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Mar 6, 2014 02:01 PM

Upcoming Toronto Visit

We'll be coming back to Toronto for a quick 3 night visit. One dinner will be a return to Chiado, which we really enjoyed last time and would be our higher end dinner. Our other meals are open and we're considering:

Irish Embassy Pub or PJ O'Brien's
King Noodle or Lee Garden for lunch
Rebozo's or Playa Cabana (saw this on Toronto Taco Wars)
Dimmi or Fieramosca
Maybe Pho Hung?

Any thoughts or preferences on these places? Thanks for your help

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  1. I think you’re playing this a little too safe. Many of your choices (don’t have many problems with them) duplicate what you might find elsewhere in North America – perhaps consider exploring some of the things done really well in Toronto (or at least not widely available elsewhere)

    I have no issues with Chiado – one of the finest Portuguese restaurants on the continent (IMO).

    Many of your choices are in the Yorkville/Spadina neighbourhoods, so I’ll assume you’re staying fairly close.
    I’m not a ‘pub’ person, so can’t help there, but I believe the original owner of both has passed on (or is no longer involved) so they may lack some of their original personality.

    King Noodle and Lee Garden are ‘safe’ - consider perhaps lunch at Banh Mi Boys instead.

    Honestly, Mexican isn’t a real specialty here in Toronto – f you narrow down location (and other styles of food you like) than I can make further suggestions.

    For Italian, Yorkville is not really a good price/quality equation. Take a look at Buca.

    Pho Hung is still solid (although the one on Bloor has closed – the one on Spadina remains). We have excellent Thai restaurants here as well, which may interest you.

    I’m sure others will chip in – but your location here will help

    3 Replies
    1. re: estufarian

      Second thought - you might want to consider something 'Canadian' - Bannock is in the same price range (at Bay & Queen).

      1. re: estufarian

        is eating at bahn mi boys living dangerously? king's noodle has many more authentic dishes that are unfamiliar to most north americans than bahn mi boys which serves a toned down, americanized version of a classic.

        if you are actually looking for a pub i really like harbord house.

        1. re: frogsteak

          I scanned the OP's other posts to determine their tastes - I deliberately recommended places that were not 'too far' off the mainstream. That seemed to fit what I deduced they would be comfortable with.

          Authenticity is a concept I've railed against in multiple threads. It means very little (to me)as a criterion for choosing places - my view is that the key attribute is whether it tastes good to the consumer.

      2. Pretty certain that Lee Garden is not open for lunch. An alternative to King Noodle would be House of Gourmet on Dundas, just East of Spadina....similar to KN, but many that I know like HofG better.

        1. Thanks for your responses. estufarian, you're right we're staying in Yorkville, so some of our choices were location driven. We're also planning on visiting Kennsington Market which is why we thought maybe Chinese noodles for lunch (we could have dim sum depending on our mood as well).

          T Long, thanks for the House of Gourmet rec, I'll check it out as a possible spot.

          3 Replies
          1. re: curiousgeo

            Rol San for dim sum(Spadina) or Swatow for wok hay/noodle soups for lunch(Spadina)

              1. re: curiousgeo

                If you're in the mood for dim sum, keep in mind that upscale dim sum is found at Dynasty in Yorkville, and at Crown Princess, which is a 5-7 minute walk south of Yorkville on Bay. Dynasty and CP cost around $20-25/person ordering 2 dishes/person + 2 for the table (including tax but not tip). Rol San is the cheaper, louder, more bountiful but less refined type of dim sum, and it tends to cost $12-$15/person (including tax,not including tip), but it's located a 10 minute drive, 15-25 minute TTC ride, 30-40 minute walk from Yorkville.

                I'd recommend Rol San if you're already planning to visit the AGO, Chinatown,Kensington Market or want massive amounts of dim sum, but if you're just planning to order 6-10 dishes, and aren't seeking the Chinatown vibe/experience, the cost of eating more expensive,better quality dim sum near Yorkville will be close to the cost of 6-10 dishes at Rol San and the cost of subway tokens ($3/person each way unless you have a day pass/group pass), taxi fare from Yorkville($10+ each way) or parking costs in Chinatown.

              2. both taco options you're choosing are weak.
                those 2 pubs are pretty crappy. not sure why or what you're choose them for, but for food plus pub, Bellwoods would be the best beer-first option. Bar Isabel would be the other logical option.

                6 Replies
                1. re: atomeyes

                  I don't think of Bar Isabel as a "pub alternative" it is higher end restaurant plus reservations are required. If they are looking for beer maybe this list will help from Blog TO:

                  It lists the bars with the best beer selection. Beer is not my thing so I cannot comment on the quality..

                  1. re: pourboi

                    if you're looking for an all-around combo of beer and food, no place beats Bar Isabel. no place.
                    their beer menu's done by Keep6. they have 750 mL bottles of Trou di Diable (one of Canada's best microbreweries) that few other bars and restos have.

                    the OP also mentioned places to eat, not drink, hence the Isabel reference.

                    I usually hate BlogTO's lists, but Ben knows his beer. the top 5 bars on that list should not be dinner locations. WVRST is the only place i'd consider eating at.

                    1. re: atomeyes

                      I would see this more as a replacement for Chiado as their "higher end" dinner. Than as an alternative to the Irish Embassy which I assumed they picked for a lower cost option as they said they only wanted "one" high end meal.

                  2. re: atomeyes

                    Bellwoods is good if you like 2% beer, over-powering hops or beer with a milk-shake like consistency. It's also full of yuppies and the seating is uncomfortable.

                    1. re: frogsteak

                      i can't believe i'm taking your dumb, dangly bait, but here i go:

                      on tap at Bellwood:

                      Stay Classy - a session beer. not sure if you know what that is, but it is a 2.3% abv beer that's gaining popularity in the US and Europe. meant to discourage drinking and driving and encourage social consumption.

                      Brettal Head - 5% abv

                      Grizzly Beer - 6.2%

                      Farmhouse classic - 7.2%

                      Lost River Baltic Porter - 7.7%

                      Witchshark - 9% abv

                      Hellwoods - 10%

                      Wizard Wolf - another "session ale", although it clocks in at 4.8% abv

                      so, 8 beer on tap. 2 session beer. one that falls under your "water" category. 5 fall under high alcohol, 4 fall under "don't drive if you're having a pint". 2, maybe 3, are hoppy. 2 are "milkshake-like consistency" because, well, that's how porters tend to be. as opposed to having a thing, watery body. so yeah, please continue and educate us "yuppies" (didn't realize the 90s were back) about Bellwoods' crowd. thought it was hipsters and beardos that were there.

                      1. re: frogsteak

                        Hmm, I'd say it's good if you like tasty, interesting, well-made beer in a variety of styles, many of which you don't easily find elsewhere. Pray tell what would you say is better?

                    2. maybe you can fill us in more on what you are looking for in each experience?

                      - khao san road