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TORONTO
Restaurants:
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  • Originally, Toronto was built around the food habits of mostly Scot and Anglo settlers who were raised on basic meat-and-potatoes fare. More recent immigrants, however, have enlivened the restaurant scene which now reflects a unique multiculturalism—local, ethnic mom-and-pop diners, cafes and bistros, as well as temples of innovative haute cuisine that quickly mirror the food trends of New York and Los Angeles.

    Inexpensive Chinese restaurants are plentiful along Spadina Avenue north of Dundas, as well as at the intersection of Gerrard and Broadview. Greek tavernas are generally found along the Danforth (Bloor Street becomes Danforth east of Yonge), and Little Italy is located on College Street west of Bathurst. Clusters of eateries can be found in Yorkville and on Yonge Street near Eglinton.

    If you're looking for regional Canadian cuisine, a few places specialize in all-Canadian menus, featuring Ontario rack of lamb or Bay of Fundy salmon. Do try wines from the Niagara region as they are rarely available elsewhere.

    Below is a sampling of restaurants in town. Expect to pay within these general guidelines, based on the cost of a dinner for one, excluding taxes, drinks and tip: $ = less than Can$15; $$ = Can$16-$25; $$$ = Can$26-$70; and $$$$ = more than Can$70. It's a good idea to make reservations and call ahead to see if they're open on holidays.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | French  | Greek  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Middle eastern  | Seafood  | Steak houses

    FAVORITE RESTAURANTS

    Canoe—A proud purveyor of Canadian regional cuisine, Canoe is high on the 54th floor of the Toronto Dominion Tower—affording a fine view of the archipelago of Toronto Islands offshore in Lake Ontario. The superb menu includes such Canadian delicacies as maple-smoked chicken, Quebec foie gras and oatmeal-caramel ice cream. Martinis are the specialty cocktail. No dress code. Monday-Friday 11:30 am-2:30 pm and 5-10 pm. $$$. Most major credit cards. 66 Wellington St. W., Toronto. Phone 416-364-0054.

    Centro—Salmon pink walls, a bright blue ceiling and excellent food and service make this midtown location a favorite with local foodies. Ambitious kitchen offers a French/Mediterranean menu using top-notch regional ingredients—pan-charred sea bass, fruitwood-smoked salmon and Delft Blue veal chops. The chef's plat classique changes daily. Downstairs in the piano lounge is a full sushi menu, as well as less expensive pastas and designer pizzas. Wide variety of delectable appetizers and an exceptional, if pricey, wine list. Monday-Saturday 5-11 pm. Reservations required. $$$$. Most major credit cards. 2472 Yonge St. (near Eglinton), Toronto. Phone 416-483-2211.

    North 44—An opulent, comfortable two-story space with marble floors and exotic-flower arrangements, this is where you'll find the extremely wealthy and those willing to break the bank for a special occasion. Food is excellent and gorgeously presented, and service is immaculate. Offers such innovative cuisine as pepper-sesame seared tuna and toasted pecan-encrusted rack of lamb. The foie gras is exceptional. Great appetizer platters to share and the best creme brulee in town. Wine list encompasses round-the-world choices from Can$40-$700 per bottle. Can be noisy on a busy night. Live background music on weekends. Monday-Saturday, open 5 pm, kitchen closes at 11 pm, 11:30 pm on weekends. Reservations required. $$$$. Most major credit cards. 2537 Yone St. (near Eglinton), Toronto. Phone 416-487-4897.

    Pangaea—This architecturally restrained, modern space is tranquil and refined. Offerings include grilled jumbo quail with portobello mushrooms and honey-lemon vinaigrette, cream-free soups and unique salads. Do try the desserts, one of which is bread-and-butter brioche pudding with berries and mint coulis. Sophisticated dining happens there, yet tired Bloor Street and Yorkville shoppers also find it a good place for afternoon tea and snacks. All ingredients are unprocessed. Monday-Saturday 11:30 am-11:30 pm. Reserve for dinner. $$$. Most major credit cards. 1221 Bay St. (at Bloor), Toronto. Phone 416-920-2323.

    Rosewater Supper Club—There-to-be-seen patrons flock to this landmark building with its wood and marble floors, two-story-high ceilings and blue velvet banquettes. Everything is presented with care, whether it's the Asian-spiced chicken with sweet chilies, risotto with leeks or lobster and caviar. There's a tapas menu in the lounge, which has a torch singer, billiards and comfy, luxurious seating. Monday-Thursday 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Friday 11:30 am-11:30 pm, Saturday 5-11:30 pm. Reservations recommended. $$$. Most major credit cards. 19 Toronto St., Toronto. Phone 416-214-5888.

    Scaramouche—This venerable establishment has been feeding Toronto's well-heeled for almost 20 years. Chic, two-level space in a hilltop apartment building and one of the more romantic, dressier establishments in the city. Hard to spot from the street (taxi drivers know it, though), but rewarding when you see the panoramic view and eat the pristine international cuisine, such as shrimp spring rolls on top of carrot, green onion and jicama in a tamarind mango glaze. Scaramouche Pasta Bar downstairs is less expensive and has several non-pasta main courses like steak frites and liver and onions. room Monday-Thursday 6-10 pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30-10 pm; pasta bar Monday-Thursday 6-11 pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30-11 pm. Reservations required. $$$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. 1 Benvenuto Place (Avenue Road near St. Clair), Toronto. Phone 416-961-8011.

    Splendido's—Near some of the University of Toronto buildings, this is more than just a highly charged, colorful place to be seen. The food is creative and delicious, blending the best of California and Italian cuisine with great service. You can linger over drinks or dessert and coffee long after the chef has gone home. Monday-Friday 5-10 pm, Saturday until 11 pm. Reservations required. $$$. Most major credit cards. 88 Harbord St. (at Spadina), Toronto. Phone 416-929-7788.

    Truffles—This is a very pretty room in the Four Seasons hotel in Yorkville, and the scene of many a soft-spoken power dinner. Provencal-style cuisine with remarkable Asian accents: pan-seared five-spice duck, shiitake mushroom and potato canneloni with lemongrass jus, and oven-baked halibut with tomato and caper sauce. Witty, gorgeous desserts. Service is smooth and deferential, wine list truly comprehensive. Monday-Saturday 6-11 pm. Reservations required. $$$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. Four Seasons Hotel, 21 Avenue Rd., Toronto. Phone 416-928-7331.

    Xango—A bustle of beautiful people dining on authentic delicacies from South America, Cuba and other Latin locales. Intimate, low-lit room with lots of wrought iron and tiles. Best way to start is with three-tiered ceviche appetizers and gorgeous margaritas in unique glass goblets. Move on to Chilean salmon wrapped in a banana leaf, served with mushrooms, capers and corn, alongside saffron rice and orange-scented sofrito. Heavy, delicious desserts. Tapas and tango upstairs in the bar. Thursday-Saturday (only) 5 pm-midnight. Reservations required. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 106 John St., Toronto. Phone 416-593-4407.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | French  | Greek  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Middle eastern  | Seafood  | Steak houses

    LOCAL AND REGIONAL SPECIALTIES

    Messis—Loved by residents of Toronto's Annex neighborhood (near the University of Toronto), this modest restaurant has a warm and friendly atmosphere, especially during summer months on its great patio (the dining room is nondescript). Inventive pastas—spaghettini with bay scallops, trout, sweet peppers and snow peas—and very fresh produce. Changing seasonal menu. Open daily for dinner 5 pm-midnight, open May-August for lunch. $$. Most major credit cards. 97 Harbord St. (near Spadina), Toronto. Phone 416-920-2186.

    Southern Accent—This place is cozy and fun. Decorated like an old New Orleans house with whimsical curios everywhere, this Cajun favorite has been tucked behind Honest Ed's (Toronto's landmark discount superstore in Mirvish Village) for a dozen years. Try their bourbon sours at the bar, move on to the blackened chicken livers, the shrimp etouffee, or just graze from an assortment of spicy appetizers and side dishes. Friendly staff. Full patio seating in the summer. Open daily: bar 5 pm-2 am, kitchen 5:30-11 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. 595 Markham St., Toronto. Phone 416-536-3211.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | French  | Greek  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Middle eastern  | Seafood  | Steak houses

    ASIAN

    Ematei—Not fancy but loved by Japanese tourists for its authenticity. Ematei has all the traditional dishes of a Tokyo eatery and some of the freshest sushi in town. Sit at the bar or in one of their tatami rooms and enjoy a hot pot (for sharing with others), grilled black cod, delicious handrolls or lunchbox specials. Daily 11:45 am-2:30 pm, 5:30-10:30 pm. $-$$$. Most major credit cards. 30 St. Patrick St., Toronto. Phone 416-340-0472.

    Lee Garden—Great food and fast service at this very popular Cantonese institution on the Spadina strip. Bright basic decor, with plastic table coverings that get swept away with dirty dishes. More than 100 MSG-free selections are made to order, including excellent sweet-and-sour soup, garlicky scallops in the shell, fresh fish, exotic seasonal vegetables, good black bean sauce. Daily 11 am-midnight or later. $-$$$. Most major credit cards. 331 Spadina Ave., Toronto. Phone 416-593-9524.

    Young Thailand—There are three Young Thailands in Toronto, all with good food, snappy service and reasonable prices. Begin with tom kha kai (lemongrass, coconut milk soup with chicken and chilies) and graduate to an array of fragrant and spicy noodle dishes, sweet-and-sour fish or one of the other good seafood options. Lunch Monday-Friday noon-2 pm, dinner daily 4-10 pm. $-$$. Most major credit cards. Toronto. Phone 416-368-1368; second phone 416-599-9099; third phone 416-593-9291.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | French  | Greek  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Middle eastern  | Seafood  | Steak houses

    FRENCH

    Le Select—Although Toronto is not particularly noted for its French food, you can find reasonably priced, Left Bank bistro food and atmosphere at this Queen Street institution. Classic dishes such as bavette aux echalottes, steamed mussels with white wine or confit de canard are served in this warm and pleasant corner room with great people-watching views. Authentic zinc bar and good wine. Open daily 11:30 am till about midnight. Reservations recommended. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 328 Queen St. W., Toronto. Phone 416-596-6405.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | French  | Greek  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Middle eastern  | Seafood  | Steak houses

    GREEK

    Ouzeri—For Greek food on the Danforth, dine late into the evening at this mobbed neighborhood institution. High-ceilinged, flagstone floors and a loud Hellenic soundtrack make this a joyous place to savor a choice of 11 familiar dipping appetizers with pita, or chicken rosemary pie, or smoky broiled octopus drizzled in olive oil, and baklava for dessert. At lunch, Ouzeri serves meze-sum (its take on dim sum, Mediterranean style) with numerous choices wheeled by on carts. Slightly quieter mezzanine level. Efficient service. Daily 11 am-11 pm. 500A Danforth Ave. Phone 416-778-0500.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | French  | Greek  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Middle eastern  | Seafood  | Steak houses

    ITALIAN (INCLUDING PIZZERIAS)

    Grano—This place is fashioned after a rustic Italian village eatery with plenty of homestyle gusto, chatter and garlic. More than 50 delectable antipasti are displayed in glass counters. Then you're greeted with colorful tiles, opera selections playing and the welcoming spirit of the Martella family. Meals consist of great meat dishes and pastas. Go there for a casual lunch, dinner, or glass of wine and snacks. Monday-Friday 10 am-10:30 pm, Saturday till 11 pm. $$-$$$. Most major credit cards. 2035 Yonge St. (at Eglinton), Toronto. Phone 416-440-1986.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | French  | Greek  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Middle eastern  | Seafood  | Steak houses

    LATE NIGHT

    Fran's—A good standard breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast and coffee is served 24 hours a day at these generic Toronto institutions. Depending on the hour, your fellow diners may be blue-haired seniors or green-haired punks. Open daily. $. Among the more popular locations are: 20 College St. at Yonge; 416-923-9867; 221 St. Clair Ave. W. at Yonge, 416-925-6336, and 2275 Yonge St. at Eglinton, phone 416-481-1112.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | French  | Greek  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Middle eastern  | Seafood  | Steak houses

    MIDDLE EASTERN

    Jerusalem—Uptown west, on the edge of the Jewish district, is an inexpensive option for lovers of Middle Eastern fare. Two rooms: one very spare and intimate, the other topped by an extravagant stained glass and mirror ceiling. Sample the delicious falafel, baba ghanouj or various hummus concoctions. Or try the charcoal-broiled lamb skewers or marinated chicken breast with garlic and spices. Patient, warm service. Monday-Thursday noon-11 pm, Friday and Saturday till 11 pm, Sundays till 10 pm. $-$$. Most major credit cards. 955 Eglinton Ave. W., Toronto. Phone 416-783-6494.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | French  | Greek  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Middle eastern  | Seafood  | Steak houses

    SEAFOOD

    Rodney's Oyster Bar—If you love oysters in particular, or seafood in general, this is where salaried professionals, eager singles and downtown residents congregate to devour their share of bivalves. Often noisy, the beer- and wine-only bar is always crammed with devotees, as Rodney himself wanders around discussing Malpeques vs. Lewis Islands oysters. Ask about their daily white-plate specials. Monday-Saturday 5 pm-midnight. Reservations required. $$-$$$$. Most major credit cards. 209 Adelaide St. E., Toronto. Phone 416-363-8105.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | French  | Greek  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Middle eastern  | Seafood  | Steak houses

    STEAK HOUSES

    The Senator—Across from the Pantages Theatre, you will find this longstanding meat-lovers' haven with a dual personality. One half is a diner with green leather booths, the other is a mahogany-walled, more upscale dining room. For dinner, excellent steaks and chops and a mixed grill of swordfish and tuna. The lunch menu has fish and chips, liver and onions and great burgers. Also open for hearty breakfasts. Upstairs is Top O' the Senator, a classy, late-night jazz club with a changing roster of performers. Diner: Monday-Saturday 7:30 am-8:30 pm, Sunday till 3 pm. Steak house: closed on Mondays, lunch Tuesday-Friday 11:45 am-2:30 pm, dinner Tuesday-Saturday 5:30-11:30 pm, Sunday till 10 pm. $-$$$. Most major credit cards. 249 Victoria St., Toronto. Phone 416-364-7517.


    Favorite restaurants  | Local and regional specialties  | Asian  | French  | Greek  | Italian (including pizzerias)  | Late night  | Middle eastern  | Seafood  | Steak houses



    Information prepared by Weissmann Travel Reports
    Copyright © 2000 by Reed Travel Group. All rights reserved.




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