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First dinner in Toronto near the Fairmont Royal York?

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So...after 56 awesome replies to my query a few weeks ago, I well equipped and feel excited to head to Toronto tomorrow for a long weekend with my little family. I can't wait to explore on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday ( strangely enough I am most excited about Banh Mi Boys and Waltzing Mathilda cheese at the market!) but on Thursday night I will want something local and close to the hotel...10 minute walk sort of thing, or a quick taxi ride. Any suggestions for a great meal that will ease this harried New Yorker into Toronto's charms?

Thanks so much~
lisa

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  1. After travelling and unpacking, and general stress, I think the gabardine might be a good option. Mid range resto with a vibrant atmosphere and solid food. That would be my choice, it's at bay and richmond, and you might be able to find a nice quiet walk, away from construction. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: LexiFirefly

      I think The Gabardine is a great idea. It's crowded with a lot of buzz until 8 or so, then things quiet down a bit as the financial district crowd goes home.
      http://www.thegabardine.com/

      If you like oysters and seafood, Starfish might hit the spot. Sitting at the oyster bar watching them shuck is always a good experience.
      http://www.starfishoysterbed.com/

    2. Also on Bay (at Queen) is Bannock.
      I find the food heavy there, but it tries to be Canadian.

      1 Reply
      1. re: estufarian

        I looked at all the menus and liked everything I saw, but think that I am leaning toward Bannock; that lamb shoulder shepherd's pie is calling out to my little man and the griddled octopus and cauliflower and anchovy salad are calling out to ME!

      2. Couple of other options to throw out there. Friends have been to The Chase and enjoyed it (the ground floor one, I guess there is more of a higher end one on the 3rd floor).

        The new Drake restaurant (Drake 150) is in the area too. Haven't heard much about it yet but an option. Looks like nice space from the outside.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ylsf

          Drake 150 is complicating things: that braised Ontario Boar sounds divine! The sides are great too. Roasted Roots...yum.

          1. re: ZenFoodist

            NOTE: Reservations essential for both Drake One fifty and Chase. But because it's Thanksgiving weekend, you may get lucky at either.
            But both are walking distance from the hotel (a slight detour from Bay) so you could plan Bannock and/or Gabardine as an escape if you can't get in.

          2. re: ylsf

            Since The Chase is the new "it" spot on Bay Street it is packed with suits on Thursday evenings. May be more of a scene than the OP is looking for after travelling.

          3. Not sure what time you get in and plan on having dinner, but be aware of the hours. For ex., Bannock's open til 10. I'd consider it friendlier to families than the other spots mentioned, but if you're kid can hang w/ the grownups, go for it. BTW, if you do head to Bannock, take a look at the temporary Ai Weiwei installation, 'Forever Bicycles', across the street at Nathan Phillips Square.