke location near the airport is now a SirCorp property, Canyon Creek or Jack Astor's. Not sure what happened to their Markham restaurant.

                                    1. re: TexSquared

                                      The Markham spot is now a fish restaurant called The Fish House.

                                      I am the OP. Thanks everyone for the information and suggestions. My parents are happiest at Swiss Chalet and the in-laws only have eyes for Mandarin, so any steakhouse is a real treat. They all order their meat well done, so I am not about to fork over $50 per steak for ruined meat.

                                      We will likely end up going to Keg for its value and convenience. I will go to Jacobs, alone with the wife!

                                      The Fish House
                                      7501 Woodbine Ave, Markham, ON L3R2W1, CA

                                      1. re: dmartins123

                                        Fish House used to be on the south side of Sheppard east of the 404 (where condos are being built now, if not completed already). I didn't realize they moved to Markham.

                                        At any rate, glad to be of help but I do stand by my "avoid The Keg" recommendation. Have you even tried Canyon Creek or Ruth's Chris?

                                        1. re: TexSquared

                                          If they're all ordering well done steaks - I think I agree with OP - it doesn't really matter where they go. It'll taste like leather or well-seasoned leather.. but that begs the question, why go to a steak house? there are many other great restaurants that won't break the bank, and they can actually enjoy their food (in spite of themselves). ha.

                                          1. re: TexSquared

                                            I have eaten at Canyon Creek (work lunches). Seems pretentious for "family" although they do have some tasty meals.

                                            Never been to Ruth's Chris, but the prices are too high to justify this occasion...like I said, they all enjoy well done meat! No exceptions.

                                            Last Christmas, I spent over $120 on prime rib from Costco. Cooked it perfectly medium well; they all looked horrified at the sight of pink. I have learned my lesson with them!

                                            Ruth's Chris
                                            77 City Centre Dr., Mississauga, ON L5B 1M5, CA

                                            1. re: dmartins123

                                              If they're going to insist on well-done, it's too bad we don't have any dirt-cheap steak chains anymore (along the lines of Ryan's or Logan's in the U.S., or Biftheque locally) since those would fit the bill (especially the one at the end of the meal) perfectly. I guess you could find your way to Denny's or Golden Griddle ;-)

                                            2. re: TexSquared

                                              The Fish House moved about 5 years ago after a big fire at the Sheppard Ave location.

                                              The Fish House
                                              7501 Woodbine Ave, Markham, ON L3R2W1, CA

                                            3. re: dmartins123

                                              I think The Keg is a great choice for a family dinner out. If you're family likes their steaks well done then, just as it is with wine, they should have what they like. It's personal taste. There are no wrong answers. And before anyone asks, I take my steaks blue and fully realize this would horrify even some take-it-rare sorts.

                                            4. re: TexSquared

                                              Wrong. It's not the latest incarnation of Biftheque. It's owned by the people behind P.J. O'Brien's and the Irish Embassy, hence the name Quinn's.

                                              Irish Embassy
                                              49 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M5E, CA

                                              P.J. O'Brien
                                              39 Colborne St, Toronto, ON M5E, CA

                                          2. Hi, Thought I would give this thread a bit of a bump to see any new comments or suggestions. Five girls, middle of May, would love to go to Jacob's but like dmartins123 budget doesn't stretch to jacob's for this occasion. Any suggestions.... or recent comments on the state of current steakhouses in Toronto.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: foodiefiend

                                              If you live uptown, I've had a good steak at Wildfire Steakhouse (just south of Yonge / York Mills). It's more expensive than The Keg, but a bit cheaper than a Jacob's. Good vibe / atmosphere, and nice wine list.

                                              1. re: foodiefiend

                                                I have found that the Keg Mansion on Jarvis is a bit nicer than the others in the chain.

                                                The Tulip has good value steaks, but it's decor is lacking and you get an interesting-enough cross section of Toronto to be able to do a study in sociology.

                                                1. re: OTFOODIE

                                                  Tulip is yuk unless you are a truck driver from Nova Scotia

                                                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                                    Hey what's wrong with truckers from the east coast
                                                    They bring us great lobsters

                                              2. Chounders,
                                                Wildfire is the call. Sterling beef program, Lobster fest, kid's menu, spectator award of excellence for wine list, freaking great Martini at the bar (ask for Val) and free parking at night! Come on! chef Conrad is a grill master of the first magnitude. All else pales desperately in comparison.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: DarthRiesling

                                                  Went for a big lunch one day to Wildfire. Everything tasted like reheated leftovers - and very left over.
                                                  As for Barberians , everything other that the steak was insultingly bad. But this was awhile ago.

                                                2. Having eaten at the Tulip, Keg and Canyon Creek, I would pick the Keg any day. Tulip used to be good value before they changed the menu. Their small sirloin was an amazing deal. The last time I ate a steak there it wasnt very good and definitely not worth the money. CC served me a tough cold steak. The Keg I find really consistent and generous and they are great with kids

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: air621

                                                    Between those 3 I agree with The Keg for steaks. Leslie St Keg is always great. If you want a delicious double pork chop - hit Canyon Creek. Tulip is possibly good for nostalgia or something, but not for great food IMO.