Trawna

The good the bold and the occasionally bizarre, Toronto is the largest and busiest city in Canada.


Trawna

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Slack on September 27, 2000

Toronto is a rich and diverse city that has the propensity to delight the personal or business traveller no matter how long the stay. Many things to see and do, active theatre and nightlife, a wonderful district diversity and funky or fine dining. Whatever you're looking for can be found in 'Toronto the Good'.${QuickSuggestions} Toronto had good city planning engineers in that there's a little trick to figuring out which way you want to go (that some Torontonians don't even recognise). Numbering for all east/west streets in Toronto start at the point closest to Yonge Street (the longest street in the world) and move away, while the numbering for north/south streets start at the lake and move north. ${BestWay} Nicknamed 'The Better Way' Toronto is home to fairly efficient public transit system that includes subways, buses, light rapid transit sytems and one of the icons of picture postcards - streetcars. Navigating the downtown core is easy 24 hours a day, and given time, everywhere else in Toronto is a manageable ride.

The Rosewater

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Slack on March 7, 2003

Located in the heart of the financial district, the Rosewater, open only six-and-a-half years, has been touted as Toronto's quitessential dining experience. The building at 19 Toronto Street is a designated historical building, that was built in the mid-1800s as a commercial bank. Most of the original architectural elements still remain--the 22-foot ceilings in the main dining room are adorned with extensive moldings that give a decadent feel to the room. Cleverly, contemporary elements, such as a three-story mosaic waterfall, iron curtains, rotating glass doors inset with stainless steel, and horn vases holding fresh-cut roses have been added to the space to give the history a modern twist.

The wine list is extensive, bottles ranging from C$36-$500, and is complemented by a full selection of ice wines and ports to follow the meal. The menu is self-described as "continental French" and although the menu is not large, there is quite a diverse variety of dishes, from Poached Skate Wing to Duck Confit to Salt Marsh Lamb. At our table (visit for a milestone birthday), we experienced an amusée-bouche of cured mahimahi with basil essence. Appetizers included Portobello Tart with eggplant caviar, Nova Scotia Lobster Salad, Winter Salad with roast squash, quince confit, and beluga lentils. The main dishes included: mahimahi graced with fennel, Dry Aged Tenderloin of Alberta Beef, and Lobster Thermidor, all of which were both beautifully presented, and a thoroughly enjoyable taste experience. The desserts we had (Chocolate Souffle, Pecan Tart) were excellent as well, and the crème brûlée is probably the best I've ever had.

The Rosewater has other amenities that we did not partake of: a cigar and martini bar, an event supper club, private dining rooms with Versace settings, a wine tasting room, and a piano bar, which are all open to public as well as private affairs. The night before our visit, the cigar lounge and supper club were in use for a political fundraiser in benefit of the most talked about contender for the federal Liberal Leadership race--the political party that currently holds power in the country. The restauraunt is also one of the favorite venues for Toronto International Film Festival atendees.

While definately not for the faint of pocketbook, the Rosewater is an excellent choice for a special occasion splurge, or a good venue for someone you're looking to impress.

Website (including menus): http://libertygroup.com/rosewater/rosewater.html
Winner of the 2003 DiRoNA Award of Excellence (i.e., one of only 58 Distinguished Restaurants of North America awards)

Rosewater Supper Club
19 Toronto Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5C 2R1
(416) 214 5888

7 West

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Slack on November 24, 2000

An absolutely fabulous little place to go for an early evening light dinner, a late evening quiet drink, or a late night desert and coffee, 7 West has often been voted the best cafe in the city, partially because of it's lovely interior design and friendly staff, but it's patrons also cherish its late hours,(open Until 4 AM)
7 West
7 West Charles Street
Toronto, Ontario

Squirrely's

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Slack on November 24, 2000

A trendy and fun, although little restaurant on Queen West, Squirrely's has a surprisingly diverse and yummy menu for it's size as well as about a dozen types of Draft on tap. The Funfur covered menus give just enough reminder of what neighbourhood you've found yourself in.
Squirrelly's
810 Queen St West
Toronto, Ontario

Future's Bakery

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Slack on November 24, 2000

Always packed to the gills in Toronto's boho neighborhood, Future's has an outdoor patio, part of which is heated in the winter and a large indoor seating area. Deserts and coffee are good, if pricey and an example of the gentrification of the neighbourhood. No Smoking permitted inside.
Future Bakery & Cafe-annex
483 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1Y2
(416) 922-5875

Queen Mother

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Slack on November 17, 2002

A bustling little restaunt on Queen Street West and a Toronto institution. The Queen Mum's got an excellent menu and a good wine list.

It's casual and friendly and fun, seats about 100 and has a lovely enclosed patio out back which fills up fast during the summer months. The Ping Gai is (in my opinion) the best dish on the menu - best to avoid the dinner/pre theatre rush.

Queen Mother Cafe
208 Queen St West
Toronto, Ontario, M5V 1Z2
(416) 598-4719

Oja

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Slack on November 17, 2002

One of my favorite places to catch dinner - especially when I'm under the weather, Oja is much less busy than the Spring Rolls Restauraunts it's sandwiched between, and a better deal to boot. They have a pan-Asian menu, modest prices, a friendly staff, and a Thai Noodle Soup that will get even the sniffliest Torontonian feeling better in no time. Edited in 2005:
In 2004, Oja revamped its menu and while it still provides a wide array of excellent Asian dishes (Korean, Thai, Chinese, Japanese) for absolutely excellent prices it has sadly discontinued its Thai Noodle Soup, much to the disappointment and despair of yours truly.
Oja
689 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 944-8371

Cafe Volo

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Slack on November 17, 2002

A great date spot, especially considering that it is a short walk to three movie theatres (Uptown, Varsity, Carlton) and has a funky, young atmosphere with good southern italian food, good wine, good specialty coffee and an outside patio for Yonge Street people-watching in the summer.

Also suitable for lunch or the single diner, Cafe Volo seems pretty amenable to lingering customers outside of peak dining hours. I'd heartily recommend their bruschetta and Pollo Limone.

Cafe Volo
Yonge and Irwin
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 928-0008

Canoe

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Slack on November 19, 2003

With a view second only to the 360 Restaurant on the top of the CN Tower, Canoe is located on the 54th (top) floor of the Toronto Dominion Building in the heart of the Business District. On a clear night, such as the one we were fortunate enough to visit on, the city is a blanket of lights and movement; the dining experience is deliciously enhanced by the feeling of being a breathing, noshing part of the vibrant Toronto skyline.

My group of six capitalized on the Summerlicious '03 festivities to celebrate a birthday among us. Summerlicious was a Toronto-wide dining promotion that offered prix fixe menus for $30 pp in some of the best restaurants the city has to offer. Canoe did not disappoint.

My dining suite included wild mushroom soup with fresh thyme and truffle, Atlantic halibut with caramelized onion-Yukon tart and caperberry dressing, and a chocolate tower. The food was divine; all dishes were subtly introduced and beautifully presented. The service was excellent, and although I found the wine list a little narrow, the sommelier suggested a Riesling that worked exceedingly well with our dinner.

Website (including menus and prices): http://www.canoerestaurant.com/

Canoe
66 Wellington Street West, 54th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 364-0054

Tundra

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Slack on November 19, 2003

Also as part of our 2003 Summerlicious foray into some of Toronto's best dining offerings, we headed out on a rainy July night to Tundra, located on Richmond Street, as part of the Toronto Hilton.

Touting itself as a quintessentially Canadian dining experience, we were probably anticipating the restaurant itself even more than the food as we had heard and read much about the II by IV decor, which claimed to take its design cues from the Canadian wilderness. This turned out to be a little disappointing. Although it has interesting lines and a good use of light (for the most part), the emphasis seemed to be on the sometimes unforgiving nature of the Canadian landscape and not on the expanse, the warmth or the beauty of the country.

Service was adequate; we got the feeling that the waiter was none too happy about the restaurant's participation in Summerlicious, but he seemed to warm up to us by the main course.

Despite our disappointing first impressions of the presentation of the restaurant, the presentation of the food was delightful. Often from the "tower" school of delivery, the presentation gave height and breadth to the perfectly sized portions. The starter (tuna Nicoise) and the main (crispy skin grain fed chicken supreme, summer vegetables brunoise, Yukon gold potato rosti and herb sauce) were delicious and full of contrasting flavour that quickly redeemed the absence of warmth in the space. In reflection of their claims to the meal as quintessentially Canadian, we could not sense anything that made it particularly Canadian. In any other restaurant, I would have called the meal European fusion.

In the end, the food was excellent, both in taste and design, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a very good dinner, especially since Tundra seems to have extended a prix fixe menu beyond Summerlicious at a price of $35. However, I wouldn't call Tundra the best overall restaurant the city has to offer.

Website (with menus): http://www.toronto.com/infosite/311649/1.shtml

Tundra
145 Richmond Street West
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 860-6800

Boba

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Slack on February 9, 2005

A Yorkville institution since 1978, Boba is a charming and stylish restaurant housed in a historical brick house two blocks north of Bloor on Avenue Road. My family and I were fortunate enough to snatch up reservations during the 2005 Winterlicious celebration, in which Toronto restaurants offer prix-fixe menus at a reduced rate to stimulate tourism and celebrate the diverse nature of the city.

Going to Boba during Winterlicious lends a hint to the kind of restaurant that Boba is. Whereas many participating venues offer a tight host's table, Boba offered a diverse selection, as well as daily additions and variations to expand the value and enjoyment of the experience, making it clear that the restaurant emphasises service and substance above all.

Particular care is given to the presentation of the food and to creativity in fusion; for example, a Caesar salad is daringly furnished with falafel croutons and tahini dressing. When ordering beef, there is no need to ask if the tendency is to over or undercook - cuts are cooked specifically and accurately to order.

At our table, our mains were fresh pasta with tiger shrimp, roast tomato and fresh herbs, sesame crusted salmon with black rice and Asian herb sauce, and grilled New York steak with chipotle sauce and frites, and I had the roast grain-fed chicken breast, which was moist and perfectly braised with a crisp delicious skin, sided by chive mashed potatoes (which were good but not spectacular) and a wonderful porcini sauce drizzled over perfectly steamed vegetables.

This restaurant is on the Zagat's list for 2002/2003 and has won several awards for its wine list.

Open for dinner from 5:45 to 10pm Monday to Saturday
Closest Subway: Bay
Website: www.boba.ca

Boba
90 Avenue Road
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 961-2622

Sage

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Slack on February 9, 2005

Although Sage has a slick modern design, a very good menu, and a beautiful patio for summertime dining, its location seems to limit its success. Located at 1033 Bay St., it’s too far south to draw the Yorkville crowd and too far north to draw the financial crowd. This makes it a good place to eat on a very busy night (i.e. during the film festival), especially for those staying at the Sutton Place Hotel, which is just a block south. It may never compete with the sheer Hollywood-ish hype of Bistro 990, but it does offer some intriguing prix-fixe, four-course menus in the range of $40 and a solid wine list.

A group of friends and I had the pleasure of trying Sage during Winterlicious 2005. The food was scrumptious, the presentation careful, and the service sufficient. Atmospherically, the restaurant is very nice looking, with a DJ booth set up near the front for entertainment and events and full floor-to-ceiling windows all around. However, the abundance of glass and tile does boost the noise levels so that even not so busy nights are prohibitive to intimate tête-à-têtes unless one seeks a seat on the gauzy summer balcony by the reflecting pool.

Open for lunch 11:30am to 3pm Monday to Friday and dinner from 5pm Monday to Saturday
Closest Subway: Bay or Wellesley
Website: http://www.sagerestaurant.ca/

Sage Cafe & Catering
166 McCaul St
Toronto, Ontario, M5T 1W4
+1 416 340 7345

Gypsy Co-op & The Hooch

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Slack on November 25, 2000

In a word? Ecclectic. The Gypsys Co-Op is a restaurant and tea house Downtown Food is excellent, though the dining area tends to get and stay busy after around six o'clock. The tea room comes with a menu of house blends and international tea made properly, loose with a strainer. A full candy counter allows the candy connoisseur a full selection of hard to find things. Tarot card readers and in-house psychics are often available.

Perhaps the best feature of the Co-op is it's upstairs dance hall upstairs. The Hooch, as it is called features swing dance/Lindy Hop lessons.

Call 416-703-5069 for details.

Quite the experience.

See the Gypsy's menu at: http://www.themenudirectory.com/menus/gypsy_coop.htm

Gypsy Co-op & The Hooch
815 Queen St West
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 703-5069

Palais Royale Ballroom

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Slack on November 25, 2000

The legendary Palais Royale opened in 1922. It is Canada's only remaining original ballroom with a cantilever - sprung hardwood dance floor. During the 30's and 40's, 1000 young people danced at the Palais Royale, six nights a week - dancing was not permitted on Sundays. In 1932, admission was 10 cents (worth $2.50 today), and each dance cost 5 cents. A dance lasted about 3 minutes. In 1933, 3000 people danced to Eddie Duchin's Park Central Orchestra from New York. There was continuous dance music. When the big band took a break, a small band would play at the opposite end of the ballroom.

At first, authentic swing jazz dancing -- breakaways, trucking, the jitterbug, and the lindy hop, were forbidden. Ginger Ale and Coca Cola were the only drinks permitted. By the mid 40's, the practice of "jitney-dancing" (dance tickets) was discontinued, and the admission price was raised to a straight 75 cents for men and 50 cents for women.

Most of the great American swing jazz dance bands played at the Palais Royale Ballroom. Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Charlie Barnet, Bob Crosby, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, The Casa Loma Orchestra, Benny Goodman, Harry James. And for eighteen years, from 1932 to the end of the Swing Era, the house band was led by "Canada's King of Swing", Bert Niosi.

Once again, the Palais Royale Ballroom is the place where enthusiastic young dancers come to swing out to the music of the hottest swinging jazz dance bands. Spaceous, breezy -- right by the Lake, with a wonderful dance floor that undulates with each step.

Often featuring a barrage of live jazz and swing, Lindy Hop lessons available Friday evenings before the show.
Palais Royale Ballroom
1601 Lakeshore Boulevard W., 532-6210
Toronto, Ontario

CN Tower

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Slack on November 25, 2000

No Toronto travel journal is complete without mention of the C.N. Tower. As the tallest freestanding structure in the world, you have to be amazed when it can be viewed from any vantage point in Toronto. Some see it as quite phallic in shape--it is quite a piece of work.

1,815 feet high, it was built in 1976 by Canadian national railways and its initial purpose was to be a carrier for television and radio signals. Very recently redeveloped, the C.N. tower now boasts many new attractions than just the flight to the skypod. But it is worth the trip up. Overlooking the entire city, the sky pod features a glass floor 180 meters off the ground and of course, the infamous glass sided elevators that afford the best elevator view ever made. Somewhere up there, in the concrete tunnels that form the top of the tower my 4 year old handprint (well, it was a mark of some kind) is immortalized in history, as they put them on display to climb through and write in before the final heights were lifted in '76.

Dining is available at the 360 (the revolving restaurant) award winning restaurant, although the reviews have seriously declined in recent years, the view of Toronto at night will make it worth the visit. For the truly heights inspired, the Space Deck, can also be toured 33 additional stories above the observation decks.
CN Tower
301 Front St West
Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2T6
(416) 868-6937

James Joyce Pub

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Slack on November 24, 2000

A good little Irish pub, the James Joyce can get a little over crowded at times, and the reason for it's overcrowding will make or break your night. When overflowing as a pub/sports watching night from the local university it's to be avoided, however the nights where live Celtic music is being played are a blast. The Joyce serves up traditional pub fare like fish and chips or Guinness stew with a wide selection of imported draughts. Play pool while listening to Irish and Celtic Canadian live music nightly at 10.
James Joyce Irish Pub
386 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 324-9400

High Park

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Slack on November 24, 2000

A huge and sprawling park (164 hectares/398.5 acres) containing three life zones (Carolinian forest, Tall-Grass Savannah and Boreal Mixed), High Park is a beautiful place to walk, wildlife spot or bike ride. It is also home in summer to the Canadian Stage Company's Dream in High Park. Although the reviews for the plays have been less exhuberent in recent years, the Canadian Stage earned a reputation for its early renditions of Shakespeare in the open air.

Funny enough, land of the park, and the historical state home, Colborne Lodge, which are now considered to be part of Downtown West, was originally purchased in the mid 1800's by John George Howard, a Toronto Architect, who intended to build a suburb-type village away from Toronto in a time when suburbs weren't fashionable. Now, over 150 years later, rather than being a small village outcrop in the middle of wilderness, it's a refreshing respite of wilderness in the middle of a sprawling city. Colborne lodge, Howard's own home is preserved as a historical site and museum, and tours are offered on a regular basis. Also, the Lodge offers free walking tours of High Park, every other Sunday afternoon at 1:15p.m. (call 416-392-6916 for info).

The parks other attractions include a High Park Train, a Children's Adventure Park, an Animal Zoo, a greenhouse, an extensive netwok of bike trails, Grenadier Pond, as well as a community centre with a large pool, tennis and squash courts.

High Park
1873 Bloor St West
Toronto, Ontario, M5H 2N2
+1 416 392 1111

T Rex

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Slack on November 17, 2002

T Rex, which used to be called the Rex Hotel and was a favorite spot for the downtown liquid lunch crowd, has grown over the last twenty years into one of Toronto's most ecclectic and popular jazz venues.

A launching spot for local artists and a visiting stage for international ones, the T Rex never has a dark night, usually averaging two sets on weekdays, three on weekends. Although their drinks can get a mite expensive, they're well worth the funky atmosphere and auditory pleasures. There's a heck of a lot of variety on tap.

Get there early; the place is brimming by 9:00.

Rex Jazz and Blues Bar
194 Queen St W
Toronto, Ontario, M5V 1Z1
+1 416 598 2475

Summerlicious and Winterlicious

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Slack on February 9, 2005

Every year, more than 100 restaurants in Toronto participate in Winterlicious and Summerlicious. In these two 14-day festivals, mid- and upscale restaurants in Toronto offer special prix-fixe menus for lunch ($10 or $20) and dinner ($20 or $30). Some restaurants also offer VQA-selection wine lists at special prices to encourage sampling and expand the experience.

With a growing participation rate year after year, on behalf of both the restaurants and the diners, this festival gets better every time it comes around. However, some of the more in-demand establishments (ex. Truffles, Rosewater, all of the Oliver Bonacini locations) become very difficult to book after the first date (or in the American Express funded 2005 venture "front of the line" pre-ordering date). It's a great way to sample the diverse culinary adventures of Toronto on a budget.

Summerlicious and Winterlicious
All over the city
Toronto, Ontario

http://www.igougo.com/journal-j1937-Toronto-Trawna.html

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