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Apr 18, 2012 06:52 AM

Need help with Yorkville Dinner Recommendation

I'll be in town in a few weeks for just the weekend with my SO and wanted to spend the first night exploring the Yorkville neighborhood. I am trying to find a good place for cocktails and dinner that won't break the bank. One and Pangea looked good but more expensive than I want. Can you wonderful Toronto hounds recommend something a tad more reasonable?

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  1. Caren's Wine Bar is lovely. Avoid One and Pangaea. :)

    1. Always skip One unless for patio drinks....

      Pangaea is the best bet in the hood, but out of your price range.

      in no particular order:

      Jacques Bistro Du Parc
      Carens Wine & Cheese Bar
      Hemingways (patio is a happening place)
      Yamato (I like it but it gets mixed reviews here)
      just to name a few....

      3 Replies
      1. re: ingloriouseater

        Hemingways is a good bet in Yorkville? Are you checking to see if we're reading your posts? :-)

        1. re: prima

          not for food, but for the patio action...

          1. re: prima

            Just commented on the "Worst in Toronto" thread and forgot Hemingways. Yes, a million dollar patio, but the food is like high school or hospital cafeteria food... I ALWAYS have this argument with friends who want to go there... Great patio, but LOUSY food. But after many drinks (it's the curse of the patio), it somehow hits the spot. Agree that One is only for people watching and drinks... Gotta try this Caren's. Creme Brassiere is quite elegant. Can't beat their omelette. As I perused the posters, I see the OP is open to other places. I know it's not a foodie's shangri la, but you can't beat the patio at the Drake for fun... sorry, but when you're having fun, the food becomes secondary; HOWEVER, I still think the Drake's food is decent. For other options, definitely Ossington. The Foxley's crispy shrimp and sticky ribs - HEAVEN!!!!!! Libretto pizza - you can verify that with many other posts. Hope you report back OP.

        2. If you want pizza and pasta Ciao is an ok spot but my go to in the hood is Caren's.

          1. Caren's for sure!

            One has a great patio, great for people watching. Please don't eat there.

            7 Replies
            1. re: CocoaChanel

              Also agree with Carens. Its kind of sad that thats all I can recommend in the hood, and the last time I went I wasnt really that enthralled. I feel its gone down hill over time but still, there isnt much else to take its place sadly.

              1. re: hungryabbey

                Yeah, choices are limited in Yorkville.

                Two other options for the OP are a couple of blocks up Avenue road: L'Unita and Malena. My last meal at Malena was a bit disappointing, but I know they've continued to change up the menu with the new chef, so perhaps it's better. I love the room, and the bar is a nice place to have a drink before dinner.

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  Yes. I havent been to l'unita, but my meal at malena was on par with Carens, and I kind of think I like the atmosphere at malena better UNLESS you are going to eat outside at Carens, in which case their back patio probably gives them the edge.
                  Food is fine at la societe, but the outdoor dining experience is nice. If the weather is good when the OP comes I would recommend sitting on their patio for drinks.
                  Does anyone have any info on the people of Queen and Beaver opening a spot in Yorkville?

                  1. re: hungryabbey

                    Back patio at Carens is one of my favourite hidden spots in the city.

                    1. re: hungryabbey

                      It's to be called The Oxley and is located at 121, Yorkville. It's to be an upscale gastropub to cater, according to one of the owner's, for those who live in the area who don't want to have pricey, three course dinners every night. It has both a front and back patio. It's supposed to open around now.

                      1. re: ER2

                        I saw something on twitter about a soft opening.. does anyone have an update on whether or not this place is open?

                        1. re: hungryabbey

                          Went for a casual dinner on saturday. The decor in there is similar to the Q + B. Its very British, and very comfy, with a nice big fireplace that I know I am going to be all over come fall. The servers were all very cute, and attentive, and filled out water glasses consistently.
                          They have a great drink menu, and I wanted something sweet, so I had a blackberry mojito which was really delicious. The SO went with the Whisky Sour, which they did really well as well with lots of frothy egg whites (the one he ordered on Friday at Scarpetta had none).
                          We tried:
                          Melted Brie, Fennel and Honey on Toast- The brie was a stronger one, so it could have used a bit more honey to balance it out. But in general, I loved this, and it was a great snack for any time of day.
                          Squab and Rhubarb-Pippall Chutney- served with these little hickory sticks-type crisps, which made this dish a really nice balance of salty and sweet.
                          Fish and Chips- Really nice light batter and perfectly cooked fish, but the star of the dinner was no doubt the chips. We both agreed that these were some of the best fries we've tasted in a long time. They reminded me of the chip truck we visit on our way up to the cottage, which is always an awesome food memory to channel. they were super crispy outside, yet really fluffy and moist inside. Really, it doesn't get much better than this.
                          Cheddar and Bacon Burger and Chips- I'm not one to order a burger at a restaurant, but I was so glad that I did because this one was really good. Not a huge burger, but perfectly sized if you want to thoroughly enjoy those fries. I appreciated that they will cook them to the diners' requested temperature, so I went with medium (but would try medium rare next time). Even at medium, it was incredibly juicy and flavourful with just the right amount of fat. The cheese added a nice sharp bite, and the bun (while maybe a wee bit small for the patty) was buttery and delicious. My only complaint would be that the thick-cut bacon on top could have been cooked a little bit more for me (I actually don't like crispy bacon, but because it was so thickly cut, a lot of the fat had not yet rendered so it was a bit chewy).
                          Crunchy Walnut Maple Tart and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream- So I went with the sticky toffee pudding last time at the Q + B, which I adored (its favourite dessert, so I am a bit of a STP expert). However, I do try not to re-order (and thus, re-review) the same dishes, so I opted for the walnut maple tart. While not as good as the STP, it was really a delicious dish. The tart shell itself was flaky and perfectly sweetened (and I usually don't like pie/tart crust), and I loved the intense crunch that came from the caramelized walnuts on top. I could have used a bit more chewy-gooey factor from the filling (mmm like my favourite butter tarts from Flaky Tart), but you know, I'm not going to be too picky.
                          Chocolate Ice Cream- A very rich, dark chocolate flavour with a creamy consistency. I was a bit disappointed that the Oxley didn't have all of the cool ice cream flavours offered at the Q + B (they only had vanilla, chocolate and blue cheese cherry), but maybe they will work those in slowly.
                          So for 3 cocktails, 2 apps, 2 mains and 2 desserts, the bill was $130 including tax and tip. Pretty damn good for the amount of food we got. This is definitely our new choice for drinking and eating casually in the hood. Patio in the summer, fireplace in the winter. Pics on the blog (accessed from the site).


              2. Mideastro seems to have a low profile, but I've had several oustanding lunches there. Seriously good food and service, in my experience at lest. Can't comment specifically on dinner, however--maybe someone else can.

                It's at the less frantic end of Yorkville, across from the new Four Seasons. 27 Yorkville, east of Bay, 416-477-2427.