Which restaurants do you visit most frequently?
- prima Feb 2, 2012 07:25 AM
Anyone who has been following the top 10 now knows which restaurants are the favourites amongst the 39 people who responded to the top 10 thread.
I visited most of my top 8 restaurants only once or twice over the past 18 months.
Which restaurants have you visited the most frequently over the past 18 months?
No need to mention food court/fast food/coffee chains, but I'd be interested to see which restaurants Hounds visited more than 3 times in the past 18 months. I'm usually focused on trying new restaurants, rather than returning to old favourites frequently, so there are relatively few restaurants that I visited more than 3 times over a span of 18 months.
Over the past 18 months, here are my most frequented restaurants in TO:
Khao San Road- visited 4 times
Nota Bene- visited 4 times
Frank- visited 4 times
Detroit Eatery- visited 5 times
The Fry Basket- visited >6 times
Simple for me. I visit the places in my top 10 most frequently. I visit other restaurants when I hear good things about them. So, from my top 10:
Splendido > 25
marben > 20
Enoteca sociale > 15
Porchetta & Co > 25
Beast > 5
Ici Bistro 2
Keriwa Cafe 3
County General > 20
Colborne Lane > 3
Cava > 5
I also go to Jacobs & Co about once a month, but they didn't make my top 10.
I've ordered just about everything at Splendido. My favs are the steak and the chicken, however. And they added a mushroom salad recently that may be the best salad I've ever eaten. I enjoy Splendido because they keep their meats the same, but change up the accoutrements and supplementary menu items constantly - keeping everything fresh and seasonal. I also verily enjoy the service and personnel.
As for the County, it's a place nearby to us so it's convenient for us to attend, and get takeout from - the cooking skill is there, but it's just less complicated food than Splendido - and doesn't compromise on quality. I also think their burger is one of the best in the city, and their fried chicken sandwich is great as well.
Admittedly, I'm a bit of a Splendido fan boi, as others have noticed on this board, but i think justifiably so. :)
I might add that I'd love to be able to visit ici bistro much more often - but we're pretty spontaneous diners and IB requires a reso well in advance. We had a 7 course tasting menu there that was definitely in my top 3 meals of last year.
baller Splendido x 25, let's just say I'm jealous. Can I be your secretary, take me along as a business expense. I do agree with you, Splendido comes closest to a Michelin 1 star experience in Toronto. I guess I'm a fan boi too. Their foie mousse is the best rendition in Toronto.
Thien Than - weekly
Gourmet Garden - 5+
Swatow - twice a month
Stockyars - bi-monthly
Allen's - bi-monthly, alternate between them & Stockyards for burgers.
Ematei - bi-monthly
Yang's - bi-monthly
Guu - 10+
Khao San/Sukho - 5+
Gourmet Garden - 5+
Hoof - 5+
Pam's Roti - 5+
Sunrise - 5+
I don't have photographic memory like you guys, can't pin down the number on places that I've hit 5+ times.
Based on the 1, 2 and 3 star michelin restaurants that I've been to (not a great many, mind you), I would boldly say that Splendido would be a two. There are better Indian restaurants in Toronto than the 1-star Michelin Indian restaurant in London (just for comparison's sake). And, as soon as I have additional funds for a dining PA, I'll come knocking. Hehe.
Yes! I too would like to know!!
I studied, lived and worked in London for over 10 years. I ate Indian food almost twice a week!! IMHO, Toronto Indian restaurants compare to London's is like comparing Toronto's sushi with that in Tokyo!! That is! No Comparison!!! The spices, the complexity and overall taste just seemed to be lacking here in TO. The strange thing is, we have such a huge South Asian population in town too??!!!! Actually, even Vancouver Vij's, though good by 'Canadian' standard, still falls behind some of London's better ones. In fact some of the pseudo-'hole in the wall' outfit in places like Tooting or Earl's Court churned out amazing tasting dishes!!
Fellow chowhounder 'Klyeoh' seemed to summarize it best in some of his postings on the London board!
re: Charles Yu
Charles, the first thing I do after checking in to my hotel in London is to go curry hunting! Living next to Little India here in Toronto is so sad, because the food is such a let down compared to London where I lived for 5 years and ate myself silly on amazing curries - I even remember that some places used to garnish their rice dishes with real silver - (this was before the price of silver shot up and made photography and x-rays so much more expensive).
Irrespective, still CURIOUS to know, in you opinion, which Indian restaurants in Toronto have food that you think are better than London's Michelin star Indian??!!
I've eaten in the 1* Amaya, Quilon, Tamarind as well as Veeraswamy and Benares. I don't think any current Indian restaurants have food that can touch the food they offer. In particular, seafood dishes!!
Thanks justxpete!! Its been a while since I last ate at the Indian Rice Factory! Totally forgot about the place!! Time to make a long trip down to give it another try!!
I'm closer to Babur in Markham. However, found their style a bit too spicy for my palate. Prefer northern Indian more.
Wish me luck with IRF!! Its a loooong drive!
re: Charles Yu
It's been quite a while since I was there, Charles - I'm not certain of the current state. Will report back should I go there sooner than you.
I've never found Babur too spicey, myself. I haven't been there either in about 6 months. I think I'm "off" Indian food right now - Anyway, the best Indian meal I've had recently was a special dinner organized by the owner of the Cookbook store at Dhabba on King.
re: Charles Yu
I've had mixed luck with Indian Rice Factory.
The service has been consistently awful - the main reason I rarely return!
The food has been patchy - although still above most Indian places I've tried. Where once the spicing was well-layered, more recently it has just been 'hot'.
On the brighter side, the wine list is now extremely good.
For me, Aravind is currently the 'best' - but it's more expensive (to be fair, the ingredients are top-notch). So I still end up at Copper Chimney more than IRF.
Definitely. We don't often stay there longer than 90-120 minutes unless it's a special occasion (visitors from out of down, birthdays, etc.). We also usually have 3-4 courses... an app (sometimes shared), a main, and desert. Sometimes it's only two courses, sometimes more, but more often than not, we're out of there in under two hours. I'm sure if you let them know that you're in a bit of a hurry, they'd be able to accommodate quite easily.
I like trying new restaurants, so I wouldn't really say I frequent many. In the last 18 months, the restaurants I've dined at multiple times would only include:
Rodney's Oyster House
* Yuzu - 50+
Trimurti - 50+
Beer Bistro - 11
Paldo Gangsan - 8
* Enoteca Sociale - 8
Ajuker - 8
Nota Bene - 7
Phoenix - 7
* Porchetta & Co - 6
* Splendido - 6
* Mot Na Son - 5
* The Black Hoof - 5
* Very Fair - 3
Starred items are part of my top 10. Looking back on it, I feel like I should have included Trimurti (sort of) and Nota Bene on my list! Ah well.
Edit: I have a ton more at 3-times, but am too lazy to list. It'd be a lot. I do think I got all the 5+ ones though.
The only thing I don't like is that it can get reaaaally noisy in there, which is less my thing, but it's funny at times, seeing all the students singing, etc.
This thread inspires me to keep track of my eating for a year... I find it interesting the difference between where I eat a lot and what I would consider my top 10. It's not a huge diff, but it's there nonetheless.
Though, I moved back to North York. I think many on the frequency list would drop significantly now.
I like the way these different threads make you reflect on your eating habits. Upping the threshold number of visits to 5 over the past 18 months, I think my list would look like this:
Khao San Road
Tabule (those these days, it's more takeout)
Over the past 12 months
sukho thai (order in at least twice a month)
Katmandu (take out at least twice a month)
Khao san road ( over 10 times)
Guu (atleast 10 times)
foxley (atleast 4 times)
wow sushi (5 times)
school (brunch 4+)
Daio sushi (4+)
Many of these are due to proximity/ convenience
osteria e cicerie (3+)
la bettola (3+)
Interesting to see Daio Japanese on a list. I stopped going after John Lee's Omi returned. Now that Johnny is taking a break again, I'm at a loss for sushi downtown. How is Daio these days? Is the same sushi chef still behind the bar? The older gentleman that only speaks Japanese save to say to customers, "Best sushi in Canada!"
re: peppermint pate
He'll be returning. When, where, and in what form I cannot say. Even if he has ideas right now, he's a creative, intuitive man and may change his mind as the world around him changes. I have my fingers crossed for the fall, midtown, and a return to the casual fun of the original Church St days of Omi.
re: peppermint pate
Those Omi Church street days were golden. So great.
Googs, I think you might like Yuzu - sit at the sushi bar and try talking to the chefs. They're not all as fluent in English as John is though, so you'll have to put some effort in. It has been a couple months since I moved away from the area, but I would go weekly when I was around the corner from it. I likely wouldn't have got that often had I been further, but definitely it would have been a once-a-month place. Mind you, I ate there enough to earn my chopsticks there!
Sultan Shawarma and Falafel,
Hm, my most frequented is a mix between my top list and places that are nearby/cheap.
Khao San Road
My most-visited joints nowadays are 1. uptown, within a 15-20-minute drive of my humble lodgings and 2. not necessarily great, but at least satisfying (and occasionally imaginative). They include: Left Bank Bistro and Copper Chimney, both on Avenue Rd.; Tov-Li (for falafel) and Paese, on Bathurst St.; Sun Star (a little gem if you know what to order) and Congee Queen, both Chinese; Stack and Trio, on the same block of Yonge St.; and, slightly farther afield, Steeles Deli, Best Grill, Rebel House and Cho Sun OK (Korean). I've been to all of them considerably more than three times over the past 18 months. There are spots downtown I'd like to get to more often (like Enoteca Sociale), but it ain't worth the traffic aggravation.
Lately the only restaurant that I visit on a weekly basis other than the hot dog stand in front of 315 Front Street is Sangs Great Seafood Restaurant on Spadina north of dundas. Two lobsters HK style on a weekly basis. Yummy
What a great thread.
Although I am guessing proximity to work/living dictates most of the posts, some of the recurrent restaurants on this list signals prices good price point for the food and experience.
-Beer Bistro >5
-Oyster Boy >5
-Sadies for brunch (too many to count)
The more 'high end' selections:
-Enoteca Sociale >3
I actually keep a restaurant list on my phone.
This year I've been to:
This year I've also been to, and I don't think I'll return soon:
Not many places I've been to more than twice, I'm not counting Chinatown, or lunches, or ramen places. I do find it difficult to go to the same place even within a year, I'm also looking for new things.
I will share a trick my aunt taught me though. If you like restaurant, and you want them to recognize you but you don't want to go too frequently. GO THERE THREE DAYS IN A ROW! That way you can not go for a year and they'd still recognize you and give you good service, I've never done it, always wanted to try.
i don't think of it as pampering. i like the recognition in that i can always get a table, i never have to wait for anything, often get samples of things they are trying out, preferences are remembered and acted upon, get invites to special events...i feel valued...sometimes the experience needs to be about more than the food....how many times have i read on this board that somebody would go back but for the service? service seems to be among the top complaints in of this industry in toronto.
I think that is the definition of pampering! Yes I agree that for most people, service is more important than food. For them, its absolutely about being pampered. I always feel its a shame, as so much work can go into a restaurant and one bad server can turn a person off that. Thats why as a customer, I can look past a bad server and recognize what is good and what isn't.
I don't know..i've almost never had much problems with service in Toronto. I suspect those that do are expecting too much. Go get a good massage, then go get some good food IMO! Much better than mediocre food with good service.
i think of it as great customer service. what you call pampering is what customer service industries strive to attain.
but back to the topic to some extent...
we go through phases and will frequent places and end up going faithfully once or twice a week for 4 or 5 months (usually through 2 seasonal menus) and then tire of it and move on....going back a year or so later.
on last years list and in no particular order
origin liberty village
county general(that may have been 2011)
From my perspective:
I RETURN to a Restaurant because of the food (doesn't matter how good the service was).
I AVOID a Restaurant because of the service (OK if it was my favourite food in the world I might return - but less frequently - but I've never had that bad service in a top food restaurant).
Consequently I avoided Auberge de Pommier for maybe 15 years - where I was acused of lying by a server, but have returned since the manager left.
And this year I've avoided Rose & Sons; as both the sets of guests I took there refuse to return, because of the service, and I don't really want to dine alone.
But back to the topic - I visited half of my top 10 at least 4 times:
Chinese people dole out lai see to every single employee in a restaurant each year (from the managers down to the bussers) just to get preferential treatment. I don't see anything wrong with it, it's just how the culture is. It's bribing, no ifs ands or buts about it.
As to "continental" restaurants, people love preferential treatment but never like admitting to it. Admitting to it makes them feel like privileged fat cats. Whether you're one or not is up to you to decide. It's hard to look yourself in the mirror at times.
I have no shame when I get preferential treatment. You scratch my back I'll scratch yours, that is how the world works.
As for perks for being in the industry, that's par for course. People get paid like crap cooking, it's their only benefit.
Regarding Jennabean, if you hate it so much you wouldn't mention getting preferential treatment on the board multiple times because of your industry bf.
I'm not counting, but I've read you referencing this multiple times. I don't even read most of the posts on here.
"Woe is me" i get free plates sent to my table. Not exactly the worst problem in life.
Any business should treat repeat customers, friends, family, industry with extra care, not just restaurants. This is how you build long term clientele.
Now to keep it back on topic, I go to Tien Thanh usually once a week. They don't recognize me, they don't give me any special treatment. I still go, I don't get asshurt about it.
Good food is good food.
Haha! Fair enough! It isn't woes me but it is very uncomfortable b/c I'm picky and the bf is even worse. So it can be uncomfortable when neither of us want to eat the dish and don't have more than a bite or two. That's rude and it sucks but we've done it. I don't think it is as big of a issue when you're in a bigger market but TO is small so it is almost unavoidable.
I only wish we could get to our favourite restaurants as often as some people seem to be able to. I envy your schedules! We can't even keep up to covering all the places we'd like to try once.
I haven't kept exact tallies, but if we are talking 5+ visits in the past 18 months, here are the ones I can think of:
Hanoi 3 Seasons
What an incredible selection. For us would be:
Pulcinella (anyone who hasn't ventured to Etobicoke for this gem doesn't know what they're missing) 25+
Splendido 10+ awesome wine list if you have a sense of adventure and Mik is a genius of a sommelier
Mercatto - great pizza 5+
Colborne Lane 4 (must say, used to be my 'go to' resto when i wanted to take someone for a mind blowing meal - won't be back until they figure out what they want to be - way too much money to spend on 'meh' food)
Nota Bene 7+ always dependable
Lucien 3+ sadly (and imo unfairly) has fallen off the radar
Via Allegro 5 - it's impossible to go wrong (if you have the budget)
Sushi Kaji 2, not for want of trying. Best Japanese food since living in Tokyo
Interesting to read through and see where everyone's going!
Here are my top restos that make the 10+ visits list:
- Big Daddy's (for voodoo hour oysters)
- Hair of the Dog (brunch)
- 5 Doors North
Pastis, The Regency (Indian Food), Buo Thai, Stockyards, Corner House, Pasta Bar.
Cantine is my 'usual' and frequent lunch (not dinner) place with friends.. it's in my neighbourhood so it's close, comfortable and convenient.
My most frequented restaurants have changed considerably over the last year.
Now, my most frequented restaurant is probably Pizzeria Libretto Danforth. I can't think of any other restaurant I've visited more than 3 times over the past year. The only restaurants I can remember visiting twice over the last 12 months are Kalyvia, Burger's Priest, Yang's, Holy Chuck and Stockyards.
I'm out in Whitby, so there is a limited selection but I drive to Brooklyn, and visit Baldwin Street Burger maybe 2-3 times in a week. They do a feature every day, which could be a new burger, or some other dish. There always on point.
In 2012, my most visited restos:
Pizza Libretto Danforth
The Queen and Beaver
We don't keep "records" of where we go but I'm sure we've been to all of these ones more than 5 times:
Woodlot - 10+
Utopia - 5+
Marben - 5+
Buca - 5
Enoteca Sociale - 5
Tati - 5
The Harbord Room - 5
Splendido - 5
Le Select - 5
Grapefruit Moon (Breakfast)
I can add a few more since I eat out at lunch on a regular basis:
The Gabardine - 10+
Khao San Road - 10+
Ravi Soups - 10+
Brick Street Bakery - 10+
Suddenly I'm feeling fairly spoiled.
We usually end up at Tati when we want something relatively quick and inexpensive on a weekday evening or when the bar at Harbord Room is full. I generally stick with classic bistro dishes when we go and SO usually goes for the vegetarian special. Their steak frites is pretty decent, as is their boeuf bourguignon. The cassoulet is probably my favorite dish at Tati ... how can you go wrong with beans, duck, sausage, and tomatoes :)
I would avoid their hamburger (even if it is on the daily special) and I'm not a fan of their duck confit (the duck is fine but the dish needs something).