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Taro Grill - still holdin' it down

This place is a favourite of mine. I like it because it seems to be quite consistent. I attribute this to the fact that the same Sri Lankan gentlemen are at the grill each time I'm there and the ownership hasn't changed hands to my knowledge. They're also quite good about the service they hire, which has changed over the years.

Bread comes with hummus, which is a nice change from even the fanciest butter. We started off with a serving of their mussels. The portion was generous for an appetizer, and the coconut cream based tomato/red pepper broth was excellent. The quality of the mussels was good too in my opinion; if it was frozen moments earlier or came in a bag I definitely couldn't tell. More likely, they're popular enough that they're bought fresh on a fairly regular basis.

I had the jumbo shrimp, a simple dish; 5 big shrimp grilled and served on a bed of rice with a nice garlic sauce, a potato pancake and a salad. It was simple but filling and the quality was there for the price point. The salad wasn't just a random pile of iceberg lettuce, far from it.

She had a tenderloin pasta dish, which she said was quite good. Again, portion and quality looked decent for the price point and she finished it all so, it must have been alright!

No drinks, and we were honestly too full for dessert. An app. and two entrees came out to ~$60 but that's with tax and generous tip. The server was quite attentive and helpful, he really kept on top of little things.

So, as far as I can tell, Taro's still a great spot for a meal and I'd recommend it to anyone travelling through the west end.

May 22, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Breakfast in Scarborough

Scarborough isn't exactly a hotbed of quality brunch action but I like Markham Station for fried meat, potatoes and eggs with bread. Decent value, ate there many a time before work when I was working in the area not too long ago!

May 06, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Joy Bistro Review

Thanks for the review. I've also read mixed things on this place but your review has me thinking I'll go ahead and check it out next chance I get. Jimmy Simpson being the closest lot to it, I'd imagine the patio does have some great sunshine exposure as you mentioned.

May 06, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Yonge&Eglington Recommendations?

I went to Ichiban Sushi on New Years Eve. I don't stop in the Uptown area very often and I had assumed it'd be over-priced fluff like most things in somewhat affluent areas. But Ichiban was actually quite decent however and if I find myself in the area again I'd definitely go back.

May 06, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Tango Palace - best cookie ever!

I love that place! I bring study partners and other assorted coffee-time companions there as much as possible. It's a great atmosphere for just sitting back and chatting over enormous cups of tea/coffee and an interesting selection of sweets and treats. Their sandwich menu looks great too, I keep meaning to try some of their smoked salmon.

May 06, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best sushi downtown, take-out/delivery

Well Daio isn't meant to be a quick'n'easy and/or take-out place. Apparently its a family-owned restaurant, so I'd imagine it attempts to be a little more traditional and sit-down with its atmosphere. I did notice that the service was a tad slow but hmm I wouldn't have said inattentive.

I liked it just because they have some offerings on the menu you won't find at a take out place, and along with the other intangibles like the atmosphere and a good Japanese liquor selection I still believe based on my experience that, overall, it's a decent and authentic Japanese restaurant, although not everyone will be looking for or in need of the extras. Based on the chirashi sushi and gyoza I ate I'd go back in a heartbeat.

May 05, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sushi Sky and Sushi BBQ - I can't complain.

Wow did you happen to go to Daio on a Sunday 10mins before closing or something? That place is far from sub-par in my humble opinion.

I went there on my own tonight whilst killing time (I was in the area but I was hungry too of course) and I had a fabulous meal, no word of a lie.

Gyoza - probably the best Gyoza I've had aside from the long-since closed down Shoko Soba on Danforth (and aside from my mother's gyoza). Boiled then pan-fried properly, lots of flavour.

Edamame + Miso - just fine.

Sashimi - both the presentation and the succulence of the fish was impressive. Each piece was tender and moist and the flavour was clear. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had the Chirashi Sushi by the way.

The rice bed hiding beneath the carefully arranged sashimi was also seasoned accordingly with nori, sesame and a traditional light vinegar; not dry at all - set perfectly between 'sticky' and 'I can't pick it up with my chopsticks'.

All in all I was very impressed by Daio, mainly because it appears to be just another Yonge St. sushi joint and it far exceeded my expectations but even beyond that I found the quality to be great. The atmosphere was also very quaint, complete with Japanese staff, proper greetings/pleasantries and shamisen music in the background.

I've only been there this one time tonight, but I'd put tonight's meal up there with Aji Sai.

Value-wise I got what I paid for and that's just fine.

Googs, thanks for the reco. !

May 02, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Toronto noodle shops

I also liked iNoodle! Although it's been said that you won't easily find good Japanese style ramen in Toronto, iNoodle is fairly close.

May 02, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sunday Brunch/Lunch on The Danforth between Donlands and Broadview?

Pantheon is open at 11am on Sundays. They have reasonably priced food and a few decent wines from what I can remember.

http://www.pantheonrestaurant.com/

http://www.pantheonrestaurant.com/win...

May 02, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Taking Grandpa, 9 & 13 year old to Saturday Lunch

Sounds like you're in my neck of the woods.
Let's see..

Honestly if diner style food a la Bus Terminal was ok with you, the Goof in the Beaches area is always a homey little place to eat. It's actually a lot nicer in there now after the renovations too. Canadian food and Chinese food, and Grandpa might like some of the more oldschool items on the menu like hot open face sandwiches and whatnot. Just a thought.

If they're open (don't see why not but I've just never had lunch there) Fusilli at River/Queen isn't too far from Leslieville and it's a really nice little Italian place with decent quality food.

On the Danforth I like Pantheon. I don't know many places around there because I don't find myself there often enough but Pantheon's food has never let me down and the service is usually spot-on. They're just steps from Chester station on the south side.

May 02, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Weekend brunch spot around Yonge and Bloor

Maggies on Charles is pretty good.

20 Charles St. E

May 02, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Luncheon fave near St. Lawrence Market?

A little off-topic but If you want a sandwich to go, Mustachio's in the basement of St. Lawrence Market makes some great chicken and eggplant sandwiches. Make sure to ask for cheese, I always forget the cheese. Truth be told, when I'm in the area I'd rather eat a sandwich there than chance it at most places outside.

May 02, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

South Street Burger Co

I ate there the other day, and it was pretty close to what HarryLloyd said over a year ago.

May 01, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best sushi downtown, take-out/delivery

Sushi Sky didn't seem that bad at all for the price point, maybe I missed something. I've had much worse and paid more.

May 01, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Alternative to Terroni?

I second the above recommendation. It's a little off the beaten path but Camarra's fits all the criteria you listed and the quality is definitely there to justify the minor trek to Dufferin/Lawrence. I've been there a few times since last fall and I'm always quite satisfied. Great value too.

May 01, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sushi Sky and Sushi BBQ - I can't complain.

Hey Googs. I know that you're a fellow sushi lover so I will definitely take your recommendation next time I have a hankering. I've seen that place before but as with most sushi joints in the core I just had no clue as to whether it'd be good or not, and never had occasion to enter. Now that I think about maybe it's because I rarely find myself on that side of the street. I'll be sure to check it out next time.

May 01, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Sushi Sky and Sushi BBQ - I can't complain.

Haven't been eating out anywhere new recently so this is all I have to contribute. But I thought what the hay.

I recently hit up Sushi Sky on Yonge north of College after walking past it X number of times. Although their gyoza is just deep fried mush like most places, I can't complain about the other offerings there. Authentic, no. But decent sashimi and sushi for a decent price? Sure; a quick after-work meal there proved to be quite good for the value. I got the party tray, which was a big boat load of goodies (about 36pcs in all) for $25. The rice wasn't dry, the fish tasted fresh, they used real octopus, and it arrived reasonably quickly.

South of Bloor, also on the West side is a new-ish? (I've never noticed it before) looking place called Sushi BBQ. I'm not sold on the Korean-Japanese fusion thing in some cases but this place wasn't too bad at all. For $9.95 you get a bento box that includes salad, some soft, sticky soba-like noodles, 6 pcs. of sushi and a heap of BBQ chicken on bean sprouts. They've got a lot of similar offerings. Any gym rats needing a quick fix of clean protein, rice and veggies for ~$10 would do well to check this place out.

Again, maybe nothing new here and not exactly gourmet, but, if you're trekking up and down Yonge and get overwhelmed by the number of 'Sushi' places, I just felt that these two aren't bad. You can catch a reasonably priced decent quality meal at either spot before heading out of the core.

May 01, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Bye Bye Peter's Cajun Creole Pizza, Hello Magic Oven

I've never been to Peter's, are they any good?
That Tasty Burger place is kind of scary lookin, but then again so is DD's over near Broadview and I eat there :)

May 01, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Current best AYCE Japanese?

http://www.chowhound.com/topics/311815

Check there, fairly large and recent discussion.

Apr 28, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Ethiopian Food - Recommendations Please

I 2nd Rendez-vous, good food, nice atmosphere.

Apr 25, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

So what's coming next in Leslieville?

LCBO: Coxwell/Queen or Gerrard/Pape

Roti: Ghali Kitchen's burroti is pretty damn good, so is his take out selection of pastas and rice/pea dishes. He's open 5-9pm.

24h groceries: no thanks, that kind of talk will bring about the bigbox, which Leslieville doesn't need.

Apr 25, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Local restaurants - North York Centre

Little farther north on Yonge is a good Italian restaurant named Mezza Notte. I routinely order their pizza when I'm in that area at a friends house.

http://www.mezzanotte.ca/

Apr 15, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Chinese Garlic at Loblaws [moved from Ontario board]

I noticed this too and regardless of how it sounds to anyone else I firmly echo your sentiment piggywiggy; that selections other than Chinese imports should be readily available and the consumer dollar should do the decision-making. I distinctly remember having the same problem once at Price Chopper, so I bought a Canadian-made jar of pre-minced garlic instead. It did the trick at the time.

There are those who will say 'Hey calm down you big spending, over-zealous anti-Chinese bandwagoner' but pardon me for taking my health seriously. This problem pre-dates the Tibet issue and the lead-laden toy issue, most foodies would hopefully know this by the way. I'm actually moving back to Japan this year and I dread the idea of being so far away from Ontario produce and so close to Chinese produce!

Apr 15, 2008
50firstdatesguy in General Topics

Romantic Restaurants in GTA

Provided ownership hasn't changed hands, Taro Grill on Queen W. has always been a favourite first date place of mine. It's fairly unassuming but cozy and the food's decent.

Southern Accent's okay.. the food wasn't so great though. I got a $20 Jamabalaya and it was really reminiscent of an Uncle Ben's microwaved rice side dish. Runny, too sweet, and the portion was tiny. Atmosphere was okay. Waiter was a douchebag. But, if you luck out and get a good waiter and don't order the Jambalaya maybe it'll be okay ;)

Apr 15, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Best sushi downtown, take-out/delivery

Avoid Mochizuki on Bay between Dundas and College.

Apr 15, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Katsu Sushi on Danforth

I've been to Katsu a few times recently. I can't say they're great but they weren't nearly as bad as they were when you went, that's unfortunate to hear.

Their AYCE menu is limited so I just get a few fried dishes like the shrimp tenpura and fried ika and then exploit the rolls and salmon and red snapper sashimi/sushi. So far I haven't eaten anything that made me think twice about going back, but that being said I only go when I'm in the mood for quantity and not quality so my expectations have never been high walking in there.

As several have mentioned here, real quality for an excellent price point can be found at Aji Sai.

Apr 15, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Low Sodium groceries/eats

Campbells also added some low-sodium selections to their soup line-up recently. I've tried a couple of them and they're not bad at all.

As you mentioned, baking your own wings and using a home-made low-sodium dressing of some kind is also a great way to cut down, as most portions of frozen wings will give you 1000mgs of sodium in one sitting. I've found that buying actual wings from the butcher section is better value than anything else.. they're meatier and don't have the same heavy additives.

You'll obviously want to avoid processed and deli meats like the plague, sodium and nitrates up the whazoo. I've made extra lean ground turkey my new friend. It can be easily pan-fried and curried w/ veggies and tossed onto some brown rice or into a pita.

Also, if you're ever forced to eat at Swiss Chalet their white meat on a kaiser sandwich is extremely low in sodium compared to everything else. It bears the 'Heart Check' symbol if that means anything to you. I looked online at the nutritional info. to be sure though, and it was fairly low-sodium.

If you're specific about it when you order a lot of pizzerias will reduce the amount of cheese they put on your pizza and you'll never know the difference in taste. However you'll half your sodium intake doing that. I think Pizza Pizza actually makes a point of mentioning that this is available.

Good luck!

Apr 08, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Low Sodium groceries/eats

Anyone who needs a potato chip fix but cringes at the idea of getting 50%+ of their daily recommended intake from one lousy bag, try Kettle Chips unsalted. They come in a white bag and are widely available. I think the OP mentions them above but these are not tortilla, these are potato slices fried in safflower oil without salt.

They taste like home fries and really bring out the goodness of the almighty potato. Simpler IS better in this case and IIRC correctly there is ZERO sodium in them and they're also very low in fat. I'm a salty-tooth but I found them to be still quite satisfying. As I said, more like eating fresh cooked frenchfries than chips.

Apr 08, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Tim Hortons/Timothys in Riverside?

This is great news. The dancers should have a bit more pep in their step after it's built.

Apr 08, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

best take-away gyros pita?

I'll second this place on Queens Quay, I have stopped in for a late night gyros many a time and have never been disappointed. Really tasty gyros and the guys that work there are nice. It's nestled between the hotel and .. ok I'll speak it's name, ...CAPTAIN JOHN'S, *gasp* *hushed whispers* *a baby begins crying*.. on the south side.

I only walked the plank once and it was to see if i could scam extra beer before going on a booze cruise last summer that was departing a few meters away.

Apr 05, 2008
50firstdatesguy in Ontario (inc. Toronto)