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Recommendations for a great place for lunch, Downtown Toronto, St. Michael's Hospital area

Just wondering if anyone can recommend a fairly reasonable place for lunch in downtown TO in the vinicinity of St. Michael's Hospital? Can be any type of cuisine (I have a culinary background so have a palate that is open to and pretty much likes everything). Does not have to be "fancy" place, just have great home cooked food (no franchises or chains). I live an hour north of Toronto in the country (am a farmer) and I just don't get downtown very often and would really appreciate any recommendations. Thanks so much!

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  1. I love going to Starfish....

    1. There are lots of great options. If it was a day like today, I'd probsbly go for a cozy bowl of ramen from Santouka or some delicious Thai from Sabai Sabai.

      3 Replies
      1. re: peppermint pate

        Both great suggestions... and, both suggestions I was going to make!

        I went to Santouka when I had to bring a relative to the hospital and didn't have a very long break. I don' t know how busy it is during the "normal" lunch time but I went around 2pm and was pretty empty. It might be a bit busier at noon but it is just down the street from Sabai Sabai so you could use one or the other as a backup. Sabai Sabai had some good lunch specials when I went there for lunch one time.

        1. re: ylsf

          I was there as a single last Friday right at noon and I only waited about 10 mins but I did notice that some of the 2 tops waited about 20 mins.

        2. re: peppermint pate

          Santouka is great, especially when you opt for less salt and hard noodle..!

        3. Queen & Beaver on Elm west of Queen

          1. La Bettola di Terroni at 106 Victoria Street


            1. Oddly, one of the better places you can lunch is right in St Michael's. If you're looking for simple, fresh made food the Marketeria on the 6th floor is decent and inexpensive. There's usually a carving station for hot, fresh sandwiches. The specials at the hot food station a little deeper in offers plenty of comfort choices. There's lots of comfortable banquette seating. No need to risk being splashed by a passing car while walking around Queen & Victoria.

              1. Your best bet is Hawthorne Food and Drink - it's literally one block from St. Michael's.


                8 Replies
                1. re: CarNut

                  How did I miss this place? Do they do take-out?

                  1. re: julesrules

                    Hawthorne is awesome, their four square meal is a great idea and pretty good value (not great value, its still going to run you 22 bucks with tax and tip for lunch).

                    It's one of those places thats beloved on Yelp and yet no one on chowhound talks about it. A must visit.

                    1. re: themiguel

                      I just went for dinner on Friday... really fantastic. I had the lobster roll, a friend the beef cheek ravioli, and her husband the ribs. We devoured everything. They also had starters, and we split chocolate cake and a date square for dessert, also great. I had never been before but will be going back for sure..

                      1. re: rstuart

                        Thanks for the reminder, must check it out soon. Mark Cutrara has taken over the kitchen at Hawthorne and I loved his stuff at Cowbell.

                        1. re: fickle

                          I saw him in the kitchen. The prices were good too considering the quality of the food. The service is a little unpolished but very genuine.

                    1. re: Googs

                      Thanks to both who provided more info, I checked them out for lunch recently. They do take out of the entire menu, have bar seating and don't seem that busy yet, so they work for a quick solo workday lunch... perfect for me.
                      That said, I wasn't in love with the contents of my 4square, because 2/3 savouries were too salty and just ok. The 3rd, a composed salad was delicious although again some elements were too salty. The dessert was good but imperfect too.
                      The house-made pop is great, but since the food has sweet elements I found the combo too much - but I never drink pop normally, so I am sensitive to it for sure.
                      That said, I will go back, the ramen sounds great, the room is nice with lunchtime sun, the staff were incredibly nice and eager to please. I may just have hit a bad combo for my particular tastes. That is why I am being deliberately vague about what I ate.

                      1. re: julesrules

                        After that visit and another meh experience with their takeout, I recently heard they had a new chef and gave them another try for an impromptu lunch with my hubby. This was a very good experience, the eggnog cheesecake was especially delicious. I wouldn't go with a group if you are in hurry, the food did not come out as quickly as it does at some downtown lunch spots. But a very nice lunch and no faults to the food at all unlike my previous visits.

                  2. Porchetta & Co. is few minutes walk. If that.

                    Great stuff.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: magic

                      From St. Mike's? I don't think so unless they've opened a new location. St. Michael's Hospital is at Queen East and Victoria.

                      1. re: magic

                        Porchetta & Co is few minutes walk from the Toronto Western Hospital, a long hike from St. Michaels. How about Bannock in the Bay, Richmond Station, John and Sons? These are walking distance from St. Mikes.

                        1. re: buttertartz

                          Yes! Sorry! I'm confusing St. Mike's with Toronto Western. Brain freeze. :(

                          Closer to St. Mike's OP might want to check out Beer Bistro and The Senator.

                          Also, Urban Eatery food court at the Eaton Centre for plenty of decent options.

                          1. re: magic

                            Yep.. I work near there, and would recommend the Senator. Love their grilled cheese.. and their cobb salad is fantastic and giant!