Dinner near Dufferin and Lawrence
Looking for options for dinner, preferably eat in (with some atmosphere if possible) within say a 10 minute drive of Dufferin and Lawrence. I am trying to keep this focused to the west of Bathurst, I am very familiar with the Avenue Road stretch.
Places I have tried are:
Rainbow Sushi (better for delivery)
Tov-Li - not exactly fine dining but yummy nonetheless
Sky Ranch - if was fine but maybe I didn't know what to order
Anything else? All cuisines are fine and wide open to suggestions.
I'm reluctant to send you to Paese, an Italian joint on Bathurst St. just north of Wilson Ave., because given the hellish traffic you'll encounter driving north on Dufferin or Bathurst from your Dufferin and Lawrence starting point, it'll probably take you more than 10 minutes. Maybe 15-20 minutes. But what the hell, I'll do it anyway. If you can make it to Tov-Li on Bathurst St. south of Wilson, you can make it another five minutes north on Bathurst to Paese, and you'll be glad you did. Consistently good cooking, much better than just about any Italian spot along Dufferin. Some dishes seem to be a dollar or two more than they should be, but this is ameliorated by the fact that you can bring your own bottle of wine without a corkage charge every night but Saturday. In which case, two can dine handsomely (with their own bottle) for about $80, all in. A good-looking spot, with first-rate service. Solid soups, interesting salads, nicely done mains, a few respectably-executed pizzas - and several dishes that aren't exactly in the Italian canon, but tasty nonetheless. Much, much better than Camarra's, in my view. Paese has its own parking lot, but it's small and often crowded. In which case, easy parking on nearby streets east off Bathurst St. I've been going for years, and have rarely been disappointed. Best to reserve because it's popular in the neighbourhood.
P.S. Sky Ranch is a dud, no matter what you order. Camarra's is way past its prime, though prices continue to climb. The schnitzel's pretty good at Europe, but the space is kinda dreary. And Tov-Li's $4.90 falafel sandwich is one of the best in town. Don't know Rainbow Sushi.
almost exactly across the street from camarra's is cinquelire italian restaurant. Not great, but really not that bad either. maybe worth a try.
Seoul House on Dufferin near Orfus is good for Korean BBQ. Has Korean BBQ Restaurant atmosphere ;-) Wear washable clothing, but preferably not Lululemon or other moisture wicking clothing, because you'll likely carry the scent of smoke, garlic and ginger with you when you leave.
I also like California Sandwiches on Dufferin. They have a hot table, in addition to the veal/eggplant/chicken sandwiches. Not much atmosphere, but you can eat in. I also like Doce Minho for Portuguese sweets, and they have a few seats. Haven't tried the Doce Minho hot table or sandwiches.
Seoul House makes a great hwe dup bap, which is the Korean version of a chirashi don, but with lots of salad veggies and a sweet, hot gochu jang-based sauce for tossing the raw fish, veggies and rice. I'd definitely choose the Korean menu options over the Japanese. I used to order a spicy fish soup that was nice (but bony). The barbecue smells good, but I'm never hungry enough to order it.
If you're a fan of Tov-Li, you might like the restaurant right across the road from it. It's called Dairy Treats. It's Kosher (dairy), but has a sizeable menu covering breakfasts, sandwiches, wraps, pastas and fish or vegetarian entree items. I had a tasty falafel sandwich there. Other items ordered were a wrap (fine), a mushroom and barley soup and an omelette. I saw other diners eating calzones, Service was very efficient and friendly.
The Columbus Centre is located at the South-west corner of Dufferin and Lawrence. Off of the main floor is Boccaccio Ristorante. Solid Old School Italian fare. Reasonably priced, great service, nice ambiance.