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Jul 16, 2013 06:12 AM

Two Dinners in Toronto with Very Picky In-Laws

My husband and I are visiting Toronto with our in-laws this weekend. We are adventurous eaters who usually use this trip to go a little crazy, but our in-laws are... less adventurous. We are looking for two places to go for dinner that meet the following criteria: 1. Good food (for us); 2. Easy parking (in-laws can't walk very far), 3. Options for a very picky eater (toddler picky-- no fish, no seasoning, nothing too "ethnic"-- though chinese or hibachi are ok, simple flavor profiles). I am basically looking for a place where my father-in-law can order something "plain" and it won't be a big deal. At least one steak house would be good. Thanks!

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  1. This may be difficult - we are in the middle of 'Summerlicious' which continues through the weekend, where many restaurants offer restricted menus at a fixed price.
    Where are you staying? That may prompt some suggestions.

    1 Reply
    1. re: estufarian

      We are staying at the Hilton out by the airport. I just became VERY excited about Summerlicious. Perhaps we will feed them early and then sneak out somewhere better. ;)

    2. My dad is a pretty picky eater too. He likes plain foods without sauces/etc on them but he seems happy with Middle Eastern foods and have been to a few places that do grilled kabobs/etc and he is happy.

      My other suggestion would maybe be one of the pizza places (Pizza Libretto, QMP, etc) as most people can find a pizza that they like.

      1. Le Select Bistro is my recommendation of choice for virtually every difficult situation, very tough to dislike that place, and there is something for everyone.

        1. Sidecar might be a good fit and it is in Little Italy so you can wander around the neighbourhood a bit. Agree with the Le Select idea too. Anything italian should be pretty safe - maybe Enoteca Sociale as they have both plain and more interesting options?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Cat123

            Easy parking on a weekend? I don't think so!
            (this is more of a general comment, rather than a criticism of your choices).
            Le Select is a little easier to park, but that's still a very long drive.
            Unfortunately NW is not a well-travelled area for me, but let me think and I'll try to suggest something rather than criticise others suggestions.
            One that springs to mind is Grand Chinese (in the Doubletree). I've had excellent meals there.

            1. re: estufarian

              Let me be clear: are you and your husband staying near the airport, along with your in-laws? Or is it just you and your husband at the airport Hilton, and you're visiting your in-laws, who live somewhere in Toronto? If the former, the suggestion of the Chinese resto in the Doubletree Inn near the airport, mentioned by estufarian, is a good one. It'll save a helluva lot of driving around. But if the latter, and you're picking them up at home in the city before going on to dinner, it'd help to better target our suggestions if we knew where in Toronto your in-laws live.

              I wouldn't get too, too excited about Summerlicious. There are some good-value spots - mentioned on another thread - but at many of the venues, all the three-course prix fixe means is a free dessert, if that. And limited choice of menu items. And, often, some tweaking of the portion size. For example, at Steak-Frites, a decent enough French bistro on Yonge St. north of Lawrence Ave., the $25 three-course dinner includes a tasty flank steak main that goes for $21.50 on the regular menu. Sounds like a mad Summerlicious buy, with only $3.50 extra for a starter and dessert, right? Except that the Summerlicious flank steak, a waiter admitted, is half the size of the flank steak on the regular menu. We opted for the regular menu. (Lousy Caesar salad, by the way.)

              1. re: estufarian

                +1 for the Grand!
                Some 'delicate and refined' dishes.
                - Poached Free range chicken in Chinese ham & dried scallops Bouillon
                - Creamy egg white and crab meat with steamed Tofu

            2. You can try Harbord Room.
              Parking is relatively easy on the side streets off Harbord.
              Their burger is always a crowd pleaser. Pastas are not overly fancy and always well executed. They are very accommodating - never had trouble asking them to leave certain ingredients out/substitution. Plenty of choices for more adventurous eaters like yourselves too.

              The space is tight so be sure to let them know you will be dining with elderlies.