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Jun 1, 2014 08:53 AM

Need North York recommendation for a 50th wedding anniversary dinner

My in-laws are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in August, and I'm looking for some decent restaurants to recommend for dinner. In the past, they have picked Congee Queen, Paesanos and Trappers, so I want to try and avoid another bad/inappropriate dinner.

There were likely be 10 - 12 people, all adults. We've taken them to places like Scaramouche and Splendido in the past, and they just really didn't enjoy themselves, mostly because of the pricing.

Simple, well executed, decent service, nice atmosphere Italian would be ideal and for some reason, I'm drawing a complete blank. And definitely north of St. Clair and south of Steeles, as this is their comfort zone.

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  1. For something different and funky, how about 'Origin' in Bayview Village?

    1. For Chinese, suggest checking out Kwan; and there is the old standby: Auberge du Pommier.

      3 Replies
      1. re: T Long

        Yes!! Auberge!! Depending on ones price point, definitely a wedding anniversary dinner destination!!

        BTW, T Long, How's Kwan? Haven't made it there yet? How did it compare to other Markham/Richmond Hill favorites?

        1. re: Charles Yu

          Regarding Kwan, I've only gotten reports from trusted sources as I've not gone yet myself. Basically the reports are the food is quite good especially for that area of town, but nothing too special compared to many in Markham/Richmond Hill and is likely pricier. This applies to both dim sum and regular dining (Sounds like Dynasty or Crown Princess). Worth a visit I think and it's on my list. However, it would be more of a priority if I lived closer to downtown TO.

          1. re: T Long

            I've tried Kwan for dinner, and find it expensive for what one gets. The food is good overall, but the meal pacing was erratic - didn't seem to be particularly planned in the order provided from kitchen.
            I also disliked the teapots. Very small, so required repeated re-filling and the servers didn't seem to be concerned about performing that function.

            BUT I haven't (yet) tried the Dim Sum.

      2. What about something like Grano? - South of Yonge & Eglinton - not too expensive but very lovely? Admittedly I haven't been there in ta few years though

        8 Replies
        1. re: Otonabee

          If they blanched at the price of Scaramouche, they'll certainly do so at the well-regarded Auberge du Pommier, recommended above - even though your inlaws presumably won't be paying the bill that night. I guess they're price-sensitive no matter who's paying. So let me suggest Paese, an Italian joint on Bathurst St., just north of Wilson Ave. I've been going there for years, and have never been disappointed. Stylish, relaxing atmosphere. Good service from old pros. Just a tad above mid-level pricing - you can check out the menu prices online. Popular with a fussy older crowd that lives nearby. No corkage on bring-your-own-wine every night but Saturday. It's not great, but it's pretty good (certainly better than Paesano's) and, more to the point, consistent. The menu straddles the line between traditional and more modern Italian dishes, so there's something for everyone. Paese has its own parking lot and, if that's filled, there's easy parking on the residential streets off Bathurst.

          Don't know Kwan, Origin and, like Otonabee, haven't been to Grano - after a couple of dud dinners - in years. Right around the time I discovered Paese.

          1. re: juno

            +1 for Paese, though admittedly it's been a while.

            It was exactly what I thought of when reading the OP.

            1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

              I'll second Paese. They also have a very nice private room on the second floor (note -you have to climb one flight of stairs), prices are not crazy, parking is easy and I've always had a nice meal there.

            2. re: juno

              Have you dined at Coppi recently, Juno? I remember you used to like their take on puttanesca? Might be nice for a special anniversary dinner, although might be on the loud side if it's a busy night.

              I haven't liked the food or service at the Bayview Village Origin.

              Wildfire might be a good option if there are plain eaters in the group.

              If you'd be willing to head north of Steeles, you could consider The Octagon. I would think some couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary would enjoy a traditional steakhouse.

              Left Bank Bistro on Avenue Road, or one of the bistros on Mt Pleasant or Bayview, might also be worth considering.

              1. re: prima

                I think the Octagon might be more expensive than Scaramouche/Splendido !

                1. re: kwfoodiewannabe

                  I guess it depends on what people order.
                  Some steaks at The Octagon cost more than some mains at Scaramouche/Splendido, but The Octagon will do a 3 course prix fixe group menu,including coffee for $ 65 plus tax and tip.

                  3 courses plus coffee at Splendido or Scaramouche tend to run closer to $80+ before tax and tip, in my experience.

                  1. re: prima

                    Re: Octagon, I was just thinking about the tableside Caesar salad (one of the better reasons to go, IMO) Pretty sure it's around $30 for two.

                    I suppose if you're talking group dining (as in preset menu) there are a lot more options. For some reason, I thought the OP was looking for an a la carte meal (although there is no indication of that - so MY bad)

            3. re: Otonabee

              I went to Grano last week, and it's pretty consistent. The patio space in the back (which has a glass roof) would be perfect to take over for 12 people. I have been to business dinners there in the past that have worked very well, with many communal options if you want sharing food. Have never had a bad meal at Quince or Zucca, but Zucca might be a little loud. Not as easy to have a distinct space.

            4. How about Quince just south of Yonge and Eg? I've always had excellent service there. Once we had a birthday party with about 10 ppl and it worked out great. Because a number of us were vegetarian, they provided more veggie options as specials for us.

              1 Reply
              1. re: illy

                I would second Quince - certainly above Paese.

                Another option is Zucca, if they prefer Italian.

              2. Talk to Yuri at Suliko. He will put together a Canadian-Georgian meal for that will great, cheap and lots to eat. Soup, salads, kebobs, cornish hen, salmon. For 12 people I would think that you can specify a particular soup which he will have as soup of the day.
                You can bring your own booze, no charge.
                Desserts are not fancy, but may be your in- laws cup of tea.
                I have experience successfully taking my family of 8 out to dinner, beginning with my English working class in- laws, a vegetoid Ms. and four young children with diverse but pretty good palates, although one of whom wants to eat spaghetti with tomato sauce at a good French restaurant. (I refuse to permit)

                See prior posts.

                Big question . Where are your parents from?

                3 Replies
                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                  Quince, mentioned above, is a good choice. I'd have mentioned it, but the OP indicated a preference for Italian, and Quince is more French bistro-ish. Limited menu. (Free corkage on Mon. and Tues.) Zucca, also suggested, is indeed better than Paese, as it should be - it's substantially more expensive. Imaginative menu, quality execution. But you can run up a pretty big bill there, and the OP suggests his/her crowd is price-sensitive. Suliko, off Steeles Ave. west of Dufferin, is an inspired choice, and certainly the best value buy so far on this thread, but Georgian nosh might be construed as too extreme for a group unfamiliar with the cuisine, and more comfortable with solid mid-level Italian. Good place, though, and easy parking. (I didn't know you could bring your own wine for free - there's nothing about it on its website. Thanks for the tip, Vinnie). Coppi? Haven't been in a while. After its last makeover, with all those hard surfaces, it's quite noisy. With prices trending upwards. Wildfire is essentially a good steakhouse, but not for the price-sensitive.

                  1. re: juno

                    At Suliko, unless there is a particular reason to do otherwise, go for the "Canadian" items that I listed in my prior post. You won't have an adventure into the unknown problem and there is enough choice. The other thing is that a lot of the items are intended to be shared even though the price doesn't suggest this. So for example, the Suliko salad, $4.55, comes with a serving spoon for a good reason. Good for maybe three in a western restaurant. (I like Zucca, but the salad is good for five there.) Start ordering, planning on sharing, and if you like an item and want more, order again.

                    Suliko will set up the tables for you in a convenient way in the middle of the room. They will provide white tableclothes on request. There is an excellent patio.

                    1. re: juno

                      I finally got around to trying Coppi earlier this week.

                      The food was great, and the best Italian food I've had on Yonge north of Eglinton. I tried the bruschetta, the soft shell crab (a seasonal special), the gnochetti Sardi (I liked it, but will probably order something else on future visits) and the tiramisu. My friend liked the shellfish stew with olive oil and lemon.

                      I found the portions and prices are the same as what I'd be paying for an upscale Italian restaurant downtown such as Little Anthony's or Carisma, or in midtown, such as Zucca. While the food is more classic/conventional/conservative than the some of the food at Zucca, I thought the food was at a similar quality level as Zucca, and better quality than most of the other Italian restaurants I've tried closer to Yonge & Eg.

                      Coppi wasn't noisy on a Tuesday night, which is often a slow night in North Toronto. Coppi was less than a third full, probably at least partly due to the patio weather (less than a kilometer further north of Coppi, the Miller Tavern's patio was full.) ;-)

                      While we were at Coppi, there was a large group of 10-12 people dining at a long table near the window.

                      Nice to see a fritto misto on the current menu. That's what I'm ordering on my next visit.