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Little India - Gerrard East - hope springs eternal... or does it?

Nitya is run by the same people who run Udupi Palace. They will be offering a buffet that features North Indian food (the usual Gerrard Street fare), as well as South Indian, East Indian and West Indian (as in the Indian-derived dishes of Guyana and Trinidad). The chef is from Mumbai.

I went in today and, as someone who lives in the neighbourhood and who has tried most of the buffets, I really enjoyed being able to choose some unusual things like prawns.

The dinner menu's not really up and running yet; they say they'll be changing up their lunchtime offerings a lot, but will tend to have butter chicken and Tandoori chicken since so many people expect all the Gerrard Street buffets to have those two items.

Christmas Dinner in Toronto

You might want to try Eight Wine Bar, which is not in a hotel, or Victor in Le Germain.

Ceili Cottage -- concept OK, execution terrible

They only opened in late June and I don't think they expected to be slammed with business so early and consistently. I've been twice so far and enjoyed myself both times.

Recommendations for Little India

I live in the neighbourhhod and agree that thali and dosai are great at Udupi Palace. The atmosphere and tandoor-cooked dishes at Lahore Tikka House are lots of fun. The street food (including BBQ corn rubbed with hot spices) is messy but also good fun and definitely a wakeup for the tastebuds. I'm also a fan of Mahar and Moti Mahal. But leave room for kulfi - ice cream on a stick. Usually the paan houses (street snack spots) have the homemade kind that they have to unmold from a tin mold for you. Very yummy, as long as you're not allergic to nuts.

Once-a-year Treat Suggestion?

Well, we're booked into Colborne Lane this weekend. I expect we still have a lot to learn about molecular gastronomy, so we're looking forward to it. I am told they've been known to feature Pop Rocks and champagne; sounds like my kinda place. Thanks again for all the suggestions.

Once-a-year Treat Suggestion?

We've been dreaming of Eigensinn. Maybe for our 10th one? We've also thought hard about Scaramouche and were poised to go last year when we heard they might close, then put it off when we heard they wouldn't. Thank you folks so much for your suggestions; you've certainly put Splendido and perhaps especially Colborne Lane on the list of possibilities, at least as far as I'm concerned.

Once-a-year Treat Suggestion?

I go out once a year with a group of cheerful and curious friends for a February dinner where cost is no object, for a tasting menu if possible. So far we've gone to the late Susur and Avalon, Perigée (under the original chef), Canoe, North 44 and Oro. Our faves so far have been Susur and Perigée. This year we're thinking about Nota Bene, Pangaea and a few other possibilities. Does anyone have a passionate endorsement for someplace we should go that will offer us an unforgettably pleasant and interesting experience?

Coupe Space Winter Schedule

I love their sessions; I've been at one of the cheese ones and one of the big red wine ones, and am planning to go to the fat one (heaven help me!) I wish there were more venues like this, or that Coupe Space was able to run more of them.

In Need of 'Black Cat' Gum

I think I recall being told that the people who run Sugar Mountain bought up the licence for it; at one time they bought up a lot of obsolete candy brands and I'm pretty sure that was one of them. I know they got Black Cat Cigarettes.

The BEST Vegetarian in T.O?

Live on Dupont
Udupi Palace and Narula's on Gerrard East
Annapurna on Bathurst
...still thinking

Lunch time Indian on Gerrard

Chandni Chowk was the fave at the South Asian festival this past weekend for their chicken tikka. Lahore Tikka House has very friendly service and a fun atmosphere (you can eat under a tent outside), along with fab food. Udupi Palace has great, hot south Indian veggie food. But my very favourite place is Narula's Chat Dosa and Thali House opposite Ashdale Library, where the veggie thali is among the cheapest eats on the strip, but very very good. I'm hooked on the malai kofta (when they have it. Wonderful samosas, too.

Full Engish breakfast in Toronto?

Try the Artful Dodger, 10 Isabella, 416-964-9511. I don't remember black pudding, but they used to have a breakfast/brunch with beer on weekends when I lived in the neighbourhood.

how is toast on queen ( hello toast ) ?

Don't forget crowded but less attitudinal Bonjour Brioche. Actually, come to think of it, the service can be bad there, too. Better on weekdays than weekends.

Current Best Greek on the Danforth?

I used to go to Pappas Grill a lot in the late '80s, when they opened. They had a gorgeous fish soup then, but the last time I was in, after a long absence, they'd discontinued it, which I took as a bad sign overall.

I'd second the vote for little Asteria at 292 Danforth, for the chicken souvlaki on pita.

Perigee questions

I have a tradition with some friends that once a year we go out for a meal where price is no object. Of Susur, Avalon, Canoe and Perigee, most of us thought Perigee was the most fun, partly because the sommelier was so nice! The wine pourings seemed pretty generous, and he was willing to chat at some length about the wine, happy to indulge our curiosity without ever making us feel overwhelmed or dumb. We had the seven-course meal and were stuffed absolutely full. It cost about $200 per person (there were four of us) with all food, wine, taxes and fairly generous tipping. And the food was lovely too.

Cheap but delicious Portuguese takeout?

As a new poster I apologize if I'm duplicating an earlier string; I tried unsuccessfully to find one exactly like it.

My husband the bike courier has just discovered Portuguese food and he's in love: pork and beans, soups, chicken... you name it. He so far recommends two places (described below) but would like to hear about other quick-service spots he can run in and out of while on the job in the downtown vicinity. (He's started carrying tupperware in his bag!)

The ones he likes so far are:

-A home-cooking restaurant at the northeast corner of Dundas and Brock

-The back of the grocery store at the southeast corner of Dundas and Dovercourt. It's self-serve, and he loves their daily soups.

Many thanks!

Dutchpot on Queen E

So sad about Dutchpot, just around the corner from me. For those who want Caribbean food in the east end, there's also that D&D TriniStyle/Fritou place at the northwest corner of Gerrard and Greenwood. I quite like their dinners and I love their very heavy but tasty doubles.

Best Masala Dosa in Toronto?

I mourn the loss of Madras Durbar on Gerrard, but Udupi Palace is very good, and does their dosai with the condiments you mention. They also serve a pretty good masala dosa with all the trimmings at Annapurna, 1085 Bathurst just south of Dupont. I'm sure either place would let you do takeout.

Knife Kit or Roll in the GTA

I'd have suggested Nikolaau (mentioned above, 416-504-6411) or Dinetz (231 King E. 416-368-8657). Both cater to professional chefs and kitchens. My husband used to cook professionally and he's especially fond of Dinetz, but I can't really tell the difference. There's a similat place (or used to be) on the south side of College just west of Bathurst.

Looking for place to hold wedding shower

I actually did a baby shower at Fez Batik on Richmond, albeit for a smaller group. They're never busy in the daytime and have lots of space. For a group of your size I expect they'd close down to others for several hours. The menu is Middle Eastern with a twist; lots of hummous, flatbreads, sausages, and so on. I like their informal seating choices, which include cushioned banquettes and low tables.

(Although I gather from the Star today that the management is going through some problems).

Stork on the Roof - NEWS

I was booked in for a lunch at Esco-Pazzo and actually walked in to find a knot of people eagerly pouring over draft seating plans for Quince. Looks exciting!

Mini Wedding Cakes

Sounds like you might want to go with specialty cupcakes. Kubo Radio on Queen Street East does quite fancy ones; there are cheaper places, too.

Japanese BY Japanese

I have the impressio New Generation Sushi is Korean. I think Sushiman is Japanese too, by the way. Hiro is outstanding.

Where to buy duck eggs?!

Augusta Egg Market at 251 Augusta does turkey and quail eggs, so maybe they know whether/where duck eggs are available; give them a call at 416-593-9817.

cafe, mediterreanean, cheap, good coffee: Toronto

The little bakery at the Distillery (on your left as you come in the Trinity Street gates) has lovely scones and sometimes meat pies. (Perigee is sensational, but requires advance reservations and could total $200/person.) I find the other spots too much buck for the bang.

I've had very happy experiences with brunch at Bellevue Diner at 61 Bellevue in the Market. Also nice around there are Free Times for veggie/Jewish food (320 College), Aunties + Uncles for banana pancakes(4 Lippincott), Maggie's for all-day brunch (400 College), Oasis for offbeat tapas (294 College).

One of my fave and I think underrated places with patios is Caffe Volo for Italian food at 587 Yonge (about halfway between Bloor & Wellesley).

Suggestions for a good Indian buffet?

I find they really only differ in ambience, not food. Some of the places I enjoy are:

-Siddhartha on Gerrard E. (they're lovely to repeat customers)
-Haandi at 4801 Gerrard E.
-Skylark at 1433 Gerrard E.
-Sangam at 788 Bay
-Nataraj at 394 Bloor W.
-Kissan, the only veggie one I know, on Gerrard E.

A Good Burger

I also miss The Brothers. I'd endorse Epicure and Allen's. I don't think Toby's outlets are as good as they were back in the '80s.

Very surprisingly, there's a pretty good burger at the little fast food joint at the back of the main Harbourfront Building (Lakeside Terrace, I think?) adjoining the pond/skating rink.

Dangerous Dan's is a very large burger with what I consider to be too big a bun; also the meat tends to be grey and dry, but my husband loves 'em, and they do have their famous Coronary with the fried egg and whatnot.

And not to forget Lick's. Especially the flagship store on Kingston Road, my brother says.


Ethiopan Spices at 160 Baldwin in Kensington Market carries the tef flour and injera recipes. (They also sell wonderful injera.)

Ontario cherries in Toronto

My sister tells me that GTA grocers have made some deal across the board (partly because of the high Canadian dollar) that most of their summer fruit and veg will be coming from the US. Yuck! (I'm always on the lookout for affordable local fruit for jam, so this is a great drag.)

Later note: Yesterday Fanfare Flowers at 2033 Yonge just north of Davisville (416-488-8732) had Ontario cherries (3 kinds), plus blueberries, raspberries, red and white currants and I expect a lot of other stuff. Not cheap, but fresh and good. I loaded up on about $60 worth of fruit for jam. Hooray!


Bacchus is Guyanese.