Where to eat before the opera

Starting with the 2006-2007 season, the Canadian Opera Company moved from its longtime home at what used to be the O’Keefe Centre near Union Station to a distinguished new building at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue. This opens up multiple possibilities for great food before or after the opera. A few recommendations:

Nota Bene, 180 Queen St W. This new restaurant, a few doors west of University Avenue in the new federal courts building on the north side of Queen, is a new hot location for dining. Their usual dinner menu will set you back a fair amount, but from 5:00 to 6:30 on show nights they have a special pre-show menu with a selection of dishes from their dinner menu. It’s only $27 for two courses or $35 for three, meaning you can have a nice dinner for two with a glass of wine each for around $100. Reservations recommended. 416-977-6400

Babur, 273 Queen Street W. This fine Indian restaurant is on the south side of Queen a few blocks further west. They offer the usual varied menu with above-average food quality in a clean, modern setting.  Reservations recommended. 416-599-7720

The Queen Mother Cafe, 208 Queen Street W.  This has been a popular establishment on Queen for over thirty years — apparently back in the days it was frequented by such cultural luminaries as Margaret Atwood. These days it serves a pan-global, Asian-accented menu — good fusion food — with an interesting, reasonably priced wine list. They do not take reservations for small parties, and they fill up fast, so you need to get there early. 416-518-4719

Korean Grill House, 214 Queen Street W. This is not the place to go if you’re going to the opera in your tux. But it’s a great cheap-and-cheerful, grill your own dinner place with fast service and good food. 416-263-9850

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