Great food for 8 ppl near Park Hyatt on Avenue Rd.
Vancouver Chowhounder here....wondering if you might be able to lend me some of your fabulous Toronto insight....wanting to book dinner for 8 colleagues on Monday evening in TO....will be staying at Park Hyatt on Avenue Rd. Looking for really, really good food. Mid-range prices - nothing too extravagant (company budget!). Entrees over $30 would likely be a bit too high. We are all big foodies and love great restaurants - where would you suggest??
Here's another vote for Le Paradis, a classic, modestly-priced French bistro that's either a longish walk or a short cab ride from your hotel. It's not great, but it's quite good, and certainly good value within its category. It has been around for decades, which means that it must be doing something right. It can easily accommodate eight in one of its side rooms, but be sure to reserve a day or two in advance - it's locally popular and usually busy in the evening. Lively atmosphere, good service, easy-to-take wine prices. I've never taken a bad mouthful there.
L'Unita on Avenue Road is quite good, and about half the mains are $30 or under. I like the food and service at L'Unita more than the food at Ciao. L'Unita is located a few blocks north of the Hyatt.
Le Paradis is a reasonable bistro within a 15-20 minute walk of the Hyatt. http://www.leparadis.com/
Globe Earth http://www.earthrosedale.com/ http://www.earthrosedale.com/Menus/dinner/tabid/9411/Default.aspx and Rosedale Diner http://www.rosedalediner.com/ are within a 20-25 minute walk, or a short taxi ride. Mains are under $30.
Since you don't mind a short cab ride, I would recommend heading to Harbord Street, where there are several great, mid-priced restaurants. My personal choice for your needs would be 93 Harbord.
Another option is Harbord Room, though it might be tough to get a res for 8 there, as it's quite small.
When I last stayed at that hotel, I had a lovely meal at Fieramosca Trattoria just around the corner on Prince Arthur... and I'm not even much of a fan of southern Italian food or (sometimes) the decor that goes along with it.
Really friendly and accommodating service (while not in your face) and although too cool when I was there in April, a beautiful back garden dining area or comfortable (and quiet) indoor dining. The food was wonderful; fresh and flavourful and not too heavy-handed with sauces etc. I don't think we chose from the menu for mains: the chef's specials were great that evening.
I was really not expecting much and I was so pleasantly surprised, I'm going to make a point of going back when next in TO. I don't know that it was "Foodie" great: but it was a solid traditional choice...
I've also dined at Opus across the street from Fieramosca but it's a bit beyond your stipend... http://www.opusrestaurant.com/Welcome.taf
If a traditional French bistro is of interest, I've also had great meals here:
http://jacquesbistro.com/Bienvenue.html; a short walk from the Park Hyatt.
Hope that helps