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Posts Tagged ‘ossington’

January = a month of tiny gluttony. I know, two words that should never sit side by side.

And 23 days too late.

In my pathetically weak defense, I DID start this post 23 days ago. And if I don’t complete, N will shoot me her “work/life balance” look. So let’s give a try (speaks the girl who’s going on vacation for 3 weeks in 3 days).

Hello tapas. Hello Wine Bar, Malena and Salt Wine Bar. Sans photography, written snapshots.
Hope you enjoy :)

 

{WINE BAR}

Sorely disappointed. Wasn’t overly enthused about the menu (which changes on a daily basis), but still optimistic a few dishes would stand out. Sadly, no. Qualicum bay scallops were overcooked, tomato ratatouille too sweet for the braised beef cheek, and the B.C fluke, pulled pork poutine and risotto simply didn’t live up to their expectations. Enough moaning, you get it. Highlights: Beautiful use of the space. Ambiance. Open kitchen. And we all admired the pickled jars lining the back wall & the recipe wallpaper in the ‘loo. Would I recommend to others? Negative.

http://www.9church.com/
9 Church Street
416.504.9463

 

{MALENA}

Beautifully serene, with meticulous attention to detail – from decor to the menu designs, it’s quite lovely. You do feel as if you’re a guest in someone’s house, even if it’s accompanied by the feeling that one must be on their best behaviour. Fitting for its Yorkville locale. Dishes are influenced by some Greek love, some Italian love, and all quite memorable. Worthy of the prices? Debatably no. Would I recommend to others? Debatably no. Unless, it’s a special treat. Then, by all means yes.

Outstanding

Rodney’s oysters on the half shell – agro dolce & ‘bomba’
Seared maine scallops with winter squash & raddichio risotto

Honourable Mentions

Grilled octopus with pancetta & root vegetable fregola, greek yogurt & orange agro dolce
Sheep’s milk ricotta gnudi with braised rabbit, spinach & crisp parsnip

Sadly, forgettable

Squid ink chitarra & lobster with tomato, fresh herbs & calabrian chillies
Warm chocolate budino with local preserved strawberries, honeycomb & fresh whipped cream 9.
Greek honey ‘loukoumades’ crispy fried doughnuts with attiki honey, pistachios & cinnamon crema

http://www.malena120.ca/
120 Avenue Road
416.964.0606

 

{SALT WINE BAR}

Darkly inviting and intimately familiar, imagine the inside of a wine & pickled goods cellar. You’d really like to stay a while, wouldn’t you? We certainly did. The newest kid on the Ossington block, she’s a sexy mix of Spanish and Portuguese. Really, quite lovely. Interior aside, the menu has the potential to be stellar. But, when only a handful of dishes hold our attention and dessert takes the limelight; it’s not there yet. Would I recommend to others? Yes. I do feel compelled to come back. To try other dishes. Introduce others to it. Discuss over a bottle of vino or two.

Outstanding

Braised oxtail consumme with garlic mashed, tthyme
Wagu beef crudo with truffled quail egg, parmesan croutons, watercress
Brown butter creme brulee
Cinnamon churros with dark pot of chocolat

Honourable Mentions

Striped beets on bed of arugula, goat cheese, marcona almond, tarragon & citrus vinaigrette
Pulled pork sandwich with guacamole
Oyster mushrooms on toasted baguettes with parsley & garlic
Lobster bisque ‘basque’ style

Sadly, forgettable

Grilled calamari (this one didn’t really stand a chance after disappointment over no octopus)
Rapini with garlic, chili, olive oil

http://saltrestaurant.ca/
225 Ossington Ave.
416.533.7258

 

Next on the list: LEE LOUNGE

Expectations are through the roof. Can’t help it. Susur commands it…for me anyway. And I peeked at Toronto Life’s review last night. O my. 1. Peking duck rolls 2. Asian-style salmon ceviche. Y’all know my long-standing mission. Find the best ceviche in the city.

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Union

Last dining experience? 24 days ago. Don’t ask how I remember… it’s disturbing, I know.

After a glorious 6-week binge (there’s no other word), wallet cried mercy.

And so, it ceased. Regretfully.

But we’re back! And what better restaurant to try than Union? On the list for months & much-anticipated… with no tastebuds. Ok, slight exaggeration, but how does one manage to be stuffy and runny at the same time?! Never understood.

Anyway, NG was duly forewarned and off we went!

Tiny restaurant. Great space. Effortlessly casual. Free-drawn mural covering one expanse of the wall. Open-kitchen. Yes.

photo cred: Robert Brodey

Menu is startlingly small, but it’s not about quantity. Nearly half of the menu changes according to what’s available at the markets that day. Chef Teo Paul’s dedication to fresh and local.

And since NG is currently doing a nineteen-day sunrise-to-sunset Bahá’í fast, we had the added element of pure appreciation for food that night. Heightened senses to offset sniffly senses. Great partnership. ;)

What I didn’t have, was the new camera. For shame. Regardless, verbal depiction of our experience – hope you enjoy.

Outstanding dishes:

Sticky ribs: pork ribs on the bone with smoked & bruised pork belly

(If you like ribs. love ribs. lukewarm about ribs. hell, even if you hate ribs. You MUST try.
Sauce. Ridiculously good. That’s all)

Fresh fish: White fish w/ roasted vegetables & seasonal greens

(Succulently flaky, moist, tender, and boldly-seasoned. Rarely used for fish, but it fits. And the roasted vegetables…perfect accompaniment)

Honourable mentions:

Elk sliders w/ miran galangal glaze & pickle on challah

(Meaty & juicy with a bite from the pickled pickle. Slight disappointment with the toast – think high end hamburger bun, visual letdown)

Sides: Frites & winter-style potatoes w/ yogurt, radish & chives

(3/4 of the way through our meal – surprise! oh my. just perfect for dipping into that sweet, slightly spicy, wickedly good rib sauce)

Until next time:

Haddock cakes – Charcuterie – Crispy Polenta Gratin – Roast Bird – Soup du jour – Plat du jour
(for the adventurous. oh so exciting!)

…clearly need to go back.

And another reason? Laissez-faire Saturdays.
Cue east coast oysters, in-house charcuterie, artisanal cheeses & vino. H-E-A-V-E-N.

Every Saturday from noon–5:30pm

Who’s joining me this weekend?

http://www.union72.ca/
72 Ossington Ave
Toronto, ON
416.850.0093


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foxley

One of my favourite restaurants in this city.

photo cred: foxleybistro

photo cred: dine.to

Friends, family, strangers etc. may question why I constantly rave about this place, why I fixate on it more than others, why I sit back in semi-disbelief when they don’t love it as much as I do… but, there’s a reason.  Actually, make that two.

#1 arctic char ceviche, #2 black cod with asian greens & truffle oil.

I’d like to marry a chef, I think. Especially, if he cooks like Tom Thai… whom by the way, is a creative genius with flavours. Yuzu juice, chilies, ginger, ngo gai aka saw-leaf (most favourite herb) with sweet green apple, finely sliced, atop raw arctic char. Oh MY, intensely good. And then, we have fresh black cod complemented by the best broth ever tasted, liberally doused with truffle oil and divine. Long after we finish, have been known to ask for more steamed rice to prolong experience & sneak spoonfuls of…ok. stop me.

Back to it. Beyond these two dishes + a few others, must set realistic expectations. This tiny Ossington resto isn’t all that & more. Shocking, I know. Certain dishes are missing…something. Wish I could articulate. But you understand. And as a result, are not outstanding & will inevitably disappoint. Yes, also aware that not everyone will rhapsodize over my two loves. Preferences, palettes, tastebuds… sigh, c’est la vie.

Regardless, you must try. And let me know what you think.

Stand-out dishes:

Oven steamed black cod with asian greens & truffle oil 

Arctic char ceviche
(with yuzu, sesame oil, green apple, ginger, chilies, saw-leaf coriander…ask the chef)

photo cred: Daniel Shipp

Honourable mentions:

Sea bream ceviche w. yuzu & shiso leaf
Blue crab & avocado salad (if you enjoy spice, it’s got a nice kick)
Lamb & duck prosciutto dumplings (why? dipping sauce)
Side ribs w. caramelized shallot glaze (fall-off-the-bone, though glaze is on the heavy side)

For the adventurous:

Grilled beef hearts w. thai chili lime salsa

It pains, but easily forgettable:

Oysters w. chilli lime sauce (small portion woes)
Spicy crispy shrimps w. jalapeno & garlic
Braised beef cheek in red curry
Slow-braised pork belly in muscatel reduction

fyi: tapas-style, be prepared to share. also, no reservations.
if a table isn’t available, leave your cell #, go for a drink across the street, and they’ll ring when ready.

http://www.foxleybistro.com/
207 Ossington Ave.
416.534.8520

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Until I find a better way to organize… here’s the list.

{And it’s by no means finished. hardly. we’ve just gotten started}

To satisfy all tastebuds:
Amuse (Queen E. & Waverley Rd) – http://www.amusetoronto.com/
Café La Gaffe (Baldwin & Henry St) – http://www.cafelagaffe.com/  
Harlem (Church & Richmond St. E) – http://www.harlemrestaurant.com/
Mildred’s (King W & Hanna Ave) – http://www.templekitchen.com/
Madeline’s (King W. & Portland) – http://www.susur.com/madelines/ 
Sidecar (College & Bathurst) – http://www.sidecarrestaurant.ca/   
Wine Bar (Church & Front E) – http://www.jamiekennedy.ca/ 
Politica (King & Strachan) – http://www.dine.to/politica/
The Drake (Queen W & Dovercourt) – http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/
 
Tapas-Style:
LEE (King W. & Portland) – http://www.susur.com/lee/   
Foxley (Ossington & Dundas) – http://www.foxleybistro.com/
Cava (Yonge & St. Clair) – http://www.cavarestaurant.ca/
Supermarket (College & Augusta) – www.supermarkettoronto.com/ 
Kultura (King E & Jarvis) – http://www.kulturarestaurant.com/ 
Tomi-Kro (Queen E & Leslie) – www.blogto.com/restaurants/tomikro
Guu (Church & Gerrard) – http://www.guu-izakaya.com/toronto.html
Mezzetta (St. Clair & Christie)
Torito (College & Augusta)
Swirl (Queen E & Yonge)

Brunch:
Brassaii (King W & Spadina) – http://www.brassaii.com/ 
Conviction (King W & Portland) – http://www.convictionrestaurant.com/
The Drake (Queen W & Dovercourt) – http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/
Le Petit Déjeuner (King E & Jarvis) – http://www.petitdejeuner.ca
Bonjour Brioche (Queen E & Broadview)
Saving Grace (Dundas & Bellwoods)
 
Casual:
Supermarket (College & Augusta) – http://www.supermarkettoronto.com/ 
Terroni (Adelaide E or Queen W) – http://www.terroni.ca/
Foxley (Ossington & Dundas) – http://www.foxleybistro.com/
Pizzeria Libretto (Ossington & Dundas) – www.pizzerialibretto.com/
Rodney’s Oyster House (King W & Spadina) – http://rodneysoysterhouse.com/
Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar (Church & Front E) – http://www.jamiekennedy.ca/ 
Cava (Yonge & St. Clair) – http://www.cavarestaurant.ca/
Guu (Church & Gerrard) – http://www.guu-izakaya.com/toronto.html

Ossington Strip:
Union (Ossington & Queen) – http://www.union72.ca/
Foxley (Ossington & Dundas) – http://www.foxleybistro.com/
Pizza Libretto (Ossington & Dundas) – http://www.pizzerialibretto.com/
Rua Vang Golden Turtle (Ossington & Queen)
Delux (Ossington & Humbert)
 
Finer-Dining (Entrées: $23-35):
Nota Bene (Queen W & University) – http://notabenerestaurant.com/
Frank @ AGO (Dundas & University) – http://www.ago.net/frank/
Olivia’s at 53 (College & Clinton) – http://www.oliviasat53.com/
Amuse (Queen E. & Waverley Rd) – http://www.amusetoronto.com/
5th Elementt (Bay & Wellesley) – http://www.5thelementt.com/
Splendido (Harbord & Spadina) – http://www.splendido.ca/
Harbord Room (Harbord & Spadina)  – http://www.theharbordroom.com/
C5 (ROM) – http://www.c5restaurant.ca/ 
Conviction (King W. & Portland) – http://www.convictionrestaurant.com/
George (Queen E. & Jarvis) – http://www.georgeonqueen.com/ 
Brassaii (King W & Spadina) – http://www.brassaii.com/ 
Crush Wine Bar (King W & Spadina) – http://www.crushwinebar.com/
Trevor’s Kitchen & Bar (Wellington & Front) – www.trevorkitchenandbar.com/ 
Le Sélect Bistro (Wellington & Spadina) – http://www.leselect.com/
The Drake (Queen W & Dovercourt)- http://www.thedrakehotel.ca/
Rosebud (Queen & Bathurst) – http://www.therosebud.ca/
Loire (Harbord & Portland) – http://www.loirerestaurant.ca/
 
Finer, Finer Dining (Entreés: $35-100):
Auberge du Pommier (Yonge & York Mills) – www.oliverbonacini.com
Scaramouche (Avenue & St. Clair) – www.scaramoucherestaurant.com/
Chiado (College & Ossington) – http://www.chiadorestaurant.com/
Canoe (Bay & Wellington) – www.oliverbonacini.com/canoemovie.html
Harbour Sixty (Harbour & Bay) – http://www.harboursixty.com/
 
Experiences Dining:
O’Noir (Church & Bloor E.) – http://www.onoir.com/
C5 (ROM) – http://www.c5restaurant.ca/ 
Frank @ AGO (Dundas & University) – http://www.ago.net/frank/
 
Asian & A-Fusion:
Matahari Grill (Baldwin & McCaul)  – http://www.mataharigrill.com/
Benihana (Front & York) – www.benihana.ca/
Tomi-Kro (Queen E & Leslie) – www.blogto.com/restaurants/tomikro
Supermarket (College & Augusta) – www.supermarkettoronto.com/ 
BlowFish (King & Bathurst) – http://www.blowfishrestaurant.com/
Kultura (King E & Jarvis) – http://www.kulturarestaurant.com/ 
Mengrai (Queen E & Ontario) – http://www.mengraithai.com/
SukhoThai (Dundas & Parliament) – http://www.sukhothaifood.com/
Guu (Church & Gerrard) – http://www.guu-izakaya.com/toronto.html
Rua Vang Golden Turtle (Ossington & Queen)
Pho 88 (Dundas & Spadina)

Charcuterie:
Rosebud (Queen & Bathurst) – http://www.therosebud.ca/
Cava (Yonge & St Clair) – http://www.cavarestaurant.ca/
Harbord Room (Harbord & Spadina)  – http://www.theharbordroom.com/
Conviction (King W & Portland) – http://www.convictionrestaurant.com/
Loire (Harbord & Portland) – http://www.loirerestaurant.ca/
Black Hoof (Dundas W & Bellwoods)
 
French:
Le Sélect Bistro (Wellington & Spadina) – http://www.leselect.com/
Le Papillion (Front E. & Church) – http://www.lepapillonfront.com/en/
Auberge du Pommier (Yonge & York Mills) – www.oliverbonacini.com
Saint Tropez (King & John) – http://www.lesainttropez.com/
Le Petit Déjeuner (King E & Jarvis) – http://www.petitdejeuner.ca

Italian:      
Vittorio (Dupont & Avenue) – http://www.vittorios.ca
Pizzeria Libretto (Ossington & Dundas) – www.pizzerialibretto.com/
Il Gatto Nero (College & Bathurst) – http://www.ilgattonero.ca/
Terroni (Adelaide E or Queen W) – http://www.terroni.ca/
Osteria Ciceria e Tria (Yonge & Queen W) 
Tutti Matti (Adelaide & Charlotte)
Buca (King W. & Portland)
 
Seafood:
Rodney’s (King W & Spadina) – http://rodneysoysterhouse.com/
Madeline’s (King W & Portland) – http://www.susur.com/madelines/

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