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Using 2012 and 2011 best lists, trying to decide on dinner for 3 nights. Help please.

Here are my requirements:

From Philly, where there are more great Italian restaurants than I could possibly ever get to, so Italian is out. Portuguese is totally underepresented in Philly and we ate at Chiado several years ago and liked it a lot. Chiado seems to be the only "best" Portuguese in the lists. Also, want one very special dinner for my husband's birthday. We like sushi, but not enough to have it be one of just 3 meals in a city we seldom get to. And, finally, with so many good choices in the city and since, we'll have no car, no place further than a 10 minute cab ride or easy public transit access.

We will try Lai Wah Heen for lunch, so that leaves us with the following:

George, Chiado, Woodlot, Nota Bene, Splendido, Colborne Lane. Please help us decide.

I see that Black Hoof appeared both years, but the menu seemed a bit heavy. I know that there are mixed opinions about Canoe, so we will go there for a drink.

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  1. Black Hoof portions are mostly tapas-sized. And there's the Hoof Raw Bar next door for a similar approach to seafood.

    1. I don't think Nota Bene belongs on your list. It is a corporate restaurant, some place you take business clients to impress them with how much you spent on the meal. Not a place I would want to go to experience a city as tourist.

      Canoe for a drink is perfect because it's kind of a corporate restaurant too but the view is fabulous. And it's fun to watch the Bay St. boys at the bar unwind after work.

      Dim sum is very important to include in your Toronto experience so the day you go to Lai Wah Heen for lunch you might want a very light dinner.

      Chiado is very good and still the best Portuguese restaurant in the city.

      What about Edulis? It's fairly new and I haven't been but it sounds very good.. Also Scaramouche is always praised on this board for special occasions.

      1. I would choose Acadia, Splendido and Woodlot if I only had three meals to eat in Toronto.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Skeets

          That sounds like an awesome top 3 to me- some of my favourite spots in the city for sure.

        2. Not when the Japanese place is Sushi Kaji. Can easily rub shoulders with your Philly ' Morimoto'!!

          1. Another vote for Edulis

            I would avoid Colborne Lane for the moment, I haven't heard any reports since their reboot but do hear that the chef is stretching himself too thin opening 3 new Origin locations this year.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bytepusher

              Agree on Edulis, as it will be a nicely different experience from the fine dining places on the list.

              To the OP, I wouldn't write off Canoe as an option. I still think it's one of the better fine dining choices in the city. It's been around a long time and it's often full of suits and expense accounts, so that may be the source of some of the negativity you've read -- for some it may simply not be hip or trendy enough to stay on the radar. :)

              1. re: bytepusher

                i would disagree about cl and origin...the origin liberty village is a great addition to the nabe-

              2. Thanks all. I just made a reservation at Eudulis for our last night. The woman I spoke to sounded so nice and passionate about the food. Looking forward to it. I am leaning towards George and Chiado for our other 2 dinners unless I get lots of replys that I we are making a major mistake and we will just have coffee one morning so we will be hungry enough for dim sum at Lai Wah Heen one day.

                6 Replies
                  1. re: middleagedfoodie

                    When you're at Edulis, get the pickled herring and the baba au rhum if they have!

                    1. re: middleagedfoodie

                      I agree that Chiado is one of our gems - except you'll find the menu unchanged from your previous visit!
                      I like George, but for a 'special occasion' I prefer Splendido - currently firing on all cylinders (my choice as #1 in Toronto right now - although I can be seduced by the patio at George; it's a lovely space - but you have to cross fingers for fine weather).

                      A couple of possibilities to consider - both 'taking a chance' but accessible by streetcar (assuming you've figured out the system).
                      I'd take a chance on the Carte Blanche menu at Yours Truly (on Ossington, right where Dundas streetcar stops) - this is 'fun' rather than 'fine' dining - but don't know of anything similar in Philly. MUST be reserved and ordered in advance.
                      Alternative is Keriwa Cafe on Queeen just east of Roncesvalles (The King and Queen streetcars 'meet' at Roncesvalles). It's 'Aboriginal inspired' cuisine (so again a bit different). I find it patchy and expensive for what you get - but have to admit I'd take out-of-town visitors there for something they probably can't get at home.

                      1. re: middleagedfoodie

                        You'd be remiss if you didn't go to Splendido. I'd also try to get to Acadia if you can. If you're going to Edulis, order ahead via the meals they have on their website (ie, the chicken in hay or rib steak), or get the 5 or 7 course tasting menu. The a la carte options at Edulis don't do the kitchen justice. Also, the blonde server at Edulis (I apologize as I can't recall her name) is exceptional. I'd request to sit in her section as well.


                          1. re: Serbaljub

                            Ursa is nowhere near the same calibre - uneven cooking and more traditional in style, rather than fine dining.

                        1. I'd choose Joso's (Croatian seafood) over Chiado, if I was looking for simply prepared, high quality Mediterranean-style seafood. http://www.josos.com/