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Toronto restaurant recommendation - Page 63

post #931 of 971
AOK Foods - I tried the ramen and my lunch mate had the wonton. Communal seating - the ramen came out pretty quick and on a Monday the place was almost empty. It tasted like noodles al dente. Maybe I don't get this ramen stuff.

Circled back to The Grove. I tried the five course tasting menu. To be honest, the savoury entrees are the best at this place. This time it was a lamb. I wasn't too impressed with the appetizers. Rhubarb dessert was also not really for me. For a Tuesday night it was packed and pretty loud. They sent me to Churchills next door for drinks.

Bellwoods Brewery - finally made it out here. Didn't have the food but I worked the beer menu up & down. I sat upstairs and was surprised for a beer place they only have one toilet. Pretty laid back atmosphere. I'd come here again but I tried a lot of beers and couldn't find one I really liked. There was one that tasted somewhat like Leffe. Waitress serving us had a raccoon hat on.

Hapa Izakaya - Had some eats and then sat there at the bar getting completely wasted. I emptied their bottle of Chivas and they started doing iced Jameson shots for free with me. I have no idea why. The place was also pretty dead for a Wednesday and the waitresses are no longer as pretty as before.

The Painted Lady - I think I was the only bloke who showed up after work here in a suit & tie. There was live music in the back but I didn't go there. There was only one bartender on a Tuesday night. She periodically goes out for a smoke which leaves people sitting at the bar and people wanting drinks very uneasy. Also I had no idea it was cash only. Toilet downstairs is illuminated with an eerie neon blue glow. And since you can't see anything else in the dark, it makes it all the more appealing.

Oh I also tried Jabistro for dinner. I had the sashimi platter. Some of the sashimi choices were a bit weird - for example I still have no idea why you have to eat fish scales. Don't people have fishmongers remove those? Anyway, the restaurant is better populated at dinner. The menu is better too for fish. Lot of foodies coming in taking photographs. There was a table in the back celebrating a birthday - rather weird place to do it to be honest.
post #932 of 971
great writeups fwiffo, keep them coming!

went to richmond street last night, excellent burger (much better than the one i had at marben in nov.)
post #933 of 971
Spur of the moment trip to Toronto and trying to find a great place to eat last minute on a Saturday night has been a challenge reservation wise.

Right now I am going with Zucca Trattoria. Other options were Buca (very late at night) or Yours Truly (bar seating only). Any ideas?
post #934 of 971
hit Campagnolo with my brother a couple weeks back. it was excellent and the value for money was actually surprising. $29 for the sous vide rib eye...

the pasta dishes and apps were also excellent.

looking forward to going again
post #935 of 971
Quote:
Originally Posted by melwoesblvd View Post

great writeups fwiffo, keep them coming!

went to richmond street last night, excellent burger (much better than the one i had at marben in nov.)

Oh I rather gave up on it since no one really replied.

I tried Bazara for lunch one day. The place was pretty empty and looked like it attracted local business for takeaway - maybe other restaurant workers. We had the prix fixe menu. For a place that pitches itself as a Japanese place, the lunch menu is frightfully short on anything really Japanese. I tried the black rice avocado roll - okay, not something I'd go out of my way for again somewhat like brown rice. Spicy salmon rolls - okay, you could get that in a grocery store. I had the onyako don which was average. My lunch mate had a thai curry which she liked. Couple of glasses of wine and we were in and out in an hour. If I'm back on the Ossington strip, I'd probably venture a little further away palate wise but it looks like a quiet place. The dining area and bar are separate.

Went back to Ryoji for the ramen. I tried shio and tonkatsu. Obviously the chicken one was lighter but the ingredients I couldn't really tell from the two. Lunch mate preferred the chicken because it was less meaty (gamey? less porky?) and you get a choice of how al dente you want the noodles. I asked for regular which was already pretty al dente so I don't know if the other option was raw or something. At lunch they only attract student crowds who pile in by half dozen for the ramen and quickly leave.

I've been mostly doing corporate lunches. I did a $400 one at Bosk. Service hasn't really improved since I went. The water pouring waitress and the actual waitress both went to get me a digestif and I got a free one. At the beginning of lunch, one took a cocktail order and one took the wine order but neither bothered to do the menu so one course took an hour and half to be done and cleared (by a suit wearing manager no less) and then dessert couldn't come quick enough for one of my lunch mates so I had gets hers in a take away box. It's a nice place. They are experimenting with the patio but University is notoriously windy so I don't know how they can make it work. They have fresh juices and the same water set up outside; by water I mean the long curvy glass that looks like it's going to break on every second use. Food was okay. I liked the duck confit but a French place would have done it better. There really isn't anything purely Asian on the lunch menu as someone in my party remarked. You get some sesame oil, some Asian mushrooms, soya sauce or the odd bok choy.

I also did a $600 private room lunch with Vertical which was a complete disaster. I will never go there again with more than drinks at a patio or lunch for more than two. Their entrée prices are almost as high as Bosk and the service was absolutely horrid. I wish I could retract the + x% gratuity.

Otherwise I've been going to old haunts (Spirit House, etc.) trying to stay away from patios. For Leafs games nights I spent most of them at bars without televisions which was nice. The bartender would give me a verbal report every 10 or 15 minutes.

I should have some time to try new places. Was thinking of Rock Lobster, Lisa Marie, and Happy Hooker this week.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveB View Post

Spur of the moment trip to Toronto and trying to find a great place to eat last minute on a Saturday night has been a challenge reservation wise.

Right now I am going with Zucca Trattoria. Other options were Buca (very late at night) or Yours Truly (bar seating only). Any ideas?

Yours Truly only does tasting menus now I think. Maybe try Chantecler, everyone raves about that tasting menu these days. If you're willing to compromise with bar seating (you mentioned Buca so I wasn't sure whether you were interested in posh) and want something new, maybe try Electric Mud or Bar Isabel. I think Ursa is also open tonight with a tasting menu too.
post #936 of 971
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwiffo View Post

Chantecler

i have to disagree on this one.

we heard the hype and tried it out... honestly couldn't figure out what to order off that menu, nothing was very appealing so we just ordered all of it... and still nothing was notable at all and it took forever. a rare degree of failure in my recent experiences. usually i'm with friends but this time i was with my wife and she was pretty disappointed with the whole experience.
post #937 of 971
Went to Enoteca Sociale for the first time two weeks ago. I don't see the hype at all. Atmosphere is ok and food was average. I understand these things are subjective but I wouldn't go back....especially with libretto so close smile.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwiffo View Post

Might be easier if you go on chowhound or something to ask for that.

I went to Midfield Wine Bar this week. It's more of a neighbourhood place. Someone brought a toddler in at 10pm but okay. Service can get a little hectic if the place is full as on a Thursday it seems like only the owner was manning the front. We had a bottle and a couple other glasses. We also had the cheese platter. Contrary to what reviews last year said, they have more food choices now. It's more than cheese and charcuterie and they're spelled out on the chalkboard. A word of caution to folks bringing female company, you're going to have give up your jacket especially if you sit near the front where insulation is dodgy at best. I didn't try to ask whether they accepted Interac and ended up paying cash around $170 for the night for two.

Also dropped by Enoteca Sociale (waiting for Midfield to open up). The food isn't as good as before. At least I don't think so. The seafood stew is completely different than when van Gameren redesigned the menu. And the restaurant is attracting a slew of different people - I saw at least one multi generational family, a table of Chinese folks (at an Italian wine bar ordering by the bottle) and the usual hipster crowd.
post #938 of 971
Sorry about Chantecler. I assumed everyone is doing the tasting menu in front of the kitchen though because I don't see many reviews cover anything else.

Enoteca Sociale has not been the same since Grant van Gameren left.


I had the same things from when he was in charge and when he wasn't in February the food was vastly different. I agree.
post #939 of 971
is enoteca sociale the one at ossington and dundas ?

i was there 3 or so years go, it was decent but nothing to rush back to.
post #940 of 971
Quote:
Originally Posted by bings View Post

is enoteca sociale the one at ossington and dundas ?

i was there 3 or so years go, it was decent but nothing to rush back to.

The last good meal I had was December 2011. That was when Grant van Gameren currently of bar isbael fame was there.

I finally made the trip to Momofuku noodle bar. I didn't understand what the big deal was. I had better ramen at Ryoji and even Aok. The buns were tasty but obviously not very healthy at all. I ate facing the kitchen so I could see the assembly line there. Service was dodgy. I could barely get the cheque when I wanted to leave. Apparently you can make reservations now (at a ramen place!).

I also stopped by Happy Hooker. The music in here is horrendously loud. It's so overbearing I could barely hear the lady behind the counter tell me the marlin burger and mahi mahi sold out. I had to settle for the pacific cod sandwich and two of the tacos. People seem to drop by here for about 10-15 minutes and then leave so the turnaround is very quick. There is also nothing hot here. My lunch mate wanted a coffee and I couldn't get it for her. It's cash only too. I would try to come back but only if the music is less overwhelming.
post #941 of 971
I forgot a few spots I dropped by.

Fiore - which is off Yonge and Temperance (where the forthcoming The Chase restaurant will be) is more like a sandwich shop. When I came in I thought it was all take away but there are actually two wait staff helping you pick something. Their dinner is skewed to pastas but lunch is all sandwiches except one pasta special. There is the usual salad. All the sandwiches come on the same style bread so whether you pick turkey or steak or whatever, it's just one thing or the other. Lunch mate had her veggie sandwich with grilled vegetables. I had the turkey with sweet potato frites. Glasses of wine are cheap here. You get 9 oz or something for $6. Unfortunately they don't chill their wine and most patrons were interested in beer of which they have a few on tap. Quick place to drop in and out for food around the financial district but not somewhere to get your hopes up. Getting the attention of the wait staff is impossible after they think they're done with you.

I also went to the Dineen cafe spot which is next door to Fiore. I first went there for coffee. Then I went there for lunch. They have no heating equipment so the quiches can be frozen beyond being edible. The sandwiches are okay - I like the variety at petit thuet better. The coffee beverages are great, though, and the staff are really nice. The space is also very interesting and I like the old time jazz soundtrack. It reminds me a little bit of Paris.
post #942 of 971
whatever job you have fwiffo, that affords you all this eating out, i need it.
post #943 of 971
I only spend about 3k or so a month. A lot of the places for lunch I need to cab or do uber to get back to Bay street in two hours.

I don't tell you about the usual haunts and the corporate places I go to. (biffs, reds, vertical, aria, e11even, hotels. etc)
post #944 of 971
Dropped by Ezra's pound for coffee. Okay. Seemed like another hipster coffee place.

Hoof Raw Bar and Café closes (again for the café). Some Haitian restaurant from Jen Agg is going to go up in its place. I guess that means Jonathan Poon goes back to focusing on Chantecler - although I don't know how he could have done both.

The good news is everyone is out of town so I have some time to try some places on my own (Craft Dog, Santosei, etc). The bad news is I'm on my own for a few weeks.
post #945 of 971
I went to Carmen last night for dinner. For a Saturday early evening I was surprised I even got bar seats. We had a bunch of tapas and the lobster paella. Sardines were canned and arrived in the can. I had better. My dining mate devoured the rabbit rillet. I had the Serrano jambon? It was like a normal cured ham. This is not the special one flown in like Patria. We also had some unknown sausage which came with some beans.

That set the stage up for the paella. The lobster was a little small. I reckon no more than a kilo. The head had a little something inside but not much and it was definitely a male lobster as there were no eggs. The paella was nice but not earth shattering. It did take full 45 minutes to show up though. The bus boy would not take it away from our table until we scraped the burnt bits from the pan. Okay. I've had the same with Chinese food so I understand the crunchy burnt rice texture. Couple of cocktails made it 120 plus tip. People were still queuing after 9pm. It's a loud space. You can talk to the one person beside you but I can't imagine what would happen with a big table. The servers are all very young but cordial. This is queen west. You get everyone from those wearing shorts to a couple dressed like they were going out in the 1950s, suit, tie.

Toronto Life just gave Woods a two star review. And then Globe and Mail gave Woods a zero star saying only the spaghetti and meatballs is worth having. I will have to check it out myself.
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