Brownstone Bistro

603 Yonge
(416) 920-6288

How can I sum up this restaurant? Great food, trendy decor, friendly staff, but very slow service, but when I went last summer 2002 to Brownstone, the waiter failed to mention that all of the food we ordered was not available so they got creative and made up their own dishes. To our surprise, the food we ordered contained nothing that we expected. The food itself was fresh, tasty, and flavourful. The prices are high and the head waiter had major attitude. He argued with us that he ran out of the food we had ordered so he had his team of chefs make something completely different. He never notified us that the meals we ordered were not the meals we received. The service was very slow and the head waiter was very rude to us.

In sum, I would never go back to Brownstone ever again because they are disorganized and they do not listen to their customers. The head waiter kept on telling us how we did not understand that he ran out of the food needed to prepare our dishes so he made us alternate dishes. The problem was that none of the waiting staff informed us. Too stressful, too pricy, too long a wait, this place was a great disappointment.

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Biryani House

 25 Wellesley St. East
416-927-9340

Newly opened at the corner of Yonge and Wellesley, Biryani House offers flavourful and succulent Indian cuisine that you will remember. I usually have channa (curried chick peas) and rajmah (curried kidney beans) and it is totally yummy and quite affordable. The bad news is….it was once a cheap, intimate, cozy restaurant hidden at the corner of Yonge and Bloor (Roy Square) but this northern Indian spot moved from into a larger venue and into a more expensive neighbourhood Unfortunately the low prices have nearly doubled ? goodbye, $5.00 meals. Complete meals for $30.00 per person, including all taxes. Ambiance is beautiful but the whole experience of dining at Biryani House has been transformed from fast food to fine food.

Future Bakery

483 Bloor W
(416) 922-5875

Located right in the heart of the Annex at Brunswick and Bloor, this cafeteria style cafe is funky, urban, trendy, and has a beautiful summer patio (terrace) where people can chill and gather with friends for light food and good coffee. Similarly designed like Marche Movenpick, this place has kiosks that serve coffee, cake, pastries, grilled items, all divided into three main areas.

The vegetarian chili is a bit watery but excellent nonetheless. There are no waitresses (unless you request table service by the patio). For the most part, Future Bakery resembles a mini “Marche Movenpick” where people order and wait for food.  Dishes are served quickly and efficiently. Salad selections are plentiful and affordable. Many dessert selections (huge pieces of cake, pie, and squares) are offered ($4-$7 per slice). Future Bakery does not make their own desserts. 

Open very very late and often times very crowded. Mostly caters to the University of Toronto scene.  A great place to hang out and people watch. Offers both table service (outdoor patio) or takeout.

Mai Thai

2364 Yonge St
Tel: (416) 488-2250

 

Small restaurant in the Yonge and Eglinton area on Yonge about one block north of Eglinton. Serves traditional and typical Thai dishes. Lunch specials (only on the weekday, forget about asking about weekend lunch specials) are $6.95 and include the typical Ginger Chicken
Basil Chicken, Basil Beef, Spicy Squid Tofu, Eggplant Delight, Beef or Chicken with Oyster Sauce
Red Beef or Chicken Curry, Green Chicken Curry, Vegetable Curry. Other meals come with rice and they include Pad Thai, Pad See-Ew, Thai Salad, Vegetarian Pad Thai, and Chicken or Vegetarian Fried Rice.

Starters include a variety of soups (Thai Hot and Sour, lemon prawn, Thai vegetable, Thai won ton, Spicy vegetable, and seafood soup, as well as traditional salads (Thai salad, beef or chicken salad, seafood salad, glass noodle salad, curry salad), calamari, and a variety of satays (skewers of meat, chicken, or tofu with vegetables), all $3.95-$7.95.

Mains include a variety of Thai Curries, Fish & Seafood dishes, Stir-Fried Dishes,
Vegetable & Tofu dishes, and Rice & Noodle dishes. All mains are priced $9.95-$16.95. Average price of an entree is $10.95. Some dishes I’ve had in the past are the Eggplant Delight
($8.95), Sweet & Sour Tofu ($8.95) , Tofu Cashew Nuts, ($9.95) , and the Mixed Vegetable with Tofu ($8.95)

Other non vegetarian dishes include the Mango chicken, Garlic Chicken, Ginger chicken, Basil Chicken, Cashew Chicken, and the Glass Noodle Chicken, all $10.95. Some beef dishes include the Sweet Basil Beef, Beef with Oyster Sauce, Spicy Beef, Oriental Greens with Beef, all $10.95. A large variety of shrimp and fish dishes. Some include garlic shrimp, spicy shrimp, cashew shrimp, mango fish delight, basil squid, steamed mussels, and basil prawns.

Mai Thai also serves a variety of fish, chicken, and beef curries all containing the traditional flavours of mango, basil, ginger, tamarinds, and garlic. Most rice and noodle dishes are curries that come with rice. Some include basil fried rice, yellow curry chicken with rice, chicken with cashew nuts and rice, the traditional and classic Pad Thai, and spicy noodles with vegetables and chicken breast. Rice and noodle dishes are priced from $9.95-$12.95
Ambiance is slighty too dark and dining area is quite small. Washrooms are located on the upper level where the dining hall is reserved for private functions, parties, and social functions. Food was fresh and enjoyable, a bit salty, but good portions. I was not generally happy with the service. Staff were not friendly and dishonest. They were resistant to show us the lunch menu, (they had allowed us to select items from the more affordable lunch menu before) but due to a quiet Saturday afternoon, they forced us to choose items from the more expensive dinner menu. I will never go back there again. Accepts all cards.

Harbord Fish and Chips v.s. Chippies

Harbord Fish and Chips v.s. Chippies:

 Harbord Fish and Chips
147 Harbord Street
(416) 925-2225

Chippies
893 Queen St W
(416) 866-7474

Having been thoroughly unimpressed with Chippies, the new and trendy fish and chips restaurant on Queen West, I thought I would try this more unassuming joint on Harbord between Spadina and Bathurst.

I had heard many good things about Harbord Fish and Chips but then again the NOW Magazine gave Chippies a 5 star review and doesn’t shut up about it. The problem I find with Chippies, besides the cute guys behind the counter singing “Shook me all night long” by AC/DC, is that they just don’t serve enough fish. I’ve been there twice, and both times have come away with a mountain of fries but little in the way of main course. The side sauces are a nice touch, but the ones I tasted were nothing special.

Harbord is a small, un-trendy, mostly take out joint. Like Chippies, Harbord also serves up a mountain of french fries. I guess I shouldn’t complain, fries are delicious and the meal IS called fish AND chips. The difference with Chippies though, is that Harbord actually provides a decent portion of fish. I ordered haddock and I was happy to see a nice big rectangular piece of fish plumped down on top of my heap o’ fries before being wrapped up in the traditional newspaper (unfortunately it was the National Post).

If you have a craving for fish and chips go for the solid Harbord version over the fluffy, trendy, more expensive Chippies.