Hey Toronto. I've spent a lot of time reading this informative and (sometimes overwhelming) board to try and set up a few choices for five days I'll be spending in your fine city next week. To that end, I've identified quite a few places I'd like to hit up and I thought I'd just post what I've sussed out for comment and also to ask if there's anything near to my hotel that's an absolutely-don't-miss that I've somehow overlooked. Before proceeding, just a couple of notes:
1.) I'm staying at the Sheraton Centre at Queen St W and will not have transportation, so mostly I'm concentrating on stuff down that way. I realize from reading the boards that for certain things (like Chinese + Thai food) there's some better options farther away, but I'll mostly be looking for places that are in a couple mile radius from there. Not scared of a little travel, but I won't be likely to stray way north or anything..
2) Right now I live in between Providence and Boston where the great Asian food choices are fairly sparse, so I'm likely to be more forgiving on stuff like dim sum or pho etc than those of you who are used to a wealth of choices. So if things are solid but maybe not spectacular by Toronto standards, I'm probably going to be perfectly happy. It's really relative...
That said, here's the main places I want to try out. Again, if there's any real "don't miss" spots anywhere near my hotel or any local specialties I haven't found, I'd love to be clued in to that if you so choose.
--Lai Wah Heen and Rol San for dim sum downtown. These look like fair options to me for downtown, and again coming from Boston way I think these are going to look comparatively fine. It's possible we might get to Grand Chinese on the way in from the airport too, which looks pretty promising.
--Buk Chang Dong Soon To Fu and/or Ka Chi for Korean.
--Mengrai Gourmet Thai. This seems close by for my hotel, though there seems to be some division of opinion on it. (Actually, there seems to be division of opinion on lots of Toronto spots, which makes this board both interesting and hard to sort out for an outsider!) Anyone want to go to bat for another option?
--Chinatown: Mother's dumplings--this seems like a good Chinatown dumpling spot, and there was also a pinstripe princess rec. for da lu noodles which seemed worth a shot. Kom Jug Yuen for roast pork. Chinese Traditional Buns for northern Chinese and Xian pork sandwich.
--Carousel Bakery: for the peameal bacon sandwich. Right?
--Poutine: Smoke's Poutinerie? Unsure on this one, seems close and this is something I am totally novice at. Will entertain any emotional picks to the contrary that are in the area...
--Jamaican/roti--Ackee Tree. This looks fine and relatively close, though I saw a little carping about it.
--Kensington Market: seems like I should eat Jumbo Empanadas here? Will likely get here at least once and there seems to be lots of options, but that's one that keeps coming up.
--Omi Japanese on Carlton. Need one Japanese dinner while here. This one looks like it’ll do the trick and is just a couple km. Also, Ematei looks like a good place for me to get a quick izakaya lunch 5 minutes away…
--Vietnamese--Pho Phuong seems very promising, though it's a few km and may be on the outside range of what I'm looking for. Any decent banh xeo anywhere closer? Will probably also try to do the Mon Oc thing at Bun Saigon, that looks like something I've never had and won't get much chance to 'round here. Also would like pho in Chinatown if possible, but it’s hard to disseminate what people think. Pho Hung seems close, but isn’t well championed.
Indian—I love Indian food, though if I missed it here it probably wouldn’t break my heart. Still, it looks like Little India is REALLY close to my hotel which might make it a good stop for a quick lunch while taking a break from conference stuff.
Requests: Breakfast and/or bakeries: here is where I would really like some input. Not sure what is best really close to 100 block of Queen St w. I would also love opinions on any good offal or game suggestions nearby—I swear that I had found a place close that had lots of amazing charcuterie and the like, but damned if I can find it now. I should have bookmarked it. I could handle a meal or two at a higher priced place if they had options along these lines, though mostly I’ll be trying to do my employers a favor and keeping meal costs relatively low for the five days.
Anyway, that’s most of what I have found so far. Thank you all for your many posts and your excellent suggestions. It’s been fun trying to sort things out from this board, though a little exhausting at times! Hope that I’ve done enough background work on my own to garner some further input. What say ye?