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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Kama

214 King Street West
416-599-KAMA (5262)

This restaurant is located directly across the street from the Roy Thomson Hall, making it a convenient option for those going to the theatre (there are many in the ‘hood). It’s a couple of steps down from the street, and is a huge place! It is very bright and airy, and very terracotta in colour. This place definitely looks different than any restaurant you might find in little India – very designer-y. Naturally, the prices are in line with the décor and location.

Though sit down meals are an option, we selected the all-you-can eat buffet option at $16.95 each. Had we had chosen this option to take out, the price is much cheaper. Lunchtime prices are also much lower.

The food we ate was generally quite good, there was a decent variety of dishes, vegetarian, chicken, beef and seafood. Among my favourite items were the different traditional breads, some with garlic, some with mint, etc. salads, tandoori chicken & vegetable curry. Least favourite: dessert. Apparently I made a funny face when I took a bite. Oh well, can’t be perfect.

The service was very speedy and attentive. The staff are very sensitive to those with time constraints and are ready with the bill when you are.

I enjoyed my meal there, but probably will not make a habit of going there based on the price. The price was a little higher than I think an Indian buffet should be. However, if I have an insatiable craving for the food & I happen to be in the area, I would not hesitate to drop in.

Dash Kitchen

236 Danforth Ave
416-463-DASH (3274)
Mon-Fri 10am-7pm Sat 10am-6pm
Debit, Visa, MC, AMEX

Though not a restaurant in the traditional sense, Dash Kitchen bills itself as “purveyors of yummy foods” and I would have to say that description is accurate.

Dash Kitchen opened up in the summer of 2003 (I believe) and has become a neighbourhood fave spot for fine gourmet foods, both prepared and heated if you like, or as individual ingredients like pestos, sauces, oils and nice breads. Easily comparable to Pusateri’s in quality if not quantity.

I frequently drop into Dash when I’m looking for a good pick-me-up, or am looking for a ready-made accompaniment for dinner. In particular I have enjoyed the many desserts they have displayed, whether it’s a lemon square, slice of cake or their pumpkin loaf that is way better than mine. I also thoroughly enjoy the salads. The salads change on a fairly regular basis; I have enjoyed a corn and red pepper salad, orzo salad, and garlicky broccoli to name a few. Definitely, I would say that the tourtiére (that’s meat pie to any non-Quebecois) is the best you’ll find in Ontario and the portion size is nice and big. There are usually prepared sandwiches i.e. grilled vegetables, meatloaf, etc. for those on the run, and if you can get there closer to lunchtime, there are a number of hot soups and various specials to choose from. There are always prepared meats ready to take out, i.e. chicken, salmon, pork tenderloin and more. Everything looks so delicious, it’s often difficult to choose.

Though this establishment primarily functions as a place to take food out of, I have seen the odd table outside on a Saturday morning. As I don’t work in the neighbourhood, they may very well be there during the weekday lunch times, but don’t quote me on that. They also do catering for private dinner parties and such.

Not only is the food yummy, so seems to be the entire staff! Every man I have seen there (they are all men) is absolutely handsome, very friendly and both knowledgeable and helpful which just enhances the total Dash Kitchen experience.

I sometimes just go to see what the latest thing they’ve prepared is. A visit to Dash Kitchen is a delightful adventure in yummy food.

Windfields Dining Lounge

 801 York Mills Rd
North York/Don Mills
416-445-1630

This casual family dining lounge is a place I have gone to a couple of times on a work lunch. It is known for generally speedy service at lunch, and caters to the blue rinse crowd. The menu is comprised of salads, sandwiches, fajitas, souvlakis burgers, pastas, stir fries, etc. Though the majority of the menu is under $10, the top price is $17.95 for a 12 oz steak.

When we arrive the place is busy, though our hostess seems more interested in chatting with her boyfriend rather than seating us. Someone else seats us instead. Our waiter Jerry was very nice which made up for the trashy hostess.

I ordered the Philadelphia Hoagie � thinkly sliced sirloin steak, onions, peppers, mushrooms, swiss cheese, served on fresh garlic bread with fries – $9.75. This was a tasty meal at a fair price. I was not super keen on the fries; they were coated with something I didn�t like. The others in my group had fish & chips, a chicken club and steak on a French stick.

The portions were generous, the price was fair – $50 for 4 people, tax & tip included, and everyone enjoyed their meal while getting out on time. I won�t make a special trip to go there, but when opportunity presents itself, I have no objection.

Ten Feet Tall

1381 Danforth Avenue
416-778-7333

Web site: www.tenfeettall.ca

-Monday-Friday 5 pm to 11 pm

-Saturday & Sunday Brunch from 10 am

Ten Feet Tall is the epitome of what I look for in a great brunch spot. It’s eclectic; it’s casual, it’s cool, they play great music and most importantly, they have over 8 eggless options for brunch!

I first went to this place a few months ago and loved both the atmosphere and the food. It’s a bit of a cross between a bar and a restaurant and is kind of funky. I can’t for the life of me figure out why I haven’t been back more often. I resolve to become more of a regular now.

I walk in and The Byrds are playing. I love this place already! A bit of celebrity action happens as well – the guy from the Canadian Tire commercial ate brunch there at the same time as me. There are a number of vintage tables with a variety of chair styles. I love the bar with the giant ornately framed mirror. Vintage lamps are hung around the bar area. A relief mural of a landscape scene greets diners, and the red walls promote a warm atmosphere. The one beige wall is covered with plastic insects, flowers & butterflies – my sister would love this wall. I love the fact that there are real curtains and beaded curtains.

The brunch menu at Ten Feet is filled with a fair amount of traditional breakfast/brunch options, with many of them having interesting names like Eggs Mormor, The Kitchen Sink, Ten Foot Breakfast, etc. The first time I ate at Ten Feet Tall, I had “Welcome to the Club”. Essentially this is a chicken blt, with cheddar and pancetta instead of regular bacon. On the side, I had both a green salad and yam fries which are to die for, You can order just the yam fries if you want and they have a multitude of mayo options to choose from – yum!

This time, with Blue Suede Shoes playing in the background, I ordered The Elvis – a waffle covered in peanut butter, bacon & maple syrup. Normally a chopped up banana is part of this dish, but as a non-banana eater, I had that item omitted. This is such a decadent meal, completely delicious, if not a little artery hardening. Quite the culinary experience!

I looked over the dinner menu, and now I definitely want to go back for supper! First off, they have a decent beer selection that includes St. Ambroise beers – essential for a Montrealer! Also, this menu is decidedly better than any other bar combo that I’ve seen. No all deep fried menu here! The dinner menu, which comes encased in old record albums boasts steaks, catfish, salads, pastas, pizzas, salads & a variety of lighter fare. There are also weekly specials, – this week’s special include seafood pasta, spanakopizza, and a blue plate special – bangers, mashed potato, gravy & salad, all specials ranging between $9-$12. Not bad!

The service was fast, friendly and efficient. This combined with the casual comfort of the whole experience made this one I’m planning on repeating many times over.