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Last minute trip for Vancouver Hound -- four days to reaquaint with Toronto food delights

grayelf Dec 2, 2012 09:01 AM

Greetings Toronto Hounds. I used to live in your lovely city but it's been many moons and I am out of touch completely with the local deliciousness. Just found out I'll have this Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday to scratch the surface (only two dinners though as Friday is a work do and the reason for the trip).

The biggest favour you could do me would be to recommend a topnotch place for espresso-based drinks near the Royal York, if such a place exists. This will keep the SO happy! As would a recommendation for a good pub with lots of interesting brews on tap... but that may be pushing my luck.

Also wondering about whether restaurants in Toronto are allowed to cook burgers to order. Not so much in Vancouver so would love a good burger, which I know can be a contentious topic.

I will post a trip report, promise.

Not too worried about price but we do prefer more casual, mom and pop places so the high end stuff is not really in the mix anyway.

Realizing that reservations are going to be hard to come by with only a few days to go, and that I'd normally research a bunch more, here's what I've come up with on short notice -- feel free to trash 'em all and make other suggestions if you have the time/energy -- thanks in advance:

snacks:

St Lawrence Market -- need to go back, since it's so close to the hotel and all. Grazing ideas include pasteis bacalhau and the bifana sandwich at Churrasco of St. Lawrence; Paddington's for a peameal bacon sando, mustard sampling at Kozlik's (cool!), sausages from Sausage King and myriad cheese samples (I love cheese and you can get so many in Ontario we can't get here).

Soma Chocolates, either at their original Distillery District location 32 Tank House Lane nr Mill and Cherry (Parliament/Front area) (416) 815-7662 or the newer, larger store 443 King St W nr Spadina (416) 599-7662 -- fleur de sel caramels sound up my alley

Greg's Ice Cream 750 Spadina Avenue nr Bloor (416) 962-4734 -- closed Mondays??-- sweet cream and roasted marshmallow, how I still miss you, enough to eat ice cream in TO in December :-) Glad I googled to find that they have moved away from the old location but their website could use some work. No hours listed at all...

Brunch:

Lai Wah Heen 108 Chestnut St nr Dundas W (416) 977-9899 -- I've heard good things about their dim sum tasting menu from a local Hound who had it years ago but haven't been able to find out anything concrete about whether it is still available. May be hopeless anyway without more notice??

Easy Restaurant 1645 Queen West at Roncesvalles 416-537-4893 plus new location 713 College West 416-535-2222 The Roncey outpost is an old favourite (huevos divorciados!) so may have to revisit

Bonjour Brioche 812 Queen Street E btwn Boulton and Degrassi, three blocks east of Broadview in Riverdale (416) 406-1250 http://bonjourbrioche.com/ for for French-style breakfasts -- cash only, no resos.

Lunch or dinner (looking for at least one place near Roncesvalles that is not too kid unfriendly):

Banh Mi Boys 392 Queen West nr Spadina (416) 363-0588 -- I've never had a banh mi outside of Vancouver (gasp!) and I've heard the kim chi fries are a must. This would be for a Sat lunch with two teens...

Khao San Road 326 Adelaide St W btwn Peter and Beverly (2.5 blks east of Spadina twd University 647-352-5773 -- despite my aversion to lining up for food, seems like a favourite. Thai is weak in Van, and I still remember Golden Thai with great fondness from my bygone Toronto days. This would be for a non-Sunday lunch or dinner. One of the fried garlic dishes, squash fritters, fresh rolls, pad gra pao with an egg, green curry on the hit list.

Barque BBQ 299 roncesvalles at Geoffrey, 4 blocks below Howard Park Ave 416-532-7700 open for lunch and dinner 7 days

Hopgood's Foodliner Nova Scotian/Maritime 325 Roncesvalles nr Grenadier (416) 533-2723 bit expensive, can be slow, takes resos, dinner only

Cafe Polonez 195 Roncesvalles btwn Wright and Fern (416) 532-8432 Wonderful Polish and Eastern European comfort food. amazing Hungarian crepe filled with goulash stew.

Black Hoof 928 Dundas St W nr Gorevale -- btwn Bathurst and Ossington (416) 551-8854 creative nose-to-tail cooking, carnitas tacos !

Woodlot 293 Palmerston Ave nr College (647) 342-6307 for casual comfort food in a warm setting. Great vegetarian menu, too -- ck if open for lunch, not clear from website

Saigon Le Lai 434 Dundas West btwn Beverly and Huron (416) 592-9155 a sentimental option, since it's the first place we really experienced home-style Vietnamese cooking and it was in regular rotation back in the day for cheap and cheerful Viet meals in a bowl. Still some of the best bun I've ever had.

  1. c
    crawfish Dec 2, 2012 03:05 PM

    I'll just pipe up on the pub beer options near Royal York:

    C'est What 67 Front Street East
    Beer Bistro 18 King Street East

    2 Replies
    1. re: crawfish
      TorontoJo Dec 2, 2012 04:35 PM

      And you might want to pick depending on your desired atmosphere: C'est What is dark, funky, a bit dingy and in the basement; Beerbistro is much more polished and trendy with lots of corporate types right after work. The food is better at beerbistro. But you can play Scrabble at C'est What. :)

      1. re: TorontoJo
        Breadcrumbs Dec 2, 2012 06:04 PM

        Agree with everything TJ has shared w you and would add that if the weather is poor, you can almost get to Beer Bistro from your hotel using the underground walkway (Path) just exit on the north east side of King from the staircase in the King TTC Station (which you can access on foot through Scotia Plaza.

        FWIW, my choice would be Beer Bistro.

    2. MissBingBing Dec 2, 2012 03:13 PM

      I don't think Lai Wah Heen has a dim sum tasting menu. It's a la carte but def several notches above usual.

      Avoid Bonjour Brioche on the weekend unless you like standing in line. Tres populaire brunch spot.

      No lunch at Woodlot. Greg's open from 11 am or so.

      2 Replies
      1. re: MissBingBing
        Wahooty Dec 2, 2012 03:46 PM

        According to their current online menu, LWH still offers two prix fixe options - Innovative and Classic.

        1. re: MissBingBing
          prima Dec 2, 2012 04:54 PM

          What Wahooty said.
          http://www.laiwahheen.com/menus.asp

          廚師推介點心午餐
          CHEF CHAN’S INNOVATIVE DIM SUM PRIX FIXE
          $48.00 per person (Minimum for two person

          )

          鮮蟹肉海皇羹
          Fresh Dungeness crab & seafood bisque.
          蒜香牛油龍蝦餃
          Steamed lobster dumpling stuffed with shrimp mousse & finely diced vegetable flavored with garlic.
          鵝肝糯米棵
          Jumbo Siu Mai wrapped with glutinous rice & foie gras.
          薄切和牛伴紅油和牛炒手
          Steamed dumplings of Waygu beef accompanied with thinly sliced Waygu beef, in chili oil.
          松露珍菌鳳凰球
          Crispy deep-fried breaded chicken & mushroom topped with truffle.
          葵瓜子脆粉粿
          Deep-fried crispy dumpling of shrimp & sunflower seeds.
          松露菌龍蝦片炒一家麵
          Truffle & lobster escalopes on thin noodles flavored with truffle scented oil.
          中式甜點
          Chinese dessert.

          特式點心午餐
          CLASSIC DIM SUM PRIX FIXE
          $32.00 per person (Minimum for two person)

          京式酸辣羹
          Hot and sour soup with baby shrimp, shredded chicken, deep-forest mushrooms and egg drop.
          水晶蝦餃皇
          Crystal shrimp dumpling.
          鵲肉雞蔥餃
          Steamed dumpling of minced chicken & scallion.
          香煎龍蝦窩貼
          Pan-seared Peking dumpling stuffed with lobster escalopes.
          火龍果香芒蝦卷
          Crispy deep-fried roll of pitaya, mango & shrimp.
          雲腿金沙批
          Baked mini puff pastry filled with cured ham, shrimp & pork.
          香蒜鵝肝鴨粒炒飯
          Foie gras and diced shredded duckling fried rice flavored with deep-fried garlic.
          中式甜點
          Chinese dessert.

          grayelf, I also dislike lining up for food. If you can get to Khao San Road 10 minutes before it opens for dinner (they unlock the door at exactly 5 o'clock), you should be ok. I rather be the early bird, than have to wait in line. Also could avoid the line-up by showing up before or after the lunch rush during the week (but be aware the kitchen closes at 2:30) http://www.khaosanroad.ca/

        2. kwass Dec 2, 2012 04:58 PM

          Not sure what day you're planning on going to Barque, but you should know that they only do family style dinners on Sundays. You can't order off the menu.

          Also, don't know if Stockyards will cook burgers to order, but they make yummy burgers, and have awesome fried chicken, if that interests you.

          1. d
            dubchild Dec 2, 2012 06:00 PM

            It looks like you've made good choices.

            Somewhat close to the Royal York is Nota Bene which will cook your burger to order. A little further is the Harbord Room and they do as well. Harbord room is a little better, but both are good. Nice bun with good ratio to meat, juicy beefy patty, and good toppings that don't detract from the patty.

            If you need a quick bite, kid friendly, not overly pricey, large portions, and great poutine, think of Bannock at Bay and Queen.

            Soma pulls an intense espresso.

            Hope ypu enjoy your trip.

            1. TorontoJo Dec 2, 2012 06:48 PM

              A good espresso near the Royal York may be a tough one. The places that are generally considered to have the best espresso-based drinks are not nearby:

              Te Aro
              Sam James
              Dark Horse
              Manic
              Crema
              Bulldog

              I'm sure I'm missing others, but nothing near your hotel that I'm aware of.

              The Gabardine was mentioned as having a decent pull. They are a restaurant, but serve as a coffee shop in the morning. They are about 4 or 5 blocks from your hotel. BTW, it's also a nice casual dinner option as well. Think Canadian bistro.

              7 Replies
              1. re: TorontoJo
                Wahooty Dec 2, 2012 06:54 PM

                Doesn't Sam James have a location in the PATH now? That's where I'd go.

                1. re: Wahooty
                  Breadcrumbs Dec 2, 2012 07:01 PM

                  Hmm, according to their website it looks like they've opened at 150 King W which is the Sun Life building if memory serves. I'll have to check it out. Thanks Wahooty, who knew!!

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                    Wahooty Dec 2, 2012 07:12 PM

                    To be fair, AverageJo et al:
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/824099

                    I just have a stupid-good memory, given how rarely I'm in Toronto these days. ;)

                    1. re: Breadcrumbs
                      b
                      bytepusher Dec 2, 2012 07:37 PM

                      The SJCB location in the Path can be a little hard to find if you don't know where it is. It's in the tunnel that connects St. Andrews station to First Canadian Place.

                    2. re: Wahooty
                      TorontoJo Dec 2, 2012 07:02 PM

                      Ooh, you're right, Wahooty! I did not know that. Good call on that for the OP -- only two short blocks, possibly less underground.

                      1. re: TorontoJo
                        grayelf Dec 3, 2012 09:03 AM

                        Just noticed that SJCB PATH is only open M-F so will make sure we head elsewhere on Sat and Sun for the caffeine hit :-).

                    3. re: TorontoJo
                      Breadcrumbs Dec 2, 2012 06:57 PM

                      I'm definitely not an espresso connoisseur but espresso-based drink loving colleagues I've met for coffee repeatedly select two places in the area that seem to be dependable and FWIW, I've enjoyed my lattes there:

                      Petite Thuet @ 1 King

                      Terroni on Adelaide ( open at 9am )

                    4. grayelf Dec 2, 2012 08:32 PM

                      Wow, 15 replies to come home to, woot! Thanks everyone, great intel! I am adding copious notes to my list, and of course will be referring to this thread during the trip.

                      Like the idea of "burrowing for beer" to Beer Bistro :-). A TO friend suggested the following beer places as well as Beer Bistro and C'est What: barVolo (587 Yonge nr Dundonald (416) 928-0008) which he said is currently being renovated but may be back in action by next weekend, Bryden's (Brydens 2455 Bloor West near Jane (416) 760-8069) which is his local with interesting beers but a bit of a dive (hey, I like dives!) and Mill Street Brew Pub (21 Tank House Lane nr Parliament (416) 681-0338) millstreetbrewery.com in the Distillery District, which he compared to Steamworks at home ie: good beer, meh-ish grub.

                      Saw the prix fixe options but wondered if the tasting menu were different (or even still offered -- the Hound who had it told me it was quite a while ago).

                      Stockyard and Nota Bene noted for burgs. Also tips on avoiding lineups at Khao San, menu at Barque, poutine at Bannock (love poutine and it's hard to get the good stuff here!), coffee options (all on the list and triangulated!), and the geography/location hints as well. We are wimpy West Coasters now and will be doing our best to hide from the chilly weather, I'm sure :-).

                      You TO Hounds are mad friendly and helpful. Happy to receive any other tips that might be forthcoming but I feel much better about our chances for good chow already!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: grayelf
                        Wahooty Dec 2, 2012 08:53 PM

                        If you're after poutine, hit up the blue truck on the U of T campus, on St. George in front of Lash-Miller. I say this not as a former student, but as a grown-ass woman who used to get lunch there once a week. Squeaky curds, fresh cut fries. Utterly un-fancy. I believe the Queen St. truck at City Hall is run by the same people. Mr. Tasty Fries, maybe?

                        1. re: Wahooty
                          grayelf Dec 2, 2012 08:58 PM

                          Drool, squeaky curds'n'fries from a truck. Be still my heart.

                      2. p
                        peppermint pate Dec 3, 2012 03:06 AM

                        grayelf - I read many of your posts before and during my trip to Vancouver a few months ago. Thanks for the good chow tips.

                        I laughed out loud at your reference to triangulated coffee options - searching out the best espresso-based drinks is usually my first question when hitting up a new city and keeping a handy list of neighbourhood spots is a `must` for me. I agree with the Sam James rec in the financial district - I haven`t been to that particular location but their main location on Harbord is great. That said, if americanos are your (or your SO`s) drink, the better rec - IMO - is Little Nicky`s. A perfectly cool little coffee shop that has the added bonus of serving up made to order mini donuts by the half-dozen or dozen. Order them tossed in sugar or just plain. Great coffee + fresh, warm donuts = `nuf said. Combines easily with a trip to Khao San Road, Banh Mi Boys and the King Street location of Soma. Another great little spot is Sense Appeal - a tiny place on the west side of Spadina, between Adelaide and King, a few steps up from street level. Very good coffee and yummy selections from a small menu of salads, bowls, stir-fries and a burger (never tried the burger so can`t give you a rec for that).

                        Woodlot is one of my favourites. I was just there again a few weeks ago for my 15th(ish) delicious dinner there. I love it. Assuming you can`t get a rezzie, know that there`s a 10-seat communal table on the main floor that`s reserved for walk-ins. It`s actually one of my favourite tables in the whole restaurant as you watch them cooking so many different dishes in the large wood-burning oven. Go earlier (before 6:30) to get a pretty assured spot or go anytime with some flexibility to meander to a nearby spot for a drink while you wait for a spot to come up. Make sure you order the hen of the woods mushrooms and the steak.

                        LOVE Khao San Road - agree with green curry and pad gra prao. The fried garlic chicken and tofu are great. I like but don`t love the squash fritters (though I think I`m in the minority). Also LOVE Banh Mi Boys - yes to kimchi fries and too many great sandwich options to list (I love the fried chicken bao with spicy sauce but honestly, èverything is great).

                        Soma has fab chocolate. There`s a big traditional Christmas market going on in the Distillery right now. If you want to go there, then check out that location but know that on the weekend, it`ll be much busier than normal. If you don`t want the market or the crowds, go to King Street. Finding great chocolate at Soma is like shooting fish in a barrel. So good.

                        As an alternative brunch option, consider L'Ouvrier. For another dinner, consider Torito. For another great sandwich, consider the brisket at Black Camel (which also serves a great americano, by the way). And for another random great coffee spot, which I always say reminds me of Vancouver (it wouldn't be out of place in Kits), check out Rooster Espresso on Broadview.

                        Enjoy!

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: peppermint pate
                          grayelf Dec 3, 2012 07:49 AM

                          Yet more questions:

                          A TO colleague likes Cowbell and the menu appeals as does the location and reservability. Any thoughts, y'all?

                          I'm a sucker for traditional Xmas markets so I think the distillery district is a must if we can fit it in. Would it be worth it on Monday during the day or will too much be closed? Any good breakfasty places down there also open Mon?

                          Alternatively, any good bets for Monday breaky nearish the Royal York? Is Gabardine the best option? They are only open for breaky from 8-10:30

                          Of the brunch places listed, do any take reservations for brunch on weekend that you know of?

                          @ pp: So glad to have been of assistance!

                          Re coffee, the espresso's the thing (SO loves his cappuccino) though I do enjoy a good pourover from time to time. HOWEVER, fresh warm doughnuts stand on their own so thanks.

                          Woodlot has a Sunday res available that I'm thinking of nabbing. We really are pretty lineup averse and since we're going to be winging it for our other meals, this sounds like a good option.

                          We don't have any good Spanish in Van so Torito is tempting too but you have to call for resos so will have to see. I note they have padrones on the menu, which I adore. I thought we got the last of them in Portland back in early Oct and they are out of season...

                          1. re: grayelf
                            TorontoJo Dec 3, 2012 08:49 AM

                            Lola's Kitchen is another great brunch spot and they do indeed take reservations.

                            For breakfast spots near the hotel, O&B Canteen has grab and go breakfasts (breakfast butties!) starting at 8am. There is also an Over Easy at Yonge and King. Wouldn't be my first choice, but it's an option for you if you want a big breakfast menu.

                            1. re: grayelf
                              p
                              peppermint pate Dec 3, 2012 10:39 AM

                              Hey there grayelf - you've obviously done your research and we clearly have similar tastes.

                              Can't answer your Cowbell question as I've yet to try it. Torito is great - cozy, friendly, yummy. Combines nicely with a meander in Kensington Market. I can't imagine you'd have a problem with a Sunday night reservation. I'd grab the Woodlot reservation - you won't regret it.

                              It looks like the Christmas Market is open every day and I'm assuming most of the shops will be open with it (I think most are open 7 days a week anyway) so you should be fine on the Monday. If you want to eat near there, there's Gilead Cafe or Morning Glory. I've heard good things about breakfast the Gabardine that's an option if you want to eat closer to your hotel. Not sure if you have a car but another idea would be Lady Marmalade (not far from Bonjour Brioche), which originates from Victoria actually, and combines quite nicely with a little coffee visit to Te Aro. Ah, choices choices.

                              L'Ouvrier takes brunch reservations. I'm assuming Lai Wah Heen does as well. Easy doesn't.

                              1. re: peppermint pate
                                grayelf Dec 3, 2012 09:41 PM

                                Alas, L'ouvrier doesn't take brunch resos, according to their voicemail. But I did manage to nab one at Lola's Kitchen so if we can convince our friends to venture away from Roncesvalles we should be set. Otherwise we'll take our chances at either easy or Barque on Sunday...

                                1. re: grayelf
                                  p
                                  peppermint pate Dec 4, 2012 03:20 AM

                                  Oh crap - my bad. Sorry, I thought they did. If you do still want to try it, I would just add that I've never had trouble getting a table there for brunch. But Lola's Kitchen is very good too.

                                  1. re: peppermint pate
                                    justsayn Dec 4, 2012 07:02 AM

                                    +1 for L'ouvrier and getting a table. I would only recommend them for the awesome burger and fries personally. But I have limited my selection to that for the past while. I find their house bacon is not as tasty as it was in earlier days. They used to have a great granola with yoghurt and fruit but they dropped the best part - the house-made granola, and just serve fruit and yoghurt. : ( I have always found them to be so gracious, I would be surprised if they wouldnt allow you a reservation with "your story".

                                    1. re: justsayn
                                      grayelf Dec 4, 2012 07:26 AM

                                      No worries, hard to keep track of all the different places for sure. Since we'll have two kids (5 and 10) with us, I'm thinking maybe Lola's might be better for a group of six based on website pix and reviews plus of course the for-sure reso. The menu sounds good too and sometimes (gasp!) it's not just about the food, right?

                              2. re: grayelf
                                Breadcrumbs Dec 3, 2012 06:02 PM

                                I visited the Christmas Mkt for the first time on Saturday. I've been similar mkts in other cities and had hoped that ours would have European vendors and food. While there were a couple of European-themed options, most booths were local including a sock vendor and a grilled cheese booth (that was packed btw, but held zero appeal under the circumstances). I purchased a luke warm at best cider from Brick street Bakery and we enjoyed the entertainment but the market itself was a bit of a let down comparatively speaking. That said, we love the Distillery District and its shops, galleries and some of the dining options. Others may disagree but if there isn't any entertainment on a Monday I'd take a pass and head for Kensington Mkt (don't miss a quick peek in the quirky Good Egg) for a great food-lovers experience. All IMHO of course.

                                1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                  prima Dec 3, 2012 06:08 PM

                                  I thought it was hilarious that the grilled cheese and poutine booths had ridiculously long line-ups, and the Xmas specialty foods booths (Xmas pudding, fruitcake, stollen, etc) had no line-ups. Tis the season for poutine, because it's available year-round, pretty much everywhere?
                                  http://torontochristmasmarket.com/
                                  Vendors: http://torontochristmasmarket.com/ven...

                                  1. re: prima
                                    Breadcrumbs Dec 3, 2012 06:19 PM

                                    Crap, I forgot all about that poutine booth prima!! I totally agree w you about the few seasonal booths going almost un-noticed. Such a shame.

                            2. jlunar Dec 3, 2012 08:07 AM

                              What everyone else said!!

                              With some notes:
                              - Town Crier - If you like Belgian beers - porters, ales, and the like - they have tons on tap.
                              - Volo is great for local/micro breweries
                              - Beer Bistro is more scattershot, but I like.

                              You should be able to get beer samplers at all three IIRC. More beer!

                              Little Nicky's for their cappuccino and fresh donuts is a lovely little side trip. Just wanted to add my love of this combo to things.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: jlunar
                                grayelf Dec 3, 2012 06:11 PM

                                Good to hear there are beer "bats" in TO as well -- a favourite way to try multiple beers, esp with a beer noob like me as the second drinker :-).

                                Have been contemplating a trip to Kensington Mkt as I'm sure it's changed a bunch since I used to frequent it. Since I've never seen the Distillery District and there are a few things on the go there, may swing by first on Monday and then do Kensington -- will depend on my friend's stamina!

                                Will be meeting another friend for breaky beforehand prolly at Gabardine so may graze for lunch, otherwise will consider DDist reccs.

                                Have been to Lady Marmalade in Victoria, had no idea they'd expanded so far east!

                                1. re: grayelf
                                  Wahooty Dec 3, 2012 10:06 PM

                                  grayelf, I'm getting jealous of your weekend - you have such a fantastic base plan going. I want to go with you! Have a bicerin at Soma for me if you have the room.

                                  1. re: Wahooty
                                    grayelf Dec 4, 2012 07:34 AM

                                    I'm just so grateful to everyone here who's chimed in, and the posts I read from previous visitors and contributors without all of whom I would have NO plan! Perhaps this thread and the report I will post later will help out future researchers a bit :-).

                                    Will deffo try to get a bicerin down my neck! I think we'll just graze for our lunch in the Distillery District so should have room. Here's what I've got to do there so far:

                                    Distillery District:
                                    Xmas Market: apparently they have $20 valet parking that is good till 11 so may do that just for convenience whilst we're wandering the whole hood
                                    Soma for fleur de sel caramels, chocs and bicerin
                                    Mill Street Pub for (Balzac) coffee porter
                                    Gilead or Morning Glory if substantial/sitdown eats are in order
                                    Balzac for more coffee
                                    Brick Street Bakery for savoury baked goods -- sausage rolls and very good sandwiches
                                    design store Bergo (food for the eyes!)

                              2. t
                                trombasteve Dec 4, 2012 07:57 AM

                                I don't have much to add, since it seems like your weekend has been pretty thoroughly covered already, but I'd just like to chime in a few beer-related things. Personally, I'd stay away from C'est What - at one point, they were an interesting beer destination, but I'd say other places manage a better (and more interesting) beer list in nicer spaces, and with better food.

                                Volo is probably as good as it gets in the city for having an interesting and exhaustive beer selection that you won't easily find in any other place, and their website says they'll be open again on Friday, so, if they keep to their schedule (who knows?), you'll be all set. The only knock again Volo, in my books, is that it's busy, and a bit impersonal. (Nothing against them - it's just a popular spot, and right on Yonge Street.)

                                In the category of slightly more neighbourhood-ey places which also have excellent beer, varying degrees of food and, IMO somewhat more welcoming atmospheres you could try:

                                The Only Café (Donlands Subway) - it's a (good) coffee place on one side, and a good beer destination on the other side. It's also fun and eclectic in a good way, and a thoroughly pleasant place to hang out for a bit. Not a cookie-cutter place, in any sense.

                                The Victory Café (Bathurst Subway) - it's a bit tucked-away on Markham, but it's a big old house that frequently has a good beer list, and has better than average pub food. The macaroni and cheese is particularly crowd-pleasing on a cold day.

                                The Bellwoods Brewery (Ossington and Dundas-ish) - it's in a hipstery area, but their beer is made on site, and is excellent. Also, some of their offerings are in interesting styles that aren't so commonly available in North America. (Particularly the sour beers.) The Witchshark is as good a (big - Imperial) West Coast style IPA as you'll find here, if you're in the mood to try out the Toronto version of that style. Also, I haven't tried their food, but it looks good.

                                Have a great weekend!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: trombasteve
                                  grayelf Dec 4, 2012 05:36 PM

                                  Sour beers? Did you say sour beers? You have my attention, trombasteve :-). I started trying sours a couple years ago in SF and Portland, and would be delighted to sample a Toronto-styley version. Thanks for the additional beer tips.

                                  1. re: grayelf
                                    t
                                    trombasteve Dec 4, 2012 07:47 PM

                                    I did, in fact, say sour beers. :) You might want to try this one:

                                    Muggleweisse (Soured Brown Ale - 3.9% ABV)

                                    A deliberately-soured ale brewed with a wild starter and caramelized malts. This beer mixes elements of the Berliner weisse style with darker malt flavours.

                                    -=-

                                    I haven't tried it, but the stuff I have tried there was good. You can read about the rest of their offerings here:

                                    http://bellwoodsbrewery.com/beer

                                2. n
                                  Nux2 Dec 4, 2012 05:57 PM

                                  I'll just weigh in to support you going to the Gabardine for breakfast on Monday :) Everything I've had there has been DEE-LISH. What a wonderful weekend you have planned!

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: Nux2
                                    grayelf Dec 5, 2012 06:03 AM

                                    Muggleweisse should be tried for the awesome name alone!

                                    Looking forward to Gabardine, which will also be so convenient.

                                    One last favour, all -- are there any solid coffee places in Mississauga? The SO will be at an office out there Friday and Monday, and I am arming him with the list y'all have provided me for stops on the way, but he may need good caffeination during the day. TIA.

                                    1. re: grayelf
                                      b
                                      bytepusher Dec 5, 2012 06:37 AM

                                      Mississauga is a mighty big place, can you narrow it down?

                                      1. re: bytepusher
                                        grayelf Dec 5, 2012 07:55 AM

                                        Jeez, good point, sorry -- anything on the way to or nearish 401 and Kennedy?

                                        Also if anyone has suggestions for a good beer place not already mentioned near Woodlot for Sunday afty/evening brew action, I'll try to resist the urge to keep adding more queries :-).

                                        1. re: grayelf
                                          p
                                          peppermint pate Dec 5, 2012 08:17 AM

                                          Hmm, 401 and Kennedy is not in or near Mississauga - opposite direction.

                                          1. re: peppermint pate
                                            n
                                            nogoro Dec 5, 2012 08:56 AM

                                            The Mississauga Kennedy is near Hurontario... Another thread mentioned Sweets Pastry Shop @ 5955 Latimer Dr, near Britannia and Mavis. If the highways aren't too congested maybe the Yellow Cup Cafe in Etobicoke (225 The East Mall) close to the 427...?

                                            1. re: nogoro
                                              grayelf Dec 5, 2012 09:06 AM

                                              Yes, near Hurontario -- thanks Nogoro!

                                              1. re: nogoro
                                                p
                                                peppermint pate Dec 5, 2012 09:22 AM

                                                Ha - I never knew there was another Kennedy - thanks!

                                            2. re: grayelf
                                              MissBingBing Dec 5, 2012 10:05 AM

                                              Bellwoods on Ossington isn't far from Woodlot. Five minutes in a car/taxi.

                                              1. re: grayelf
                                                s
                                                sman Dec 5, 2012 10:37 AM

                                                Smokeless Joe is around the corner from Woodlot on College. Should be open Sunday afternoon and has Ontario craft beers on tap.

                                                1. re: sman
                                                  jlunar Dec 5, 2012 02:15 PM

                                                  Smokeless! I was trying to remember the name, but couldn't. Used to be in the Town Crier space. Thank you sman, it was driving me a bit nutters.

                                                  1. re: jlunar
                                                    grayelf Dec 15, 2012 08:00 AM

                                                    Just wanted to let you all know that we had a great time in TO thanks in no small part to all the reccos here. A highlight was our lovely Polish dinner and all the beers we got to try. I'm awash in work/Xmas chaos at the moment but will be back with a proper report ASAP.

                                                    1. re: grayelf
                                                      grayelf Jan 4, 2013 10:53 PM

                                                      Oops, forgot to post a link to my lengthy report here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/884625 in case anyone is interested.

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