Where to eat and drink in downtown Toronto?
July 5, 2006 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend an upscale restaurant and a nice bar in downtown Toronto?

I'm getting married in August at City Hall in Toronto. Afterwards, we'd like to take a few friends (we will be 5 in total) out for dinner and then drinks.

We will be all dressed up, so we're looking for something classy. Money isn't really an object.

We're not into seafood. Other than that, anything goes.

The bar should be quiet enough to have a conversation. A dance floor would be good, but it's not critical. An excellent beer selection would be a major plus.
posted by Could it be, El Guapo ... to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Although I have never had a meal there, Canoe is pretty neat. It's on the 54th floor of the TD building so you have a nice view of the harbourfront.

posted by mutantdisco! at 12:10 PM on July 5, 2006

Canoe? Top of the TD Centre, very fine food. No dancing that I know of. Much, much classier than the CN Tower if you're worried.
posted by GuyZero at 12:11 PM on July 5, 2006

I'll leave the bar to someone else although I really like C'Est What if it has to be downtown. Not dressy though.

For the restaurant, definitely check out Focaccia, which is one of Toronto's hidden treasures. I've never had a bad meal or a less than entertaining time there, due to the terrific and friendly service. It's simultaneously intimate, high quality, and laid back.
posted by unSane at 12:12 PM on July 5, 2006

Damn! Damndamndamn! Oh, yes, and congratulations.

and damn you mutantdisco!
posted by GuyZero at 12:13 PM on July 5, 2006

You dont mention the type of food that you're into. Harbour 60 is (IMO) the best steak restaurant in the city - its located right by the ACC. Nice enough bar. Very classy. No dancing.

If Italian's your thing, then I've had a nice dinner at Verona at King+Peter.

C'est What has already been mentioned for the drinks aspect. Also nice (and in the area) are the Esplanade Bier Markt (very large beer selection, much of it import - on the Esplanade, right around the corner from C'est What), and I've been told that Beer Bistro (Yonge and King, IIRC) is also quite nice.

All three drink places will be oh.. 10-15 minute walk from Harbour 60, depending on how stuffed you are.
posted by jsoh at 12:22 PM on July 5, 2006

The best meal I've had in Toronto was at Bellini's. The best steak was at Tom Jones.
posted by rocket88 at 12:29 PM on July 5, 2006

You could try Susur on King West. Have the tasting menu (~$150pp, if memory serves), and I'm sure he'd go above and beyond if you mentioned it was a wedding dinner.

I've also heard phenomenal things about Perigee, in the Distillery District.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:49 PM on July 5, 2006

Strong recommendation here for the Bymark, right downtown.
posted by frogan at 12:55 PM on July 5, 2006

I would stay away from the Esplanade Bier Markt if it's a weekend night, it would be full of drunken youngins and it's the type of place that likes to make you wait outside for 30 minutes even though it's empty. I've also heard good things about the Beer Bistro.
posted by dripdripdrop at 1:02 PM on July 5, 2006

Thirding Canoe which, as already mentioned above, has a fantastic view of the city. The food's great, as are their drinks.

Perigee's tasting menu is indeed phenomenal, but the main thing about Perigee is the experience of sitting around the kitchen and being able to see how your meal is being prepared and the chance to ask questions of the chefs--definitely the priciest option if you go with the full tasting menu with matched wines, but worth every penny.

If you like Italian, I would highly recommend Mistura. Their beet risotto is amazing.
posted by phoenixc at 1:05 PM on July 5, 2006

Thuet is beside Susur and is supposed to be quite good as well. But I would choose Canoe or Susur above Thuet.

(This coming from a guy who can barely afford to eat at Mandarin - which is also a good choice if you're really hungry after the wedding)
posted by GuyZero at 2:05 PM on July 5, 2006

posted by chunking express at 2:14 PM on July 5, 2006

Another vote for Susur Lee.

And yes, unSane's suggestion of Focaccia is a good one. Great place.

Mildred Pierce is also nice but I haven't been in 12 or 13 years or so. Not sure what it's like these days.
posted by dobbs at 2:22 PM on July 5, 2006

Le Papillion
posted by GoodJob! at 4:08 PM on July 5, 2006

sorry-- that should be Le Papillon
posted by GoodJob! at 4:10 PM on July 5, 2006

oh and here's the website:

it has the perfect combo of everything you're searching for plus the food is rated tops every year.
posted by GoodJob! at 4:15 PM on July 5, 2006

La Biftheque serves fantastic steaks of all varieties. It is pricey (I dropped $100 on two people, eating modestly), but the food is fantastic. I thought I'd understood "steak that melts in your mouth" before, but this is the first place I'd ever actually experienced it.

Not to mention, they bring out these little bowls of freshly-baked croutons to the table that are almost as good as the beef itself. You'll often see people coming out with little paper bags in addition to their takeout. This is because they bought extra, fresh croutons for later.
posted by Imperfect at 4:31 PM on July 5, 2006

If it were me, I'd go to the new Le Select Bistro. It's a nice atmosphere, and the food is quite good, except maybe the salads. If you can afford Canoe, that would be great. The other classic places are North of 40 and the Granite club. If you are real foodies though, I hear Canoe is fantanstic and I hear the staff is very nice.

I kind of like a little grit. Amuse Bouche has the prettiest dinning room in the city, as far as I am concerned, but I really like the feel of Le Select.

Congratulations. I am sure it will be a fun night regardless of where you choose. Good Luck
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:02 PM on July 5, 2006

P.S. Tom Jones has extra cool points from me. Very hip in an unhip kind of way.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:03 PM on July 5, 2006

gesamtkunstwerk, I think you meant North 44.

Amuse Bouche is also an excellent suggestion--the food is yum and the space is rather intimate with its persimmon-coloured walls.
posted by phoenixc at 6:15 PM on July 5, 2006

Go to The Fifth - it's consistently rated as one of the top restaurants in the city, and its got a fabulous sister-club below it. (Along similar good fancyshmancy restaurant/attached bar kinda lines, there's also the Courthouse, "the spot for an occasion", according to Toronto Life magazine.) Or Susur is somewhere I've always wanted to go - but its too expensive for me!
posted by Kololo at 7:12 PM on July 5, 2006

Sursur is way too pretentious--even by New York standards. Fourthing Canoe--wonderful local ingredients.
posted by brujita at 9:49 PM on July 5, 2006

I'm a fan of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

But the restaurants suggested are probably better, I don't have much experience with fancy places :)
posted by smitt at 10:00 PM on July 5, 2006

I third the recommendation for Beer Bistro. It is awesome in that it has great atmosphere (2 story ceiling), reasonably priced beer, and excellent variety of food (appropriately priced). They have a dining area as well as a bar area.
posted by margaretlam at 12:01 PM on July 6, 2006

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