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Help! Repatriated Torontonian baffled by the Chinese food!

I'm not sure - the OP requested Chinese food that is "homey, westernized but not dumbed down." I'd say Lee Garden fits that bill (or at least a number of things on their menu). Their food is accessible and approachable, but also high quality and fresh.

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Lee Garden Restaurant
331 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E9, CA

Sep 16, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Help! Repatriated Torontonian baffled by the Chinese food!

I would try Lee Garden. They might not have exactly what you're looking for (for example, I don't think they have egg rolls on their menu) but they have high-quality food that appeals that's more in line with the approach you described. They do a great job with vegetables, and have lots of good meat and fish specials.

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Lee Garden Restaurant
331 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2E9, CA

Sep 15, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

The Rectory Café on the Island - Any feedback?

Uggh...figured there would be some needlessly negative posts on here. Just go, try to get a seat outdoors on the patio and enjoy a nice lunch with a great view. I'd advise going there in the afternoon though - it'll be much nicer outdoors than at night, when it tends to be a bit dark. I've always had good lunches there, although I've never been for dinner.

Aug 27, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Chicken Fried Steak in Toronto?

I don't know if it's still on the menu, but when I last went to Southern Accent in the Annex they had it. I'd eaten this in Texas before, and while it obviously wasn't up to that standard, it was still pretty good. I'd advise checking there.

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Southern Accent
595 Markham St, Toronto, ON M6G2L7, CA

Aug 20, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Fun, interesting places to eat in Toronto ?

There are a couple of affordable places I'd advise:

1) Lahore Tikka House in Little India

This place has a really fun atmosphere, and will have crazy amounts of people in the summer. Just walk in the main door, go down the hallway and turn right to cut through the kitchen into the main outdoor area. You can order a pretty conventional meal (kababs, chicken tikka, butter chicken) or more adventurous (Nihari, Fish masala, Karahi Gosht) one. Either way, it's a unique experience that is perfect for the summer.

2) Gilead Cafe

They have some nice Canadian treats here - birch and spruce beer, different kinds of poutine, Lake Fish and Chips, Canadian cheeses - so it's worth the visit. It's a bit out of the way, but once you get there the restaurant is beautiful and relaxed. A great spot to stop for lunch.

I'd second the recommendation for Guu as well and St Lawrence Market as well. St Lawrence is a must visit, even if just for a veal or peameal bacon sandwich.

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Little India
255 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V1Z4, CA

Guu
398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2, CA

Jul 22, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Smokin' Bones - go while you can

I raised a point about what people thought of Stockyards...although I don't see much real criticism of their food, just concerns about price.

May 03, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Smokin' Bones - go while you can

I'm curious - do people not find the Stockyards good enough? I've always read good reviews of the place.

Apr 28, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

How Noble is Noble?

I like this place quite a bit. It isn't spectacular, but they have pretty solid dim sum and the prices are pretty affordable. The service is pretty good too, and the place is pretty spotless. I really like their non-dumpling dim sum - cuttlefish, sticky rice, chinese sausage and rice, deep fried tofu, etc. The dumplings are pretty good too, but some of the dumpling wrappers have a slightly odd texture that isn't quite as nice as at other dim sum places. That's the only caveat I would give.

Basically, if I'm looking for more elaborate dim sum I go to Pearl, but if I'm looking for a high-quality, fairly quick meal at a decent price (usually $20 for 5 dish and tea, including tax and tip) I head to Noble Seafood.

Apr 26, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Cocina Lucero?

Definitely check it out. you might find it a little pricey, but it's a pretty good restaurant. Very nice tamales.

Mar 30, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Ajisen is open on Spadina

I've always found the ramen at Ajisen to be of good quality. It doesn't have the homemade feel of Konnichiwa or Kenzo, but it's definitely a solid place for a bowl. I'd definitely give it a try.

I'm not sure what people are saying about it not being authentic. The vast majority of people have no idea what they are talking about in this regard, they've only tried ramen in New York or Vancouver at best. I've eaten ramen all over Japan and this place is fine. It is a chain - I think based in China - and they have branches in cities around the world.

As far as ramen in Toronto, I'd put Kenzo and Konnichiwa on top and Ajisen second. The ramen selection alone is worth the visit.

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Konnichiwa
31 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

Kenzo
138 Dundas St. W., Toronto, ON , CA

Mar 24, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Need lunch recommendations - Yonge between Davenport and College

There are a few good places I frequent.

Tokyo Grill, north of Wellesley, is a good, authentic Japanese place that's pretty affordable. I end up there fairly frequently.

Fire on the East side is on Gloucester, just off Yonge, and is highly underrated. Affordable, a little upscale, and really nice food.

Another place I really like is Cucina Lucero, serving Mexican. It's a little pricier than others, but you can get really nice tamales and tacos. Good if you want to unwind a little and don't mind paying a bit more.

And I know you're trying to avoid food court places, but Duck in the basement of College Park is great - they have excellent bbq pork and roast duck, served with noodles or rice. I don't think they're a chain.

Mar 10, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Smokin' Bones - go while you can

I went to this place last night in response to this post - had a pretty good meal that was fairly inexpensive. I got the pulled chicken sandwich with regular bbq sauce and a side of macaroni and cheese. It was a pretty solid meal, verging on great.

The mac and cheese at first tasted a bit unseasoned, but the taste was a lot nicer as the meal went on, and was a good compliment to the chicken. The chicken was nice as well, with a solid peppery taste and softness. I'd definitely head back, particularly if I'm down at yonge and dundas square for a movie or, god forbid, shopping at the Eaton's Centre.

The place was perfectly fine to sit down for a quick meal - the high chairs seem funny at first, but they're actually more comfortable after a while because you're almost eye level with your food.

I think I'll try the big plattters they have - 2 racks of ribs, 2 lbs of chicken, etc. - for groups next time. Should be a good meal for a sportsnight.

Mar 04, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

L'Unita

I remember there was a lot of hype about this place when it first opened, but I haven't heard anything in a while. I'm thinking of heading there soon. Does anyone have any recent experiences?

Feb 04, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Gotta go to Guu

There's a lot of talk about Guu, but I had a great experience as well. Having lived in Japan for a while, I really like the spots that make food that closest to what I ate there. Downtown, there are only three restaurants I've found that fit this bill - Manpuuku, Konnichiwa on Baldwin, and Guu. All of them are Japanese run, for what it's worth.

As for the crowds, I'd advise going early. The day that I went it was packed by 5:40, but generally pretty quiet before. My guess is that things may open up a bit later, say 10 or so on weeknights - has anyone checked out the restaurant then?

Feb 04, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Inatei, a question of value vs. Zen

I'm a bit confused by your post - was it at Zen or Imatei that you paid $165 and needed to order more because the meal was small?

Feb 02, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

"Maritime" style pizza - willing to go anywhere!

I think this is the place you're looking for:

http://www.halifaxdonairandpizza.com/

It's in Milton. I haven't tried it myself, but I've heard pretty solid reviews from respectable sources.

Jan 29, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Could you please recommend a good lunch restaurant close to Yonge and Wellesley?

I'll second Fire on the East side. Great little place, fancy but not too much so.

Jan 21, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

What's a good place for groups 10 - 20 people in north end of Toronto?

I've had great meals at both Grano and Zee Grill on Mount Pleasant. I've had a big group each time. The fish at Zee Grill is lovely, so it's highly recommended. Both meals I've had were in the summer, however, and on the back patio, so you should check with them on the space they have indoors.

Jan 14, 2010
dibpal in Ontario (inc. Toronto)