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Nov 1, 2012 04:17 PM

Visiting Toronto - next week - where should i go

I am staying at Sheraton Center and would like to have suggestions. I don't want to spend tons of $$$ - i love the farm to table concept, local is best.

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    1. There are a bunch of places in Toronto that specialize in local "farm to table" type food -- some of the threads below are out of date (Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar is no longer there for example). The County General has locally-sourced food and wine. There's also Gilead by Jamie Kennedy. I have not tried them though. You might get more responses on this board if you repost "inexpensive Toronto restos serving locally sourced foods" or something like that...

      25 Replies
      1. re: Arcadiaseeker

        The Wine Bar is still there and still has the same farm to table concept, just that Jamie Kennedy is no longer involved.


        1. re: Arcadiaseeker

          If you're looking for value, ("I don't want to spend tons of $$$") I don't think you will find it at County General.

          1. re: justsayn

            ???? County general is not dirt cheap, but I certainly wouldn't think of it as a $$$ place, like say Ursa just next door.

            1. re: themiguel

              I think he mixed up the names... ? CG is one of the best value-for-the-money places in the city, easily.

              1. re: justxpete

                +1 on the CG great value for money IMO.

                1. re: JennaBean

                  Bah! Did I go to the same place as you guys?!

                  I feel the opposite. One of the worst value meals I've ever had in Toronto. Horrendously overpriced for the laughablly teeny portions given.

                  Plus I didn't think the food was all that good, which made it even worse.

                  I guess it depends on an individual's subjective and personal definition of overpriced. It certainly met my criteria, I will say that.

                  But I guess I'm in the minority on CG, it certainly has its fans.

                  1. re: magic

                    Truly absurd. The portions there are very healthy, the food is top-notch quality, and best of all - everything tastes great without being too complex. They make some mean cocktails. Methinks you should pay them another visit.

                    1. re: justxpete

                      Yeah that's the exact opposite experience from mine.

                      I sampled a good cross-section of the menu, including specials. Some was fairly good, most was not.

                      And the portions, when I went, were offensive.

                    2. re: magic

                      I agree on the tiny portions. I rather they charge $20 for the burger and give me a full size one.

                      You can find a pretty damn good full sized burger in the $18-20 range at a lot of places in Toronto (Nota Bene, Harbord Room, Bestellen, Richmond Station, Allens).

                      Paying $14 for a burger slightly bigger than a slider isn't a great deal to me. This is coming from someone that thinks Splendido runs the fine dining game in Toronto.

                      1. re: aser

                        It's a goddamn joke is what it is.

                        And yes, I'm a big Splendido fan as well.

                        1. re: magic

                          Absurd. I think you just think it's small because the bun is smaller. It's a standard 6 oz burger. It's just more of a puck than a 'smashed' burger. I'm full from just eating it and the fries every. time. Nota Bene's is no bigger. Guaranteed (I've had both probably somewhere upwards of 30 times). Haven't had the burger yet at Bestellen or Richmond station, and haven't been to Allen's in quite a bit for comparison's sake.

                          1. re: justxpete

                            I never had the burger, but I can certainly understand aser's frustration as I reflect on my 3-bite fried chicken sandwich. Which tasted so plain and uninspired, I had to load it with sauce from another dish just to strangle some sort of flavour from it.

                            That was absurd.

                            Nota Bene's wagyu brisket burger is nothing special either.

                            1. re: magic

                              I disagree. I love the fried chicken sandwich - but I agree the taste is more subtle - but it's a fried chicken sandwich - not a BBQ chicken sandwich!

                              Agree on NB's wagyu burger.

                              1. re: justxpete

                                I can also put it this way. Given yours as well as others' love for it, I would absolutely try the fried chicken sandwich again... on someone else's dime.

                                Hey man, to each their own right. That's the beauty of living in a great food city like Toronto. Something for us all to love and appreciate.

                                1. re: magic

                                  No kiddin' - you said "Which tasted so plain and uninspired", and I was just dis-agreeing is all! :)

                                    1. re: magic

                                      ps - I think you'd love the chicken for two they're serving right now. It's a whole chicken, half served KFC style, and the other half Soy n Garlic - given your penchant for 'sauced' chicken.

                                      1. re: justxpete

                                        Haha, I don't have a penchant for sauced chicken at all! I HAD to add another dishes sauce to give my sandwich a fighting chance at flavour. I understand that fried chicken is supposed to be enjoyed on its own - and that it is not the same as BBQ. But I wasn't enjoying it and took matter into my own hands.

                                        That said, I will certainly keep this in mind :)

                        2. re: magic

                          Have to agree with Magic regarding County General. Went a couple of weeks ago, and had one of the worst meals I've ever had!! So disappointed!!

                      2. re: justxpete

                        How much is your usual order per person, not including tax, tip or drinks, justxpete & JennaBean? I still haven't been, but their fried chicken sandwich is still on my wishlist.

                        1. re: prima

                          It can really very depending on if we have a couple drinks or not, and dessert. Generally, somewhere between $40-$80, though. So I guess you could say $60 is average, but that's a bit misleading.

                          Currently, the spaghetti and meatballs on their menu is my favourite. The pasta is hand-made off site, but it's cooked perfectly al-dente, and they've incorporated the right amount of bolognese and basil.

                          Last week they had made-to-order Boston Cream donuts. They were absolutely insane.

                          1. re: justxpete

                            Sounds good, justxpete.

                            I'll eventually get around to trying CG out.

                            While $40-$80/person before tax, tip and drinks isn't as expensive as it gets in TO, it's still towards the higher end of moderate for me, and I'd consider it to fall in the $$ or $$$ range. As soon as I'm spending more than $30 on myself, before drinks, tax and tip, that's heading into my splurge zone. ;-)

                            Maybe the OP can clarify what "$$$" means to the OP, with a number, to help us out!

                            1. re: prima

                              I've never spent more than $30 for food for myself there. For my visits it is had always been the beverages that bring the price up. My friends and I tend to be liberal drinks when we're out.

                2. Momofuku Noodle Bar for incredible pork buns - right across the street from Sheraton.
                  Banh Mi Boys
                  Le Select
                  St. Lawrence Market (closed Sun/Mon)

                  All are close or in your general area!

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: magic

                    The Sheraton is on Queen West. Momofuku on University several blocks away.

                    1. re: MissBingBing

                      OMG missbb....you can leave the sheraton via york and richmond, momofuko is on the next block at university and richmond....across from the hilton, which is in turn almost kitty corner to the sheraton. depending on lights, crosswalks and/or jay walking it might take all of 3 minutes to journey that far

                      1. re: MissBingBing

                        Are you joking me with this.

                        The Sheraton is at most a 2 minute walk to Momofuku. One or two short blocks away.

                        I think you need lessons in downtown geography. Tourists will read what you wrote and think Momofuku is far when it is extremely close.

                            1. re: MissBingBing

                              More or less it is. Like one city block. Right there.

                      2. If you want to spend less than $15 per person, I recommend a sandwich at the Black Camel, a low-key sandwich shop with a few seats, located across the street from Rosedale Station. Within a 12 minute subway ride from Queen Station (which is a few blocks east of your hotel).

                        Beast on Tecumseth, within a 15 minute walk of your hotel, has a Happy Hour between 5 and 7 pm Wed-Fri, as far as I've heard, that might save you some money.

                        I find most farm-to-table restos somewhat expensive for what they're serving. Most farm-to-table restos in TO have mains in the $25-$35 zone, which I'd consider more moderate than inexpensive, but I doubt a restaurant with relatively expensive, locally-sourced ingredients could turn a profit if they charged less than that.

                        If you're ok with $25-$35 mains, you might want to consider Marben, The Drake, Beast, Enoteca Sociale, Campagnolo, Union, Delux, which are within a 15 minute cab ride of your hotel. Cowbell is even more farm-to-table than most farm-to-table restos, in that pretty much everything, even the butter, is prepared in-house. http://www.cowbellrestaurant.ca/

                        Nota Bene and The Gabardine are 2 other moderately-priced options using some locally sourced ingredients that are located within a 5 minute walk of your hotel.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: prima

                          I've heard great things about Black Camel, but I've not yet been able to make it there. Thanks for reminding me, Prima!

                          1. re: justxpete

                            +1 for Black Camel, but don't expect a late meal, they do tend to sell out

                          2. re: prima

                            have you been to Cowbell recently? any recos?

                            1. re: hungryabbey

                              Haven't been to Cowbell in a while. The menu changes daily afaik, sometimes even throughout the night as various cuts of meat are ordered by the clients.
                              I'd like to try their brunch.

                            2. re: prima

                              Last I heard there was no more happy hour "snack menu" at Beast, which is a shame.

                                1. re: LearningHow

                                  Actually I just contacted Beast and they confirmed Beast 120 is still on Wed-Sat from 5-7pm. Planning to give it a try this weekend.

                                  1. re: midtowngirl

                                    Please report back.
                                    A friend went a couple of weeks ago (she too had called to make sure) and when she went there she discovered the Happy Hour was for drinks only, not for food.

                                    1. re: LearningHow

                                      ahhhh! good to know. They just confirmed it was still on, but didn't mention food not included. We'll check it out anyway and report back.

                              1. Find one of the all-you-can-eat sushi places. We don't have those where I'm from, and the AYCE is typically less $$$ than a medium portion around here.