Babur [reviewed in 2001, reviewed again in Dec 06]

273 Queen W
(416) 599-7720

Babur is conveniently located in the Queen West neighbourhood at Queen and McCall right next to Much Music and City TV. I first went to Babur in Oct of 2001 and I really enjoyed the place but I found the portions to be too small and the prices alittle too high. I did love the food, though. I also found it to be crowded, noisy, and alittle too high-end for me, very a la “Indian rice factory” but larger. Indian Rice Factory is TINY and crowded and very noisy. Babur is alittle more spacious.

I recently went to Babur with some friends for New Years celebration. We were a group of 11 people and two people from our group are regular customers and have been going for the past 13 years. Obviously this place is good since it’s been around a long time and the food and service is reliable and prices have been stable. They did mention that there often has been a change over in staff so they found it interesting to see the change in staff over the years.

Gladly Babur did not hike up their dinner prices for the New Year. We all started with drinks. I ordered a Mango Lassi, WAY too sweet for $4 and not as thick and creamy as that new veggie Indian restaurant in Little India (Kissan). Others ordered wine and soft drinks (also known as pop to Ontarians).

For our appetizers we ordered a round of samosas (YUMM) with Tamarind and coriander dipping sauces. For our mains we ordered Malai Kofta (veggie type dumplings in a thick tomato cream curry), Anakali Bahar (boneless pieces of tandoori marinated chicken grilled to perfection in a melange of onions, peppers, and garnished with pomegranate seeds), Bengan Bhartha (thick whole eggplant in a tomato curry sauce, kind of resembles Jewish eggplant). We also ordered Aloo Tikki (a potato curry), Saag Paneer (delicious spinach and homemade Indian cheese curry), Paneer Korma (a creamy mild curry with homemade cheese) , Tarka Daal (hearty, earthy lentil curry), Nurmahal Biryani (lamb biryani- a lamb and rice mix), Aloo paratha (deep fried Indian bread stuffed with potato, and Saffron rice, aromatic rice with saffron.

Food was hot, fresh, colourful, not too greasy, and delicious. Portions have gotten better over the years but prices are alittle high for what you get. Service is very friendly and efficient. The restaurant is clean and tablecloths are real linen (as opposed to paper). Staff are pleasant and knowledgable. Tables are alittle closely placed together so dining is not that intimate. Can be noisy at times. Too many tables packed into this restaurant. The food is good and I would go back but portions are small and prices are kind of high for what you get.

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Crepes a Go Go (new location) (Mark)

 18 Yorkville Ave
416.922.6765

Aaron and I met up last Sunday to see “The History Boys” and we did not have a ton of time to have brunch. At first we opted to go to Flow’s Diner since i had heard wonderful things about it. Unfortunately there was a huge lineup. We headed to the new Eggstacy at Bay and Bloor but from a distance we saw another lineup. At 12:30pm our stomachs were grumbling and we needed to find a place fast. Aaron had suggested CrepesaGoGo since it has recently moved to its new location at Yonge and Yorkville and it was small, quaint, and luckily, there was no lineup.

Opened at its new location since Sept 2006, Crepes a GoGo is an authentic French crepe “takeout” and dine in establishment with a small menu of sweet and savoury crepes. First you select your syrup which they bake right into the crepe, and then you choose the filling. The serve it to you in a “pocket” that you can hold like a sandwich: convenient and perfect for those “on the go”.

Situated at Yonge/Yorkville, easily accessible from the Yonge/Bloor intersection, conveniently located right next to the Toronto Reference Library on the edge of Yorkville on the ground floor of a new high rise glass condo (built about 1-2 years ago).

Some of the drawbacks of Crepes a Go Go. First: small number of seating (4-5 tables). Second: they had 2 price options; takeout and dine-in. We obviously chose to “dine in” but our portions looked like we chose “take out” but we were priced as if we “dined in”. In sum, our portions were tiny. I know it’s traditionally French but neither Aaron and I are not (m)anorexic.

We liked how the staff and owner gave the place an authentic French “look and feel”, because, afterall, the owner is from France. I could not help but sense the slight essence of pretentiousness (we don’t do flavoured lattes here!). Come on, cut the crap.

The owner claimed she made the best espresso in the city, and that they did not carry “filter coffee G-d forbid. Definitely exhibiting an anti-Starbucks attitude (I sympathize having worked at Starbucks for 7 months and being treated like shit). Altogether staff and the owner were warm and friendly

Crepes are paper thin and served/ placed in a paper bag pouch.

I ordered the anorexic fruit crepe with blueberry, banana, strawberry. i understood that Europeans eat smaller portions than North Americans but i was more hungry leaving the joint than entering.

Aaron liked the “Parisian ambience” at Crepes a GoGo from the serene quaintness of the space to the French speaking owner and servers. He ordered a “Quebecoise” crepe which was under the sweet/savoury section. It contained scrambled eggs, mozarella cheese and maple syrup. Although the portion wasn’t very large it was definitely tasty. He agreed with me that if they are having a dine in v.s. take out price that they should gussy it up a bit more for the dine in folks: fork, knife and no paper bag… perhaps with some side dishes.

The cafe au lait was very nice, smooth and delicious, but contrary to the owner, it DID need sugar. In sum, I was not full, meal was NOT satisfying but it was my mistake, i need to order and eat more. Decor was lovely, ultra high ceilings, open concept, small with 4 tables, 2 “bar type” areas to eat on stools. Service is ultra fast, friendly and effiicent and wait staff serve with ease, grace, and with a smile

Accepts all cards, liquor license, winter hours are Monday/Tuesday 12:30pm-7:00pm and Wed-Sun 10:30am-7:00pm. Bottom line; If you are really hungry go to Flow’s diner just down the road. Ambiance is cosy and calm, so go there for a light bite or a nice espresso or cafe au lait.