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Julie McCoy's Profile

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Smarter side of casual dining in dowtown Toronto?

I love Museum Tavern just across from the ROM on Bloor at University. It has a great menu of bistro-y dishes, a great cocktail menu and friendly service.
Also a fan of Caren's Wine and Cheese in Yorkville. I couldn't see the fondue menu on the website, but they have several options.
Both offer a place where you can have a conversation and while some items may be more expensive than you're looking for, many fall within your range.

Good dinner spot needed with great dessert menu

Thanks so much! House on Parliament was one that had occurred to me as well. Had a killer chocolate gingerbread cake there over the winter.
Ceili Cottage is also a favourite of mine. Since the sticky toffee pudding recipe was printed in The Star I've made it 4 times!

Good dinner spot needed with great dessert menu

Will be celebrating a friend's birthday soon and there is a group of 6 going to dinner. Looking for somewhere with mains at $20 or less, some vegetarian options, but most importantly, a killer dessert list as that's the birthday girl's raison d'etre.
Location is flexible as we're willing to drive.

iso tasty low carb snacks...

It is hard to find fast prepared/restaurant meals that work, (I find most sit-down restaurants very accommodating of polite requests) but here are a few I've found:
-Great Burger Kitchen will do their burgers wrapped in iceberg lettuce rather than buns
-the food court in The Grange (McCaul and Dundas) has Helena's Magic Kitchen at the north end which does roast chicken with great vegetable sides. There's also a place at the south end (can't think of the name) where you pick a protein (short ribs, salmon, chicken, etc) and then a range of salads
-Fusia Dog on Duncan at Queen does a great power coleslaw filled with delicious things that I order with added chicken
-Leslieville Cheese is selling a good beef jerky
-Whole Foods has great prepared foods sold by weight which, while not cheap exactly, offer tasty options
-So many places do salads with various proteins, that you can get kinda sick of it, but it does do in a pinch
Generally I find lots of places are fine with you ordering sandwiches without the bread. Not as easy to eat on-the-go, but adds some variety to the day.

Which restaurants in TO make you feel the most welcome?

Ruby Watchco.

Goods and Provisions Welcome to the Hood!

I have been twice this year and still have glowing things to say.....Cornish hen in maple bourbon jus on garlic mash.....Delicious.....

McGugan's - Scottish pub at Gerrard and Jones

I do hope this place can work. There are friendly, earnest people working there and its a great addition to this part of Gerrard. I know new places need time to find their groove, but there are some things that need to be tweaked to get it on my Leslieville rotation.
The music needs a serious re-think. Soft-rock of the mushiest kind, and rather loud. Most pubs don't need music at all, letting the ambient conversation and clink of glasses serve as soundtrack. If music is a must, let it be quieter and less suited to the elevator.
The lighting needs to be adjusted as well - it's too bright, especially in the back dining room. A cozier atmosphere could be had by either lower wattage bulbs or turning some of them off. My favourite Scottish pubs are all about the cozy. The back room isn't somewhere I want to linger - I don't feel encouraged to rest a while... The front room/bar area has all back-less stools which again, don't encourage me to hang out. They're just not that comfortable.
Couple of menu comments: draught beers are not all served as pints. Innis and Gunn is not a pint and I just think they should point that out on the menu. I would also ask to add 2 more wines to each of the whites and reds; 3 just doesn't seem enough.
Don't be afraid of the haggis! There's a (very) small appetizer of deep fried haggis on a delicious single malt aioli. The small size of the haggis balls do mean that a bite tastes mostly of fried and aioli - not so much of haggis. Good haggis is delicious, and we should get the chance to taste it. Why not offer a choice between the fried version and the traditional version or have some of each on the one plate?
Generally, I also find the price points a little high in comparison to other locals like The Roy or Ceili Cottage, but perhaps I wouldn't notice so much if I was more comfortable...

1058 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M 3A3, CA

I need suggestions for a place to eat downtown Toronto

Second the reco for Khao San Road. Would also suggest looking into 93 Harbord (Middle Eastern) and Harlem (Southern US). For more casual meals I'd also suggest RaviSoup (Sri Lankan/Indian twists to soup and sandwiches) for lunch and Arepa for amazing Venezulean sandwiches.

93 Harbord
93 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

67 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5C1N9, CA

322 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

Arepa Cafe
490 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA

Khao San Road
326 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1P7, CA

Goods and Provisions Welcome to the Hood!

I was very impressed by my evening at Goods and Provisions. Incredibly friendly staff who were attentive without being overly so and checked in at suitable intervals. The room seats maybe about 25 people plus a few stools at the bar so while it's not the place to bring a crowd, you are definitely part of one as the place fills fast. By 7:15 on a Saturday the place was full. They do not take reservations and its meant to be a neighbourhood, stop-in-after-work place according to our server. That explains why it was so difficult to find a phone number...
As to the food, everything was delicious - rillette, salad, veal chop (chop of the day) and smoked bison short ribs (special of the day). The short ribs were velvety and perfectly smoked. Served with boiled new potatoes though I would have loved mash of some kind to soak up the jus. The hollandaise with the veal chop was a perfect companion to the buttery meat though the salsa verde was highly, highly garlicy (a still-tasting-it-the-next-morning kind of level). A chocolate terrine was perfectly sized after two courses. Total bill was $140 with one bottle of wine and a brandy.
For a place that's been open for such a short time, they seem to have their act together. Very impressed and will definitely return.

Super Bowl suggestions needed for visitor

Thanks to you all for the help! I realize asking for a 'sports bar' and 'good food' was a tall order so I appreciate the help. And Keesey - I have indeed been jealous of your weather and am keeping my fingers crossed for our arrival. I was in SF once before, also in Feb, and was very lucky with beautiful sunny skies. Quite a change from Toronto where yesterday my eyes were simultaneously watering and freezing in the sub, sub zero air....

Super Bowl suggestions needed for visitor

Definitely going to be a busy day. I assume its a 'get your elbows in where you can' kind of thing and not a 'make a reservation' sort of event....

Super Bowl suggestions needed for visitor

Really does seem like Haight is the spot so far!

Super Bowl suggestions needed for visitor

Thanks for this....Irish bars are always great for get togethers. Marking it down on the map!

Super Bowl suggestions needed for visitor

The Magnolia seems like a good spot to add to the itinerary regardless of TVs/football. Thanks!

Super Bowl suggestions needed for visitor

Hi, all. We'll be in SF on Super Bowl Sunday, visiting from Toronto. We'd really like some suggestions as to where would be a good place to watch the game. We're staying in Union Square, but very happy to travel. Hopefully the spot will have some interesting beers (local microbrews, perhaps?) and some decent bar food.

Thanks in advance!

Meatball Shop...Anyone?

Was there Saturday lunch and went with take-out due to the potentially long wait. Group of 4 had a combination of beef and chicken, a la carte, hero and smash. All 4 of us were in heaven. Never had a meatball so moist and delicious. Arugula and apple salad a perfect side. Very flavourful and served by the nicest people. Definite return-to spot.

Apr 13, 2010
Julie McCoy in Manhattan

Student Foodies' Toronto Weekend

Love 93 Harbord and also had a great experience at Harbord Room. I found Nota Bene to not have any 'fun factor' at all and really would have preferred to have spent my money in either of the Harbords (though certainly many would argue that Nota Bene is all that). Nota Bene on my particular Friday night seemed to be about a much older, monied crowd. Yes, the food was good, but when the experience doesn't back up the food, I always find it less than satisfying.

93 Harbord
93 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

Harbord Room
89 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

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

147 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1H1, CA

Bars at Woodbine & Danforth?

Taps and Tails is not quite stumbling distance from Woodbine, but given all the discussion of Sarah's, it's only one block further - Danforth just west of Linnsmore (the street with Greenwood station). Haven't tried the food yet, but its a nice spot for a drink and friendly staff....

Wedding or event at George Restaurant?

Hi of my very best friends was married and had the reception at George 18 months ago. As a guest I found it wonderful. The service was attentive and swift, the food delicious. I know the couple were given ample choices for the menu (and were able to accomodate some of the less adventorous eaters as well). The room was beautiful - all twinkly and romantic. We had speeches and a surprise karaoke moment from the bride and groom. All was taken in stride by the staff at George. I was so impressed I went back for my birthday shortly thereafter.

Harbord Room - mixed experience

I also recently went to the Harbord Room, and agree that the grilled cheese was quite micro, but man did it taste great! Was disappointed when it was put in front of me, but once I tried it was very happy. Larger portion size of that dish please, HR!
I found our service to be good, though detached. Buddy definitely was thinking of something else all night though certainly was never neglectful or rude.
Our table cleared our plates - had char salad, steak frites, the tartare, veal chop and trout. We all agreed the evening was very pleasant and would like to return. Patio seemed very nice, though of course we haven't had much patio weather.
White sangria was also very popular at our table, though not available by pitcher which was a little disappointing. Apparently they've tried but it didn't work for them? Seems strange.....

Tutti Matti

Thanks for the feedback! While any place can have an off day, part of the reason I won't be back is that each dish (and we had 7 at the table) was marked with the same blandness. If there had been one or two standouts, I might be tempted to try again. As always one person's favourite is another's nightmare, and that's the fun of trying for yourself!

Sidecar, Harlem or Globe?

What a great choice of restaurants, offering a different slice of the city each time! For any future searches, Harlem is a fantastic choice if you're doing any downtown stuff like Massey Hall, the theatres, Eaton Centre. Small, know what they do well. There is now a patio with great murals, but you're still sitting on Richmond, so perhaps inside is best. Price points low as well.
Sidecar is comfortable, offers delicious food, and the emphasis on cocktails makes it stand out just that little bit. Prix Fixe great for early week dining. Little Italy neighbourhood great for a stroll, a coffee or a movie.
Globe offers a lovely patio and an interesting inside space. Food of a higher calibre with prices to match. Again the Danforth is another strolling neighbourhood.

124 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K1N1, CA

67 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5C1N9, CA

577 College St., Toronto, ON M6G 1B2, CA

Tutti Matti

Went to Tutti Matti for Summerlicious lunch....I work in the area and had often passed it thinking I should try. It is usually very busy so I thought it a good sign. Given its rather dingy general location, and position right on busy Adelaide, I thought the crowds inside were all in on a secret. Unfortunately I needn't have felt I was missing out on anything.
While each of the dishes sounded lovely on paper, and while they looked beautiful on the plate, they were all flat. In contrast to the simple burst of flavour Tuscan dishes often provide, everything served to us was rather bland. The carpaccio tasted of...well....protein, but not of beef. The ragu was also just 'meat' - no garlic or basil or anything of note. The frittata was merely egg...At this point I am repeating myself, but the one thing that shone through was the strawberry compote on vanilla gelato because it tasted....of glorious strawberries!
I fully understand the tradition of allowing a few basic ingredients speak for themselves, but these ingredients didn't have anything to say.
Service was good, though detached, and our table of 3 was presented a bill with the 15% gratuity included. While I expect gratuities to be added to tables larger than 5, I certainly didn't expect it for 3 people at lunch. I found it very off-putting that I wasn't allowed to assess the quality of the food and service myself.

Dinner in Leslieville....

What is even more curious is that you have to talk over the noise of the streetcars and general traffic...this isn't a quiet neighbourhood to begin with!

Dinner in Leslieville....

Off-peak days are always a better time to experience a place, agreed. I was at the cottage on Friday night and I think its difficult to criticize a place for being packed. The patio has a restriction to 40 people based on their license and I don't blame them for following that rule strictly. As for the inside, it definitely isn't the largest place, and I would suggest that rather than staying while it was that full, it is best for one's sanity to try elsewhere. I was shocked to see the number of people willing to wait in line throughout the night for a patio spot - as much as I like the place, I would try elsewhere and maybe come back another time.
Of my 3 visits, the service has always been friendly and accommodating so I try to be the same. The staff are obviously adjusting to their instant success, and for the most part I think they're doing just fine, though time will only improve things.
I do have some small changes I would make - it seems a little strange that bread needs to be ordered at additional cost to accompany the cheese plate. I would include some crackers or some bread. The mac and cheese was very dry - it needs to be a creamy, decadent dish and it was far from it. But the homemade bread, the smoked salmon, the ham, the bangers and mash, and the oysters are all excellent...

Dinner in Leslieville....

I have enjoyed Leslie Jones, though reviews tend to be mixed on the place. Cute, small back patio.
Have always loved Gio Rana's so I'll back that one up.
Batifole has amazing food, though I think it lacks a little in ambiance, though admitedly I haven't been recently.
Table 17 is very friendly and relaxed.

744 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Y3, CA

Table 17
782 Queen St. East, Toronto, ON M4M 1H4, CA

Leslie Jones
1182 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1L4, CA

Gio Rana's
1220 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M1L7, CA

Good restaurant for a 2nd date?

I recently went to Nolita House and thought it was a great, casual spot. Service was very friendly and food delicious. I would love to be taken there.....

Jun 08, 2009
Julie McCoy in Manhattan

Lunch help - Working on Sheppard between Brimley and McCowan

Eastern Twist! It's a little further away, but when I worked in the area it was a once a week trip. Absolutely fantastic paratha wrap sandwiches with butter chicken or grilled meats. They have a website - for more info. Passmore just east of Markham.

What Toronto Dishes Would You Love to Learn How to Make?

Anything from Jean's Vegetarian kitchen, but the glass noodles especially!

Jean's Vegetarian Kitchen
1262 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1M6, CA

Healthy restaurants and/or cafes in Toronto?

Ravisoups on Adelaide has fantastic soups and if you avoid the coconut milk version (though incredibly delicious), I would classify it as a healthy option (Apricot and Red Lentil being my favourite). The wraps are also filled with healthy, flavourful options.
Also, Helena's Kitchen in The Grange foodcourt at Dundas and McCaul has wonderful choices including quiches, stewed chicken and amazingly fresh and crisp side dishes.

322 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA