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Mar 12, 2013 06:45 PM

Dinner with the in laws.

My partner's parents have agreed to meet downtown for dinner next Thursday, which is... unusual for them. They've suggested Red Lobster, but this seems an eminently bad idea given their prejudices against carbs and deep fried things (or perhaps that's just what I get at Red Lobster?).

So, hoping for recommendations that are not chain restaurants in the downtown core-ish or at least transit friendly, french and semi-formal appreciated, but not deadly expensive. My preferences are usually italian and fairly casual (Paese, Enoteca Sociale), but these would not be good choices for them.

What have you got for me?

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  1. I usually take my inlaws and parents to Le Select. Its clean, safe and the menu is very agreeable. My mom, for example, really only likes Steak frites or pub food, so its a go-to spot when I need to take her out.

    3 Replies
    1. re: hungryabbey

      Agreed with Le Select. Another good option is Biff's Bistro.

      1. re: TorontoJo

        One more vote for Biff's and Le Select.

        There is also Le Paradis on Bedford (Dupont Station)

      2. re: hungryabbey

        I've never been there, but it looks like what I'm looking for. Thanks. Biff's had also occurred to me, so these are great suggestions.

      3. For casual Italian downtown that's in-law friendly (so illusive, yet, you know it when you see it), try:
        Little Anthony's

        Also, Volos is a fantastic family-friendly place for seafood if your in-laws had suggested Red Lobster in the first place.

        1. I know it's technically a chain and it certainly doesn't pass muster as chowworthy but I wouldn't write off Milestones as an option for this kind of thing, mid price, consistent, not actually horrible.

          That is if Le Select doesn't fly,

          1. Are you certain your outlaws don't just want seafood and don't know where to go for it?

            3 Replies
            1. re: Googs

              This is quite possible. But I don't know quite where to go out for seafood in their vein, other than a russian resto, which is not quite what we're doing here.

              1. re: pebepe

                If by, "in their vein" you mean low bad carbs, no deep fried foods, then just about any decent seafood restaurant would work. Starfish, Zee Grill, and Diana's Oyster Bar & Grill would be a good start to your research. If you mean they would prefer an establishment featuring Russian seafood dishes, then I'm well and truly stumped.

                If you're looking for a French-ish restaurant that does good things with seafood and offers plenty of choices, then take a look at Scaramouche.


                1. re: Googs

                  By their vein, I think I meant Russian, which is hard to find in the core. (full stop).

                  I've eaten at starfish and zeegrill (Loved the oyster selection at Starfish, but not their cooked food. Zeegrill was good, but I remember it as casual, perhaps memory mistakes). I'ven't heard of Diana's before and one day I'll get to Scaramouche.

                  We ended up at Le Selecte. MIL liked her soup, sent back her fish and was grumpy about ducklegs that replaced it. She can be hard to please.

            2. What about Bannock? Lots of choice, accessible menu, and at the corner of Queen & Bay, so very transit friendly.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Phoenix

                I've never been, but I'll check out the menu for sure. I know exactly where that is... one of the O and B chain restos, right?

                1. re: pebepe

                  I'm taking my (picky) parents there in April and I know they will love it. But- its very casual and the food is playful and kind of gsstropubish. It's nothing like Le select, but both are very safe.