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Solo Diner in Yorkville area September

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Mariana in Baja Aug 1, 2013 02:06 PM

I will be on my own on a Sunday and Monday night and am looking for places with counter seating. Not interested in Sushi as I live on the Pacific in Mexico. I grew up in Toronto so I know my way around but I don't know current restaurants. I love most Asian food and am not looking for ultra high end places - just good food in a place where an older woman can dine alone comfortably. Would prefer within walking distance but willing to take subway. Thanks for any and all suggestions.

  1. f
    franpelyk Aug 1, 2013 02:17 PM

    I would seriously consider Opus on Prince Arthur, which would be a 5 minute walk from Yorkville. If you dine at the small bar, get your wine by the glass and soak up the atmosphere, as it is quite a neat place, you should end up paying a reasonable bill. The age demographic there is usually 40's plus and they are all "charachters". Plus, the food is great and the staff, very friendly. The fish and their rack of lamb would be my first two choices!

    1. d
      derekw Aug 2, 2013 10:29 AM

      Yorkville is my 'hood. La Societe (high-ish price) and Museum Tavern (mid-price) would be my pick based on your criteria. If you must have Asian, then go to Lee Chen Asian Bistro (mid-price). Opus is probably good (I've never been) but be prepared to spend top dollar. All of these have menu online.

      1. TorontoJo Aug 2, 2013 10:35 AM

        I love eating at the bar at Caren's.

        2 Replies
        1. re: TorontoJo
          m
          Mariana in Baja Aug 2, 2013 12:47 PM

          Am I correct to assume the Museum Tavern is inside the museum? I am a little concerned about what might be closed Sunday Monday. So disappointed to miss the St Lawrence Market!

          1. re: Mariana in Baja
            MissBingBing Aug 2, 2013 12:51 PM

            across the street from the Museum. Also keep in mind that the film fest runs the 5th thru 15th so anywhere in that nabe will be swamped.

        2. j
          juno Aug 2, 2013 03:30 PM

          The previously-mentioned Caren's is one of the more civilized places in the neighbourhood. And the food is pretty damn good as well. Relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere. Opus is a tad price-y, but if you choose wisely, it won't be too, too price-y. If you're partial to Hungarian food - goulash, schnitzel, that sort of thing - you'll like The Coffee Mill which, to my mind, is the most affordable joint in Yorkville. Many lighter dishes to accommodate a jovial older crowd. Not too kitschy. But no counter seating, which you seem to prefer. Many regulars, who've been going to The Coffee Mill for decades. A comfortable spot. You're out of luck, though, for good, affordable Asian food around there.

          1. ComerDemonio Aug 2, 2013 04:23 PM

            Try Le Paradis (166 Bedford Rd, http://www.leparadis.com). I've had many solo meals at the bar. Not expensive and pretty good French Bistro style food.

            1. prima Aug 2, 2013 05:29 PM

              I'd probably choose Dynasty if I was looking for Chinese food in Yorkville. Lee Chen is decent, but on the economical/ordinary side, and not the type of place I'd visit if I only had two dinners in/near Yorkville.

              Second Le Paradis for a low-key bistro.

              Second Opus.Fieramosca is another option on Prince Arthur.

              I'd also consider Mideastro, Pangaea and Cafe Boulud in Yorkville, and L'Unita and Mistura, which are within a 10 minute walk of the heart of Yorkville.

              I'd also recommend Pastis (which has a bar where one can dine solo, as far as I remember), Earth and Rosedale Diner, which are a short subway ride away, or within a 15-20 minute walk from Yorkville.

              I wasn't impressed by the food last time I had dinner at the Museum Tavern.

              1 Reply
              1. re: prima
                kwass Aug 13, 2013 10:55 AM

                +1 Midaestro, Pangaea, L'Unita, and Mistura. You will be very happy with any of these choices.

              2. Charles Yu Aug 2, 2013 05:59 PM

                I am very surprise that no body mention ' Il Posto ', located right in the middle of Yorkville??!!!
                I had one of my best Italian meal in Toronto there! The veal dish was amazingly prepared!!

                1. d
                  derekw Aug 2, 2013 07:59 PM

                  My take on a few rec's mentioned:
                  Le Paradis: Very good bistro ambience, food, and wine by the glass. Usually packed but one person can often get a seat at the bar. The only downside is it's a 15-min walk from the heart of Yorkville, and it's a boring walk.
                  Dynasty: Indeed the food is better than Lee Chen's though pricier, but it's not really set up for solo diners.
                  Il Posto: Not really for solo diners either, but the food is always great. A true anti-Yorkville gem: solid quality cooking served to a non-trendy crowd.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: derekw
                    m
                    Mariana in Baja Aug 3, 2013 07:42 AM

                    Maybe I will try the high end places for lunch and just do something simple for supper - Whole Foods could work for that I think

                    1. re: Mariana in Baja
                      j
                      JToronto Aug 13, 2013 10:18 AM

                      I have dined alone at Caren's and Le Paradis and agree that they make a lady alone feel very much at home. I also had a surprisingly great experience dining alone at the restaurant in the Park Hyatt... I don't usually like to eat in hotels but food & service were superb actually (though it is fancier/more expensive than the 2 above).

                      If you are willing to get on subway and/or want to escape film fest insanity, go up to St. Clair & eat at the bar at Cava - great Tapas and the bartenders/servers are always really friendly.

                  2. Moimoi Aug 14, 2013 09:27 AM

                    People! She asked for something with "counter seating" and “within walking distance” (my criteria for walking is no more than five minutes unfortunately) from Yorkville.

                    That said, I agree that Le Paradis is perfect, with the best bar for dining and chatting with more mature patrons and staff; however, IMO, I think it would be a pain to walk there – depending of course if you're like me, or which end of Yorkville you are staying... You can always map it and decide…

                    Never been to Caren's but just checked it out – wow, looks ideal… as a mater of fact, I think I'll go there this Sunday for the wine and cheese sampler. Also looks like it would be a great, more intimate social scene. Opus is great for all the things you're looking for - it's like Paradis, but more expensive. Coffee Mill... a classic, but kind of dull and lighting is more cafeteria than dining. Actually, I've been to every place on this list, except Museum Tavern and Caren's (I didn’t like the vibe I picked up on Museum from the site), so this has actually been a good exercise in narrowing down criteria, because while I’ve always loved Yorkville, finding the “right” spot for the mood has always been a challenge....

                    Ultimately, if I had to choose, even though I've never been to Caren's, after seeing the site, I can tell already that Caren's would be a great, warm, social space, with a great bar for eating, and it seems – a suitable clientele… Like I said, I'll be checking it out too! Let us know where you go.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Moimoi
                      TorontoJo Aug 14, 2013 09:35 AM

                      I've passed many a pleasant hour at Caren's, either at the bar chatting with the bartender, or on their beautiful back patio with a book. The food is solid if uninspired, the wine list good. Not a cheap spot, but always a reliable choice for Yorkville.

                      1. re: TorontoJo
                        Moimoi Aug 14, 2013 05:27 PM

                        Thanks... I needed that. I was falling hard and hadn't even been there yet. Le Paradis? :) Still let us know what you do.... p.s. While Mortons isn't really imaginative, it's got a cozy little bar - used to serve complimentary sliders as bar snacks (doubt they do anymore), and some friends who live right in the heart of Yorkville, are diehards.

                      2. re: Moimoi
                        prima Aug 14, 2013 11:13 AM

                        I really like the Stilton burger, cheese plates and wine at Caren's, as well as the atmosphere, but I've been underwhelmed by everything else I've ordered. Whenever I have ordered anything else off the menu, I've ended up wishing I had ordered the Stilton burger.

                        Walking the 15 minutes (or taking a 5 minute taxi) to Le Paradis isn't a pain for me. I think it's a good option that's reasonably close to Yorkville, and offers more bang for the buck than most places in Yorkville.

                        I'm pretty sure L'Unita on Avenue Rd has a bar, where solo diners can be seated.

                        Vittorio's might be another option to consider. Haven't been.

                        1. re: prima
                          kwass Aug 14, 2013 11:17 AM

                          +1 Vittorio's

                          Haven't been since they moved, but Vittorio's is a charming restaurant with great food!

                          1. re: kwass
                            m
                            Mariana in Baja Aug 14, 2013 07:33 PM

                            Thanks so much - looks like Caren's might be the place - but I will keep options open and I promise to report back, I will be there mid-Sept.

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