Category Archives: GTA-Toronto (West)


472 Queen St W Toronto, ON M5V 2B2
(Bathurst St & Queen St W)

Barchef is voted one of the world’s top cocktail bars! And I agree … especially since they make the “hottest and coolest” drinks in town, literally.

Known for their concoctions, Barchef serves notoriously fun and delicious “molecular” drinks. Mesmerized by the theatrical presentation, “Fire and Ice” is one of my favourites. It is served with one glass in flames, the second with nitrogen ice (with white foggy smoke flowing over the glass), and the third for mixing the two. Hence, the name “Fire and Ice”.

If you’re looking for something less conspicuous, they have a variety of other selections using various intriguing ingredients. If you’re not into alcohol, they also serve innovative virgin cocktails as well. Speak to the chef/bartender.

• Fire & Ice
• Strawberry & Lavender

Good to Know
• Best seats: Couches at the front of the bar
• Service: Friendly, helpful and outgoing (I forgot my camera so the bartender was kind enough to take the photo on this blog for me. Thanks Aaron!!)
• Atmosphere: Dark, artsy, gothic
• Ideal for: Drinks, date
• Attire: Trendy, casual, smart casual,
• Reservations recommended: No
• Patio recommended: No

Barchef on Urbanspoon


Seoul Restaurant

621 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G 1K8
(Christie & Bloor)
(416) 532-9669

Although this place lacks “atmosphere”, it is one of my favourite Korean restaurants in the area (and there are lots to choose from).

• Pork Bone Soup (Gam Ja Tang)
• Galbi (ribs on iron plate) with rice

Good to Know
• Best seats: No particular preference
• Service: Nice
• Atmosphere: Basic (looks like a family run business)
• Ideal for: Casual, quick eat, take out, budget/deal seekers
• Attire: Casual (almost anything goes)
• Reservations recommended: No
• Patio recommended: N/A

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Tiny Tom Donuts & Coffee on Urbanspoon

Buk Chang Dong

691 Bloor St.W Toronto, ON M6G 1L3
(Christie & Bloor)
T: (416) 537-0972

A perfectly delicious way to warm up on a cold winter day with a Korean stew (chigae) meal. This restaurant has a nine-item menu, six of which are chigaes. All entrees are between $7 to $9 each.

Chigae comes with a stone pot of rice (and a raw egg which you break into the stew to cook). After they scoop the rice into your bowl, they add water into the stone pot to prevent the remaining rice from sticking. You can eat this with your spoon as you would with congee. You can also add salt if it tastes bland.

Your meal also comes with several small apps – usually miso beans, sprouts, seaweed, and kimchi. Other options other than chigae include Bibimbap (a bowl of rice with mixed vegetable and beef on top) and Bolgogi (fried beef on an iron plate).

• Vegetable Soon Tofu Chigae (if you are vegetarian)
• Bolgogi
• Stone Pot Bibimbap
• Any of the chigae – you have the option of “white” (not spicy), mild, medium or regular spicy and extra spicy. (Be sure to request your preference. Otherwise, the default is “regular spicy”).

Good to Know
• Best seats: Near the windows. This restaurant is tightly packed (intended for quick dining).
• Service: Okay
• Atmosphere: Simple. Tightly packed – tables are very close to each other. (Min privacy)
• Ideal for: Casual, quick eat, take out, budget
• Attire: Casual
• Reservations recommended: N/A
• Patio recommended: N/A
• Hours of operation: Open 7 days a week (11am to 10/10:30pm)

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Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu on Urbanspoon

The Spoke Club Restaurant

600 King St. W., Toronto, ON M5V 1M3
(Bathurst & King)
T: (416) 368-8448

The Spoke Club is an exclusive private member club for people in media and arts. This is a great place to mix and mingle with creative and talented artsy folks.

The Club has three floors. The lower floor is usually used for events. Main floor is the main dining room and bar for meetings and gatherings. The rooftop patio is large and great place to hangout in the summer for drinks.

I recommend ordering drinks/cocktails at the main (level) bar. (I find they have a bigger selection than at the patio bar).

• Prix fixe menu – two course ($25) or three course ($35)
• Fresh Berry and Cocoa Martini

Good to Know
• Best seats: Anywhere in the main dining room
• Service: Good
• Atmosphere: Main floor is contemporary and trendy; Patio is spacious and great for holding events and private functions.
• Ideal for: Mix & mingling, events/functions, birthday celebrations, after work drinks
• Attire: Casual, business, trendy, smart casual
• Reservations recommended: Members only
• Patio recommended: Yes
• Getting there: When you get to 600 King St, get on the elevators and press 3. This will lead you to the club’s reception area.

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The Harbord Room

89 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON  M5S 1G4
(Spadina Ave & Harbord St)
(416) 962-8989

The Harbord Room is one of the quaint and cozy little restaurants on Harbord Street. Overall, the food was fresh and delicious.

Good to Know
• Best seats: Patio or the table with sofa chairs next the window at the front (This spot might be a bit chilly in the winter because the windows don’t look like they are will insulated.)
• Service: Good
• Atmosphere: Cozy
• Ideal for: Date, small gatherings
• Attire: Smart casual; trendy; business
• Reservations recommended: Yes
• Patio recommended: Yes

The Harbord Room on Urbanspoon

Sushi Kaji Restaurant

860 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M8Z
(Islington & The Queensway)
T: (416) 252-2166  

Sushi Kaji is popular for their omakase. (“Omakase” is similar to a tasting menu in which you are served a number of smaller dishes, one at a time, and each dish is chosen by the chef. Some restaurants do not allow substitutes.)

The chef prepares and puts a lot of thought and consideration to each omakase dish. Sushi Kaji offers three menus to choose from: $80, $100, and $120 (not including beverage, tip or tax). Although it was pricey, I felt it was worth it. Think of the dining experience as an “artistic culinary dinner”.

• Look at each of the three menus and see which combination of dishes you like more. (The menus change daily depending on what’s fresh and in season.) If it is your first time doing omakase, you might want to go with the $80 menu, which should suffice. The more expensive ones usually offer a little more quantity and quality. No matter which menu you choose, you will not be disappointed.
• To go with your meal, try a can of Japanese beer (i.e. Sapporo or Asahi) or Plum Wine (with ice) if you prefer something sweeter.

Good to Know
• Best seats: At the sushi bar (if you’re not looking to have a private discussion over dinner)
• Service: Server introduced each dish that was served and was diligent in attending to my queries. (If I had a question and he didn’t know the answer, he’d relay it to the chef and then got back to me.)
• Atmosphere: Unpretentious, cozy, wooden furniture
• Perfect date place: Romance, birthday, anniversary, parents, and others
• Make reservations: Yes, especially during holidays
• Attire: Smart casual, casual
• Patio: No
• Convenience: Parking spots available on Queensway; there is also a small parking lot beside the restaurant
• Warning: The food is freshly served (so fresh that the amaebi shrimp sashimi was still moving when it was brought to my table).

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Kaji on Urbanspoon

Julie’s Cuban Restaurant

202 Dovercourt Road, Toronto, Ontario, M6J 3C8
(Ossington Ave & Dundas St W)
T: (416) 532-7397

Julie decorates her restaurant with nostalgic trinkets, magazines and toys, which make you feel comfortable and right at home. This was the only place in Toronto that sold Crystal beer. Unfortunately the last few times I was there, they said they were having difficulty reordering it. (I’ll keep you posted if I hear they are selling it again.)

• Ceviche – fish cooked in lime juice
• Strawberry Artichoke Salad
• Potaje de Frijoles Negros – black bean soup, Cuban Style
• Coconut Shrimp
• Tostones Rellenos – plantain cups filled with avocado (picadillo or shrimp)
• Guava Cocktail

Good to Know
• Best seats: The two tables (for a party of 2-3) beside the window at the front
• Service: Friendly
• Atmosphere: Very casual, nostalgic, homely (The restaurant is small but they have a back room as well.)
• Ideal for: Date, casual gathering
• Attire: Casual
• Reservations recommended: Yes
• Patio recommended: Yes
• Convenience: Some street parking on Dovercourt (but limited). If you’re looking for parking, it’s easier to park if you are driving south along Dovercourt, towards Queen St.

Julie's Cuban on Urbanspoon

The Hoof Cafe

923 Dundas St W, Toronto, Ontario
(Bathurst & Dundas)
T: (416) 551-8854

I am generally not a meat lover or a charcuterie fan but the food here is delicious. Glancing at the menu, I was shocked to see unusual items (i.e. duck tongue, bone marrow, etc) but Chef Grant van Gameren did such an amazing job of combining taste, texture, and presentation that I didn’t really mind it at all… in fact, I loved it!

• Figgy Cocktail (very strong) and Pumpkin Spice Cocktail
• Duck Tongue and Kale Salad (with a smoky/savory dressing)
• Bone Marrow with Bread (the marrow was oily but delicious; tasted very similar to warm pate.)
• BBQ Pork Ribs

Good to Know• Best seats: Along the back wall (but the cafe is very small so you don’t have many choices of where to sit)
• Service: Friendly and helpful
• Atmosphere: Cool silver ceilings, very trendy and casual place
• Ideal for: Date, casual, small parties
• Attire: Trendy, smart casual, artsy
• Reservations: N/A (but go there early because the lineups can be long)
• Patio: N/A
• Convenience: Street parking on Dundas (but limited)
• Options: The Black Hoof Restaurant and The Hoof Cafe are across from one another. If you don’t want to wait in line, you can run across the street and check to see if they have seats available there. The menus are similar; the main difference is that the orders are smaller at the cafe.

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Hoof Cafe on Urbanspoon

Chiado Restaurant

864 College Street, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3
(Ossington Ave & College St)
T: (416) 538-1910

I felt like I was in a fine dining restaurant in Portugual when the server brought the daily seafood platter to our table. I had the option of going with the Chef’s Special or choosing one of the daily imported seafood. (If you have a preference of how you like your fish cooked, you can put a request in to the chef. I hear the chef is very accomodating.)

• Any fish or seafood entree
• Arugula and Fresh Figs Salad – with slivers of aged Lourais cheese
• Mixed Fresh Berries Dessert – a medley of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries in a chocolate meshed net

Good to Know
• Service: Our server was great. He was knowledgeable, funny and had lots of personality.
• Atmosphere: Classy decor with oil canvas paintings and gold frames around the walls of the restaurant.
• Ideal for: Business, romance, quiet dinner
• Attire: Business, smart casual
• Reservations recommended: No (it wasn’t packed the times I went, but it’s nice to call ahead)
• Patio recommended: N/A

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Chiado on Urbanspoon