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The Food Chain

Which of the big-name restaurant chains comes out on top?

by Leslie Clark

If you’re bringing visitors to eat in the city, sometimes they prefer to stick with familiar places. In that case, chain restaurants can be a great option. This quick guide can help you choose the right spot for every occasion.


by Raysonho on Wikipedia Commons, December 12, 2010

The Pickle Barrel

The atmosphere here is laid-back and comfortable, perfect for a more casual dinner. One drawback is their unbelievably huge menu — over 300 items — which can make deciding on an entrée nearly impossible. On the upside, it does mean that there’s something for everyone. Their sandwiches are usually a good choice. The service at the Atrium location can be slow on busy nights.
Grade: B-

Jack Astor’s Bar and Grill

This chain has four restaurants in the downtown core and even more throughout the GTA. Although their drinks are on the pricy side, they have a lot of delicious options. The atmosphere is lively and fun. The food is a little hit-and-miss, but there are definitely some gems. One of their star menu items are their fresh, never frozen chicken tenders. If you think chicken tenders can’t be exciting, try them sauced.
Grade: B+

Milestones Grill and Bar

The service at these restaurants is generally friendly and efficient. They tend to have a more upscale, cocktail-bar vibe, and with that come higher prices than some other chains. However, they do offer special promos on different nights of the week, and the food is fresh and excellent. If you’re out for drinks, don’t miss their signature frozen Bellini.
Grade: A-

by Leslie Clark, January 3rd, 2012

il Fornello

You can visit this modern Italian chain right here in the area, at Danforth and Pape, but they also have locations in the Beaches and the Entertainment district, as well as other parts of the GTA. This modern Italian chain is a good bet for a romantic date night. Their wood-oven pizzas are a hit, and you can even customize your own if you don’t like any of the menu options. Take note, though, that each location has a slightly different menu, so what you like at one may not be available at another. They also offer a weekend brunch buffet.
Grade: A

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