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Aug 10, 2003 08:31 PM

visiting Toronto with my picky-eater SO

  • b

My SO and I will be visiting Toronto in a few weeks. It is our first trip to Canada (we are from the US), so we want to make the most of it. We are staying at the Sheraton downtown on Queen Street and will get about mostly on foot or by the subway. Here's my problem--my SO is a picky eater. He doesn't eat tomatoes or cheese in any form, so Italian is out. Spicy food makes him nervous, although I can usually lure him to Chinese restaurants with the thought of cashew chicken (he eats the chicken and cashews with the rice and leaves everything else) and he likes Pad Thai, too. On the good side, he loves meat in all forms, especially steak and seafood. And no trip for us is complete unless we discover a new chocolate dessert.

Given those limitations, does anyone have any good suggestions for some casual lunches and dinners, plus one special night out?

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  1. thai/chinese: walk west on Queen St. ... this is a somewhat trendy area with many good eats. For pad thai, I suggest Queen Mother Cafe (a block and a half from University on the north side of Queen St.)
    For Chinese keep walking west on Queen St. until you hit Spadina. Then head north.

    For more thai places (and Caribbean food), cross Spadina and keep heading west.

    Your hotel has a steakhouse "Le Biftheque" which has mixed reviews (Haven't been there myself). There is also Ruth's Chris Steak House in the Hilton just south of your hotel on University.

    For a special night, try Susur (Phone: 416-603-2205
    Address: 601 King St W).

    I highly recommend the Nutty Chocolatier...not a sit down dessert place, but you can pick up a box of chocolates and other imports. Head east on Queen St., then head south on Yonge St. It's just before Adelaide on the West side (144 Yonge St.)

    1. The Sheraton Centre is practically the most central location in Toronto, so you'll have absolutely no problem finding someplace to eat! The problem will be whittling the choices down.

      Since you've never been in Toronto before, but obviously have access to the web, you could try some online sources: Now Toronto (the local equivalent to Village Voice or Chicago Reader) has a site at . Upscale, Toronto Life has listings at . Even Zagat at has a Toronto section.

      Walking, Queen Street West (east of University Avenue, and even past Spadina) has lots of great choices. (King Street, parallel to that, is the theatre district). Spadina Avenue, north of Queen (actually closer to Dundas) all the way to College Street is Chinatown. If there's an area that where it's actually harder to find good restaurants, it's up Yonge Street, although east onto Church Street gets you into the gay ghetto.

      After looking at those, if you need to whittle down the selections further, try a more detailed posting. Toronto works two ways: (1) by neighbourhood, and (2) by ethnic cuisine (of which we have a rich variety).

      1. Thai: Young Thailand
        (81 Church St. Toronto (416) 368-1368)

        Special Night Out: Sen5es (or Susur)
        Check out this GLOWING review:

        La Paloma for some gelato.

        1. Thanks for the suggestions so far. I read in another post about back bacon sandwiches--these sound like something I have to try. Any recommendations for a place near the Sheraton? In late-breaking news, it looks like the restaurant several of you suggested--Sasura--is closed when we are there. I am thinking about Ruth's Chris instead. Like I mentioned, the SO is a meat-lover, so it looks promising. Has anyone been there and if so, what did you think? Also, how much would dinner there set us back (sans drinks)?

          4 Replies
          1. re: Brynda

            For backbacon sandwiches, you have to go to St. Lawrence Market at Carousel Bakery


            It's quite far for walking from your hotel.

            For great veal sandwiches and other meats (chicken, meatball, steak), visit California Sandwiches....a little hard to find for tourists though.....Take the subway north from the Osgoode station (each get transfers!!!) to St. Patrick. Take a Dundas streetcar west. Ask the driver to announce the stop closest to Claremont. You might have to ask around where Claremont is. Once you find it, you'll walk 1 block up. And it's at the southwest corner of the 3-way intersection. It's hard to find because it is in a residential neighbourhood.

            Have fun!!!!!!

            1. re: Brynda

              Ruth's Chris is an American chain -- not to say that they're not good, but it probably tastes the same as the ones I've been to in New York and Chicago.

              The local choices of Barberian's, Carmen's and George Bigliardi's are all centrally located, and well known for their beef.

              1. re: Brynda

                As you're staying in the Sheraton PLEASE don't be tempted by Le Biftheq - anyone who likes steak will be disappointed. The other suggestions by posters below are fine. But a good bet is to walk west along Queen Street. Check out the posted menus - there's a good variety and you're sure to find some places you like. You can go as far as around 1000 Queen West and still find small interesting restaurants. You could comfortably walk as far as Spadina (or even Bathurst), but any further and you might want to take the Queen Streetcar.

                1. re: Brynda

                  Ruth Chris steak house is way overpriced sort of in the league with Morton's (which is on Avenue Road north of Bloor)!!! Baton Rouge is a good place just east of the Sheraton and a little north on Yonge St., west side. Have fune!

                2. The most carnivore-friendly place I can think of are:
                  A) Phil's BBQ (Formerly DiPamo's)--take subway to College and College streetcar west to Ossington....a little trek but worth it, see link for review
                  B) Tulip (a steakhouse diner)--Take Queen streetcar east for quite a while...also a trek, but for your American buck, you've never seen such value in good steaks