Toronto Journals

Toronto - Way Downtown

A travel journal to Toronto by James.

Quote: Outside the city, we call it The Big Smoke, ignore the occasional grey-brown smog cloud during an inversion, Toronto is a lot of fun.

Toronto - Way Downtown

Overview

Quote:
The touristy stuff can be fun, zooming up to the top of the CN Tower (on a clear day you can see NY State across Lake Ontario), the Ontario Science Centre, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), and the Art Gallery of Ontario, but sometimes just hanging out in a cool College Street bistro and watching the people go by is pretty amazing too.Quick Tips: If you like having the action come to you, pick a patio on College Street (Little Italy) or on the Danforth (Greektown) and watch the people go by.Best Way To Get Around: TTC used to mean Take The Car, but most tourist areas are connected via bus, subway, or streetcar. Parking is often challenging during popular events, so the TTC is one way t...Read More

Kama Classical Indian Cuisine

Restaurant | "Kama"

Quote:
Named for an Indian goddess of Love, Kama sits just below street level in Toronto's theatre district.

Kama features upscale, but still fairly reasonably-priced, northern Indian cuisine. Skip the à la carte menu and dive into the buffet, which has lots of vegetarian choices. The pakoras are a little too dough-laden, but they seem to excel at chicken dishes (other than their chicken tandoori, which was just a little dry). Service is excellent.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 6, 2003

Kama Classical Indian Cuisine
214 King St W
Toronto, Ontario M5H 3S6
+1 416 599 5262

Red Devil Barbeque and Tavern

Restaurant | "RD's BBQ & Blues"

Quote:
Stuck in the middle of the theatre/entertainment district, RD's is a nice little blues bar with a slightly upscale feel. The interior dining lounge mimics some of the more posh eateries around.

The bar staff are very gregarious and although we didn't eat there, the BBQ smells divine.

The blues line up is top rate, they book some of the city's best. And look for the casts of Mama Mia or Lion King here for an afterwork drink (out of costume, of course).

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 6, 2003

Red Devil Barbeque and Tavern
14 Duncan St
Toronto, Ontario M5H 3G8
+1 416 598 5209

Movenpick Marche

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Marche Movenpick"

Quote:
The Marche is delightful. It's set up as a cafeteria with a series of kiosks, each with different types of food - there's seafood, a grill for steaks, pork chops, and other meat, a salad and omelette station, a dessert section and a coffee bar. It's a bit loud at times and very, very popular. At night there's usually a line up - the wait can be anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour. It's a great place for a casual lunch or after club snack, but dinner can be a little pricey - it's not really the individual items, it's that you lose track a bit. The food is quite good, the coffee is really good, and the desserts are something special. The best part is the variety and freshness of the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 18, 2002

Movenpick Marche
42 Yonge Street At Wellington
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 863-0108

Sushi Time Japanese Restaurant Inc

Restaurant | "Sushi Time"

Quote:
The offerings are very similar to Sushi Bistro down the street. The portions are a little smaller, the line-ups not nearly as long, the decor a little more traditional, and the staff just a bit more friendly.

I've stopped in there a few times when Sushi Bistro was too crowded and I just wanted a quick bit of sashimi. They are fairly reasonably priced, and have nearly the exact same selections as Sushi Bistro. I've heard that it was founded by an ex-chef at Sushi Bistro, but haven't been able to confirm that.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 18, 2002

Sushi Time Japanese Restaurant Inc
339 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5V 2A4
(416) 977-2222

Royal Thai Restaurant

Restaurant | "Royal Thai"

Quote:
Close to Lee's Palace but far from most downtown clubs and attractions (unless shopping is an attraction in itself), Royal Thai is a bit overlooked. My friends and I discovered it more or less by accident - to wit we decided on Thai food and then decided to look around where we were and it was just across the street. I like their peanut sauce and dishes with it are quite good. Once, in a snacking mood, we ordered nothing but appetizers and all were quite tasty. The staff was helpful and fairly attentive.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 18, 2002

Royal Thai Restaurant
524 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario ON M5S 1Y3
(416) 536-6868

Sintra Wine Bar & Grill

Restaurant | "Sintra Wine Bar and Grill"

Quote:
I find Sintra a tiny bit more upscale than your average College Street eatery, but then, it's named for that hedonistic region of Portugal. The cuisine is authentic Portugese and the food is very good, though not recommended for dieters. The wine list is fairly extensive and well thought out. Waitstaff are friendly and attentive without being intrustive. Try the flambed pork sausage.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 18, 2002

Sintra Wine Bar & Grill
588 College St W
Toronto, Ontario M6J 1B3
+1 416 533 1106

Cafe Diplomatico

Restaurant

Quote:
I love their fish; it's good and relatively cheap, but most diners come for either their pasta or the ambience. Friends claim their canoli is amazing, but it's the trout that keeps me coming back.The patio is also a great place to hang out and people watch.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 18, 2002

Cafe Diplomatico
594 College St.
Toronto, Ontario M6G 1B3
(416) 534-4637

Amato's Pizza

Restaurant

Quote:
Amato's has a few more locations now, one on College, one on Yonge Street and another on Queen West.

Pizza and pannini mainly, and at most locations there's not a lot of room to sit down, but that's ok - the turn over is quick and really it's the best pizza in Toronto, so it's worth waiting for. The 534 Queen location is very busy on club nights (THU-FRI-SAT) after the bars close - there are often line ups, but rarely more than a 15 minute wait to get served. Try The Lucy with potatoes and onions, its good! Though my favorite is the Mediterranean with green and black (kalamata) olives. Yum!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 18, 2002

Amato's Pizza
534 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 703-8989

Sushi Bistro

Restaurant

Quote:
I love Sushi Bistro - it's a bang for the buck thing because they aren't the best sushi/sashimi place in the area (I'd say that's Mye's in Oakville), but it's good quality and it's not as expensive as better quality places like Mye's. The best value can be had in either their bento boxes or their combo plates. Its hard to find quality sushi for such a low price, but somehow they manage to provide it.

It's often busy and making reservations, while not always required, is a good thing on weekend nights.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 18, 2002

Sushi Bistro
204 Queen Street West
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 971-5315

Mariachi's

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Latin food, while increasing in popularity, isn't that big in Toronto, which makes Mariachi's a bit of a hidden gem despite the cliched name. Specializing in the cuisine of Michoacan State in Mexico, chef Griselda Hernandez makes some very savory items. The mole de pollo is quite good and the only authentic mole I've found in Toronto. I also had the Frijoles Saltarinos (chorizo with pinto beans and chipotle sauce) as well as a shrimp dish which I can't quite recall the name of but the shrimp were perfectly grilled. I was lucky to have read a review which recommended the Frijoles and mole a few days before I was headed to Toronto.My only disappointment was that since Michoacan is an inland st...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 18, 2002

Mariachi's
2048 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 481-7111

C'est What

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
C'est What is always fun, its part brew-pub/wine-pub, part cafe, and part music venue (Nia, though that is only accessible from their Church Street entrance (19 Church Street). Located not too far from the St. Lawrence Market. The beer selection is great and they make some fine in-house brews, the Coffee Porter and the Rye Beer are fairly unique, though I like the Kawartha Lakes Raspberry Wheat Ale. They also offer a decent wine selection and quite a wide selection of whiskies. The food is a mishmash of various products of world fusion and it’s as multiethnic as Toronto itself. I recommend the lamburger or chicken satay, both are quite tasty. The falafels are passable if you're vegetar...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 20, 2004

C'est What
67 Front Street East
Toronto, Ontario M5E 1B5
416 867 9499

Princess of Wales Theatre

Attraction | "Disney's The Lion King: Princess of Wales Theatre"

Quote:
I didn't see the movie and was frankly quite skeptical about the musical, but it was fabulous. The costumes and puppetry are wonderful, and for a child I'm sure the experience would be quite magical. The plot follows the movie, but having the characters in a live setting seems to aid in a willing suspension of disbelief. Great songs, a very nice theater, which doesn't seem to have a really bad seat, comfy reasonably well-spaced seating, and a great cast made for a really great experience. I'd definitely see it again.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 6, 2003

Princess of Wales Theatre
300 King St West
Toronto, Ontario M5V 1J2
+1 416 872 1212; +1

North by NorthEast Music Festival (NxNE)

Attraction | "North by NorthEast (NxNE)"

Quote:
North by NorthEast is one of the premier music festivals in Toronto. It features hundreds of artists from a plethora of genres, across a large number of venues. It's the companion festival to Austin's South by SouthWest.

For the musician it's a great chance to interact with peers, sit in on panel discussions, meet industry insiders, and play for a usually enthusiastic audience. For music lovers its a great chance to see about 20 bands over a weekend.

First week of June - For more info, check out their website here.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 18, 2002

North by NorthEast Music Festival (NxNE)
189 Church St., Lower Level
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 863-6963

Paupers Pub

Attraction | "Pauper's Pub"

Quote:
Noisy, smokey, and smelling of beer. Basically everything you dream of if you actually dream of pubs. The draft selection is good, the pub grub is average. It's very busy during weekend or holiday nights, but can be remarkably dead on winter weekdays. At it's busiest you might have trouble connecting with friends or finding a place to sit.

Tip: If you want to get out of the din and most of the smoke, try the rooftop open-air patio - it's nice.

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 19, 2002

Paupers Pub
539 Bloor St W
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1Y6
+1 416 530 1331

Rivoli Club

Attraction | "The Rivoli"

Quote:
The Rivoli is a multi-function space. The front is a reasonably decent, modestly upscale restaurant, but the prices are on the high end for portion size and quality. (There's also purportedly a pool-table upstairs, but I've never been there). The side corridor is a bar and the backroom is where the action is. I've seen maybe 50 different acts here - it's a good space acoustically and the programming is top-notch. There's a slight tendancy for lateness and the space is a little small for the caliber of acts that are booked there (if you want a seat, get there early and wait it out). In fact, the up and comers there are so good, it's worth overlooking its flaws.The Riv remains one of my favorite Quee...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 19, 2002

Rivoli Club
332-334 Queen St W
Toronto, Ontario M5V 2A2
+1 416 596 1908

Canadian Music Week

Attraction

Quote:
Usually in the last week of February, Canadian Music Week is partly a celebration of Canadian Music and partly an industry showcase with the accompanying Music Industry Weasels. The lineup always has at least one superstar (well, Canadian superstar), and many new up-and-coming artists who will one day be big themselves. It's not quite as organized as it's summer cousin North by NorthEast, and timeslots have a tendancy to run a bit late or over which makes trying to plan sometimes a bit fruitless. Still, a weekend wristband was still going for about $30 for last year and it's a fabulous deal. You should be able to cram at least 15 bands into the weekend, more if your quick and lucky. Ask around a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 19, 2002

Canadian Music Week
Various
Toronto, Ontario

Horseshoe Tavern

Attraction | "The Horseshoe Tavern"

Quote:
The actual name is The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern. It should be - it's seen performers like the Ramones, Los Lobos, the Police, the Stones (live on MTV!), and every popular Canadian act in the last decade has played here. It's a fairly jovial atmosphere for a place so storied.Currently most of the performers are of the indie variety, though the 'Shoe has gone through Country (obvious from the name) and punk periods. It has long been a bastion of the Toronto (and Canadian) music scene. Lately it's been the venue of choice for secret bookings, but word spreads fast.The 'Shoe also seems to get "most favored" status during festivals like North by NorthEast and Canadian Music Week, especially on ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 19, 2002

Horseshoe Tavern
370 Queen St W
Toronto, Ontario M5V 2A2
+1 416 598 4226