Category Archives: GTA-Toronto (Downtown)

Kinton Ramen


51 Baldwin Street, Toronto, ON
(McCaul St & Dundas St)
Tel: (647) 748-8900
www.kintonramen.com

Japanese Ramen seems to be a hot item in Toronto lately and most of the new shops appear to have insanely long line ups. I have walked by this place on Baldwin several times and each time I popped my head in to try to get a table, I’m told there’s a (min) 45-60 min wait. Luckily, it is on Baldwin and there are many near by cafe (John’s Italian is a good choice) to grab a glass of wine while we waited.

Other than in Japan and Vancouver, I have never had cheese with my Ramen in Toronto ..the combination tastes amazing. It’s a puzzle to me how the cheese melts so quickly even though the temperature of the soup isn’t scorching hot. And for some reason, this item is a popular favorite with the ladies. Guys generally like their Ramen with “extra” pork and butter (which is at least 3/4″ thick!!).

The only thing I was disappointed with was the cocktails. I ordered an Ichow (white wine with ginger ale) and it was only 1/4 glass full with ice!

But as for the line up (which I don’t generally do) .. All I could say was it was worth it!

Recommendations
• Cheese Ramen (soup broth is nice and creamy) – choice of lean pork or pork with belly fat
• Gyoza

Good to Know
• Best seats: At the back (The worst seats are ones at the front beside the window. Everyone who is standing around, starving, waiting for their name to be called is drooling and slobbering over the windows while watching you eat, bite by bite.
• Atmosphere: Casual and trendy (they use the brick blocks along their wall as their background design on their business cards)
• Attire: Casual
• Reservations recommended: N/A
• Patio recommended: N/A

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Kinton Ramen  on Urbanspoon

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Momofuku (Shōtō)


188 University Ave, Toronto, ON
(Richmond St W and University Ave)
Tel: (647) 253-8000
http://momofuku.com/toronto/shoto

Having been to (and had a great experience) at Momofuku in New York, I was excited to be one of the first to try their shōtō (tasting menu) in Toronto. Although, the overall experience was good and they had a couple of really excellent dishes, I didn’t feel it was worth the $150-200 (wine pairing optional) price tag.

When we arrived, the restaurant was packed and a line up was forming outside of Shangri-la for the noodles section. We sat at the bar and watched the chefs (about 5-6 of them) prepare. For such a hip establishment and a younger group of chefs/servers, I was surprised that most of them did not appear passionate in what they were doing .. in fact, they seemed stressed (maybe because they’ve only been opened for a week and were still sorting or organizing themselves out).

The pace at which we were served was well-timed and steady until near the end. The last plate, the dessert, took more than 15 mins (because someone forgot to put the houtenanny into the oven) and on top of that, they made a mistake on our bill that took another half an hour to try to fix and reissue our receipt. Unfortunately, they did not seem apologetic for our time and when they turned us away with “please call us tomorrow to settle this,” it left a disappointing taste in our mouths.

Recommendations
• Egg with dashi, horseradish and ikura
• Spaghetti with nori, sardine and lumpfish
• lobster with tandoor, lemon and fava
• banana with cashew, mint, gula jawa (tasted like “Crunch” candy bar)

Good to Know
• Best seats: Around the chef’s bar (to watch how they prepare and coordinate with one another)
• Service: Overall disappointing (although there were two servers that were great)
• Atmosphere: Trendy (and dark near the bar area, which made taking photos on this post difficult)
• Ideal for: foodies, long dinners and dates
• Attire: Smart casual and business
• Reservations recommended: Yes (weeks in advance)
• Patio recommended: N/A

Momofuku on Urbanspoon

Yours Truly (Carte Blanche Tasting Menu)


229 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON
(Dundas & Ossington)
Tel: (416) 533-2243
http://www.yours-truly.ca

I’ve only tried the Carte Blanche tasting menu, which varies daily depending on what is fresh and in season. The entire dinner lasted four hours and we were served more than 20 courses! By the end of the evening, I was waddling back to the car! The portions ranged from small bites to larger servings and more than half the items on the menu were Asian-inspired. Almost all the dishes were delicious except they spanned them too far apart in serving us and the chairs were not super-comfortable to be sitting for that long.

If you want to give this restaurant a try, I recommend you book ahead and use your AMEX (to receive a complimentary glass of champagne).

Recommendations
• Foie gras (served in a mini coconut cup) with nori (seaweed) wrap
• Fruit meringue
• Smoked carrots
• Bruschetta

Good to Know
• Best seats: No particular preference
• Service: Okay but slow
• Atmosphere: Hip and trendy
• Ideal for: Date, celebration and if you are not rushed to go anywhere afterwards
• Attire: Smart casual and trendy
• Reservations recommended: Yes
• Patio recommended: No

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Yours Truly on Urbanspoon

Khao San Road


326 Adelaide West, Toronto, ON
(Peter St & Richmond St W)
Tel: 647-352-5773 (KSRd)
info@khaosanroad.ca

A super busy Thai restaurant located near the financial/entertainment district downtown. This is one of my favourite Thai restaurants in the city but they do not take reservations. Unless I can make it there when it opens, I’ll have to pass because of the long line ups. Other than that, the food is delicious and the Thai ice tea is amazing .. It is nicely sweetened with a floral aroma and caramel flavour after-taste. If you’ve never tried this before, I strongly recommend it!

Recommendations
• Khao Soi (braised beef with noodles in curry sauce)
• Panang curry (red curry but more flavourful)
• Thai Ice Tea
• Tapioca pudding (if you have a very sweet tooth)

Good to Know
• Best seats: On the lower floor at the back (more privacy)
• Service: Good but not very personable due to the volume and flow of traffic
• Atmosphere: Simple, cozy and trendy
• Ideal for: Quick eats or lunch (I don’t recommend for business gatherings or conversations. Because of the noise and traffic, it’s very difficult to hear each other.)
• Attire: Casual
• Reservations recommended: N/A
• Patio recommended: Yes

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Khao San Road on Urbanspoon

Blowfish on Bay


333 Bay Street, Toronto ON
(Bay St & Adelaide)
T: 416 860 0606
http://www.blowfishrestaurant.com/

With Blowfish’s new location, combining art and Japanese cuisine just got more convenient for the folks in the Financial District. BF has the most tasty, innovative and delicious makimonos – ingredients include mango, curry and even popcorn … and they’re soooo good!!

Recommendations
• Makimonos
• Handroll – made with rice paper (not seaweed)
• Sakitinis (these are dangerously delicious because they taste like juice)

Good to Know
• Best seats: The round booth at the front
• Service: Friendly and helpful
• Atmosphere: Contemporary; trendy
• Ideal for: Date; business lunch; GNO; Sushi lovers
• Attire: Business casual; trendy; business
• Reservations recommended: Yes
• Patio recommended: N/A

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Blowfish on Urbanspoon

Osteria Ciceri e Tria


106 Victoria Street, Toronto ON
(Yonge St & Queen St)
T: 416 504 1992
http://osteriacicerietria.com

A taste of Italy in the heart of Toronto at this nice, quaint Italian restaurant. A perfect little lunch getaway.

Their menu is set up so you can choose which five antipasti (these are like tapas size) dishes you want and the option of adding a primo and/or secondo (similar to entrees).

Recommendations
• The anitpasti menu changes often depending on chef’s choice and what is in season.

Good to Know
• Best seats: Table next to the window
• Service: Nice and helpful
• Atmosphere: Contemporary; hip
• Ideal for: Date; business lunch
• Attire: Business casual; trendy; business
• Reservations recommended: Yes
• Patio recommended: N/A

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Osteria Ciceri e Tria on Urbanspoon

Salad King


340 Yonge St, Toronto, ON
(Yonge St & Dundas St)
T: (416) 971-7041
www.saladking.com

Reopened earlier this year, Salad King still attracts the crowds from Ryerson, Eaton Centre and Yonge Street.

Although conveniently located, SK is not one of favourite restaurants because I find the noise really travels and have difficulty listening to the person I am dining with. Although I only like a couple of dishes, I do prefer SK more than Spring Rolls.

Recommendations
• Calamari
• Green curry chicken

Good to Know
• Best seats: None; mostly community tables
• Service: Mediocre
• Atmosphere: Simple; long steel tables and bench seats
• Ideal for: Quick eat; take away
• Attire: Casual
• Reservations recommended: No; first-come-first-serve; they do not take reservations
• Patio recommended: N/A

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Salad King on Urbanspoon

Fuzion Resto-lounge & Garden


580 Church Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 2E5
(Church St & Wellesley)
T: (416) 944-9888
www.fuzionexperience.com

What a fun night! I went on a Friday night and hung out at the Fuzion Lounge bar for their vocal night and Buddha Bar mixes. Boy, I was blown away with performances. One of the guest musicians, Nancy Silverman, played a chord on the piano and was able to substitute almost any song (requested by the audience) into that chord and it still sounded great!! Amazing!! Best of all … no cover and the food was delicious!!

Just so you know Fuzion is located near the “The Village” and as you may have guessed, most of the men in the room were tremendously good looking … too bad they’re not on my team!!

Recommendations
• Crispy Potato, Goat Cheese and Short Rib Croquette Kobe “Wrap
• Grilled Marquez Sausage, Smoked Eggplant Hummus, Za’atar
• Fusion Frites
• Cocktail – Raspberry Cipriani 

Good to Know
• Best seats: The nook for two on the 2nd floor in the lounge area (lots of privacy here)
• Service: Very friendly & nice
• Atmosphere: Modern, contemporary, artsy
• Ideal for: Drinks, date, GNO, music lovers
• Attire: Trendy, casual, smart casual,
• Reservations recommended: No
• Patio recommended: Yes; beautiful garden patio on the 2nd floor

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Fuzion on Urbanspoon

Barburrito


736 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5G 2M4
(Gerrard St W & Bay St)
647-352-4441

I find the service at most quick-eat-and-go places lacking friendliness and the “personable” factor. This is not the case at this Mexican fast food. From all the times I’ve been there, I have been greeted with big smiles and friendly faces.

Recommendations
• Burrito
• Quesadilla

Good to Know
• Best seats: No preference
• Service: Friendly
• Atmosphere: basic fast food
• Ideal for: Quick eats or take out
• Attire: Casual
• Reservations recommended: No
• Patio recommended: No

Barburrito on Urbanspoon

Pho Orchid


124 Chestnut St Toronto, ON M5G 1R3
(University Ave & Dundas St)
T: (416) 506-1725

I’m not sure if it’s just my luck, but lately I’ve been disappointed with many of the Vietnamese restaurants that I’ve tried.

Although conveniently located, I wasn’t impressed with the quality of the food and drinks. It was okay but I felt the pho broth was on the bland side (for my taste) and missing the strong, flavourful herb taste I usually enjoy in (smaller more authentic?) Vietnamese restaurants.

Recommendations
• No particular recommendations

Good to Know
• Best seats: No preference
• Service: Okay
• Atmosphere: Brightly lit, clean, white
• Ideal for: Lunch, casual, quick eat
• Attire: Casual
• Reservations recommended: No
• Patio recommended: No

Pho Orchid on Urbanspoon