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One local's guide to Niagara-on-the-Lake and surrounding area (long!)

Do not, under any circumstances, go to Tiara. We had a weekend package at the Pillar & Post that included a dinner at one of the hotel's properties. We chose Tiara. Awful doesn't begin to describe what they did to my seafood pasta. And abhorrent can't be descriptive enough for my wife's ricotta gnocchi. Ugh.

nopa, Quince, NOPA, Foreign Cinema and La Folie

Just got back from a trip to SF and thought I would give my two cents on our dining experiences.

nopa ( - very good for a late night dinner with friends on our fist night in town. food was good, but not excellent. wine was very good. service was hit and miss. scene was fun. I wouldn't rush back, but I wouldn't avoid it either. Servings were extremely generous - almost too big.

Quince ( - i was very excited about Quince, but things got off to a rocky start. Our dining companions were late, so we sat on the couches in the lounge and waited for a cocktail. And waited. We were given cocktail menus. And coasters. Just no cocktails. I asked the people having cocktails beside us if they had to get them at the bar - negative. I gave up to go to the bar anyway, and was finally offered a cocktail on my way there. The same guy who brought us the cocktail menu and the coasters generously intercepted me with "would you like a drink?"! Kind of a dumb question after 10 minutes holding a cocktail menu.... oh well.

We eventually got tired of waiting for our companions and asked if they were holding off on seating us (as many places do) until our entire party arrived. We were told that they were in fact holding off because "they thought that would be nice". I asked to be seated. It's a bit petty, but they definitely should have offered us the option to be seated or wait in the lounge... oh well.

We had some lovely palate cleansers and friends finally arrived. Two of us had the 8 course taster, the other two had the 5 course taster. The reservation specified a gluten free diner but that detail was overlooked - not to worry as the restaurant adapted seamlessly. Then something I am still laughing about - the wine manager (who oversees the sommeliers) came over and spoke at length to the two of us with the 8 course menu about a fantastic wine that we were about to have and how well it would go with our lobster. When I mentioned we weren't having lobster he cratered, got visibly upset, pursed his lips, handed the bottle to our server (who was excellent) and stormed off, never to be seen or heard from again. What a jackass. Our server just laughed it off and the meal itself went very well, with fill in courses galore for the two 5 course eaters. Great wine pairings, great food. Since we started late, we were the last of two tables in the restaurant near the end of the night, the other table being quite close to us. Chef came out, sat at the other table for half an hour and never acknowledged our existence. Not a nod. Not a hello. Not a thank you. Nothing. Don't get me wrong - he clearly knew the couple and that's fine by me; I didn't expect an invitation to his Christmas party. I do, however, when spending the better part of $1000 on dinner, expect, if the chef is on the floor, some sort of greeting, however brief. We won't be going back to Quince.

Foreign Cinema ( - totally fun spot for a more casual meal. the food was very good and the service attentive. Wine list was limited but the recommendations very good. I'd go back with a large group any day.

La Folie ( - There is a reason that La Folie has a Michelin star. It's amazing. From the cocktails (how does bourbon, bergamot mint, and ginger infused congnac over ice sound?!) to the amuse bouches to the mains to the absolutely outstanding wine list, La Folie was outstanding. Every staff member seemed happy to be there. Everything I ate was heavenly. And unlike Quince, chef visited every table, however briefly, over the course of the night. La Folie has moved into my top 5 meals of all time, although I'm still sorting out where on that list it ranks. Highly recommended.

We also cancelled our reservation at Coi and opted to take a drive out to Sonoma and eat at Cyrus. From a culinary perspective, I'd like to unwind that decision.....

La Folie
2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Top 10 SF resteraunts? No budget considered


Much appreciated. I definitely eat more than one meal a day!

Top 10 SF resteraunts? No budget considered

Benv - I'd be very interested in your list if you DID factor in your favorite hole-in-the-wall or comfort places. I'm coming in for a week to eat, drink and be merry in Sept.


Dynasty Chinese Cuisine on Bloor closing after today

The owner screwed up the lease negotiations back in the summer - played hardball with the landlord and lost.

Sunday Night in Chicago

We made it back - 5 lbs heavier and a lot of $$ lighter.

Quick reviews:

Moto - 20 course tasting menu and wine pairings. Lots of interesting flavours, some magical moments and a lot of Willy Wonka. Service was a bit nervous with staff rapidly attempting to describe the courses and wines. Very very good, but just not as good as ...

Alinea - unbelievable 15 course tasting menu and wine pairings. Forget Willy Wonka and think more like Harry Houdini. The food was stupendous, the wine pairings perfect (I found some of the Moto pairings too sweet) and the service absolutely flawless and ridiculously informative.

Gino's East - unbearable service. Nobody would take our order. No water. No drinks. Nothing. Takeout counter staff complained to the slob of a manager that we weren't being served. He just stared at us to the point that it was creepy and uncomfortable. It became so bad that the takeout server, once the manger left, actually took pity on us, came over and put our order in for us. The pizza, when it finally came, was delicious. The salad was OK. The dressing (thank god it was on the side) was atrocious. However, I would never go back. In hindsight, there must have been a shift change because once the food came, we had a very friendly server.

Hot Chocolate - kitchen is slipping. Not as good as our last visit. Mac & Cheese was good. My burger was raw. Not rare (it was ordered "the way the chef makes it), but raw. Disgusting. The free brownie on the way out the door didn't make up for it. Wasn't offered a second beer either.

Avec - we went during the tornado warning on Monday. Service was very very good. When they didn't have the wine I ordered a very nice replacement was suggested and given at the same price. Food was also very very good. Had the dates, a wonderful cod in spicy tomato sauce and a half order of the prosciutto. We didn't even notice that the kitchen had flooded!

Blackbird - lunch was spot on. Service was a bit over the top (for lunch, that is) but the food was very inventive with a wonderful mix of flavours and textures. Lamb burger was tastier than it had any right to be, and the duck pastrami was unique and excellent. Salads were equally great, as were the champagne cocktails and wine.


Aug 06, 2008
Cereal Killer in Chicago Area

Sunday Night in Chicago

Thanks everyone. I think Tru is being ditched in favour of something else. It won't be Peking Duck though, as I eat a LOT of Asian food in Toronto.

Table fifty-two, Graham Elliott, Smoque and Coalfire are all closed Monday night. Any other sure fire Pizza or Italian places to try? Cafe Spiaggia? Giordino's? Either that or it's line up at Avec.


Jul 31, 2008
Cereal Killer in Chicago Area

Sunday Night in Chicago

Thanks JBW and Leek. My dilemma now is that people are saying we shouldn't miss Avec...


Jul 28, 2008
Cereal Killer in Chicago Area

Sunday Night in Chicago

Hmmm - suspiciously quiet. Perhaps I spoke too soon. Here is the itinerary thus far - comments welcome.

Saturday Dinner - Moto
Sunday Dinner - Alinea (pulled some strings)
Monday Dinner - Tru (still wondering if this is a mistake - should I try L20 instead?)
Tuesday Lunch - Blackbird

Jul 24, 2008
Cereal Killer in Chicago Area

Sunday Night in Chicago

First off, this is a great board with some great contributors - very nice to see. Have only been to Chicago once before and was at a music festival so didn't really do much in the way of chowing.

This time we are on a bit of a food tour August 1-5, and am having trouble with Sunday night reservations. Friday night we don't get in until a bit late, so we will probably just go to Hot Chocolate whenever we get settled (the GF loved the mac and cheese there). Saturday I managed to get reservations at Moto, which, rightly or wrongly, I've always wanted to eat at. Monday I've got a reservation at Tru, but am thinking that may have been a rookie mistake (what - I have to wear a jacket?!?!), but Monday seems to be a tough night also. Can't seem to get in to Alinea on Sunday, and it looks to be one of the better restaurants that happen to be open Sunday nights. Blackbird will have to be a lunch stop Monday or Tuesday.

So..... any bright ideas for Sunday night for a nice dinner? Don't get me wrong - it doesn't have to be expensive.

(How did this become a sticky- can mod move this to "regular" board please?)

Jul 23, 2008
Cereal Killer in Chicago Area

Weekend in Boston

Had a great weekend in Sunny Boston thanks to those who advised wisely. Eliot Hotel was definitely good enough. We pretty much hoofed it everywhere, so we didn't get to any out of the way spots.

Highlights - Dinner at O Ya on Saturday night was really spectacular (if you can find the place).

Tasting menu at Mare was quite good, although that may have been the bottle of sparkling and oysters BEFORE the tasting menu kicking into effect.

Dinner at The Butcher Shop at the bar on Monday night was also really excellent, and both the wine list and the bartender were fantastic.

Unfortunately Charlie's was closed (he's on holiday) so we didn't get brunch there and ended up at Pops instead due to immediate hunger pangs. Good sandwich, but not what I was craving.

Also had brunch at Toro (and cocktails) and think I should have needed the advice and had dinner there instead. Also grabbed a quick brunch at Flour Bakery one early afternoon.

Due to late evenings we really only got in 2.5 as opposed to 3 meals per day. However, we did also manage to get a Lobster Roll at Neptune (along with some Oysters) which was stellar and some cannoli(s) at Modern and some Gelato as well.

Good times.

Weekend in Boston

Much appreciated everyone.

An updated take on the best of Boston

Good list. Very helpful for someone coming in from out of town.

Weekend in Boston

Thanks - hadn't read about either Paramount or Panificio....

Weekend in Boston

Thanks muchly. I am staying at the Eliot, and am thinking of the following:

O Ya for dinner Saturday – reservation already made.
Sunday brunch - thinking of Toro - any thoughts on their brunch?
Sunday dinner was thinking of The Butcher Shop - recommended by a former Boston chef now settled in Toronto

Monday brunch - thinking of Pops I want lobster at some point and may go to City Grille for a lobster at the bar. I understand that a lobster roll may be in order instead.
Monday Dinner is still open - Prezza or Hammersley's or ...

Tuesday for lunch I want to hit Chacarero for a famous sandwich. Flight is out at 8 pm so not sure I'll get much other than brunch and late lunch in.

Thoughts appreciated

Weekend in Boston

Seriously? Nobody in Boston has any favorite places to eat?

Weekend in Boston

I'm looking for your favorite places to eat. I've got 4 days to gorge myself on Boston's finest, whether that means white tablecloth or greasy spoon.

If you had 4 days in Boston, where would you eat? No limits. Seafood OK. Meat OK. Ethnic OK. 4 a.m. snack OK.

Weekend in Boston

OK that's a start. I was thinking of the Eliot or The Lenox. Now let's get to the food! Am happy to get off the beaten track.

Brunch? Lunch? Dinner?

Weekend in Boston

Coming to Boston for an extended weekend - all pleasure and no business. Arrive Saturday and leave Tuesday. Plan on walking around, eating, walking some more, eating some more, perhaps sitting at a cafe and then eating again.

Would love advice on what part of the City to stay in (Back Bay, Financial District, etc.), as we have a hotel booked but I am thinking of something more modern. More importantly, I would like to stay somewhere close to great food, and definitely need advice on the most important meals of the day: breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Also will welcome advice on places to to relax after dinner with a fine glass of something wet.

Thanks in advance!

restaurants to take 12 year old boys?

No offence taken - I find Movenpick an effort on my own. I used to work at BCE Place and avoided it like blood poison.


Is Seven Numbers still around?

Good eye. Think they'll allow dancing on the tables in that location?!


Chocolate Fountain

You can also rent them ( and but I think rental is about $300 (with chocolate). If you think there is a chance they will get back together you may want to buy one so you have it handy for the next party (and the next party ...



Chino Bar - Parkdale

Charming spot run by a guy with a passion for wine, old school beers and scotch, great cheeses and organic ingredients.



Yet another concept Toronto wasn't ready for: sushi and fodue. It closed in the fall.


restaurants to take 12 year old boys?

Anything, and I mean anything, is better than the spaghetti factory. There cannot be any place in Toronto worse than that disgusting pile of crap.

The mediocre places on Front (depending on where your concert is, and I'm assuming it's at the ACC or Skydome) are all a million times better (Gus Badalis, etc.) for pizza that kids will eat. Even Movenpick in BCE Place (which I dislike) seems to be a hit for the crowd that doesn't mind actually lining up to get its own food.


butter tarts fit for a queen?

I think you are thinking about Cake Boutique, and this post:

I thought there was a huge posting about best better tarts on this board not that long ago, but I can't get the hang of the way the search results are generated on this board.


Getting chefs to do romantic dinners at your home.

Funny on many different levels. If DA is a consideration, you might want to read this thread first:

Best All You Can Eat Japanese in Toronto GTA

Sushi Island on College is much better.


best breakfast joint in Toronto?

Clearly I don't cook on the weekends - went to Musa on Sunday. The food wasn't as good as usual, and the portions (especially the home fries) seemed to have shrunk.



I think that since Radical Jack's bombed so spectacularly (now Hal's?), it will be long time before someone tries that concept again.