HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >

Discussion

Where are you still eating that you were 20 years ago and is still good?

Love the thread about where you were eating 20 years ago, but a lot of those are memories that will remain as the places are no longer open. So, to make this more useful to enjoy those memories and inspire others to try them, where are you still eating that you were eating 20 years ago and has the food change at all or is it still good?

I'll start with Jerusalem, which is still one of my all time favourites and still has the same menu and same great food that I first ate there in 1985.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Le Paradis still delivers more than 20 years later. The most consistent bistro in town. And prices don't seem to have changed all that much either.
    Paese on Bathurst Street opened just more than 20 years ago. It's not the mad buy it was then - prices have escalated over the years, sometimes alarmingly - but it's still solid if you know what to order. No corkage on bring-your-own-wine six nights a week seems to ameliorate the food price rises somewhat.
    The Pasta Bar at Scaramouche remains my all-time celebratory joint more than 20 years later. Consistently imaginative takes on traditional dishes.
    And I'm with you on Jerusalem on Eglinton Ave. I was there the first month it opened, and it has been astoundingly consistent in quality over the years - though I don't get there all that much anymore. Because parking around there has become hell.

    1 Reply
    1. re: juno

      Actually I never have a problem parking around Jerusalem. Sometimes there is street parking and also just a few steps away there is the city parking lot right to the east of Pizza Pizza. Then there are all the side streets south of Jerusalem.

      When did Jerusalem open?

    2. Scaramouche was not on my original list as there were many I didn't remember as I quickly thought of a few to mention. But it's still open and doing well.

      Were you really at Jerusalem when it first opened? I recall going there with my parents sometime in the 70's.

      1. Armenian Kitchen, though I have to admit the chicken shwarma is not what it used to be or my tastes have changed. But I still love the Baba Ganoujh.

        1. Sam Woo BBQ in North Scarborough. One of the first really decent Cantonese style Chinese food places in the area and virtually unchanged from at least 20 years ago. So much competition has come (and gone) but this place still attracts a loyal following including myself. (Younger sister restaurant....Sam Woo Seafood is in the same mall).

          12 Replies
          1. re: T Long

            Agree on Sam Woo. Still the best char siu and duck that i've had. BTW what happened to the original 20 years ago thread. it was the best one in a while.

            1. re: gourmaniac

              A Mod removed it. It turns out that nostalgic threads are against the guidelines.
              ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Chowhound's goal is to help people find great chow right now. Gossip about rumored restaurants is off topic for our site, as is "do you remember?..." nostalgia discussion. Neither lead to better eating, and Chowhound works best when we focus on that narrow mission.

              1. re: prima

                Thanks. I was looking for that thread yesterday after gourmaniac mentioned it....thought they could have easily moved it to one of the "topical" boards, especially given the interest and good-will bantering on the subject.

                1. re: prima

                  But then why is that restaurants you wish would make a come back still up? Seems similar?

                  1. re: ElizabethS

                    Moderators have changed. The newer ones have different biases. They tolerate off-topic conversations to a greater extent and are super-sensitive to criticism of existing posts.

                    And, it appears to me that they have a much higher threshold for spam - many 'spurious' posts seem to survive now.

                    1. re: estufarian

                      Actually, the moderation team hasn't changed (although our senior community manager has stepped down very recently). Since this question came up in 2012, we've made revisions to our posting guidelines. Please head over to the Site Talk board for discussions about posting on Chowhound. That helps us keep the focus here on the chow scene in Toronto. Thanks!

                      1. re: The Chowhound Team

                        Don't you mean Ontario? Or do we get our own board now?!?!?!?!

                        1. re: The Chowhound Team

                          No problem (in theory anyway). Where can we find a link to these 'revisions'?

                          The site Board seems to agree with the sentiments expressed above e.g.
                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/986489

                          1. re: estufarian

                            You can find the Chowhound FAQ at http://chowhound.chow.com/faq and sorry, LexiFirefly, of course you're right, and we should have written Ontario and not Toronto.

                  2. re: gourmaniac

                    Forget about the duck!! Go early Tuesday or Thursday for the 'Roast GOOSE' instead!! Much better textural feel. Don't forget the skewered honey glazed roast duck liver!!!

                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      Charles, how early should I go on the 2-day you recommended? Is it late morning like 11-nish or early afternoon 5-ish? Do I have to ask for the brown sauce? Not speaking the language sometimes we get different customer service. Thanks

                2. The Ping Gai from Queen Mother. Still loving it 20 years on.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: fickle

                    Nice thread, Flexitarian. California Sandwiches (Little Italy) is still great. Olde Yorke Fish and Chips on Laird is unbeatable too.

                    1. Top of the list for me is still Splendido - from Arpi Magyar, through David Lee and now Victor Barry and is still wowing.
                      Looking back at where I ate last year, I can add a few more:

                      Scaramouche - now seems less 'special' but more consistent
                      Barberian's - probably better now
                      Cafe Pleiade (same owner/chef but moved a little down the same street) - comfort food that never disappoints - neither does the menu change!
                      People's Diner - still my 'go-to' breakfast spot
                      Swiss Chalet - the servers seem MUCH younger today - I can't believe I'm 20 years older
                      McDonald's - too sanitized now. Used to be greasy. But the Egg McMuffin still rules.
                      Tim Hortons - MUCH better food today (did they really serve food back then?) although the doughnuts have deteriorated. (And at least I've given an honest reply!). OK maybe a couple of these are 'Not Bad' rather than 'Good'.

                      Sadly ALL of my favourite Asian and SE Asian places have passed on - actually just remembered the Thai Shan Inn, which survives in name although diferent location and a couple of ownwership changes over 30 years - although the current manager has ben there for more than 10 years.

                      Several others mentioned above (e.g. Jerusalem, Le Paradis) - but didn't actually go in 2011.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: estufarian

                        Ok I have to ask: Chalet for the sauce and fries (like me) or the ribs? It can't be the chicken itself???

                        Re: Barberians by coincidence I'm going there this week. Being a "wino" is it better value to bring a bottle and pay the $40 corkage? My group will probably not pay more than $120/bottle.

                        1. re: Apprentice

                          Comes down to value. Their list is posted, and contains many reasonable treasures. If you have some of your own, your savings could be huge. If you would be bringing in something current, you are looking at around three times markup.

                          1. re: Apprentice

                            Chalet for the fries (still the best around for me).
                            Sauce has been variable - which suggests it's still made in small batches. For me better when it has more Worcestershire Sauce (at least I speculate that's the ingredient).

                            Barberians updates their winelist prices frequently. Almost always bring my own, but if in a group (larger than 2) usually buy one bottle from the list. One can usually find some good values if work hard at it (avoid the big names ALWAYS). Typically look at Spanish, Rhone and lesser appellation California (plus some regional Sonoma).

                            1. re: estufarian

                              Yes the fries are good! Thanks for the tips re: barberians. I enjoy wine and drink it often but I don't know enough to review a massive winelist and spot values. Your information helps greatly.

                              1. re: Apprentice

                                Just took a look at the wine list and slim pickings (By price - clearly a magnificent wine list).
                                Australia shows some promise - Two Hands are pretty good.
                                I usually prefer Western Australia - and the Lenton Brae stands out (by price) although I know NOTHING about it.
                                Maybe some research ahead of time?!

                                The Spanish and miscellaneous California don't look promising either.

                                Alain Graillot (Rhone) is VERY reliable and the various Saint Joseph's are also worth investigating .

                                Good luck!

                          2. re: estufarian

                            Still love Swiss Chalet - has a special place in my heart!
                            Used to love the treasure toy chest + shirley temples growing up.

                            Still enjoy their fries A LOT (I think they have gotten better) and hate to admit this but I could probably drink their sauce (don't worry, I actually don't but everything gets dunked in there). I always order extra.

                            1. re: pumpkinspice

                              I'm mad at Swiss Chalet - called to order delivery last week and they are now charging $2.95. With two chicken dinners that took it over $40. I cancelled the order and went to a new local place for take out. It was great.

                              1. re: ElizabethS

                                Darn! I don't go to Swiss Chalet often (once a year, maybe twice) but I definitely don't find it 'cheap' as it used to be.

                                I have bought the sauce packets at the grocery store, and although close - it never tastes the same.

                                1. re: ElizabethS

                                  It blows my mind that Pizza Pizza charges $3.75 for their delivery.

                                  1. re: canadianbeaver

                                    Seriously? So I guess charging is the norm now. Well, it's a crap job, hopefully a good chunk of that goes to the driver.

                            2. Scaramouche Pasta Bar
                              Steak Pit
                              Senior's Steak
                              Mistura (OMG…)

                              …and my guilty pleasures:
                              Costo Hotdogs (I know they arer not the same brand as 20 years ago, but still tastes the same when eating one covered in saukraut while cruising the aisles
                              Swiss Chalet (for sure their chickens are getting smaller and the sauce…not so much. But DAMN! are those chickens tasty)
                              Cineplex movie theatre popcorn. After being in the States a lot over the past year, let me tell you that I appreciate the fresh popcorn and real butter (at least it tastes that way) that we've got here in T.dot.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Toronto Fastfoodie

                                Off slightly on the dates. Mistura opened in 1997. Massimo was still at Prego in 91.

                              2. The Kom Jug Yuen on Spadina, IMO, has some of the best and cheapest BBQ pork and duck in the city. Same owner and a very few of the same staff are still there from back when I was in high school.

                                Sababa's has been consistently magnificent with their takeout, particularly their vine leaves which are exquisite (I can snarf down a dozen without even thinking) and their falafel, which (and I'll hear no argument on this point) is the best in the city. When I was a kid, they cost two bucks. Now, 20 years later, it's three and a quarter.

                                1. Grazie, The Pearl, Lee Garden

                                  1. Great thread. Steak Pit, House of Chan, United Bakers, Scaramouche Pasta Bar, Swiss Chalet (yes, me too), Terroni (Queen Street - though I may have started going there a year or two later), Allen's and Lee Garden. I'ma lso still a fan of the ping gai at Queen Mother, though I hardly go there these days.

                                    1. Agree about Jerusalem - especially the sauteed tomatoes
                                      Agree about United Bakers - the soups
                                      Agree about Lee Garden - been going for >30 years and still love their fried squid among others
                                      Agree about Scarmouche - been going since the 80s and although lots has changed, it is still very good
                                      Agree about California Sandwiches
                                      Agree about Le Paradis

                                      Would add:

                                      Swatow - for the shrimp dumpling noodle soup and special fried noodle
                                      Astoria - for the souvlaki and also the chicken breast (been going since the mid 70s)
                                      Sher-e-Punjab - a nice, reliable place in my neighbourhood
                                      Country Style - the last Hungarian bastion in the Annex
                                      Jumbo Empanadas - since the days of the cart in front of the egg place
                                      Pearl Court - cuz the dim sum is pretty decent and also just around the corner
                                      Lalibela - one of the better Ethiopian places
                                      Greg's Ice Cream - coffee toffee! and also roasted marshamallow!!

                                      -John

                                      1. The Real Jerk. I'm going this weekend, to catch one last meal in case they close at the end of the month. Thanks to foodyDudey for the heads up. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto...

                                        If you want to help save The Real Jerk:
                                        http://www.savetherealjerk.com/

                                        I still love the fried tomatoes at Jerusalem, too. Also love their fried eggplant.

                                        -----
                                        Real Jerk
                                        709 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1H1, CA

                                        Jerusalem Restaurant
                                        955 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M6C2C4, CA

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: prima

                                          Over the last year, we lost Peoples and Senior's.

                                          The Real Jerk should be re-opening soon at 625 Queen E.
                                          https://twitter.com/RealJerkToronto

                                        2. So, Senior's and People's Diner have closed since this thread was started, and The Coffee Mill will close Sept 7, 2014.

                                          Better support the surviving restaurants that are still good after 22 years, if you want them to stick around!

                                          1. Scaramouch
                                            Jacques Bistro in Yorkville

                                            All my other big faves are gone....

                                            1. In no specific order or location:

                                              Burger Shack
                                              Boccone
                                              Centre Street
                                              Rol San
                                              Bitondos
                                              Webers
                                              Congee Queen--may not be quite 20 years
                                              La Paloma

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: robb

                                                I still haven't gotten around to trying Burger Shack or Bitondo's. Other restaurants mentioned in this thread that I've been meaning to try for years include Steak Pit, Armenian Kitchen and Lee Garden.
                                                It's time for me to revisit Jerusalem, Jacques Bistro du Parc and Queen Mother.
                                                Still remember my first visit to Jerusalem in 1989, and my first visit to Queen Mother in 1995.

                                                Just to keep the info in this thread current, The Real Jerk is open for business at 842 Gerrard St E. http://www.therealjerk.com/