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Dinner for 22 people - our reservation for Saturday cancelled on us!

So we were going to be hosting a birthday dinner, for 22 people, at a nice little pizza place on Harbord St in Toronto (Bloor/Ossington) on Saturday night but they called me and advised that due to an equipment malfunction they are likely going to have to close for the weekend. They'll let me know tomorrow.


Does anyone have any ideas for a comfortable place for 22 people where we can hang out and have drinks as well for someone's 35th? This place would have been about $15 for a main, appetisers/etc would be on top of that.

Any help would be hugely appreciated... I gotta start calling around...

147 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1H1, CA

A place w sushi AND non-Japanese food?

Thank you. I know?? Who doesn't like Japanese??? It has ALL KINDS of food!

A place w sushi AND non-Japanese food?

Don't know if this exists, but I have a guests coming in who LOVE sushi (and don't get it where they live) and another who dislikes Japanese food (don't get me started). Is there a place midtown or downtown (pref downtown but I can't be choosy) that has good sushi and other options?

Dinner for co-workers suggestion - $60pp?

I'll be taking my staff out to dinner while attending a conference in Manhattan, location's not too much of a problem but we'll be staying mid town. Is there any good quintessentially New York place that would be $60 a person or less (including a glass or 2 of wine)? Any help is much appreciated...

May 20, 2009
fussychow in Manhattan

Toronto Chow in Anaheim area and Laguna - did research, can you confirm?

Okay, last day here I hit Los Cotijas for lunch - had a fish taco, beef taco and a chile rellano. It was all good, but Senor Baja takes the cake.

Then, I wanted to go to MPE for dinner but we were so late again that we just drove down to the Cannery in Newport because we wanted a beach location where we could see the ocean one more time. Food was nothing special, it was decent, but didn't blow my mind. A lovely room and a nice location.

One more stop at Senor Baja before the airport and I am boarding the plane home!

Mar 12, 2009
fussychow in Los Angeles Area

Toronto Chow in Anaheim area and Laguna - did research, can you confirm?

Okay! Almost done my stay and thought I’d give you the update since I’ll be swamped when I get back home:

We stayed at the Ritz Carlton Laguna down in Dana Point for 2 nights – first night we went down to El Callejon. Cute place, I had the Cochinita Pibil and it was, as promised, delicious, and I absolutely cannot wait to try to recreate it at home. My partner had beef medallions in a chipotle sauce with a side of vegetables that were cooked perfectly – still crisp, a rarity I find in mid range restaurants. If any visitors read this, it’s worth visiting this restaurant because the food is good and before/after it’s a nice walk around the quaint main street.

We ate all of our breakfasts at the Ritz and, after reading comments on this site, I wasn’t expecting much but they were also very very good - great potatoes, good basil hollandaise sauce, great meats, and a standout steel cut oat brulee as well. We were there for the Sunday brunch but having had a big dinner the night before, and at $80 a pop, we passed in favour of a la carte and were not disappointed. The views are stunning from the tables. This same dining room is used for Restaurant 160, and walking through the room at night, it’s not a very pleasant room for an evening meal. Obviously the views (which are the main draw) are absent, but there is very little atmosphere, the room is very open and cafeteria-like with rows and rows of tables, and some of the lighting is florescent.

For our one big meal out in Dana Point we went over to the St Regis to the Stonehill Tavern. As we waited for our table we sat at the bar and had some great cocktails off their impressive list. Fun people watching, it did seem like there were a lot of locals there. Eventually we were seated in one of the glass booths by the bar as we requested, which was perfect as we could take in the scene but still enjoy conversation. They brought out a lovely amuse bouche a bacon wrapped fig stuffed with goat cheese. I had the seafood tasting trio to start, and my partner had the lobster fritters. I felt the lobster fritters lacked a lot of taste, as did the crab cake in my trio, but my shrimp in a coconut curry sauce was a standout – I couldn’t let a drop of the sauce go to waste. I was really surprised that so very few of the menu items featured locally sourced meats/produce. Perhaps this is not as popular here as in the northern us/Canada, but almost every main was from out of state – disappointing because I find it’s such a joy to taste the local specialities when I travel. I chose the Liberty Duck because it was Californian, and my partner had the Nebraskan Beef. My duck was very good, and my partner also enjoyed his beef. We squeezed down dessert even though we were stuffed – I had a molten chocolate cake, attracted to this not so much for the cake but for the salted caramel ice cream it came with. The cake was decent, nothing special, but the salted caramel ice cream was stand out. The meal overall was enjoyable, but quite frankly at a total of $440, I don’t think it was worth it. I have had meals all over Toronto and the US at the same price that were absolutely showstopping – the kind where you put down your spoon after every bite and close your eyes because it’s so pleasurable, and this wasn’t it. I know it’s probably not fair to compare meal in Dana Point to a meal in New York, it’s just that at that kind of price I knew it would be good, I just expected a little more.

Just a quick note for travellers in that area – The Ritz has a gorgeous patio overlooking the ocean that is perfect for sunset or after dinner drinks. There are patio warmers at night and you can curl up on a chair with a port and pick out constellations as you listen to the waves crash below. We also stopped in at Eno, their wine & cheese bar, and enjoyed a couple of wine flights as well – a nice alternative to a before dinner drink.

I know this is long – now we get to the Anaheim area!
My first day I went to Senor Baja – and OH MY. The second I bit into my fish taco I may have died and gone to heaven. I also tried the shrimp taco (not as good as the fish taco but would have been more worth the drive even for the shrimp taco!) and the shrimp ceviche tostada. I have already told my husband we’re making a detour back over Senor Baja on the way to the airport because I cannot live if I don’t have one more of those fish tacos!!

For dinner we went up to Taps as recommended. Nice restaurant, had the crab encrusted yellowtail with chard/mushroom stirfy in miso glaze, and it was quite good. We sat on the patio, enjoyed the fire, but the inside seemed like it had a cool vibe as well.

Yesterday drove down to Costa Mesa to try Shibucho and THEY ARE CLOSED FOR LUNCH ON TUESDAYS!! My bad luck continued as we arrived at Mariscos Puerto Esperanza for dinner last night at 8:30 and it was closed! Don’t know why, the hours on the sign indicated they should be open, but it looked like everyone was long gone. I am going to call ahead and try to get there tonight. Note to travellers though – their hours are very short, if you are late eaters like we are they normally close at 9pm or 9:30 so get there early!

So in lieu of Shibucho, I went – and I understand you can’t get any further from Shibucho than this – to In-n-Out. I’ve always heard about this burger chain, and not being a big fan of our fast food choices up in Toronto, wanted to give it a try. Okay, it’s REALLY good! I mean, for $2.99? It’s GREAT! Definitely a cheap lunch option for a traveller in the area if you’re not from the west coast and don’t have them at home.

In lieu of Mariscos Puerto Esperanza, we hit El Farolito Jr. Another fantastic experience! Great pico de gallo, and oh my. The tacos Al Pastor. I could have sat there eating those for hours! Throw some of the roasted onions on there, the pico, squeeze a little lime over and a touch of the green salsa and you have the best of smoky/bright/fruity/salty all in one bite. Wash it down with an old school coke in a big glass bottle? Heaven. Also tried the tortilla soup – tasty, would recommend, and the quesadillas – my partner liked them but my heart belonged to the tacos (tried the beef taco too – still very good but the al pastor was great).

So our last full day is today, hoping to get to Mariscos tonight, and I’m choosing between Vietnamese for lunch or Mexican again, I’m leaning towards Mexican because I have just enjoyed it so very much. We had reservations at Napa Rose for tonight but I think I’m going to cancel in preference to Mariscos.

Thanks for all of your help on there, Chowhounds. After going to the places I’ve gone, and knowing about all the places I won’t get to, no one can say that Anaheim/OC is all chains, there are some amazing gems here.

Mar 11, 2009
fussychow in Los Angeles Area

Toronto Chow in Anaheim area and Laguna - did research, can you confirm?

Thank you to everyone - you have completed all my meal planning and I will definitely report back! So looking forward to this...

Feb 23, 2009
fussychow in Los Angeles Area

Toronto Chow in Anaheim area and Laguna - did research, can you confirm?

Is it really that bad?? I hadn't seen too much on the board about it. Would you recommend the St Regis restaurants instead?

Feb 23, 2009
fussychow in Los Angeles Area

Toronto Chow in Anaheim area and Laguna - did research, can you confirm?

This is all great info, thank you ChinoWayne & Das Ubergeek! I will end up exploring the Asian side of things (I actually live in Little Korea here, Das Ubergeek) as I will have plenty of time on my own for lunch and am a pho fanatic, so I'll be looking for some good soups and will explore Thai as well. Is there a particular sushi place that would be more suitable for lunch?

I had only chosen Park Ave because it looked good, it had received favourable reviews and it seemed close - I am unsure of the geography there, everything seems so spread out and I am used to walking or biking to restaurants because Toronto is a small city. I had read about Old Vine Cafe so perhaps we'll head over there instead, the menu looks lovely. I had written off Napa Rose simply because it was Disney so it was just a tourist trap - it's not?

Water Grill looks wonderful but my husband is working all day at a conference so I don't want to force him to drive into LA for dinner.

I will definitely report back after dining, I appreciate the feedback of others I see so much.

Feb 22, 2009
fussychow in Los Angeles Area

Toronto Chow in Anaheim area and Laguna - did research, can you confirm?

Hello fellow chows!

I'm tagging along on a business trip with my husband, we'll head to Laguna Beach (specifically the Ritz Carlton for 3 nights, then will be in Anaheim/Garden Grove at the Hyatt for 4 nights. We will have a car, we won't have any kids with us.

So far in Laguna I think we will spend one night at the Ritz Carlton bar/restaurant taking advantage of the wine & cheese flights and the view. Then we have El Callejon which has been well reviewed on this board. Any thoughts?

The challenge is more the Anaheim/Garden Grove area. We are spoiled for choice with Asian food of all types in Toronto so we're not so keen on Asian down there, but do want to take advantage of the Mexican food down there since we have so little here and apparently it's terrible compared with the US.

I have gathered a number of places off the board that we will likely hit - Senor Baja, El Taco Nazo, Los Cotijas, El Farolito & Arriba! Baja Grill. Are there any of these that you would steer clear from? We are very comfortable with holes in the wall types of places.

For our 'nice' dinner we will likely go do Park Ave in Stanton - decent reviews on here and not too far away.

Being landlocked in Toronto we would really really really love to have some good seafood down there, but I can't seem to find any good recs - Boiling Crab has a ton of mixed reviews and it appears they serve frozen food. Price is no option, does anyone have a seafood recommendation? Thanks so much.

Feb 22, 2009
fussychow in Los Angeles Area

Best bets on the Danforth

Thanks very much to all of you!

Best bets on the Danforth

There's 4 of us, we usually order an appetizer or 2 to share, I wanted to then keep mains under $16 - is that doable?

Best bets on the Danforth

Looking for a casual dinner on the Danforth with some good food, but didn't want to go as pricey as Lolita's Lust? Any suggestions? Past searches on the board seem to indicate my gut feeling that most of the greek places on the strip seem to be mediocre at best. Doesn't need to be greek food, we're open to anything, the Danforth is just a handy location....

Thank you!

Where to buy GOOD eggs in Toronto or GTA?

I know what you're looking for and Clark's eggs are not going to cut it. The closest I've found is an egg guy who sometimes sells at the Dufferin Grove farmer's market - but you need to get there RIGHT at 3pm because he sells out fast...

Cakes by Robert? / Need a GOOD photo cake

Thank you All!

Great meal at Allen's on the Danforth

I have always been very happy with Allen's for a casual meal. Their burgers are consistently great, and the chicken curry is always tasty.

Rebel house burger is a bison burger, if I remember correctly, so it's a little dry-er because there's less fat, but the daily bread, their spinach salad, their mac'and'cheese are always spot on.

Cakes by Robert? / Need a GOOD photo cake

Anyone have any feedback on where I can get a GREAT cake that also happens to be a photo cake? I know these two things don't normally go together!

Cakes By Robert does photo cakes and they look decent, but I have never had the opportunity to try one of their cakes.

Any feedback is appreciated!

Pizza in the east end?

Thank you!

Finding tomatoes for canning this late in the season?

It's out of your area (but not too far), but they have them at Fiesta Gardens at Christie & Essex (just north of Bloor).

Pizza in the east end?

Any recommendations for a good sit down place East of Yonge with decent thin crust pizza? Much appreciated...

Nota Bene ~ Better Take Notice - review + pics

Went there a couple of weeks ago. I wasn't keen on the decor (the room felt very 90's), but the food was wonderful. Had a really decent bottle of wine, the duck salad (swoon!), the pickerel (delicate and very fresh), and my friend had the rapini salad and the hangar steak. The side of chips such a guilty pleasure, but oh so good. Next time I'm trying the suckling pig tart.

Restaurants in Summerhill area?

I agree on the 5 Thieves, Millygirl. I'm always happy to grab a sandwhich from ATB - they're so good, and their cheese sticks make me want to take off my pants. Ontario strawberries from the Harvest Wagon this summer were consistently better than St Lawrence Market or other farmer's markets.

Is Caffe Doria licenced? I've been looking online, can't seem to figure it out. Maybe I'll give them a call later...

Bacon, Eggs and Pancakes near Bloor and Spadina

Beware of the Aunties & Uncles owners - have literally been yelled at for having a friend join us 15 minutes later because we were 3 and were seated at 4top so we called an extra. They want you in and out fast and make no bones about it.

first date on a budget...

I'm always a big fan of takeout from the Golden Turtle, a bottle of wine & a picnic in Trinity Bellwoods.

Where can I fill my Propane Tank downtownish?

We always go to the one on the north side of Dupont just west of Bathurst.

Restaurants in Summerhill area?

Oh I know how the other half eats, I'm more cruising the streets marvelling about how big those lots are over there! I just want a restaurant in the proximity and thought there might be a little neighbourhood spot. Thanks for the pointers!

Restaurants in Summerhill area?

Very helpful, Estufarian & Juno, thank you!

Looks like it might be Brownes. I've been to Rebel House many times, and I do like it, but I'd like something different.

I only do that uphill bike ride so I can eat what I want when I get there ;)

Restaurants in Summerhill area?

Friday looks like a nice night and my boyfriend and I would like to take a bike ride over to the summerhill area and cruise the streets to see how the other half lives... any good recommendations for a neighbourhood spot in the area? So far I have seen recos for Avant Gout or Brownes - my boyfriend isn't keen on the Morroccan theme, Brownes seems nice. Is it worth it or is there another spot?

Thanks so much

Dinner included w/ Dirty Dancing tickets, which would you choose???

Kit Kat, Kit Kat, Kit Kat!

I've worked at Fred's/Red Tomato and the food really is terrible, sometimes microwaved. Had friends who worked at Joe Badali's and it's smilar. Montana's is really just a bar, not truly focused on food. Alice Fazooli's would be my second choice.

Winnipeg rec?

Oh I see someone has kindly reposted this here! Thank you moderators or whoever did this before I was smart enough to figure it out myself!!

ihate & puck, price is no object, and we don't have a car but can cab it most places (unless it's going to be a $40 ride or anything). We're just stopping over one night and staying at the airport (catching a 5am flight north the next day) so we understand we'll have to cab most places.

Mise looked good, and I will check out Bistro 7 1/4 as well. Would you recommend one over the other? In terms of food, I'm kind of spoiled for ethnic food in Toronto, so I'd be really excited to eat anything that uses local ingredients/specialties. Thank you so much for your help...