Toronto’s most unusual dining venue – Part 2 – For Location

So in the last blog I chose to feature dining experiences set apart by their access to spectacular views of Toronto

This article features restaurants categorized according to their out-of -the-ordinary locations:

• The Rectory Cafe on Toronto Island
A slice of cottage country on the City’s doorstep, The secluded oasis that is Rectory Cafe is located on Ward island within a shady sun- dappled copse scooched up to The Island’s tree lined board walk.
With interesting menu options and cocktails this is a delightful place to dine at any time of day but an especially beguiling venue in the evening when most of the day trippers have returned home as it is open till 10pm in the summer.

Arriba Restaurant – Renaissance Hotel
From its magnificent vantage point high up in the Rogers Skydome a meal at Arriba combines dynamic dining with an opportunity to catch a Blue Jays game. A window-on-the-game meal is served with a side of baseball snippets by enthusiastic serving staff.

Auberge du Pommier
One wouldn’t just come across this Oliver and Bonacini owned gem, as this tiny French restaurant – carefully restored around two 1860’s woodcutters cottages – is tucked away off the beaten track, and shrouded amongst the densely packed skyscrapers of one of North York’s busy financial and business districts
Serving the most delectable and much lauded French food in a atmospheric wood- smoke drenched space complete with a huge wood burning fireplace.

• Gallery Grill at Hart House
Shades of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts: dine in this intimate gallery overlooking the gothic Great Hall with its vaulted ceiling and oak panelling or choose a table overlooking the sculpture garden. Sumptuous well served food and look out for the innovative cocktails -which also appear evening-side from 7pm Wednesday to Fridays.

The Old Mill Hotel is a quaint and historic setting for afternoon tea – There has been a tea garden here since 1914. A restored black and white timber framed hotel in a leafy enclave of West Toronto; its motto is “In the valley of the Humber, a bit of England, far from England”. And a taste of old England is exactly what you’ll get:
Afternoon Tea is served
Monday – Friday from 3:00 -5pm, 2-4pm on Saturdays and 3:30-5pm on Sundays.
You’ll need to book ahead

Osgoode Hall Dining Room
The restaurant in this grand circa 1840 building, and home of the Law Society of Upper Canada is the haunt of the legal eagles and those in the know. Have lunch amidst the wood panelled pomp of the Great Hall with its book lined shelves, monster chandeliers, stained glass and mezzanine gallery.
A fabulous crisp fresh menu is served on weekday lunchtimes from September until June. You can opt for either prix fix at around $25 for 2 courses or you can go “off -piste” with a la carte look out for the range of E Lustau sherries

Over and Out



Toronto – Tailor-made for Mothers

Or Ten best Toronto outings things to amuse your Mother
Having just had a visit from my darling Mother – from the UK, I spent many hours lining up a series of bits and bobs to keep us amused. Despite this being her third trip here in six years, trust good old Toronto to just keep on delivering on the fun stuff.
With our gorgeous (for the most part) summer weather and the tourist season in full swing, I discovered a whole host of new things for us to share. This is a very special time for the two of us – Having cleared my diary completely and with only the dog to worry about, we spent our days ambling around Toronto and beyond (actually make this haring around as neither Mum or I can stay in one place for very long), exception being the AGO which needs at least 3 hours – or more if you are a member with access to the Members lounge – an excuse to lounge around eating and drinking coffee/wine in the space that was the original Manor House from which the old AGO sprung
Warning – started this blog with great intentions and an incisive list of “To-dos with your Mother”, and realised that there were dozens of things we’d done as Mother and daughter over the last few years. so list has had to be categorized into 10 separate lists. Go Toronto……
Unusual cafes/restaurants:
Campbell House lunch and tour – They now have a restaurant on the premises which would be worth a look – we didn’t unfortunately get around to this…
Osgoode Hall – Mainly the lunch domain of barristers and lawyers, the refectory in Osgoode Hall – just off Queen and University serves up a stupendous 3 course lunch. great value. Tel: 4169473300 for reservations. Opens again after Labour day.
Toronto Athletic Club breakfast in the Stratus resaurant at the top of the Adelaide Centre building – 416-865-1924.
The Good Old Panorama lounge inthe Manu-Life Centre on Bloor – sit on the balcony 55 floors up for “Panoramic” view of the city and Lake. look in sidebar for details
For drinks with a view – Canoe Restaurant – don’t need a reservation if you are just having a drink – Tel: 4163640054
Hart House brunch in The Gallery Grill –
The Art Cafe is one of the nicest of the cafes lining the street opposite the AGO as they serve a huge array of sweet and savoury crepesin the midst of its tiny art gallery, oh AND a great espresso – there are also a couple of tables outside in the shady courtyard or on the entrance patio that seem to be positioned so as to capture any sun going.
Coco Rogue ( coming soon) and or Marocco Chocolate for chocolate based high tea –
Soma at The Distillery does “special” drinking chocolate – the chilli chocolate is divine but not for the faint hearted!
Art Galleries/Museums
The main museums/Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)Royal Ontario Museum (ROM); Gardner Museum; (and do a spot of pottery creation in the Pottery studio in the basement) The Textile Museum and Bata shoe Museum. Walk along far Queen Street West to look in all the smaller lesser -known galleries, the best being Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art . See for a list of all the galleries along this stretch of Toronto. for a list of all the galleries in this area. Also some cute galleries on Dundas Street West opposite the AGO and in the Distillery District.
Afternoon tea
The Royal York;
King Edward Hotel
Windsor Arms
the Red Tea Box -Tel: 416 203 3882
Check out and subscribe to email update for great deals on the many shows that come to Toronto – Billy Elliott rocks by the way
Dream in High Park – this year a Winter’s Tale 8pm (not on Mondays) – finishes next week
The Rex Hotel or Reservoir Lounge for your Mother’s favourite Jazz
The Royal Conservatory – Koerner hall for your Mother’s favourite classical Music
Anywhere the “National Theatre of the World” is playing ( see Bread & Circus blog), The Comedy Club (Eglinton) or Second City if your Mother has an open mind and sense of humour.
Day trips:
Niagara wineries –
Caledon – Gorgeous Mill restaurant and Spa plus many antique shops in the village and lets not forget the nearby “Badlands”
McMichael Gallery at Kleinburg for group of Seven Collection and wonderful hikes. The village is very pretty too.
St Jacobs – Mennonite Museum and great Mennonite Farmers Market.
Elora – Again great Mill restaurant (overlooking Elora Gorge), cute shops and good hiking trails.
Stratford’s Shakespeare Festival – continues until the Fall – see sidebar/Theatre category for Link.
Toronto Islands – starting with an ice cream and espresso at Island Cafe just off the ferry point at Wards Island, a leafy shady stroll through the cutsey cottages; The Rectory café; watch people playing disc golf – *Disc golf is a disc game in which individual players throw a flying disc into a basket or at a target . Hiring a bike; “charabang” four wheeler; canoe or kayak may be questionable depending upon your Mother’s age, but all of these can be found on the island. The nudist beach might also be a No-no – well go on just a peek!!!
Walks/half days
Ravine walks in Toronto worth a day “out” (technically) of the noise of the city.
The Brickworks just off the Don Valley Parkway – best on Sundays when the antique market sets up – will do separate blog on this as great board walk and paths through the wetlands area’ . Few Cafes and shops here too and great “brickworks’ workshop space. We’re talking Eco and sustainability at the Brickworks by the way.
Newly discovered between The Redpath sugar factory and the new CORUS building on east Lakeshore, a cocktail of sun umbrellas and white sand.
Cherry Beach – better for the Martin Goodman trail walk behind it.
The Beaches in general
Toronto Island – take your pick.
Toronto Botanical Gardens
Spadina House and Gardens
Casa Loma I put this visit off for years – worth a separate blog of its own.
Allan Gardens
The Distillery District for cobbled meanderings amongst artsy shops/cafes/galleries and restaurants.
The tiny zoo at Riverdale
Toronto Zoo – should be categorized under walks/Days out but is both. Set in beautiful Rouge Park – forget the animals in glorious (often) barrier (yes they are enclosed but most are roaming in oodles of space) – you’ll definitely need your trainers/walking shoes for this one.
Finally, how about living like Princesses and having a day/half day by the pool on one of the upper levels of the Fours Seasons Hotel!!