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Feb 12, 2012 03:02 PM

Best Toronto fine dining with tasting menu AND a view and/or great service/decor

For a Saturday evening in mid-March, celebrating a major milestone birthday with 5-6 family members who are extremely worldly adventurous eaters who prioritize phenomenal food quality, but also appreciate refined atmosphere, a spectacular view from a high floor (or of the lake), professional service akin to American fine dining standards, etc. Either a tasting menu or chef's table OR amazing a la carte (mains over $40). One person is allergic to shellfish but everyone is willing to do the same tasting menu otherwise. If tasting menu is unavailable, the mains should be more varied than the usual steak.

Debating among: Stock (view), Toca, Scaramouche (view), Splendido, Hashimoto at JCCC (if they can accommodate the seafood allergy), or even Opus or C5. Can't consider Canoe due to Saturday restriction, and not interested in revisiting Colborne Lane primarily because it doesn't fit the "fine dining in refined atmosphere or with view" requirement. And Kaji is just too close to home and probably too seafood-dominant.

Unfortunately, we can't leave Toronto to visit Langdon Hall, Eigensinn Farm, winery restos, etc. The restaurant must be within 30 minute drive of downtown.

Please help narrow the choice!

A place that includes amuse bouche, sorbet, petits fours or other "gifts" from the chef, offers foie gras (not the usual pan seared or terrine), fresh truffles, or other hard-to-find or exotic ingredients, and showcases a composed, complex cooking style (versus simple grilling, for instance) would be a bonus. Good champagne also welcome.

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  1. Scaramouche, Splendido or Auberge du Pommier are going to be your best options. I would cancel C5, Opus and ToCa from that list. Stock will probably need more time to become polished.

    1 Reply
    1. re: The Macallan 18

      Auberge du Pommier menu.

      What did you eat at Scaramouche, Splendido, and Auberge under their current chefs that you found outstanding? Do any of those 3 have a chef's table or tasting menu?

      And what is "wrong" with Opus specifically? (I have only been there for dessert).

    2. I think you should consider 'George' as well!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Charles Yu

        Thanks Charles, but when I went to George a year ago, it was less than impressive.

        Are there any other brand new or newer fine dining restaurants I haven't listed that are also worth considering?

        1. re: Food Tourist

          I was also less than impressed with George, despite all the hype. Was highly disappointed. Tried it twice, same result.

      2. Scratch Toca. It's horrible. I would concentrate on Splendido or Scaramouche - But I'm not certain how Splendido fits your "spectacular view" requirement (as Scaramouche does).

        Splendido has seasonal tasting menus, I'm not certain whether Scaramouche currently does. I think they're currently featuring Lobsterlicious, although it may be over by now. Splendido has much better food (although some may disagree to some extent), but Scaramouche has a much better view (although the decor is significantly dated).

        I've also heard that Auberge is worth a visit since their new Chef took over, but have not been as yet (although, I do not believe they have an outstanding view, either).

        C5 is passable and confusing, and features mostly mediocre dishes. It's akin to a high-end cafeteria. The culinary skill just isn't there - although it does have a great view.

        Opus and Stock I've not been to, so cannot comment as such.

        "A place that includes amuse bouche, sorbet, petits fours or other "gifts" from the chef, offers foie gras (not the usual pan seared or terrine), fresh truffles, or other hard-to-find or exotic ingredients, and showcases a composed, complex cooking style (versus simple grilling, for instance) would be a bonus. Good champagne also welcome."

        - Splendido does all of this very well, but they currently aren't serving any petit fours. OTH, if you make any special requests, they are often able to accommodate in most instances.

        Also, here's a link to their currently offered winter game menu:

        5 Replies
        1. re: justxpete

          re: Scaramouche I believe Lobsterlicious is still running, but it's only available Mon-Thu, and the OP mentions a Saturday.

          re: C5 I had lunch at C5 last week, and found the food to be tastier than I remember on previous visits. Corbin might have something to do with this improvement, or if I might have ordered the right thing (their chicken pot pie) on the right day.

          I agree with justpete that C5 isn't in the same league as Scaramouche or Splendido, but the lunch I ordered was certainly better than passable or mediocre. As far as I understand, C5 is only open for lunch and special events these days, so the venue might not work for the OP's group.

          Maybe Mistura would work for the group? No view, but good food and good service.

          265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA

          88 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5, CA

          1. re: prima

            We've been to C5 twice in recent months, and were let down both times - although, the service on one occasion was impeccable - we both remarked that the service was far better than the food. Last time, I had the Cornmeal crusted chicken sandwich, and it was almost inedible. The chicken was dry and the cornmeal was tasteless. It was under-seasoned, and over-all, a very mediocre "dish". The SO had the vegetable cassoule, the veggies weren't cooked properly, and was also not seasoned properly. When you miss basic things like that consistently, it indicates to me that the kitchen probably isn't tasting food before it goes out. But, perhaps we've been unlucky, and you were fortunate - but I would hesitate visiting C5 on yet another occasion.

            1. re: justxpete

              That sounds awful. I would hesitate to return if those had been my experiences, too. Guess C5 is hit or miss. Hopefully someone in the kitchen reads Chowhound, and will start taste-checking the food before sending it out.

              1. re: justxpete

                Is C5 still opening for dinner? Their website mentions only Lunch and only shows a Lunch menu??

                1. re: ParkerQ

                  No, I believe someone else mentioned that they're lunch only (which I wasn't aware of).

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. Don’t think you can achieve everything on your list, so need to prioritize.

              If the view is important, then Scaramouche is easily the best bet – except the best views are from the two-person tables by the window. For a 6-top you’ll probably be on the 3rd ‘tier’ up – still a good view, but over the heads of the smaller parties on the lower tiers.

              For food, Splendido and Opus are way above the others (both have excellent service) – view at Opus exists, but I wouldn’t go there for that.
              Splendido has a seasonal tasting menu – Opus doesn’t do a ‘formal’ tasting menu, but will do one ‘with prior request’.

              C5 is now closed for dinner.

              Toca was unexciting. Stock menu is so ‘standard’ it looks boring – probably won’t even try.

              Haven’t tried Hashimoto in its current location, but found the old one was almost entirely fish and vegetables.

              George has been ‘up-and-down’ – again would pass (unless summer when the courtyard is spectacular).