Help me find good places to eat in Toronto.
July 20, 2012 8:03 AM   Subscribe

Toronto-filter: Some of my boss-doctors are visiting Toronto for a conference this weekend, and are looking for nice restaurants close to the Westin Harbour Castle (which is next to the Toronto Islands Ferry Terminal and between the feet of Yonge and Bay Streets). They tend to be adventurous eaters, and like quiet atmospheres, and will need both quick food and sit-down meals as they are there for 4 days.

Google maps shows close by: Pearl Harbourfront Restaurant (which previous askme's - over a year old - say is nice), Toula, Oyshi Sushi, Water Front Deli, Harbour Sixty Steak House, The Fox, and Aleksandros Take-Out.

Are those places good? Any others you'd recommend? Thanks for any help you can give me!
posted by joannemerriam to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (8 answers total)
How 'close' do you need? I mean, downtown toronto is fairly dense/compact, and there's many more options that aren't so 'immediately adjacent' to the Westin. I imagine they'll have their evenings free and can easily jump in a cab (or drive their rental car, or take the subway) to places a little more than a block or two away?

In general, the 'Best new restaurants' list from Toronto Life, and the restaurant reviews from that site and from Now Magazine are good places to start.
posted by Kololo at 8:23 AM on July 20, 2012

That's my hood. Food is expensive because its tourist-y but lots of good options.

Across the "courtyard" from Oyshi is Harbour Sports Grille, which is my local. Standard pub stuff, but well done. I recommend the Chicken Fingers.

If they plan on going to the Island, I recommend The Rectory Cafe. Their main feature is a quiet, tree-shrouded patio. Menu is a little limited, but the food is well done. Take the ferry to Ward's Island, then walk west for about 10 minutes. Check their hours but I think they're open every night during the summer.

A few blocks east of the Westin, next to Sugar Beach, there's a place called Against the Grain with a lakeside patio. The service is slow, but the food is decent. If you go with the knowledge that you won't be served quickly, the location is quite nice.

Walk a block west to Queen's Quay Terminal (the same building as Pearl's) and there is an Il Fornello which makes good pasta, and can be quiet though not always.

Getting away from the Waterfront a bit, if they walk north on Bay to Front (the other side of the railroad tracks) and turn right, the St. Lawrence Market area is 2-3 blocks east and has a slew of nice places. I'm a fan of C'est What, which is a basement pub with really good pub food and a huge beer selection. One block north of that is Origins which is lively but more adventurous (at the southeast corner of Church and King).

Going slightly further afield, one block north of that, Starfish has a big oyster menu if they like that sort of thing, on Adelaide, just east of Church. I won't go any further than that, but even Starfish is about a 15-20 minute walk from the Westin.

As for the places you list, my quick thoughts:

-Pearl: definitely good and usually quiet
-Toula - Never tried it
-Oyshi Sushi - cheap, quiet, fast, and high quality. Easy choice
-Water Front Deli - never tried it
-Habour Sixty - Very high end and fancy. Haven't been in a few years, but the steak is delicious and the restaurant actively cultivates an atmosphere of exclusivity
-The Fox - Service is so-so but they have a tasty burger and interesting nachos. Some off-the-beaten-path beers.
-Aleksandros - Never tried it.
posted by dry white toast at 8:44 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oyshi Sushi is pretty predictable, if yummy sushi. Definitely not fancy, but quiet. Harbour 60 is very fancy (and pricy) but should offer a good meal. The other places I don't know about.

My favourite place in that area is Biff's Bistro. Very reliable, good quality French bistro at mid-range prices. From 5pm on they also offer buck a shuck oysters which is an amazing deal! (they say the oysters are only in their bar, but are also available in the restaurant if you ask).
posted by elkerette at 8:45 AM on July 20, 2012

posted by joannemerriam at 8:58 AM on July 20, 2012

I didn't have a good experience at Toula.
posted by captaincrouton at 10:01 AM on July 20, 2012

This is a little farther away, but Aroma (which is one of the best Indian restaurants I've ever been to) is about a 20-25 minute walk away from the Westin Harbour, at King and John Streets. They are located on the second floor, and they have a very quiet and elegant dining room.
posted by jb at 11:12 AM on July 20, 2012

This is all really helpful. I appreciate the answers - I've just sent them the list cobbled otgether from above, and you all made me look good so thanks again!
posted by joannemerriam at 12:04 PM on July 20, 2012

- C'est What, Front and Church (+ amazing beer selection)
- HotHouse Cafe, Front and Church
- Fancier: LAB on College
- Thai: Khao San Road on Adelaide West
- Mid-range: Queen Mother or The Rivoli on Queen West
posted by paulschreiber at 11:13 PM on July 20, 2012

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