Makkah Restaurant

1020 Danforth Ave
416-406-2056

I used to stop by Makkah quite regularly when my dance classes were located at Greenwood & Danforth, but the school has moved, so now I must make special trips when the cravings arrive.

As you walk by, the naan & chicken cooking in the tandoori oven lures you in. Located across the street from a mosque, it is popular with families & naighbourhood folk looking for some fast Pakistani Halal eats.

The prices are right – delicious large fresh naans go for $1. The top price I’ve noticed is $6.99. My typical selection is the meat thali, which is $5.99 & includes a naan. Essentially, you choose 1 meat dish from the bin of prepared food (curry) & two of the veg options (lentils, chickpeas, spinach, whatever). It all tastes good, so I’m happy.

The ambience is not remarkable. I love the tandoori oven in the window, but that’s about it. The counter looks like it was made with bathroom tiles, the lighting is fluorescent, it looks practically hospital-like. There is seating in the back, families from the mosque seem to eat in. I’m partial to taking it out.

They suggest a minimum of $10 for interact purchases, but I’ve paid that way with smaller orders.

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Silver Spoon

390 Roncesvalles Ave
416-516-8112

This was the most completely impressive dining experience I’ve had in centuries. From the minute you walked in to the second you walk out & beyond, you feel completely spoiled in the luxury of the experience.

We were very fortunate to get a table last Saturday night without reservations. My boyfriend had read positive reviews of Silver Spoon, but we never expected to have such an outstanding experience – a really nice surprise. Reservations are highly recommended, Due to our lack of reservations, we were cautioned that they would need the table back by 8:00 pm. As we walked in at 6:30, we were not concerned. Within 30 minutes the place was packed as advertised.

Our host/server Kyle was extraordinary in his ability to make you feel welcome & completely attended to at all times. Our water was refreshed continually; he was ready with excellent wine suggestions, he did everything with a smile. You really felt that he meant it when he asked if you were enjoying your meal. I especially loved his attention to detail in everything he did, including how he cleared the table of all crumbs with a little sweeper device when removing dishes from the table. Without exception, Kyle provided the best service I’ve ever received in any restaurant – anywhere.

The décor is simple yet beautiful. High backed cream coloured banquettes, dark stained furniture, etc. The volume of the music is just right, loud enough to be pleasant, but not so loud as to drown out any conversation. The original art provides a welcome splash of colour.

Now for the food that blew us away! The breads offered are extremely fresh, & delicious served with oil & vinegar. Next, we were brought an amuse-bouche, always a nice touch that really adds a little something to the experience. For our mains, we ordered the red snapper with seasonal organic vegetables, and the free-range chicken served with the same veggie collection & served on a bed of heaven-sent squash risotto. The risotto was so exceptional; it could be a dish on its own. We savoured every last bite. The “piece de résistance” however, was the molten flourless chocolate ganache. It was served warm in a pool of English crème & some berries. This dessert is an absolute must. There is no better way to complete a meal. It was overwhelmingly fantastic. The portion sizes were all just right – not too big nor too small. We left completely satisfied.

Who needs the pretension of Sassafraz or Rain, or the price tags of Bistro 990 when you have the option of dining at Silver Spoon? The prices are not out of this world. They aren’t diner prices, but you definitely feel that you get your moneys worth on the whole experience from start to finish. There is no question – we will absolutely be coming back for repeat visits on special occasions. I haven’t felt that good after leaving a restaurant in ages. Everything was absolutely perfect about our visit, it was completely memorable and merits many happy returns.

New York Cafe

757 Broadview Ave
416.778.4444

If you are looking for casual comfort food, in a casual relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere just off the Danforth, then look no further. The food is reasonably priced, pretty decent, and is served in huge quantities.

Among the best – the pizza! New York Café serves up a classic old school style pizza – stringy mozzarella, traditional toppings, all around classic & very good. Again, the serving size is rather generous. Also good – chicken souvlaki & all day breakfasts. If you have a hankering for decent breakfast food at 5:00 pm, served with a beer – no problem, NYC can accommodate!

It’s proximity to the Bad Dog Theatre & the Music Hall makes this a great destination for a quick economical bite to eat before a show.

Best waitress – Joanne without question. I have been known to call ahead & request a seat in her section. She is friendly, prompt, attentive & completely honest, everything you look for in a stellar waitress who deserves every last cent of her tips. Tip generously!

For a while, a group of us referred to NYC as “The Peach Pit”. We were reminded of the 90210 venue despite the mural of the New York skyline. It’s an easy place to dine. Check it out for yourself.

Kissan (now Sidartha Pure Vegetarian Cuisine)

Kissan (changed Feb 07 to Sidartha Pure Vegetarian Cuisine)

1411 Gerrard St East
416-466-9777

Easily the best Vegetarian Indian Buffet in Little India, without question. At $8.99 for the lunch buffet, the prices are on par with the competition in the neighbourhood, but the quality is waaaay superior. Everything is fresh, looks appealing & tastes just as good better. They easily served the best Naan I’ve had in ages. Smartly, they do not put the naan under heat lamps to go limp, rather, they make them fresh every time new customers come in, and then someone walks around the restaurant serving it up to all who request. It was crispy, warm, buttery, delicious. Among my favourite buffet items were the saag paneer – so savoury & fantastic, the aloo gobi is done properly – no mush! Both Mark & I were blown away by the mango lassi, also the best of Little India. It tasted like real fresh mangoes were used to make this thick, sweet yogurty drink. As for desserts, I was mighty impressed with the carrot pudding. I’ve never tasted anything quite like it before. It was a nice surprise. Take a pass on the unremarkable mango ice cream.

You are not obliged to go for the buffet – there are plenty of lovely dosas and other items on the menu. The service was friendly & efficient, definitely deserving of many happy returns.

Tequila Bookworm

490 Queen W. 
504-7335.

As of Dec 26, 2006 cafe moved to 512 Queen St. W (10 doors west)- smaller, cleaner, more trendy

I first went here many years ago, as someone said it had a very �Montreal vibe� & decent bagels. Right on both counts! Located in the super trendy Queen St. West, this is an artsy, funky little hole in the wall, furnished with old couches, old bookshelves filled with older books, & a collection of new magazines. How could you not love the exposed brick wall & comfortable casualness? The service is relaxed� Perhaps a little too relaxed if you are planning to do anything at all later in the day � oh, like see a play, do groceries, go home�. It is very mellow, which is great if you have the time to spare, or are in the mood for it.

The food is absolutely delicious & completely affordable. On my last visit I had a very tasty sandwich & salad. The realness of the food is appreciated � my focaccia sandwich was made with a real chicken breast � not processed � yum! I found it a little odd that there were so many sandwiches with avocado, yet they had none on site � they had to go to a local corner store to pick some up. Maybe a little too relaxed, but I guess good things come to those who wait. One of T.O.�s best kept secrets.

Classico Pizza & Pasta (Wendy)

 

 2457 Bloor St W
416-763-1313

Classico’s is a little hole in the wall restaurant at the Western tip of Bloor West Village, just outside the Jane subway station on the South side of the street. The atmosphere is very casual, and they serve up decent Italian fare, essentially Classico is a decent neighbourhood spot.

There is an extensive selection of pizzas & pasta dishes, including one curry dish. Most of the mains are meat or seafood based, but my veggie friend Mark ate here successfully.

All meals start out with nice warm bread rolls. They are simple but good. My first visit here, I shared the calamari appetizer with my boyfriend (who has been going here with his family for years). The calamari was very well cooked ; no elasticity in sight. The grilled veggie sandwich is definitely to be counted among the best menu items here ; very flavourful, decent portion size & comes with a side salad for a mere $6.95. The old standby chicken parmesan is ok, and for $11.95 you are provided with a portion big enough for two meals, so I have to take half of it home.

This is a place to go if you are looking for a nice casual dinner at a very reasonable price. No pretension, just a decent meal.