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Good dinner spot needed with great dessert menu

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Will be celebrating a friend's birthday soon and there is a group of 6 going to dinner. Looking for somewhere with mains at $20 or less, some vegetarian options, but most importantly, a killer dessert list as that's the birthday girl's raison d'etre.
Location is flexible as we're willing to drive.

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  1. my favourite dessert in the city has to be the sticky toffee pudding at starfish..unfortunately- i don't think they have veg options...but it's little brother restaurant- ceili cottage has some veg options. haven't been there- but it's the same owners as starfish.

    my other favourite dessert is at jump- the white chocolate cheesecake. and while overpriced for what it is...i think the service is great there...

    another great celebration spot imo is House on Parliament- the food is consistently good- and comes in nicely below $20 for mains...i've only had the sticky toffee pudding there...and it doesn't compare to starfish, but it's decent.

    10 Replies
    1. re: jinxie

      Thanks so much! House on Parliament was one that had occurred to me as well. Had a killer chocolate gingerbread cake there over the winter.
      Ceili Cottage is also a favourite of mine. Since the sticky toffee pudding recipe was printed in The Star I've made it 4 times!

      1. re: Julie McCoy

        The great thing about HoP for celebrating is their upstairs room which is great for groups because it tends to get loud downstairs...

      2. re: jinxie

        I was actually pretty disappointed with the sticky toffee pudding I had at Starfish - though it was during Winterlicious, so maybe that's why?

        The one at Celil Cottage, on the other hand, was outstanding. The sauce was epic and well done.

        1. re: pakmode

          A little surprising that there would be much difference given the shared ownership and a fair amount of shared resources in the kitchens (both places had the same exec chef when that would have first appeared on the menus).

        2. re: jinxie

          Jinxie,
          Have you had the Sticky Toffee Pudding at Beast? Hands down my favourite dessert in the city. I went on a sticky toffee pudding crawl (though have not yet been to Starfish) and the others so far haven't even come close.
          Would like to know how the Starfish one compares to Beast, if you (or anyone else) has been to both.

          1. re: LearningHow

            I haven't had it at Beast, but will definitely. I'm not a sticky toffee aficionado by any means, but I thoroughly enjoyed the rendition at Celil Cottage.

            1. re: LearningHow

              I consider myself a STP expert, and this is the best one I've tasted. I havent had it at Starfish either!! I will have to return for sure.

              1. re: hungryabbey

                Like pakmode, I'm not an expert on sticky toffee but have you tried Note Bene's version or the Queen and Beaver STP? I thought them tasty and am wondering how these would rate for you.

                1. re: sman

                  Ive never been to NB, but I love Q&B's STP (same at Oxley). Very moist and lovely caramel- they also have a few really tasty ice cream flavours to pair with it.

              2. re: LearningHow

                not yet- but i've been meaning to try beast for the longest while..maybe tonight. Thanks for the recommendation.

                Sticky Toffee Pudding is something I can't resist. ever...I even had a decent one at Swiss Chalet the other night (Queensway location)...the sauce is thumbs-down but the cake is pretty good.

            2. Check out DT Bistro on Harbord. It has amazing entrees, and an incredible dessert menu. They definitely have vegetarian options, a beautiful environment, and possibly the best the desserts in the city.

              www.dtbistro.com

              2 Replies
              1. re: saltandsaffron

                We ordered a couple of desserts after having lunch there just before the reno. iirc they were $13 each!

                1. re: saltandsaffron

                  I haven't been impressed by the desserts at DT. I thought one apple tart at DT was less impressive than the Dufflet tarts found at most Second Cups.

                  My favourite desserts in the city are served by George, Scaramouche, Zee Grill, Splendido and Canoe.
                  I can't think of any restaurants with mains less than $20 that serve great desserts. I think the budino at Libretto is a pretty good dessert, for a mid range resto where a main could run less than $20/p. I also like the desserts at Le Select, where a few mains cost less than $20. They also offer a reasonably priced prix fixe.

                2. If you are willing to go more expensive, I would second the choice of George. You can get a vegetarian tasting menu and the desserts are usually great.

                  If sticking with cheaper, both Libretto and Queen Margherita are good choices.