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Toronto restaurant recommendation

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by SField, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. melwoesblvd

    melwoesblvd Senior member

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    in the japanese countryside? yea you should def try the ramen there, eat as much as possible. what we get here is a fraction of the product as over there. and if you're going to try it here, only go to kinton, and santouka when it opens, the others suck.
     
  2. fwiffo

    fwiffo Senior member

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    I tried Museum Tavern yesterday. The space is nice. I liked the cutlery although the lack of cloth napkins was disappointing. I went in with a flannel suit and it took a whole night to shake off the odour from all the fried foods. I had a "popcorn whitefish" which sounds more exotic than it really is - it's just fish balls fried in batter. Even with the batter seasoning and the mustard tartar looking sauce some pieces of the fish tasted like a cheap tilapia. I can't imagine what it would taste like if it was simply grilled. I also got a few carrot sticks which looked like the outer shell of carrots that I normally would toss out. My dining mate had a trout on a bed of zucchinis which she shared with me - better. But the lunch took forever to show up. We went through two glasses of wine for close to forty minutes before food came to the table. Most people around us appeared to have ordered sandwiches, although the table next to me was begging for their cheque. Luckily our server was quick enough to notice my card when she brought coffee. No explanation for the wait for the entrees and I was rather glad I didn't order dessert or appetizers. If I come again, I'm going to sit near the bar further away from the kitchen.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
  3. closetmess

    closetmess Senior member

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    Add Jacobs & Co. to my ever growing list of Toronto establishments I miss. Maybe I'll fly home for my 30th and have a b-day outing with some buddies there next month.

    Agree on the weak wine selection though . . . That's one area where the U.S. has us licked. For e.g., I go to a place called Vita here in Denver at least once a month on Tuesdays -- they have an 85 bottle wine list they put on half off every Tuesday, and they are already reasonably priced. I find myself paying 15-25% below LCBO prices, with more variety, for some great wines. We usually end up taking down a pre-dinner and appetizer bottle of Cakebread ($36) followed by an Emeritus Pinot Noir ($40) during dinner. Simply impossible in Canada (well, Ontario anyway).
     
  4. melwoesblvd

    melwoesblvd Senior member

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    anyone been to boulouds new spot in 4 seasons? going to have to get over there soon
     
  5. fwiffo

    fwiffo Senior member

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    I read it wasn't that impressive but I have to admit I need an excuse to make it up to Yorkville.

    I did try Bosk at Shangri-La. I wonder how they maintain the pretense of equal opportunity employment since many of the wait staff were chosen blatantly for being Asian. My lunch mate complained the hostess' dress was unzipped but I rather think that was her intention since none of her peers pointed it out to her. And I wasn't going to either. The entrance is rather stupid to Bosk and if you sit by the window you'll see many people struggle to get into the restaurant. I had the soup to start, which is brought over in a flask and then poured into a soup dish in front of you. I then had the lamb sirloin. I asked for medium and it could have easily been mistaken for well done. Service was a bit spotty. I like how the waitress wrote down which utensils to bring over in a cue card. Coffee and espresso are very strong. Milk is served warm and whipped up into a foam; a nice touch. For a $150 lunch with wine, it wasn't exactly earth shattering. Maybe the restaurant is still new but even if it's running well, the food isn't amazing.

    I also went back and revisited Acadia since Patrick Kriss took over. I ate at the bar this time. It's still a busy place. I got two free amuse bouche from the kitchen. One was some kind of crisp from either chicken or pork. And I think the other one was the charred octopus. The curious thing was only one of these was served to a chap who sat next to me and he got half the portion I got. I'm not sure how they judge who gets what. I didn't feel like I waited particularly long for my food so I wasn't sure whether it was compensation. The bartender told me the chef was being generous. I had ordered the grits to start which was very creamy and heavenly. I can't imagine it's heart healthy though. And then I had a chicken leg & liver for entree. I felt the food was different than under Blondin. The portions are the same but I felt the entrees have this deconstructed theme going and the "Acadian" feeling is a bit lost. It's still all good stuff though. The chef appears to spend his time brushing up the presentation of dishes or supervising staff to do it but in the hour or so I was there, he was very present in the kitchen. Cocktails were strong but there isn't a whole lot of choice if you're going for top shelf liquor. Oh and the best thing about eating at the bar is the bartender's offer of a copy of the enroute magazine (the same one from Air Canada) so I was able to flip through that to pass the time. The bad thing was having the wait staff explain the dish and then the bartender re-explaining it again. I'll definitely try again.

    Finally I also tried Michael's on Simcoe which is supposed to be some kind of modern take on a steakhouse. The modernity comes into play with coloured mood lighting. For $30 entrees I expected better food. I had their 7oz tenderloin and a side of mushrooms. Bunch of work mates had salmon, pasta and a steak & focaccia sandwich. I can't say the steak struck me as something special. I thought the wine prices were a bit high too. $11 or $12/glass for a regular malbec? Okay. 4 people, two bottles of wine = $300. The restaurant also needs better signage. I can't remember seeing the name on the front other than an indication the establishment featured steaks and seafood. And when I went downstairs, the hostess station was empty. The restaurant being empty at 12:15p on a Friday didn't help make it more welcoming either.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
  6. philjoe

    philjoe Member

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    Came here this past weekend.. pretty uninspired. Food is OK.. probably similar to Nota Bene.. found it below quality of say Splendido. Decent addition to Yorkville though which was really lacking a good variety of decent dining.
     
  7. TheButler

    TheButler Senior member

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    Canada
    Managed to swing by Momofuku Shoto this week. The architecture of that entire building - the glass cube beside the Shangri La - is impressive. You walk in at street level to the noodle bar, a soaring open space as the 2nd floor above it is mostly catwalk. There is a bar on that 2nd floor which you get to over the catwalk but it is tucked into the hotel side. There are actually two small restaurants on the 3rd floor. We were in Shoto, the staff they said the other side was a more traditional restaurant, asian-inspired.

    Shoto has only a tasting menu, maybe a dozen items, they seat 22 people in groups of 2-4. The space is interesting although awkward with four people. Its taken up by a granite bar, in a big U shape. Everybody sits on the outer edge on high bar chairs and the chefs are working in full sight on the inner side. A bit like eating at the bar at Origin. With 2 or 3 people it would have been fine, with our group even though they seated us wrapped around one the corners, the one on either end tended to be left out of one conversation or another. Watching the chefs is great if you have an interest in cooking, its almost like performance art. The meal took almost 3 hours - I should say I didn't find it interesting enough to keep my attention for that long. Its great to watch the plating - I always suck at that when I cook - everything is very precise, often arranged with large tweezers.

    Overall the food was very good although with that many courses they ranged from ho-hum to fabulous. There was a little amuse of sea urchin in a cranberry sauce but the cranberry just overpowered everything and all you had left was the texture of the urchin. The spaghetti with sardine was...a lot like spaghetti in a carbonara with some fried sardines in it. Yawn. But the fatty goose wontons were great, as was the monkfish, and the foie gras in consomme. 36-hour veal cheek just melted in your mouth. Will definitely go again, would try to keep it to 2 or 3 people. Not the top restaurant I've ever been to but I really enjoyed it. The "can't get a sitting" vibe you get from the NY and Sydney restaurants isn't in place here yet. The guy we were talking to said they were always full near the end of the week but often had a few seats open at the beginning of each.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  8. fwiffo

    fwiffo Senior member

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    I have the whole week in town. I tried Oxley and it's exactly like Queen and Beaver except a few quibbles. The upstairs pub doesn't have the same coziness as the Elm street establishment. There is only one toilet per gender upstairs too. Feeble for a pub. I will try to reserve Shoto to go with my cousin before Christmas.

    I had a horrid 300 dollar dinner at Far Niente. No wonder it was empty on Friday. Service was rubbish and my dinner date refused to eat her tuna steak.

    If it wasn't raining today, I'd try the new Sukothai on Wellington.
     
  9. fwiffo

    fwiffo Senior member

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    I tried the new Suko Thai on Wellington. The place is new - very new. The ratio of wait staff to customers is quite high but the service is still dodgy. We got in and out in fifty minutes but our waiter kept apologizing for the long wait. Starters came without plates. When we finished, he thought we were still eating.

    I had the yellow curry noodles with chicken - except they brought beef. My lunch mate had a red curry something. Portions are large and the curry kept me warm all day. The shrimp fresh rolls were disappointing.

    It's a very dark space and when filled up can be loud. They have a bar but I can't quite see anyone lingering around.
     
  10. mathieu

    mathieu Member

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    I went to Harlem last night on Richmond and Church. Got fried chicken with collard greens and mac and cheese. I enjoyed the atmosphere and they blasted a lot of MJ but I thought the food was just okay.

    Where do you guys go for fried chicken? I still need to try Stockyards. I tried Country General's fried chicken leg sandwich the other day and finished it in two bites.
     
  11. melwoesblvd

    melwoesblvd Senior member

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    def go to stockyards for fried chicken.

    have been to sansotei, raijin and santouka as of late. Have been going to santouka in west LA since 2007 so i knew what to expect. the others were crap. Santouka is the only decent bowl of ramen in the city besides the shoyu at Kinton.

    Had the $1 oysters at delux on tuesday, good deal will def return!
     
  12. fwiffo

    fwiffo Senior member

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    Four ramen places opening in November - am I the only bloke who walks past a ramen place and sees people backed up to the door and moves on because it's just noodles?

    Oh I did make it back to that Ninki Izakaya - I had a Hennessy tasting in Little Italy and had to grab food without freezing my companion for an hour. Since we were the only ones in there, it was amazing it took nearly a half hour to have some skewers and fried karrage (including skin!) out. The yam frites are horrible. I don't know how you can actually make yam that bad. Her spicy calamari was regular fried calamari with orange tinged mayonnaise. I still like the circular ice cubes though.

    Since we had to answer skill testing questions for a shot of XO and I wasn't in any mental shape to, I also tried to get in the Four Seasons lobby bar on a Wednesday night - absolutely full. At the very least they could have directed us upstairs to the Boulud place. We made it over to the Hyatt rooftop bar and even though they had no space as well, they warmed up the brandy glasses and we stood under the heat strip outside while puffing away until the bartender came to get us; the antithetical image of what Hennessy was trying to promote.

    I want to try to fit in Richmond Station or something before I go next week to some village in Ohio.
     
  13. limbo

    limbo Senior member

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    I think I need to try Santouka again. Broth was meh and pork was tough & dry the first time.
     
  14. melwoesblvd

    melwoesblvd Senior member

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    limbo, when did you go and which did you try? thats really surprising to hear because santouka is probably the most consistent ramen-ya i've ever eaten at (20+ bowls under the belt at various locations). 4th time at the toronto santouka yesterday and i had the shio which i haven't had there in years, it was amazing. Ramen is japanese soul food, not just noodles. The complexity of the broth isn't easily understood or processed by most gaijin so i understand how people can simply overlook it. I recommend spicy miso, tsukemen, miso, and shio, in that order. The chashu (pork) was absolutely amazing yesterday, held so much flavour and was very tender.
     
  15. limbo

    limbo Senior member

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    I tried it the week after their soft launch. I had the spicy miso broth with the ikura don combo. Broth, noodles, etc. were all very good. It was the pork that left me wanting more.

    Maybe I'll try it again since everyone else seems to have nothing but positive comments. [​IMG]
     
  16. fwiffo

    fwiffo Senior member

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    Japanese soul food? So it's not just noodles?!
     
  17. mrb87

    mrb87 Member

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    Jacobs is consistently the best steak I've had anywhere, period.
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. mathieu

    mathieu Member

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    I am meeting a friend for dinner next month and I want to try one of Shoto, Canoe or Acadia. I haven't had either of them, any thoughts? I think I might lean towards Acadia, because it seems to have a good, cozy vibe for winter.
     
  19. fwiffo

    fwiffo Senior member

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    Acadia is loud. I don't know how loud Shoto is but Acadia is pretty loud for dinner conversation. The food is great though (I wrote about it under Blondin and then under Kriss). Canoe is probably the most pedestrian and if your schedule isn't flexible, it's easiest to get in since they open for lunches and I think at least one lunch on the weekend. Start at the bar and check out the southern view before going to the dining room. Also you have to reserve to get one of the tables near the window.

    I was just at George last night with my cousin. We did the seven course tasting with a bottle of wine and some cocktails. About $480 + tip. Service was okay. Some of the runners had no idea what they were serving and on the second course some lady came over with a chocolate cake for my cousin. She would have probably eaten it but suffice to say it was inconsistent. Leaving the place, the reception lady got my cousin's coat and thought I should have went out and freeze. But another server came over to sort out everything. Food was nice. It got very heavy towards the last couple of courses. The cheese plate was a bit smaller than I thought though.
     
  20. philjoe

    philjoe Member

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    Also wanted to bring up JaBistro here. Have gone twice during their "soft opening" and have had excellent and sushi. Definitely the best place downtown in my opinion. Don't waste your money at Ki or any of the other overpriced Bay St. places.

    And further to George, I agree that it wasn't overly special. Specifically told them I had a nut allergy and they still brought a dish with nuts in it, luckily for them it wasn't a severe allergy. All we got was a slight apology for ruining our meal.
     

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