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Best All You Can Eat Japanese in Toronto GTA

100% yes to Echo Sushi. I started going there from a recommendation from @Karmacakedotca on Twitter and I've been going ever since. I wish they had better cuts when it came to the katsu. the spicy scallop brown rice roll is a favorite and so is the beef udon and dynamite and spider rolls so good. GO!

Echo Sushi
2036 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4S1Z9, CA

coconut oil / super fine salt

Any Middle Eastern grocery will have it,... Try Mid East Food Centre:

They will have coconut oil and in regards to superfine salt, here's a tip for you to save you the search.

Put the salt in a coffee grinder and whiz it up. I used to do that to make "popcorn salt" which is another name for super finely ground salt. But, just refine the salt yourself - you'll do good.

Now in Toronto Nasr Grocery has coconut oil and all sorts of other exotic oils.


Where can I buy parchment paper downtown?

I agree with cecilia and TorontoJo - Every major grocery store has it. Loblaws, Valu-Mart, No Frills, Rabba's, etc etc.

Forgo Williams & Sonoma, as decadent as it is, what's the point?

Where is the AYCE Dim Sum in Toronto?

I'm not looking for mind blowing dim sum here, I'm just looking for some down and dirty dim sum gluttony.

Shu Mai, Har Gow and Deep Fried Taro in a never exhausted ever refreshed supply.

It's a dream of mine.

A simple dream... but a dream non-the-less.

The a-holes at blogTO gave a useless list of out of town usual suspects (food retards), Torontoist laid it down with a cute post on the top three spots, but no AYCE.

But, no one seems to care about those of us who just want to gorge on copious quantities of steamed dumplings like someone with Prader-Willi Syndrom at their last meal.

So here I am, humbly requesting the brizilliant foodies of Toronto to answer the call of my hunger pains and supply me with information that I just don't have - Places that RIGHT NOW would be serving All You Can Eat Dim Sum!

Extended Winterlicous??

City of Toronto has officially extended Winterlicious until February 28th. So don't worry on who extended, just go. They've all been given the go ahead.

I'm off to Mildred's Temple Kitchen

Toronto's Best Chicken Wings

Crown and Dragon pub on Yonge Street. I've been going there every Thursday for the past few years... They have over 27 flavours, they are big and meaty.

I've had wings at Duff's 5 times. 1 time they were over done, 1 time they were under cooked, 2 times I found a petrified wasp in the sauce and the 5th time I swear I ate a reheated wing. Never go to Duff's.

Also, out by the airport is this restaurant called Sky Restaurant and Lounge, I went out there on a recommendation (I know I know what you'll say. I've been lucky with the writing of two particular girls there) and I found the wings to be really good. They were unusually large and juicy. They were different, because they looked like they were deep fried is a fried chicken coating. I ate the lemon pepper wings, because I wanted something plain.

I agree, they were some of the best wings I've had in the city. They tasted fresh to me, but I'm no food expert. I just know what I like.

Where else can I say? ummm... Allan's and Cranberries... although, if I'm going to head over to either of those places I might as well just drive out to Sky. I like the wings better anyway.

Ci Vediamo Closed?

Okay, this is what I know so far on Ci Vediamo.

The new owners are Helen and Michael Illiodromitis - who also own Quigley's.

They hired chef Ravi Ganesh (former head chef of Yorkville's Vaticano, Grappa Ristorante and Sauvignon. He is South Asian but he specializes in Italian cuisine.

Ganesh is there to reinvigorate the menu by ensuring everything is made in house. Everything. Fresh bread, pasta, etc.

I haven't eaten there while Ganesh was in the kitchen, so I can't tell you anything about his cooking style... but he apparently has one dish that is a combination of curry leave, cilantro, paneer cheese, vegetables and sundried tomatoes in a creamy coconut sauce.

Not entirely Italian but it is a bold step forward. From outsourced pasta, breads and tiramisu using tinned cream to all in house.

I tried to reach Helen - no one is answering at Quigley's or at Ci Vediamo at the moment.... However, one of my sources did tell me that they purchased a feature placement on in the new year so I highly doubt that they would make that investment if they had closed shop.

Spice Route--feedback?

To be fair, I went every day for a 7 day period when they first opened. Thursday-Saturday - Fakerratzi - annoying.
Monday to Wednesday - families, old ladies, young women, and groups of friends dining.

But, if you open a location up on King West, you have to accept that your clientel will be both douche and useless.

I also believe that the attention and care that was put in the restaurant had the intent to build it into something that was akin to something more substantial than just a lame 905 watering hole.

I tell you what I hate - the beepers they give you when you go in. The herding of people like cattle, the lack of personalization, the inability to recognize that the restaurant is a nightclub NOT a fine dining establishment.

I don't agree that Spice Route was from day one Douche Bag central - I really don't. I didn't experience it like that and I won't be framed as someone who didn't come by this information on good authority.

However, if you want Chinese food of the same caliber at a lower cost, might I recommend The Mandarin?

Folco's Italian in Markham? Thought?

I ate there the other day... gnocchi wasn't as good as La Bruschetta. Prices seemed unreasonably high for pasta and sauce. Dinner for two was close to $100!!!

Does anyone else have any impressions on this restaurant?

Need a Pho Fix

FYI - Most Toronto Pho Restaurants serve Thai Basil as an accompaniment not coriander or cilantro.
I can't eat either coriander or cilantro because I have a SEVERE allergic reaction to it when eaten raw.
Thai Basil I'm good. A little lime, a little thai basil, lots of sprouts and a side of hot sauce - yum yum yum!
Yes, Pho Pasteur was delicious!
+1 Pho Pasteur!!

Thanks Jennjen! I had a great bowl of soup last night thanks to your recommendation!

Ci Vediamo Closed?

nah, I don't think they are. They recently changed owners, got a new chef in and have been working incredibly hard to start producing everything in house - instead of sourcing premade pasta, bread and dessert.

I'm going to make a few phone calls to Helen - also the owner of Quigley's and see what I can find out.

Ci Vediamo's isn't the best Italian restaurant but I give them points for trying hard.

Need a Pho Fix

don't tease me jennjen! yummy and beefy without the msg? I am so happy - I can have a night minus a headache!
This is a bit of a thrill!!!
thank you!

Spice Route--feedback?

kind of lame.
It's fun to eat there... shared plates are a great time. It looks gorgeous. However, now its inundated with the fakerratzi, glamourhounds and 416-wannabes.
Go there at your own risk.
Hot rock is fun.
Cheesecake pops are fun.
blackened cod tastes fishy
Korean lettuce wraps are my favorite.
Everything else is kind of blah.

When it first opened, it was cool. I really enjoyed myself there. Now, not the same place.

If you are a douche or simply useless you will adore Spice Route only marginally more than Petit Castor.

Need a Pho Fix

Hey everyone,

I have a serious craving for some pho in the city - I live next to bloor and spadina and I do not have a car.

So who can recommend some fantastic pho in the neighborhood that isn't Pho Hung?

I've been eating at Saigon Pearl and I've noticed - it's not as tasty anymore!! Maybe the economic downspin has effected prices of MSG... who knows.

Looking forward to your responses!

Upscale Mexican in Toronto

I haven't tried it yet, but there's a new place that opened up at Yonge & Eg called Frida's.

Has anyone tried it yet?

I know people are down on Mexicana, but I had a few good meals there. The three times I've gone, it looked like the entire family was on site... so maybe that had something to do with it! haha!

But, I agree, I haven't had a mind blowing experience over Mexican in the city - but, I am curious to hear about Frida's

Best Italian place in T.O.?

La Bruschetta also just launched their new Umbrian focussed menu and they are offering $75 cooking classes.

Breakfast in Yorkville area Dec 27?

As a Yorkvillan there are a few places people go to:

Flo's - worst homefries ever
Bloor St. Cafe - Amazing buffet brunch; a little pricey
Pain Quotidien - You won't find bacon and eggs here. At all. It's very healthy, but good coffee.
Crepes a Go Go - Delicious crepes; very French. Best for take away
Eggstacy - delicious, however, the sausage selection is left to be desired. Ask for hashbrowns well done with a side of sour cream and chives. Get the turkey or the farm sausage. Good value when ordering the eggs with baggage.
Four Seasons - it's good - heck it's the four seasons.
WISH - thanks for the $5 thimble of juice... And why are my eggs sopping in water on my eggs benny??
But, if you want a place where it's always packed with Yorkvillans and the Church Street Crew, go with Maggie's on Charles St.
I'm sure it's apart of a chain, but the truth is, the family that owns this particular one puts together a mean breakfast. For about $10 you get a giant plate of fresh fruit, eggs, toast, ham, sausage, bacon and garlic fries (ask for the fries crispy with extra garlic salt)

You can reserve a table, which I recommend about 30 minutes before you go, because there is always a wait for a table.

Where else can I tell you? The Rebel House on Yonge Street also has a pretty solid brunch, I like the fire grilled toast that comes with everything!

Best Italian place in T.O.?

Best gnocchi I've eaten in the city is at La Bruschetta. I also like their prosciutto, apparently everything there is made in house - including their prosciutto. It's a "not so secret" fave spot for celebs, but don't let that stop you. Prices are okay, here's a copy of the menu:

When I mentioned that I never had fried zucchini flowers, I promptly got a plate of zucchini flower fritters - delicious!

I would recommend La Bruschetta to anyone in the city, fantastic Italian.

Looking for a good Honey in T.O

I think she's saying that if a bee can travel a 55,000 mile radius from it's hive then how is a honey producer to guarantee all the flowers it feeds from are organic? But, I think there's an error... a bee travels in a 6 mile radius and up to 55,000 miles in its lifetime. An honest mistake. However, a bee can travel as far as it needs to in order to find flowers to feed from.

I thought it was interesting to read that there were secret apiaries under the gardiner and on top of the York - I don't believe it's weed honey up there. There are gardens for them to feed upon.

I guess Dutchman's Gold feeds off of the flowers on their property... either way, it's good honey. Fantastic honey to be sure, very clean and fragrant with a floral aroma. It's beautiful... omg I have to go have a spoonful now!!

But, if one wants to buy their Billy Bee and get the so called "Weed Honey" then that's fine. That's what makes bees so magical! The ability to take pollen from all flowers and turn it into a beautiful product that's good for our health.

I'm stunned when I think of the process. But, I would recommend Dutchman's Gold to anyone - as I said, agree or disagree with the article, but give the product a go before you pass judgment..

Greg Argent's new Resto, Forte - Review

Forte does not have an $89 main course... hahaha! OMG! I WOULD NEVER!

But word on the street is that Nota Bene is eeking their prices to deal with the "economic crisis" whereas Forte has scaled their prices to be effective regardless of the good or the bad. I think that's smart!

The lunch menu is my favorite, looking it over right now, I don't think it's a menu that forte has put together as a secondary course. I really believe it to be one of their better ones.

Greg Argent's new Resto, Forte - Review

I stole a menu!

What do you want to know?

What do you fancy? There is pasta, appetizers, daily specials, entrees and salads.

Yeah, I hope ya'll and Chowhound start to dig me... I wouldn't call myself a foodie, but I am on a shameless quest to eat well in this city with so many bad options.

Looking for a good Honey in T.O

This is a great article I read on She Does the City in the summer about sourcing artisanal honey in Toronto. She cites two honeys, but the one I decided to try was the one she says is at The Big Carrot. The Dutchman's Gold Summer Blossom Honey.

It's gorgeous, but a little expensive.

New Poutine Chain above Burrito Boys

I can't help but think we are all devoting a lot of attention to the intricacies of fries, cheese and gravy.
I understand it is the holy trinity of Canadian fast food, but we are forgetting that the real poutine came from Warwick, PQ and it didn't have any gravy on it.

So, beef vs. chicken vs poutine sauce is an interesting debate on personal preferences, however, it isn't integral to the original.

I have my own preference - it needs to taste good.

Yeah, and I do agree, if you're opening a poutine stand, cheese curds are necessary... unless there's another dope and delicious cheese to use.

I could care less for "fancy" poutines, they just guild the lily. They are too pretentious and I would feel embarrassed to order it. Fancy restaurants hide behind high end ingredients instead of delivering good honest food.

Lobster poutine, give me a break. I laughed when I read that on the menu. Seriously, you want to do some Canadiana inspired food, why not start with not reinventing the wheel and make traditional foods awesome. By the threads in this forum, it's clear, no one's mastered poutine in the city so....

Let's just start with mastering the basics shall we?

Best Restaurant for Steak in Toronto

I'm sure people will have an opinion on this but...
STEAK cooked me up one of the most beautiful steaks I've ever eaten in the city.

I like the grades, the cuts, the aging process and I like how it's a Michelin rated chef.

Jacobs & Co is a good alternative. I'm so over Barbarians, there are much better steaks in the city.

Source for Cocktail Plates with Wineglass holder in Toronto

Don't laugh... but I bought a set as a gift for friends, from Sears. They were simple white ones, but nice enough to gift.
Also, is ordering online an option? Because I'm sure Uncommon Goods would carry those dishes as well.

Private party at a coffee shop?

Balzac's Coffee Shop is so frigging cool, downtown, tons of parking. There's an upstairs and a downstairs, so you can easily host a private party upstairs (overlooking the main area) without disturbing anyone.

You can get it catered by one of the other restaurants in the distillery as well.

Here's the link to the event rentals at the Distillery - but like I mentioned, you could have the party upstairs without any trouble to the business downstairs. Just call them up, they are usually down to help and I don't think you could get a much more cooler setting.

Alternatively, it's not downtown, but it's still accessible by public transit AND GO bus is West50. They have two private rooms that they can book for private parties at no additional cost - I believe. West50 has the largest draught selection in all of Canada...
Here's a write up on it, I've been there and it's fun.

Also... what else? Amaya's Bread Bar apparently has a great private back room and it's really light and airy with good prices!

Greg Argent's new Resto, Forte - Review

well, they said it would be up any day now. I spoke to their Sommelier, Craig (omg, I forget his last name!) and he said they literally have their product waiting to get loaded up and shipped over at a moment's notice.

spades - The candied lemon dessert is the lemon meringue, it's got little meringue puffs that are torched and a twice baked crepe on the side? The melty cheese thing was their raclette I would go so far as to guess.

Trust me, I poured over that menu when I finally had a bragworthy meal in the city.


Give the restaurant a call and see if the license came through yet. I think that's probably the simplest thing. I want to go back before the holidays for sure with friends and family.

It is a beautiful meal!

Greg Argent's new Resto, Forte - Review

Okay, this is going to be a quick and dirty review from a gal who calls it like it is:

This place doesn't have their liquor license, it was empty as all f*ck for lunch, but the meal was a fantastic meal.

Onion Soup Dumplings, Skate, Chipotle Dill Caesar Salad and Lemon Meringue pie for dessert.

It's been a long time since I had a meal like that in the city, to the point, I had to meet the chef. "Luckily" it wasn't busy at lunch so Greg came out - WHAT A GREAT GUY!!! He even had the server bring out some of his favorite cheese (Epoisse) for me to try - I felt like an all star.

With that said, let's go through the meal...

The restaurant is beautiful on the inside, open and airy. So comfortable.

The service fantastic! Quick, educated and efficient. Recommendations came out effortlessly, and I had no problems going with them.

Soup dumplings were delicious... Think French Onion Soup in a dumpling. Such a new and interesting experience, but a perfect amuse bouche before the meal.

The Caesar salad was so novel! Imagine the old standby, but presented in a crisp ringette and a unique dill and chipotle dressing that was interesting and compelling. Lightly dressed romaine radiated with dill while the chipotle added a unique bite that elevated the entire dish to something that reaffirmed my faith in Caesar salad.

Skate was grilled and served on a bed of fingerling potatoes, brussel sprouts and carrots. The fish flaked like a well braised piece of beef and melted on the tongue. Greg said soaking in milk is necessary to remove the alkaline nature of the fish. He also assured it wasn't an endangered variety. He said, he enjoys how the flavour is buttery like that of crab, and it was. I had to protect my dish from my dining partner!

Dessert was a beautiful bite of lemon meringue. Pastry Chef Britney Peglar is another talent that defected from Rain and she brought with her a novel approach to pastry. I enjoyed her lemon curd - I find in Canada it can so often be muddled in its preparation. Too bitter, too sweet, too running, too thick, to pre-packaged. Britney's was a thick little disk that melted on the tongue and I wished it was bottled to take home.

This was all without wine pairings - keep that in mind.

Nota Bene is around the corner, and trust me, I had a PHENOMINAL MEAL there as well, however, Nota Bene's price point appears to be sneaking up since it's opening. Forte on the other hand appears to be committed to their prices as they are looking to reintroduce upscale bistro fare to Toronto.

I think I am in love with Greg Argent's cooking. Is he the head chef still at Cru?

My fear is that everyone's going to judge it harshly because they don't serve wine... well at the moment. Apparently the license has just been delayed but everything else is in effect. I just don't want this gem of a resto get an unfair chance because people are adament of their wine/food pairing.

Trust me, I'm gushing, but the food really does hold it's own.

Go for lunch and correct me if I'm wrong!

Reviews and Reviewers [split from Toronto]

that's why I like Taste T.O. - a lot.

I don't even both with Toronto Life anymore, I think they are arrogant.

Personally, I don't care who foots the bill for a writer, it's the writer's onous to be ethical. Don't you agree? Media preview or no, if the restaurant puts so much effort into misrepresenting their food for one night - everyone loses out. Don't you agree?

I would rather a writer who cannot be bought. I think there are a few of those in the city.

Martini Boys, I get bored reading their articles, they are too long and self waxing. BlogTO I don't even bother with... I prefer Torontoist.

Still why no review on Petit Castor?

Reviews and Reviewers [split from Toronto]

yeah I originally thought that but I've worked in PR long enough to know that isn't the case anymore.

Truthfully, if a restaurant opens themselves up for a review, they open themselves up to the good and the bad. They normally assume the cost - regardless of what anyone tells you. The most outlets would like to hide this fact.

With that said, with Castor being open since September now and not a single review written, I think it's safe to assume that it's naive to think that our restaurant reviewers are not getting the bill footed by Castor.

Sorry to have been the barer of bad news. But, truthfully, it's not that bad. An honest reviewer will say what's on their mind, regardless of who pays the bill.