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Dec 9, 2011 03:20 PM

Restaurant close to the AGO for lunch on Sunday?

A friend and I are going to the Chagall exhibition at the AGO on Sunday morning and would like to go for lunch somewhere in the area afterwards (we will be walking). Nothing too expensive, but moderately priced and good. Any kind of food except Chinese and Mexican.

I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!

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  1. There is a pub across the street on the corner! Can't rmmbr the name. I recommended it to a friend she said it was fantastic.

    You can go in The Grange food court, there is a vegetarian place. Very popular. Can't rmmbr the name but you will notice it. Long line, decorated bring pinkish purplish. Across the Greek fast food. This would be a good cheap food.

    For chinese, I would just head over to dundas / spadina its not that far of a walk. You can go to Swatow on Spadina, or House of Gourmet, or kings noodles.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chocaholic

      the pub on the corner is called the village idiot and is mostly a u of t kind of hang out. good selection of beers, okay food (think grilled cheese and burgers or a not quite firken kind of menu), but can be very busy...

    2. Have brunch at Frank in the AGO. Mains around $15/$18.

      2 Replies
      1. re: iMarilyn

        Frank is also offering a Russian-themed prix fixe right now (featuring borscht, some sort of salmon, can't remember what else), to go with the Chagall show. Items from the prix fixe are available a la carte, if you ask. The borscht was pretty good, but I think it would benefit from a little vinegar and a spoonful of sugar.

        There's also a more casual cafe for lunch in the lower level of the AGO, below Frank. Nice selection of pastries, some soups, salads and sandwiches. I would think you could have a decent lunch for $15 per person.

        I don't want to bash The Grange food court, but the last few lunches I've ordered over the past 2 years have been generous portion-wise, but sub-par taste-wise, even when I've taken the low prices into consideration. I've ended up wishing I had used that $8 towards a better lunch at the AGO, at Japango or somewhere in Chinatown or Baldwin Street. If any Chowhounds are currently fans of The Grange food court, which dishes are you ordering? Are there any gems left in The Grange, besides Manpuku?

        What is your price range for "moderately-priced"? You might want to consider Elle M'a Dit, which I consider to be moderately-priced.

        Elle M'a Dit's lunch menu:

        Thread about Elle M'a Dit:

        The pub Chocaholic mentioned is the Village Idiot. I haven't eaten there in over a decade, but it was ok for pub food in the late 90s.

        Art Square is also nearby. A Turkish-owned crepe place, with some innovative fillings, some Turkish-inspired fillings and some fairly standard fillings.

        Village Idiot
        126 McCaul St, Toronto, ON M5T1W2, CA

        Art Square
        334 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

        105 McCaul St, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

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

        1. re: prima

          Thank you so much for taking the time to respond in such detail and so thoroughly.

      2. Thanks for the suggestions!

        1. Besides Chinese ...! When Chinatown's quite near and restaurants are prevalent there too!

          My SO and I like going to Caffe La Gaffe in the Baldwin Village. In fact, Prima mentioned a bit of restaurants there, and all the restaurants there are not bad at all.

          As for Grange gems, .. do you know about Karine's? Prima didnt list it the post above, so I'm assuming not. Karine's serves cheap breakfasts (a complete meal at an incredible $5, with eggs, sausage/bacon, fries and salad, and with coffee/tea, even!). But that's as much we would go there for, and they quite often make the food court seem less ghetto... They just decked out their Christmas decorations and its beating out all the other food stalls.

          Other okays from the Grange food court are: Satay Korean guy across from McDonalds. My SO loves getting the vegge stew and the bulgogi dinner (although I think its a bit greasy). Not so much the food court, but Gallery Sushi that's also attached to the mall is best sushi in downtown (IMHO). I live around there, it's actually quite cheap and yet quality is up there. $5.50 for 2 rolls, take out, .. and their dinners are quite yummy. You can take out and eat in food court as well! :)

          4 Replies
          1. re: jennjen18

            jennjen18, thanks so much for mentioning Karine's and Satay Korean. I haven't tried either place. Good to know of a cheap breakfast near the gallery, when most restaurants near the AGO don't open until 11 or 11:30 am.

            Also, thanks for mentioning that you like Gallery Sushi. I've walked by dozens of times, and have often wondered how it is, but I've never tried it out.

            Gallery Sushi
            275 Dundas W, Toronto, ON M5T3K1, CA

            1. re: prima

              Gallery Sushi has the best all-you-can-eat around the city .. at $18.99 for dinners (including wknds!), and the only thing is -- its mainly raw fish, i.e. sushi, sashimi (salmon, snapper, white tuna, crab), hand roll, rolls -- there isnt much cooked items, such as teriyaki. They DO have fried things like tempura and tofu and udon soups.. The raw fish is always uber fresh, so for that price, I'm quite happy with just stuffing myself with sushi/sashimi/rolls..

              1. re: jennjen18

                I wish I'd remembered to try Gallery Sushi today when I was nearby, and needed a very quick take-out meal. Didn't feel like going into the Grange foodcourt, and completely forgot about the nearby Pizzaiolo.

                Will also add Yummy Yummy Dumplings on Huron to this runnin list, as a good place within a 10 minute walk of the AGO.

            2. re: jennjen18

              The only reason that I excluded Chinese is because my friend had been eating a lot of Chinese food lately. We both love Chinese food and I would appreciate any recommendations close to the AGO. Personally, I like Wah Sing on Baldwin Street, but I haven't been there in quite a while, and I've heard that it changed owners and has really gone downhill. King Noodle on Spadina is good too and reasonable.

            3. Would you consider Korean? There's a Ka-Chi on Dundas almost kitty-corner to the AGO. I believe there's also an Owl of MInerva in the mall at Dundas and Spadina.

              7 Replies
              1. re: neighborguy

                Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! I'll be going to the AGO again after the holidays, and you've given me a lot of places to try. We went to the early showing today at 10 and my friend wanted to go down to Queen Street to visit a few shops there, so we thought that we'd have lunch somewhere along the way. We ended up at the Epicure (on Queen between Spadina and Bathurst), a nice cafe. Had their tuscan chicken sandwich with roasted eggplant, tomato, garlic aoli, lettuce on foccacio with sides of french fries and salad for $10! Nice cozy atmosphere, very comfortable place to have a leisurely lunch and chat. I would highly recommend it.

                1. re: neighborguy

                  Thanks! I've never eaten at a Korean restaurant, but I'll make a point of trying it sometime.

                  1. re: TOFoodie1

                    korean is becoming the new thai. it is almost as ubiquitous these days...

                  2. re: neighborguy

                    For those who frequent Korean restaurants, do you have any suggestions/recommendations as to what to order?

                    1. re: TOFoodie1

                      I like bi bim bap ( a rice bowl with various vegetables, some grilled meat, an egg, some sauce), mandoo (similar to gyoza), chap chae (a type of glass noodle made from sweet potato) & galbi (bbq beef short ribs).

                      1. re: prima

                        Thanks for those suggestions. It gives me an idea about what to try.

                        1. re: TOFoodie1

                          Oh yes, it is Karine's in the food court that is quite popular. Vegetarian mostly. But I think I had bacon in my dish.

                          And my co worker went to Sin & Redemption, sister restaurant of Village Idiot (becuz it was full), she said it was very good.

                          Wikki Hut is good, asian tho. Only open on weekdays.