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Birthday Dinner this Saturday - Please help me :)!

Hi there,

Long time reader but this is my first post! I am turning 32 this weekend and am going out for a Birthday dinner with my parents and friends this weekend. I've narrowed down the potential restaurants, but would greatly appreciate help in picking one!
Or if you have any other suggestions I would love to hear them! Price isn't really an issue, I like somewhere with atmosphere and that 'cool' factor, but also love to eat so want hearty portions as well as a good wine list. Don't really have a preference in location, but live at Yonge and St. Clair and will be driving. Thank you so much, can't wait to hear your thoughts!


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    1. Just a note about Campagnolo the few times I have been there the noise level was quite high. Great food though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sweetie

        I did not find Campagnolo loud and I find many restaurants loud these days. We were a big group and I could hear my immediate neighbours. If you are a large group I would recommend their Chef's menu. They served us almost their entire menu family style for $50 a head. It made for a really special evening. Happy birthday!

      2. Thanks so much! What about Guu, Terroni, Garbardine, The Saint? Those r also on the list.

        3 Replies
        1. re: MeghanMarie1981

          If you want hearty portions, I would say gabardine or saint are both great. Bestellens portions I believe were fair as well but personally I LOVE Gabardine and Saint. Both do comfort food that will easily please a group.
          Terroni I don't like, but many people do.
          Guu- I wouldnt take my parents to, but that's just me. It's a very young crowd and its very noisy.


          1. re: MeghanMarie1981

            You can cross off Gabardine on your list. On their website it says they are closed Sat Feb 16 and Mon Feb 18 for the family day long weekend.

            1. re: MeghanMarie1981

              I second the Saint and my second pick would be Bestellen with Campagnolo as my third. However, I'd say your parents may like them in reverse order.

            2. Auberge du Pommier, a few blocks north!
              Food was good after new chefs came aboard. Now, with the kitchen team winning the '2013 Golden Plate Award'. Expect food to be even more stunning.
              Personally, cannot wait to re-try!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Charles Yu

                She's looking for the "cool" factor a bit. I like ADP but too stuffy me thinks for what she wants.

              2. I have been to Campagnolo and was impressed. Food is rustic and well executed. Excellent cocktails and desserts. Definitely cool; a bit loud though.

                I can also vouch for The Saint. I was there recently and the food/service were very good. We actually landed there because Libretto was full and I have no regrets.

                1. Are reservations a requirement?

                  1. Wow! Thank you all so much, I think I am going to love being a contributing member of Chowhound :)!

                    I have decided on The Saint. It was a toss up between it and Bestellen but if we do Bestellen I would want to do the suckling pig but a few of the people dont eat pork so I'm going to save that one.

                    We booked The Saint for 7. I'll definitly report back. Thank you again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: MeghanMarie1981

                      The suckling pig looks really good, but there's much more on the menu, the 32oz dry aged cote de boeuf is a work of art.

                      1. re: bytepusher

                        Had it at our table the last two times we've been and I actually wanted to pick up the bone and munch on it. My bff beat me to it, he'll eat anything anywhere with zero shame!

                        1. re: bytepusher

                          If you haven't had the beef at the Saint I do suggest you give it a whirl BP. It is actually very good as well. They are part of a farm program from PEI.

                      2. Hmmmm may have to give that a try! I'm a sucker for fried chicken tho, it must be the Paula Deen in me, has anyone tried that at the Saint? Best I've had has been at White Brick Kitchen so far. Any recs for appetizers?

                        1 Reply
                        1. My only thought would be to make a reso soon!!! Tomorrow is v day and I'm sure there will be a lot of people celebrating on the weekend instead!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: LexiFirefly

                            Oh we did, for sure. 7pm. It was hard though! They had one spot for 7pm and the next available was at 9:30pm.

                            Happy Valentines Day everyone!

                          2. Hi all!

                            Just wanted to report back on our dinner at The Saint on Saturday eve! It was fantastic! It's now on my top 5 in TO list. Thank you for the recs!

                            We arrived for our 7pm reso and were seated right away in a booth across from the bar. Great location, we absolutely loved the vibe and it was a pretty lively scene. Definitely somewhere I will be going back to with my boyfriend or just a night out with girlfriends! I should say my parents really liked it too, but they are pretty hip so I knew they would. It was loud but we are a loud family so it didn't bother us lol! Anyways, atmosphere was a 9/10, Leaf game was on too so my Dad watched a bit of that when the convo became 'girly'.

                            On to the food and wine! We started out with drinks and apps - we ordered a bottle of wine (ended up being 3 bottles by the end of the night but whose counting lol!) for the ladies (Mom picked it, a crisp Sav Blanc is all I can remember) and Dad ordered beer - Sam Adams amoungst others they had on draft. Had the Cod Fritters, Wedge Salad, Chicken Wings and Perogies to start. OMG those perogies - stuffed with pork belly they are one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. I think it came with about 6 so a good sized portion. While they were the star of the show I also enjoyed the cod fritters, not too salty and quite large, we each had half of one and it was enough and perfectly crispy on the outside and soft and melt-in-your mouth in the inside. Wedge Salad was quite big and had huge chunks of bacon and roasted tomatoes, I would order any of these dishes again. Lastly the chicken wings, portion was big, I would say 7-8 wings and the wings were huge - we got the honey garlic soy flavor which was yummy, but I like my wings crispy and these were not. But good nonetheless, I'm just nit-picking as the other dishes were so fantastic.

                            So, off to a great start! I should also note our waitress was Amy and she was amazing. My Mom had such a girl crush on her it was hilarious! I would request her next time. Actually, the service on the whole was excellent. They were so great at explaining each dish and making recos, all seemed really passionate and proud about the food and really seemed to be invested in us having a great experience! Dishes were cleared right away when finished with and the didn't overwhelm us but visiting our table every 5 secs, rather seemed to show up at the exact right times. Service was 10/10. The other thing I liked is there was a good 45 min between when we finished our apps and our mains arrived which I loved. It gave us time to digest and enjoy our wine and so when the mains arrived we felt like we could really enjoy them without the feeling like we needed to be forklifted out or take a nap as soon as we got home.

                            On to the mains ... the specials of the night were a Roasted Trout with veggies and roasted fingerlings, and the pie was a lamb shank and root veggie pot pie. OMG I died and went to heaven, I love lamb and shove it in a dish with puff pastry and rich gravy and I'm a happy girl! So of course I ordered that, along with my friend Deb - we got the last 2 of the night so that was a good sign, sold out by 7:30pm! Mom had the trout and Dad had the steak frites. We also ordered sides - roasted mushrooms, fries and brussel sprouts and bacon. I have to tell you - the mains were to die for. Mom's trout was perfectly cooked, perfect portion size and she could not stop raving. Didn't hear much from Dad during mains so I'm assuming his was so good he couldn't speak, asked him after and all he muttered was absolutely delish. As for the pot pies, first off the sheer size of the thing could of fed a family of four. It was a thing of beauty, and tasted even better. You know when you cook short ribs in the slow cooker all day and they literally fall off the bone when you get home from work, thats how the lamb tasted. Phenomenal. I even took a bunch of the mushrooms and brussel sprouts and threw them on the pie and that only enhanced the flavour. The fries were crispy, well salted, and I ate way too many. While I thought I would take at least half the pie home I actually desimated it and enjoyed every moment of it. Double time at the gym this week that's for sure!

                            For dessert, which none of us needed after the gluttony that had just occured, we ordered the cheesecake because it was my Birthday and I figured go big or go home! It was a perfect end to the perfect meal.

                            No idea what the total cost was as Dad paid but I'm guessing with the booze and food it was a pretty penny, but to be honest it was worth every one. I know this review is very gushy but I was just so happy with the meal, as were my guests, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone. I will definitely be a regular and am already planning next years Birthday there! I just hope they have that lamb shank pot pie ... reliving it .... AMAZING.

                            Thanks again for all your help everyone! Looking forward to many more discussions with you all!