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special occasion dinner, visiting from montreal

My girlfriend and I are attending a conference in Toronto next month, her birthday falls during this time. I'm looking for suggestions on restaurants. I was thinking either higher end fine dining or Japanese (two things that Montreal does terribly) We've been to Scaramouche and Lai Wah Heen. The latter was great, Scaramouche was fine but not really exceptional (except for that coconut cream pie). Are any of the fine dining places that are routinely named on the board particularly 'Toronto'?

Or with Japanesse I was thinking of Sushi Kaji. I'm a little hesitant with the hassle of getting there as we will be staying downtown. For someone who dines at the better Japanesse places in NYC will this place be amazing? Would we be better off just going to one of the more modest sushi places downtown for a quick bite one of our busier nights and save the birthday meal for the fine dining option?

thanks for the help!
Cheers, Tim

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  1. I like Yuzu on Adelaide just East of Duncan Great Japanese Esp fresh sushi I would make a Rez next thing to fine dining good ambiance and service Miranda

    1. I'm originally from Montreal, and I think you're right that Toronto does high-end fine dining and Japanese better. I would also add Cantonese food to that list, but you've already tried Lai Wah Heen which is about as good as it gets downtown. Unless you're willing to trek to Richmond Hill/Markham for some of the best high-end Cantonese, best to stick to your original plan.

      Kaji is pretty damn unique and you know what, it's really not that far to Etobicoke. If you want to drink, then a cab each way is around $30. So a $60 supplement to your meal. Alternately, the 501 streetcar will get you out to Etobicoke in a reasonable amount of time for a lot cheaper.

      Zen is probably the best sushi in Toronto, and comparable to some of the upper-tier places in Manhattan when we're talking about the omakase. Again, Scarborough is not THAT far. Depends on how bad you want it, I suppose.

      The suggestion of Yuzu is not a bad one if you decide on the "more modest" option - it's good but not really destination dining as far as Japanese goes.

      Fine dining...I'm a big fan of Canoe. Yes, it's often full of Bay St. suits, but the food is frequently astonishing, the service is impeccable, and the view can't be beat. Alternately, I've had several epic meals at Splendido, and again the service is what one would expect at that level. Either one of those restaurants would be a great choice.

      1. Guu is fun for japanese. Nota Bene and Chiado for finer dining. Make sure you tell the conference organizer about the birthday-I am sure the hotel banquet department will do something special for her.

        1. For fine dining my fav places are George and Splendido. You won't go wrong with either. For sushi downtown Yuzu would be your best bet.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JennaBean

            I second the splendido (fine dining) option
            and Yuzu is also really good for everyday Japanese....Also for a regular night if you want to try Japanese Izakaya as opposed to a regular sushi place I would highly reccomend Guu which is fanatstic and I dont recall Montreal having a similar restaurant (but I have not been back to Montreal in 2 years)

          2. Yuzu doesn't really scream occasion dining at me even though it's great food. I think your best bets are Canoe or George. Canoe is just so gorgeous - the food is good and the view is unbeatable. It's a solid Toronto experience. I've said this before but Splendido is just such a horrific room to me - it's a barrier to my enjoyment of the food. It's like dining in a decked-out gymnasium. If you want to go off the beaten path then you could try Black Hoof or Enotecca Sociale. These aren't "occasion" type places but they are where a lot of the really great cooking in Toronto is these days - and they're very fun.