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Help some visitors to Toronto? Weekend of Feb.10th-12th.

Hi! We are a group of dancers and moms, and we are staying at the Westin Harbour Castle next weekend (10th through 12th.) Typically, on the Saturday night of our stay a big group will go out to eat together. The past two years we have just gone to a sports bar, and it can be quite a wait for all of us to be seated, and we are rarely seated together. This is due to our own lack of planning, of course. This year, it would be great if we had a better plan in place. The majority of our group is made up of kids from 12-18 years old, and their parents. Cost is a factor, this trip is already a fortune, so keeping it reasonably priced is a plus. Is there anywhere somewhat close to the hotel (reasonable cab fare) which could be a fun experience for the kids, while still being a place for the adults to have a drink, decent food and hang out together? There could be anywhere from 15-25 in our party. Thanks in advance for any advice!!

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  1. Sounds to me that the Old Spaghetti Factory would be a good option for your group. It's close to your hotel, quite walkable. Pretty large restaurant that could easily handle a group of that size and age range. I wouldn't suggest it for a gourmet night out, but for a group of mom's and teens, it would be a great choice, and reasonable prices. Here is the website http://www.oldspaghettifactory.ca/

    Good luck.

    11 Replies
    1. re: HandPay

      Thanks for the suggestion! The Old Spaghetti Factory does look like an inexpensive choice for our large party, but I see that they do not take reservations on Saturday evenings between the hours of 5:00-9:00 p.m. I'm not sure if this will be a problem or not, but I will pass it along to our group and see what they think. I have a feeling this may be a pretty typical scenario with many restaurants. Thanks again!

      1. re: MaddieCay

        Maybe you should give them a call, it's a slow time of year and a very large restaurant. They could probably give you a good indication if you would expect much of a wait with a group, even without a reservation. Or perhaps they would go ahead and take a reservation. February not the busiest month in the restaurant biz!

      2. re: HandPay

        I'm sorry that I can't provide a reasonable alternative (as I'm not too familiar with that area of the city), but I definitely would NOT suggest Old Spaghetti Factory.
        It's a tourist trap and the food is atrocious. I have been forced to go there before in the past, due to group events. This was before I REALLY started enjoying food and began trying non-chain restaurants and even then I realized that the food there was not that good.

        1. re: LearningHow

          To each their own.... i know the type of restaurant it is, and also being a parent that has been on too many out of town group kid events, it's quite the appropriate spot. You need to take into account the group and ages.... they are not out to be 'foodies'. I expect that they understand that it will not be fine dining, but decent for what it is.

          1. re: HandPay

            You might as well send them to Captain John's. It's still crap but it's closer!

            1. re: iMarilyn

              Was just typing a similar response. Here's the link:
              http://www.captainjohns.ca/index.html

              Another thought might be Against the Grain pub in the Corus building down the street.
              http://www.atgurbantavern.ca/

            2. re: HandPay

              I guess this is where we will agree to disagree.

              I did not expect (nor did the OP mention) that she was looking for a "foodie destination", but the food there is not even what I would consider "decent", for the price.
              Crap food is still crap food, no matter how cheap it is.
              They are called OLD SPAGHETTI FACTORY... so how is it they manage to screw up what should be their speciality, which would you think is spaghetti?
              Overcooked, soggy noodles served with luke-warm sauce.... yuck.

              1. re: HandPay

                I don't have a current opinion about the OSF as its been so long since I've been there, but unless it has changed dramatically from say 15 years ago, I would think it would be OK if not great for a big bunch of kids. We use to love going there with our young son and his friends.

              2. re: LearningHow

                Sadly, while I agree with LearningHow on the overall quality, based on your $ criteria and group size, The OSF is actually one of your more likely options ... another one could be Mr. Greenjeans which is located in the Eaton Centre http://www.mrgreenjeans.ca/menu.html#

                1. re: CocoTO

                  Thank you for the suggestions and advice. I understand all of your points, and HandPay is correct in the point of view that the kids won't really care about the quality of food. They will have been dancing for 8+ hours straight, so just getting them somewhere that they can eat relatively quickly then back to the hotel for bed is a bigger consideration than the quality of food, I hate to say. I'm sure the parents would prefer a better dining experience, but we are slaves to the kids on this weekend! ;-) I will check out the restaurant in the Eaton Centre also because I believe the hotel offers a free shuttle there.

                  1. re: MaddieCay

                    I really think it's worth a phone call to them to ask if they'd consider a reservation for a group as large as yours. If it were a birthday party, I'd think they'd be willing to book off the seats and tables necessary in advance.

            3. what about the new giant boston pizza on front street?

              1. While I can't recommend the food since I haven't dined here, based on your criteria so far I'd suggest Real Sports Bar & Grill. If this misses the mark, I'm happy to give it some more thought.
                http://www.realsports.ca/bar

                -----
                Real Sports Bar & Grill
                15 York St, Toronto, ON M5J, CA

                2 Replies
                1. re: Googs

                  Only issue is that the Leafs are at home that night....it'll be insanity, which the kids might enjoy but getting a table will be impossible.

                  1. re: eppicurious

                    Understood, but they take reservations.

                2. Pearl is an OK Chinese restaurant right next door, but a bit more expensive than most and Westernized (ie tourist-friendly) but it has a nice view of the harbour.

                  There's a gazillion sports bars like Bier Markt within a one mile radius but might be a bit rowdy for teenage girls.

                  -----
                  Pearl
                  207 Queens Quay W, Toronto, ON M5J 1A7, CA

                  1. Another possibility that's not too far away is the Mill Street Pub in the Distillery District, they may take a group booking.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: bytepusher

                      iirc it's closed for renovations.

                      1. re: bytepusher

                        The Biermarkt, and likely the Mill St Pub, will be hopping on a Sat evening, and perhaps a group of 25 largely "underagers" would feel out of place?

                      2. I live in the area and would suggest checking with Terroni's on Adelaide west. It's a cool atmosphere and the food is decent. The kids would love the pizza/ pasta choices and the parents can enjoy a better atmosphere than old spag factory.

                        The keg would also be a good choice and they can handle big parties- its a chain steakhouse but a more moody atmosphere.

                        1. Old Spaghetti Factory is good for large groups. You should be able to find a coupon for 15% off in your hotel lobby (those coupon racks with small coupons of the same size). I recall that while they may not take reservations they will put you on the wait list when you call.

                          I also like Jack Astor's once in a while. Fun for teens and adults.They have a location on University Ave @ Front and another at 10 Dundas E which is good if you have a shuttle to Eaton Centre.

                          Menu here:
                          http://www.jackastors.com/locations/1...

                          1. If cost is a factor Longo's (Maple Leaf Square) may be a thought
                            Yes it is "not" a restaurant but they have Great pizza , Salad bar , Sandwich's , Sushi , Soup , etc..........
                            They also have an area to eat , with a Starbucks and wine bar (Corks)
                            Walking distance from Hotel
                            Possibly for Lunch
                            http://www.torontopath.com/view/longo... (some menu pic's

                            )

                            15 York Street

                            1. Again, thank you all for the opinions and suggestions. I will look into everything posted and see what our group feels will be the most suitable. I appreciate having many options to look into! Thank you for taking the time to respond.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: MaddieCay

                                So MaddieCay, where did you end up going and how was it?

                                1. re: HandPay

                                  Well, we had reservations at both Mr. Greenjeans and Eastside Mario's on Front Street, but typical of a large group travelling together, plans started to change at the last minute and some families were dropping out of the dinner. I had walked to Sobey's, near the Westin, on Saturday morning for some groceries, and discovered the little glass mall (Harbour Shops?) in the back and the Watermark Irish Pub. I asked if they could accomodate a group of 15-20 and they were more than happy to, as it didn't look terribly busy there with the snowy weather. The other two restaurants graciously accepted our cancellation, and a smaller group of us went to the Watermark. The service wasn't great--I think our waiter was overwhelmed with the number of people we had (ended up being just 16 or so) and some meals were delivered far past when everyone else had finished eating, but all in all, we enjoyed our dinner out. We did have a laugh when the hostess, or possibly manager, greeted us and couldn't find our reservation, and acted slightly put out and like it would be very difficult to seat such a large group (though we had called to confirm the reservation earlier) but they would "see what they could do for us." We looked around the completely empty restaurant, except for one dining couple and one individual guy at the bar, and wondered why she was acting like they couldn't possibly find the room to seat 16 people. You'd have thought they would have been thrilled to actually put their waitstaff to work rather than have them standing around watching the hockey game. ;-) I don't want to complain though, we enjoyed the dinner out, and afterwards we put the kids in a cab, and the parents braved the brisk walk back to the hotel. Incidentally, Toronto is a beautiful city, and everyone in our group thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.