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What's new and worth a visit in Port Hope and Coburg?

The Social in Port Hope is fairly new, great for lunch. Also like lunch on the back patio of Trattoria Gusto, overlooking the river.

Barrie; One [1] Dinner & Breakfast

KoHyang House is a Korean restaurant in downtown Barrie. We've tried their "lunch box specials" (bulgogi, kalbi, korean chicken), and all were good.

Checking Origins of Foods being sold at groceries

The truth is that the human-originated "selective breeding" that has created every vegetable and commercial flower and domestic animal on the planet is obviously a form of genetic modification. What else could it be -- engineers have deliberately modified the genomes of living things to "improve" them over the past hundreds of years. Undoubtedly, some of these deliberate genetic modifications resulted in dangerous, invasive, smelly or drooling orgamisms with congenital problems, and we live with them (e.g. my dog).

What to expect visiting prince edward county wineries as a first timer?

You can't miss the vineyards, they are all around you. In the bigger places, they surround the car parks, and in my experience nobody will stop you from walking along the edges of them and looking down the rows. I am not sure which (if any) wineries offer formal tours of their fields and factories, but you can look at them for free. A few of the bigger wineries have restaurants or snack bars as well as their wine stores.

As far as wine tasting goes, I found that on a summer Saturday it was not worth my time at the tasting bar to fight through a crowd swirling and sniffing their half ounces of wine, even if it was free (which it often was not). It might be different through the week.

As I said above, if you have any interest in growing grapes or making wine, or in people who have quit their city jobs to try it commercially, you have the opportunity in the smaller wineries to talk about it directly with the vineyard owner. That can be worth the trip.

Just driving along the PEC back roads and seeing how many new wineries have sprung up everywhere, and stopping in at a few of the less-visited ones, is an interesting way to spend a few hours.

What to expect visiting prince edward county wineries as a first timer?

If you want to sip some tasty cider while watching the boats go by on the lake, you have several choices in Toronto and lots of other places. The point I tried to make to the OP is that, if you don't particularly want to drink wine and you don't particularly want to buy wine, then there is no great magic in visiting a bunch of wineries, because they are principally wine stores.

What to expect visiting prince edward county wineries as a first timer?

The OP said they have never been to a winery and don't know what to expect. County Cider (even more than most PEC wineries) looks and feels like a store. It sells about five kinds of cider in plastic bottles, plus assorted knick-knacks. You can taste the cider first if you like. It is a long drive.

Checking Origins of Foods being sold at groceries

Whether GMO is now or could soon become a real health or environmental problem is a matter of debate. But surely you aren't against labelling it, so people can decide for themselves? And if the government is against labelling it, who do they serve?

What to expect visiting prince edward county wineries as a first timer?

The least expensive wines I've found are in the $20 range. Visiting a winery is like visiting a cheese shop -- they will let you sample the goods, with the expectation that you came to buy cheese. Some wineries charge a small fee for samples, which reduces this expectation.

Many of the wineries are new and very small operations, and in these wineries you have a good chance of being served by one of the owners. If you have questions about grape growing or wine making at commercial scale, these are the experts. Even so, any conversation in a winery store is predicated on the expectation that you came to buy wine, and their job is to sell you some.

Flor de Sal - bistro food/fine dining prices

Love the part about the tip prompts set to 20% and 30%. Does any other restaurant in Toronto have no 15% prompt, or a 30% prompt?

Diwan at the Aga Khan Museum

I think (and so did the museum originally) that showcasing the culture's cuisine is as important as their history and art. Why don't they replace some of the artwork with dumbed-down stuff, if that's what would save money or bring in more customers (of course it won't)?

You spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a building, staff and exhibits that are guaranteed to need huge yearly operating subsidies, and you cheap out on the restaurant?

Diwan at the Aga Khan Museum

I'll take your word about the food itself, but the terminology on the lunch menu has obviously been deliberately dumbed down. They now serve "Bread and spread", "Tandoori fries", and entrees that come with "starch and salad of the day". Nothing says fine dining like an unspecified daily starch.

The Ontario Restaurant Policy Discussion

Young people today have got it easy.

When I was a lad, we had to line up all day in the pouring rain to be served scraps of food on rusty plates in middle of road. Once our whole group was present, we had to make our own table and chairs from dirt, then line up again to drink from puddles. If we asked the hostess her name, an unwritten policy required her to beat us about the head with her clipboard.

And we liked it. We liked it just fine.

Flor de Sal - bistro food/fine dining prices

The lack of any additional reviews in two months speaks louder than words about the current price people will pay for "good but not mind-blowing" food. It is apparently well below $49 for duck, whatever an owner or chef wants to believe.

I also think the whole idea of needing to share one's opinion with the chef before telling others is ridiculous. Does that also apply to theatre performances, books, shoe stores, bagel shops, and chowhound reviews? If so, be sure to private message me before commenting on this, and I'll tell you how hard and passionately my team and I worked on these two paragraphs from dusk to dawn, using only the freshest local vocabulary.

Rude treatment at Khao San Road

Khao San Road is not quite fine dining. It has a limited menu, low prices, and depends on high turnover. It is very popular, usually has a lineup, and has a few unbendable rules to keep things moving.

Today, I was in a restaurant where they insisted that I pay my bill as soon as I ordered. That's right, pay before I had tasted the food! Not just that, but my "server" wouldn't even bring the food to my table -- I had to carry it myself! I politely asked them to serve me at a table, and let me pay after I was finished eating. Upon being summarily rebuffed, I pressed my case more vigorously with the Assistant Manager. I sensed that tempers were on the verge of beginning to fray.

Luckily, it being April Fools Day and all, the McDonalds staff had a good laugh and didn't call the cops.

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 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
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 ( 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" ( 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.