Short Visit to Toronto-where should I nom?
February 15, 2016 2:34 PM   Subscribe

I'll be in Toronto for project meetings. I'll be staying near the Eaton Centre, and likely on my own. Need some recommendations for nice noms at a comfortable price.

At the end of the day, I'm interested I having something decently healthy, hopefully gluten-free and in a friendly environment. I'm not really a drinker, although I enjoy pub grub.

Our firm has some pretty stingy per diems, so nothing outrageously expensive.

I see that Don Don Izakaya is close by, is that a good choice? I see some other places, but I'm sort of shy of going to a place with a ton of college kids.

Other ideas for a nice meal or a special treat, I'm all about it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't been to Don Don, but the Queen & Beaver is great for pub grub, and is quaint/cozy/classy. I don't know how GF friendly they are though.

Sabai Sabai has awesome Thai tapas, and the server we had was very knowledgeable about the GF parts of their menu. Their chicken wings are super, the Khao Soi is delicious, and their Morning Glory is the stuff of dreams. They'll serve the full menu at the little bar they have up front, in case you prefer to sit there.

(volume alert! link autoplays music) has terrific mid-range sushi and sashimi.

Avoid Spring Rolls. The food court in Eaton Center is quite impressive, for a (Canadian) mall food court. I like the soup noodle place there. I also have a soft spot for Trattoria Mercatto in the mall, as well as Bannock (just by the Hudson Bay building -- they have a duck poutine pizza!) , but those may be harder to do GF
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 2:53 PM on February 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Senator is close. Old-school comfort food. Very tasty and authentic 40s diner ambiance.
posted by Lescha at 3:20 PM on February 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

Surprisingly enough, Toronto has developed its own unique style of pizza. Fresca Pizza is not terribly far away.
posted by 256 at 3:26 PM on February 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

Bannock does make a number of their offerings gluten free. Gabardine is also quite good, and I agree that Sabai Sabai is fantastic.

If you move away from the mall, most places downtown have reasonable gluten-free options, since there are so many office workers have gone that way. For a sweet treat, I'd recommend one of Prairie Girl's gluten-free cupcakes.
posted by scrute at 4:00 PM on February 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

My favorite places near the Eaton Centre:

Yueh Tung—Indian-Chinese fusion
Queen and Beaver
Epicure City Mt. Fuji—one of the better sushi places in the area although as a former Seattleite nothing to write home about
San Francesco Foods—Italian sandwiches and pizza. I recommend the panzerotti or the veal sandwich
Uncle Tetsu's Japanese Cheesecake—epic queues are usually shorter in the winter!
posted by grouse at 4:03 PM on February 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you all!

I am looking forward to noming!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:10 PM on February 15, 2016

As miss_kitty_fantastico mentioned, Mercatto is reliably decent - can't speak to what their gluten-free menu is, though.

Was going to recommend Biff's Bistro - they have a $38 (CAD) weeknight prix fixe menu for a nice, quiet mid-week dinner. We've been lots of times, and you can probably swing gluten-free (or nearly) there. Unfortunately (and we know this because Mr. Conspiracy booked a Valentine's day dinner there for us and they called to cancel our reservation) they had a burst pipe - don't know when they'll be back up and running. In any case, that would be one or two subway stops (or a 15-20 minute walk) from where you'll be.

Lunch-wise, IQ Food is an option, as is Kupfert and Kim. They specifically cater to the business lunch crowd, and they have location that you can reach at a bit of a walk via the (somewhat confusing) PATH underground if you're going to have time to hit it for a walk at lunchtime. You'll not be too far from First Canadian Place (aka the Bank of Montreal [BMO] Tower) where Kupfert and Kim have a location. You can also get there above ground by walking down Bay Street to King. In that same concourse, almost right across from Kupfert and Kim is Naturally Yours, an independent, which has a great lunch counter.

I live and work downtown, not too far from where you're at. If you want, ping me on memail with the dates you'll be in town. Could do dinner somewhere if our schedules sync up!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:11 PM on February 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Urban herbivore in the food court is delicious, vegan (I'm not vegan but I love it), and has gluten free options. It is a food court though.

I agree that the senator is gorgeous.
posted by biggreenplant at 4:43 PM on February 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Khao San Road (Adelaide/John) is a 10 minute walk from the Eaton Centre and lunch there is just fantastic. Their Thai Iced Tea is wicked good. It closes on Feb 26 so get in soon.

Queen Mother Cafe (Queen/University) is a nice place for a quiet dinner with a glass of wine. Their daily specials are good and there's lots of asian-inspired (ie rice rather than wheat-based) food.

Korean Grill House (Queen/John) is fun and social with a group (prob unsuitable for vegetarians as it's very meaty, though there are a few fish options). Grilling your food together is really fun and the resulting beef coma is satisfying. The meat is intensely flavourful without being spicy or hot.

The House On Parliament (Carlton/Parliament) has absolutely deee-licious food and a great upscale pub atmosphere, especially good for a small group and very queer-friendly if that affects you at all. Check their menu to see about gluten-free- I think they have stuff.

There's a new pizza place called Blaze- it's an assembly line style cafe franchise right at Yonge/Dundas, directly across from the Eaton Centre. They do have gluten free crust, you pick your own extravagant mess of toppings, and it's quite tasty and a great value (under $15 and you'll be stuffed).

Terroni has the best Italian food in Toronto, and fantastic atmosphere- upscale casual, beautiful airy vintage/modern design. Several locations- the Queen, Adelaide, and Bettola locations are all within walking distance of the Eaton Centre. Highly recommend (but do suss out the menu for gluten-free options, it can be pretty wheaty). It's my favourite place in Toronto and is great whether you plan an intimate dinner for 1 or 2, or a raucous group of 20).

I agree with the above suggestions of Mercatto - it's delicious. It's also very accessible for wheelchairs (spacious, flat, ramps, good doors) if that impacts you or your group at all.

Bakerbots is AMAZEBALLS and has gluten free stuff. I could die happy eating one of their handmade ice cream sandwiches, and the cupcakes are wonderful too. Right at the Delaware exit of Ossington subway station. It doesn't really have seating and it's not that close to your area, but if you freak out about baked goods or need to get treats for a lot of people, it's wonderful.

Here is a little-known Toronto gem: Eat Fresh Be Healthy (Dundas/Chestnut, very near the big Greyhound Bus Station). Huge portions, insanely delicious food. The chef used to be the sous-chef at Canoe or some other super-fancy place, i forget, and holy crap can they cook. Their hours can be a little sporadic so call ahead, and the place doesn't look that nice (design is a little awkward)... but the owners are exceptionally lovely and the food is soooo goood. Best kept secret in Toronto. Highly recommend!!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:53 PM on February 15, 2016 [7 favorites]

Don Don Izakaya is pretty good. Fun, but quite noisy.

If you're not wearing your good clothes, Ethiopiques is on Dundas East, and is very enjoyable.
posted by scruss at 5:13 PM on February 15, 2016

I haven't been to Don Don, but the Queen & Beaver is great for pub grub, and is quaint/cozy/classy. I don't know how GF friendly they are though.

Quite unfriendly, as it turns out! Was there with a celiac friend and they told her they wouldn't serve her any food! Go for a drink, but perhaps eat elsewhere.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 6:39 PM on February 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Queen Mother Cafe (Queen/University) is a nice place for a quiet dinner with a glass of wine. Their daily specials are good and there's lots of asian-inspired (ie rice rather than wheat-based) food.
Seconding this recommendation. I get the Ping Gai every time I'm in Toronto. They usually have a nice dessert selection too.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:22 PM on February 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I like Don Don a lot - though I don't think I have been there on a friday or saturday night, which is when it might get crowded. Other nights it's a fun atmosphere and the food's great; sit at the bar if you are by yourself, and be entertained watching the chefs do their thing. if you dig raw fish get the smoky hay sashimi, it's awesome.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:07 PM on February 15, 2016

I'm thirding the Queen Mother Cafe - it's the one place that I eat every single time that I go to Toronto. My coworkers now just assume we'll be there for dinner on at least one night. Good atmosphere and cosy during the winter months.
posted by VioletU at 8:50 AM on February 16, 2016

Response by poster: Just an update, I'll be coming here for a couple more weeks, so tons of time to try the recommendations!

The food court had a water main break, so I couldn't check out those options.

Spadina Gardens on Bay was great, and I had Bareburger last night. I'm not cabbing it too much and my feet hurt so I've been lazy about going too far from the hotel.

Next week, the Senator, Queen Mother Café and others!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:55 AM on February 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

« Older Nice person, nasty friends   |   Good Excel/CSV data visualisation tools for... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.