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An interesting and honest write-up on the Toronto Restaurant Scene!

There's a phenomenon this essay doesn't mention, namely the large number of restaurants that don't seem to have enough customers to make money, yet they stay open.

What fraction of Toronto restaurants are in this zombie state, and is it more than usual?

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

I agree that they are improving with age. The service is much better than earlier, and I think the food and value at lunch is much improved.

Anatolian's Turkish Halal Restaurant - WOW!

Isn't that the point -- there is no place?

Anatolian's Turkish Halal Restaurant - WOW!

We ate there last night (Friday). The food and service were great, the quantities were huge, the prices were very reasonable, yet the place was almost empty. Between 5:30 and 7pm, there were nine diners (three of them kids) and one takeout order for 2 people. Maybe the crowd came later?

I'm no expert on Turkish food, but I've been to Turkey 3 times, and I would be perfectly happy to have found this restaurant in Turkey. We are very lucky to have it in Toronto, and I hope more people will try it so we don't lose it.

All the dishes (apps and mains) are too big for one person, so you need to employ some sort of sharing strategy. Two of us had the zuchini pancakes, the gavurdaji salad, iskender kabob, and choban kavurma -- they were all good, and there were leftovers from each of them.

Bread Lovers Rejoice ! (and get your car keys).

Everybody dreams about driving 100 miles for a loaf of Ontario's best bread, but how often do they actually do it?

Saturday was my first time. At 11:30 am, Millstone still had in stock all 10 types of bread listed on their chalkboard, priced from $5.75 to $7 per loaf. Also available were two focaccias with different toppings, and a no-yeast corn bread. We bought three loaves and one focaccia, and what I've tried so far has been pretty good. If I lived in Cobourg, I'd definitely buy bread there sometimes.

What I found more interesting, though, were the pies. There were two of them, standard size, on a shelf next to the bread, with no price or description. The clerk said they were cherry, and when we asked for one of them she rang in a price of $20.

My wife asked if $20 was the right price. At that moment, the second clerk spoke up and said that there was a third identical pie in the display case (which we hadn't noticed) priced at $17.50. Our clerk said "Well that's wrong, the price is $20. Do you want it?". Thinking this was too many high prices for one pie, we declined.

Looking back now, I wonder if I just missed out on Ontario's best pie?

Does Splendido only have multi-course fixed menus now?

I was just looking at the dinner menu on the Splendido web site, and all I see is a 5-course fixed menu for $75 and a longer "Winter Tasting Menu" for $125. These are followed by the sentence "Take note that our menu changes daily". The PDF version of the menu (which is the same) is dated January 15, 2014.

Has anyone been lately who can confirm or deny?

New Oshawa Indian Restaurant -- Maybe Best in Durham Region?

Even though there seem to be notable new restaurants opening every week in Toronto over the past few years, the Durham restaurant scene never changes. So when two Indian restaurants open within a few blocks of each other in downtown Oshawa, it's good news.

Spicy Affairs is a block east of Simcoe St. at 84 King West in Oshawa, its website is https://www.facebook.com/SpicyAffairs... It's had a few rave reviews on other sites. The decor is very plain. My family had a large takeout order recently, and we all thought it was better than Mt. Everest in Ajax, our go-to for the past 15 years. It will take one or two more visits to be sure.

Maharaja is at 74 Simcoe St N, website is http://maharajaoshawa.ca
I haven't eaten there yet, but they have fancier decor and slightly higher prices. I hope to try them in the next week or two.

Anyone else tried these places?

Anyone eaten at Mayettes at Danforth & Pharmacy?

Mayette's is a Filipino restaurant with an interesting menu and web site (mayettes.ca). It was mentioned once in passing on this board, but not reviewed. In fact, I haven't been able to find a single useful online review. Anyone?

Red Fish?

I ate at Red Fish on Saturday night, and the food and service were good. They claim to make a lot of things in house -- all their bread, at least four flavors of ice cream, etc. I recommend the foraged mushrooms and fried smelts appetizers (each enough for two or more), the black cod main and the ice cream sampler dessert. The Groupon would seem to be a steal, since you have the pick of the regular menu.

But here's the thing -- we were there until 7:30 pm on Saturday, and the place (which has been open for five months) was completely empty. Only 6 customers had arrived before then, and two of them appeared to be the chef's parents. A bit further east on College, bars and restaurants that have never been mentioned on this site (and Chiado, which has) were full of people at 7:30.

So I wasn't surprised to hear about the Groupon. My question is whether these coupons have ever worked for (i.e. saved) a Toronto restaurant, or do they always mark the beginning of the end?

Whitby/Durham restaurants that don't suck

We need more good restaurants in Durham Region -- no debate there. But I think we are at least a match for KW except in one area -- expense account restaurants. KW has (or had) RIM, plus two big, established universities, and for that reason alone it has about ten expense account restaurants that Durham doesn't have. Six of those restaurants have the same ownership, so they don't really qualify as "independents". Leaving those restaurants aside, for variety, quality and price I would rather spend the next year eating in Durham Region restaurants than in KW.

Anyone who has just moved here should try some of the top recommendations on this page before they start despairing -- or better yet, go find a new, interesting place and tell us about it.

Looking for lunch stop on the way to Haliburton - in Orillia, Gravenhurst, somewhere else?

Era 67 in downtown Orillia is a good choice.

RIP Burbs Bistro in Pickering, Hello KB in Whitby

Burbs Bistro in Pickering has closed. But the chef, Kevin Brown, has opened a new place called "KB" (kbfood.com) on the main street of Whitby, across the road from Nice Bistro. The good news is, KB may be better than Burbs!

I found the food at Burbs to be tasty, well-priced, but a bit boring. KB is explicitly trying to fix this, with a reasonably priced menu that changes frequently, and a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. I have been twice since it opened two months ago, and there has been considerable turnover on the menu.

The fact is, some dishes were very good, some could be better, most were interesting, and none were definitively bad. Everything we had was new to the menu this week. On our first visit two weeks ago, four of the six dishes we tried were hits -- that's what brought us back so soon. And the prices are very reasonable.

Bottom line: We have a shortage of good restaurants out here, so a decent one that regularly changes its menu is a valuable addition.

Which restaurants in TO make you feel the most welcome?

I agree that Bistro Camino's service is extremely friendly. The decor is friendly, the price is friendly, and the food is very friendly. I think it is the best value in Toronto in French/bistro style food.

Relatively quiet with good food in the East end of Toronto?

How about Mandalay at Lawrence and Markham Rd? It will be busy, and the tables are fairly close together, but we never have any trouble hearing one another. They have a website with menu.

Chowfind: Hog Tails BarBQue in Waterloo

The short answer is that the food is about the same as it was three years ago, which in this case is a good thing. I've had their food about 4 times since I wrote the original post, and Buster Rhino's maybe 15 times (I live in Durham region, so Buster's is much closer). If both those places were side by side, I would get Hog Tails tonight, and leave Buster's for next time.

Oshawa/Durham Restaurant for Special Occasion

Welcome to Durham Region!

The OP will have a large group, so by your observation they should feel right at home. That said, I have always been in a group of 4 or less, and have never felt out of place.

I tried to give you an honest heads up about this area's restaurants in your previous thread about moving to Courtice. If you are still expecting to be "impressed" by a local restaurant, then you truly missed my point. Bistro Chanterelle serves perfectly good bistro food at reasonable prices. It was rushed on a weekend night because it was very busy -- you were lucky to get a reservation. It was busy because it is one of the best restaurants in the area. Compared to the OP's proposed Fazio's or the defunct Arthur's, it is a step up. Compared to an impressive restaurant with innovative cuisine, it is a step down. To my knowledge, no such impressive restaurant exists in Durham Region.

Oshawa/Durham Restaurant for Special Occasion

The chef at Arthur's had some connection with Bistro 238 in Courtice, which in any case is similar price and quality. I think Bistro Chanterelle in Bowmanville is your best bet, more menu choices than Burbs and slightly closer to Durham College.

Where to eat near Courtice

I underestimated the available delivery services in Courtice. You can get more than just pizza. You can also get Swiss Chalet, Dial-A-Bottle, and flowers delivered.

In addition, you can get free delivery of hormone- and antibiotic-free beef from the Swain family farm in Blackstock (http://www.swainbeef.ca), and you can get a weekly delivery of organic produce from Durham Organics (http://www.durhamorganics.ca).

Where to eat near Courtice

I think you'll find that Durham is probably better at food than Kitchener/Waterloo. We have no RIM, though, so we fall short in expense account dining. Other than that, I much prefer our Buster Rhino's to your Hog Tails (just as an example).

No use comparing apples and oranges, but for apples you're in luck. Within 15 minutes of Courtice you've got Archibald's with 16 varieties plus ciders and wines, plus Algoma Orchards, plus Bowmanville's annual Apple Festival.

Where to eat near Courtice

Your fears are unfounded, with one small proviso. You are moving beyond the city and even beyond the suburbs, and you will need to drive a car everywhere for everything. You need to realize that "local" means a half hour drive (each way), and unless you are within a couple of miles of downtown Courtice and want pizza, "delivery" will be a memory from your previous urban life.

The best restaurant in Courtice is Bistro 238. They have no website, but there are photos of the menu on their Facebook page. I eat there regularly, and the food is good.

The best restaurant in your new area is Bistro Chanterelle in Bowmanville. It has a larger menu, nicer space and a better chef than Bistro 238, and the prices are similar. You need reservations on Friday and Saturday.

You also have Zante, a Greek restaurant in Bowmanville that is the best in the area. It is the type of place where, the last time we were there a month ago, a 10-person wedding dinner was going on in which one of the guests was playing excellent solo violin -- spontaneous entertainment.

There is also a tiny cafe called Touch of Dutch in downtown Bowmanville where you can get breakfast and lunch at low prices. They have Nasi Goreng on the menu, and a freezer with several homemade Indonesian dishes to take away.

There are also a couple of standard diners in Courtice that get decent reviews for breakfast and lunch, but I haven't tried them.

After that, cross the border into Oshawa and continue west, and within a half hour drive all the riches of "Restaurants in Durham that don't suck" (a Chowhound thread) are open for discovery.

Scarborough To-Do List - What have I missed? What SHOULD I miss?

I think Bella's Lechon is take out only.

non-Winterlicious prix fixe menus in Toronto, Winter 2012

Mandalay has an unusual prix fixe that includes a choice of four appetizers, dessert and coffee for $10 plus the price of any entree on their regular menu. There are 6 mains at $14.95, and several more under $20. This restaurant at Lawrence and Markham Rd. has been one of the good ones in Scarborough for many years.

There's also a $15 coupon on their website for the regular menu until February 13.


Solo Sushi Ya -- Suffering a Kates Effect?

My point is that the quality, quantity and presentation of the omakase at this restaurant has been diminished because of the rush of diners. My use of the phrase "assembly line" was intended to capture this idea. I'm not complaining that the 30 diners were served an identical meal, but that in my opinion the meal was noticeably inferior to what has been served over the past two years.

Solo Sushi Ya -- Suffering a Kates Effect?

Solo Sushi Ya is in Newmarket, an hour drive from where I live. After reading a good review on this board a couple of years ago, I have made the trip a few times, always ordering the $55 omakase. Everyone I've taken there has felt it was a great meal, and an exceptional value. But after dinner there last night, I'm not sure any more.

I had no idea before I arrived that the restaurant was the subject of a very positive Joanne Kates review in the Globe and Mail in December. But the restaurant is very small, and when you hear people at other tables say, when handed the menu, "She says to order the omakase", you start to wonder if you've stumbled into a cult meeting. Eventually, the restaurant filled up (30 seats), and every single diner ordered the omakase. At one table, a person wanted "no raw fish" in their omakase -- not a problem, says formerly opinionated Chef Gao.

On previous visits I always felt that the omakase was something special, a chance for the chef to show off a bit. Last night, I could see for myself that the omakase was an assembly line process. The sashimi course was on the small side, and the sushi course had only four pieces. All together they contained only tuna, salmon, a single shrimp, a single piece of snapper and a single piece of smoked eel. The cooked course was a piece of grilled mackerel with grilled burdock root and shaved onion. The rest of the meal consisted of three small appetizers, a good chawanmushi, and another custard with blueberry sauce for dessert.

The fish was good quality, but the whole experience was more like winterlicious than a special night out. I certainly got no "wow" for my money ($180 for 2 all in).

Arthur's on the 4th - Oshawa, Finally Something Delicious in the GTA East!

It died several months ago from lack of customers.

Splendido's truffle tasting menu review

Two of us had the full truffle tasting menu with wine pairings at Splendido this week. This was the first time I have eaten black truffles, and I'm glad I experienced that taste. One of the last dishes on the menu paired shaved truffles with tiny braised brussel sprouts, and I was surprised how similar they are -- both provide earthy bass notes.

I have complained about poor service at "new" Splendido in the past, but this time the service was great. For both food and entertainment quality, I would rate this tasting menu at least the equal of David Lee's in his last year at Splendido. Our meal consisted of 10 courses and 8 wine pairings, lasted over 2.5 hours, and never felt rushed or delayed. At a cost of $150 each before tax and tip, a saving of $65 each using Dining Datenight, it is a much better Christmas present than socks or underwear (or almost anything else).

Dinner Recos near St Jacobs Farmers Market for Tomorrow?

Google Maps says it's 3 Km from the farmers market to downtown St. Jacobs.Your best bet is Benjamin's. We eat there a couple of times a year, mostly for lunch which is a good deal. Dinner prices are a bit high ($25 to $35 entrees), but the food has always been good.

North East of Toronto - Wedding Venue Feb 2012 - I Need Help!!!

How about Parkwood Estate in Oshawa? Unique and wedding-friendly.

Toronto's most boring resto: your nominations, please

Thanks for listing Nota Bene -- the word "boring" hits the nail on the head. Good food, reasonable prices, but a menu almost unchanged for two years, prepared and served in "corporate drone" style. Maybe that's just the formula for success in their location -- corporate lunches, tourists and suburban theater-goers? So is David Lee now retired, living off his residuals?

Nota Bene
180 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2A1, CA

Arthur's on the 4th - Oshawa, Finally Something Delicious in the GTA East!

Three of us went recently on a Friday night, and I think the two previous reviews of Arthur's are way over the top. Adjectives like "amazing", "divine", "fantastic", "in a league of its own" --- come on!

First of all, they've apparently already raised their prices -- the website www.arthursonthe4th.com says $35 for 3 courses , and that's what we were charged.

The food is OK, if slightly over-priced. It is a perfectly fine bistro-style restaurant with a limited menu, in the same league as Burbs Bistro in Pickering, Nice Bistro in Whitby, and Chanterelle Bistro in Bowmanville, among others in the area. That's a lower league compared to e.g. Simple Bistro in Toronto, though. It differs very little from the restaurant it replaced in the same space, which died from lack of customers. I fear Arthur's will suffer the same fate --- the location inside a little-known museum is completely invisible from the street, and I haven't seen them advertising or promoting themselves. When I was there, it was half-full (or half-empty, if you wish).

In summary, the restaurant is worth trying if you live or work nearby. It is not worth superlatives.