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Best old school speakeasy type bars in Toronto?

The Roof Lounge is superb. Great view, cozy, great cocktails, nice snacks. Great to sit by the fireplace on a cold night. It is small, so cozy can easily be cramped depending on the night. The Roof definitely isn't a speak easy though.

I'm really not a fan of Bar Chef - absurdly ambitious prices for its location and the interior just seems to have a bad layout.

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Roof Lounge
4 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R, CA

Bar Chef
472 Queen St W, Mount Forest, ON , CA

Great Beach restaurant

This is an actual great beach restaurant. A bit far from Queen St though...

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Brophy Bros
Breakwatr, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

le select for lunch?

Great lunch, much better pricing than at dinner.

Wine delivery in Toronto

Concierge services that will find you tickets, make personalized baskets, etc, can be very helpful for this. If you want to send wine though, you'll need to have a good relationship with them. A random call-up from outside of the county will not be able to get it done.

You can send cases through an agent such as Lifford, where you can access wines not available through the LCBO. They're not allowed to sell individual bottles, and they almost assuredly won't since they then have most of a case to unload in questionable circumstances.

Best idea is to use some contacts you have in Toronto to assemble the gift. Our laws are horrible.

ISO Bacon Vodka

Altered - as in not in the condition that you bought it in. Must be poured directly from bottle/can/keg into your glass or pitcher. Thus they can't pour it into a pot to infuse with flavour and then back into bottle or add anything to the bottle.

Flavour has to be added by the distiller.

ISO Bacon Vodka

Thanks to AGCO regs, it's illegal to sell alcohol that has been altered in any way. There are good reasons behind that, but it screws over artisanal cocktails who are doing things for non-nefarious reasons. No distiller that the LCBO carries makes bacon vodka, so you're SOL.

If you have the right friends, well you might get a different answer. It's assuredly not something that can be discussed on a public forum or on the internet at all. Fight Club rules and all that.

ISO casual, reasonable price, Queen W or King W resto bachelorette

Crush isn't open on Sundays. She also wanted good food, which would rule out Spice Route.

Select has the food, but definitely not the atmosphere.

Another bachelorette at Cheval - grrr

Searching for great panini (panino?) with an espresso

La Merceria on Adelaide, just west of Portland, has great sandwiches and coffee. Ezra's Pound, Dupont, east of Spadina, also does good coffee and sandwiches. Pantry does espresso and sandwiches, along with very interesting grocery selections, at 972 College (very far west, but worth it).

Dip is for hangover brunch, especially in summer on the patio.

More stocking/supply chain issues at Loblaw's - getting fed up - lame excuses - foil pans and tarragon !

QQ's summer produce was much better this year. They do seem to be getting a handle on produce, so there's at least one less reason to go to Thieves. Still lots of others (decent hunk of Parm... the PC stuff is horrible and the same price as good P-R from ATB/Pusateri's).

This isn't rocket science... Longo's can't come soon enough!

More stocking/supply chain issues at Loblaw's - getting fed up - lame excuses - foil pans and tarragon !

Glad to know I'm not the only one raging at not being able to find fresh tarragon. Also, the problem extends to Queen's Quay.

Actually, I was trying to find fresh tarragon and neither Harvest Wagon nor Summerhill had it either...

So I have to shop at 6 grocery stores now to find everything? T&T is great, but you need another store for certain ingredients. Thieves kill you on price and don't always have everything. Metro is expensive and horrible, as is Fresh & Wild. So Fiesta is it, except they're not reliable either. Wonderful.

Speaking of T&T - Cherry street is repeatedly having problems getting edible fresh tuna. Past 2 weeks it's looked like roast beef that's gone off (slimy and an opalescent green shine to the cut edge). Guys behind the counter warned me off from considering it.

Sobey's on Spadina is rather pricey and not large enough to give a good selection. Maybe Longo's beside the ACC will eb the answer when it's finished.

Abbot on the Hill now The Monk's Table

The shrimp have been on the menu for a long time as far as I remember... I know some acquaintances were ordering them last summer, but they may have popped on and off (I rarely get apps there and when I do it's the cheese & beer crock)

beer festival

It's dominated by mega brands and there's just not too much to the festival. Additional tickets are expensive once you've worked your way through the "free" samples and the lineups are insane.

Spend $50 at the LCBO/Volo/Beer Bistro/Abbot on the Hill trying different stuff. You'll have a much better time and won't have to lineup to use an insanely foul portapotty.

I went in 06 and will never return.

Birthday dinner end of August

That looks great. Always forget about Chiado.

I was wondering about Joso's, never been and rather hesitant about a new restaurant for a birthday.

Birthday dinner end of August

Looking for ideas for a birthday dinner for 2 at the end of August. Friday or Saturday night.

I tend to do big occasions at Canoe - view, service, and food are hard to beat, but no Saturdays is kind of a problem. Birthday girl is a big seafood fan, so I'm wondering what you would suggest as an alternative.

Budget is flexible, would prefer the core. We are out on King W most weekends so I'd hesitate at King W, Liberty Village, or Ossington since they wouldn't seem too special.

2 major concerns: most of the best seafood places aren't exactly special occasion oriented (I love Rodney's but...) and are generally focused on raw food (be it sushi or oysters).

Eating in the Beach, what was I thinking.

If you're looking to eat in the beach, head west on queen till you hit woodbine. Turn left on Woodbine, follow it as it turns into Lakeshore. Take Lakeshore till you hit Jarvis - then decide if you're going to Midtown (take Jarvis & Mt. Pleasant north to destination), downtown (stay on Lakeshore till York then go north to destination or College) or the Wests/Oss (stay on Lakeshore till Bathurst, go north to pickup King or Queen and head to your destination).

Only eat in the Beach if you're eating at your home of that of a friend.

best patio dining in the GTA

I can think of a number of places that are perfectly acceptable at night but not during the day, mainly bars of course.

With Leslie Jones I just didn't like the light or the atmosphere. I can see it being much better at night, but unfortunately still saddled with the same kitchen and staff.

Of course I generally haven't been happy with anything in Leslieville - too "hip"/"hipster". If I want to be ignored and overcharged, I can do it far closer to downtown (and actually have a hard time getting treated as bad downtown as I do in Leslieville since I'm a suit).

Vittorio's at Dupont and Avenue has a great patio (the former Adriatico/Lure) but I haven't been since they started closing the restaurant repeatedly. Could also go for the rooftop patio at the Drake (though mostly drinking focused). The patio at the Roof Lounge at the Park Hyatt is superb, but again not really a dining focus.

best patio dining in the GTA

Bymark is great, as long as it's not too crowded. Best bet is to avoid it on Thursdays or go for lunch (better sun in the afternoon as well). One has a great patio as well, though best for brunch (sun issues again).

I really disliked Leslie Jones' patio, service, and food the few times I was there for brunch.

I'm also a big fan of the back patio at the Rebel House.

With the Beach and Leslieville oriented east-west along Queen they tend not to have great patio environments or sun. The Gull & Firkin being a prime example of the problems of being on the south side of Queen. I wish Boardwalk Pub was better and that the city had a few decent restaurants with a lake atmosphere. Unfortunately you have to go far out of the city or get to a private club. If you can get an invite, RCYC has the best outdoor dining in the city and amazing views...

yonge and eglinton date suggestions?

You ended up doing what I usually do and always suggest - never go to a restaurant for a first date!

I always go out for drinks, downtown or midtown, since it's more casual and a no-pressure environment. No one's tied in to several uncomfortable hours or paying for a meal that the other person truly won't enjoy. If things go well you can always get dinner where you are having drinks or somewhere else. It also makes our better restaurants far more accessible - Bymark is a great place in the spring/summer for a few drinks and you then have many options for dinner. At Y&E you could go to Centro/North 44 for a glass of wine and see how events progress.

As to whitebread food... WASPs & carnivores need food too!

Fiance's B-Day Dinner

I'm a devotee of Canoe for special occasions. Can't beat the location, especially when you can dine as the sun sets over the lake. Far more options near by if you're looking to do something after dinner as well - but I did spend a fair bit of time in the Annex, so Splendido seems less special to me.

Being able to get everything a la carte is a major issue for me, probably a control issue and hardly ever having the time to devote to a full tasting menu.

Frozen Croissants & Pasteries

For the effort and price, I think I'll stick to picking up fresh croissants from my local bakers. Not too bad since Clafouti and Thuet are in the neighbourhood.

Really would like to be able to make some at home though - I really miss the old President's Choice ones that you could bake from frozen. Too bad they've been discontinued for 6 years.

Queen St. West Bars or Pubs

The Hideout is a pretty chill and cheap place (it's the unnamed spot across from Tattoo) with some decent food. 11 for Tattoo probably means a line and all that BS (it's a fun club but it is a club).

There's the Paddock on Bathurst just south of Queen. Very relaxed place.

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Paddock
178 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5V2R4, CA

Hideout on Queen
484 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

Best dinner out near Intercontinental Yorkville?

Just don't - pre-pack from a good grocery store or restaurant!

Winterlicious - Majority terrible, why people still bother going?!!

I've never understood why people would want to do 'licious. It comes to the same price as a regular meal would, worse service, hard to get a table...

I'm not able to plan far enough ahead to get a decent licious reservation. Licious comes at times of the year where I'm busy and leaving to get to a 6PM reservation is a good way to have more time on my hands than I would want. I'll stick to walking in/last minute reservations during regular service.

When I'm out I sometimes will get a salad or appetizer and never get dessert. The prix fixe is now a $45 entree - that gets you pretty much everywhere (sometimes 2 courses, sometimes even wine). With a bottle of wine, tax, and 18%, 2 people are now having a $200-300 dinner. That's Bymark on a regular night, not a "deal". A regular night at Spuntini/Unita/... for $150 is a true deal.

Licious drags people out of their homes and is for people that don't eat out regularly. It's just like New Year's/Valentine's Day/Mother's Day - amateur night and not a true restaurant experience. The sad thing is that the people who struggle to fit restaurants into their schedule/budget use their 'licious experiences as a baseline. It really hurts the restaurants since even the best restaurants in the city are more attentive, friendlier, accessible, and cheaper than they seem during licious. I know that most nights I can walk in to the best restaurant, get a table for two, and have a wonderful experience for not too much money (definitely within the licious budget). If only restaurants could get that across to more of their bubble customers they'd be in better shape.

Cozy coffee house downtown?

La Merceria on Adelaide at Portland is nice, but the seating area is tiny and cold in winter. They're not open all that late either.

Le Gourmand at Spadina & Richmondis another option.

Main issue is that there just isn't much opportunity for independent cafes to open downtown with the cost of rent. Habits of the area's population lead to early closing times as well.

Wedding venue...HELP!

For a summer wedding, the RCYC is one of the best locations in the city. It is a private club, but it's not an insurmountable challenge to get a sponsor. The only real issue is that that Ballroom sits 180 for dinner - you can combine with the Ballroom Veranda for a capacity of 250 but not an ideal solution.

Food at RCYC is great and a cocktail reception on the side lawn with the sun heading towards the lake is rather hard to beat.

The private clubs are a great resource and they're much more approachable and flexible than you'd expect. Besides RCYC and the Toronto Hunt, you should also look into the Boulevard Club and Rosedale Golf Club. Recessions hit the clubs even harder than general venues, and with the members' portfolios being down severely the membership will be pressing for more outside revenues.

I'm not a big fan of Casa Loma for events as its a pain to get there and gets chaotic traffic at beginning and ending of events. Liberty Grand is great for huge parties (thousand +) but when running multiple weddings it's not the same. Really haven't been happy with my experiences at the event theatres - just banquet halls in old movie theatres, nothing really special. Plus parking is a serious pain and there can be a horrid wait for cabs after an event on the weekend - they're not exactly in the liveliest areas.

For a historic feel there's also the Royal York and King Edward hotels. Their ballrooms are classic and they do great events regardless of season. Much easier to escape upstairs when you want to leave your wedding and incredibly easy for guests to get to.

Grocery store?

Longo's is on its way to Maple Leaf Square/ACC but that won't be soon.

Otherwise you're stuck with Healthy Butcher, Thuet, Kitchen Table and Rabba.

Best bet is the Loblaws at Jarvis & Queen's Quay. Definitely not walking distance though but it is cheaper and far better than Metro.

The area is horribly underserved by food stores of all stripe. I'm hoping that more services will come in that aren't just doggie day care.

Valentine's Day

Avoid Spice Route for food, especially for a romantic dinner. It's a great place to have drinks and hang out, but not sterling quality service or food.

Valentine's Day, especially in Toronto with 'licious, shouldn't be spent at a restaurant. You'll get bad service and the kitchen will be too busy to excel. For a truly romantic night, cook ambitiously at home, or do a prepared tapas plate. If you need to leave the house due to kids/need for change of scenery, do the tapas or room service in a hotel. You'll have a much better time, can control the environment, and won't get hit with atrocious pricing that so many restaurants provide for "amateur nights" like Valentine's and New Year's.

For a truly romantic and special dining experience, go out a week after 'licious ends. In this economy they will be astonishingly grateful for the business and should be more than happy to accommodate any special requests that couldn't be handled during an insanely packed night.

New burger spot on Ossington?

Grass fed gives you a more interesting taste and is intentionally less fatty than corn fed meat. That's your juicyness.

I ate at GBQM a week ago and had a mixed experience. Burgers were very good, fries were decent. I would definitely recommend for burgers, but do not go until spring!

We went January 16th, a cold, windy, and snowy night (ok so that's normal this winter). I couldn't get the door open. I wasn't sure what was going on - waitress finally opened door and told us they had to lock the door because the wind was blowing it open!

We got a seat immediately, thanks to it only being 2 of us. Found the restaurant was extremely cold. Heat was insufficient and the very tall ceilings weren't helping (14 feet?). The worst part was the huge door, maybe 10 feet tall, which didn't help in a real canadian winter.

Beyond the arctic temperatures, the space is very nice and well designed. Should be a great place in spring and summer with the ceilings, glass, and garage door to the side patio.

Another reason not to visit in winter or bad weather: the Ossington scene being concentrated at Dundas makes getting a close parking spot a huge challenge. Long, cold walk, followed by a long, cold wait and a cold restaurant is not exactly wonderful. Should make for a fun experience this summer!

Rebel House v.s. The Abbot on the Hill

Abbot does get VERY busy at dinner time. Current practice is to suggest a drink down the street at Pauly's and they'll call you when they have a table.

Otherwise just wait until 9ish and there should be no problem getting a table or seat at the bar.

Rebel can get very busy as well, and they always give a "30-45 minute wait" estimate though I've never had to stand for more than 10. If you don't have to eat at prime time you'll do much better at both, though the specials might be sold out. It being Rosedale and WASP central, the Sunday Roast Beef flies out the door at both.

Looking for a great restaurant by the Winter Garden Theatre

Yes the Osteria is open and getting fairly good reviews.

We could use more guidance for "great" restaurant though. Granted Sunday presents a challenge, but not too much guidance here.