Woods Restaurant & Bar | Toronto Dining

Apologies, for it has been a while since I've written. However, today's finding really surprised me. I had an overdue lunch with a good friend at Woods Restaurant & Bar, somewhere we both had yet to try.  I was intrigued by the write-ups and words that Toronto Life had to offer.

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While I was browsing online, the cocktail list was what really caught my eye. After I was sat down, I ordered their Canadian Caesar. I had  no idea there was a freshly deep fried pickle involved, as well as a bacon bit rim. It was absolutely delicious.

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     The menu included many seafood choices such as Tuna Tartare, Scallops, and a Smoked Fish Trio. Moreover, Steak Tartare, Foie Gras, and Duck Breast were also tasty sounding choices. In the end, I ordered the Muscovy Duck Breast, which had a really crispy confit underneath each slice as well as duck egg béarnaise.

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For dessert, we shared their Raspberry 'Macaronnade', which consisted of Marscapone mousse, basil ice cream, a macaroon, raspberry tuile and salted pine nuts. Quite an obscure mix of flavours but it all came together really nicely. The ice cream was very impressive.

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Woods Restaurant met my expectations and beyond. We had to wait a little while for our food, a service in the kitchen was running slow. But we were compensated for our wait by having our drinks taken care of and the waitstaff were amazingly friendly and knowledgeable.  Expecting to have a tasty cocktail, my friend ended up disliking the one she had ordered. Hesitant to change her cocktail, she finally asked our waitress who gladly exchanged her beverage. It was such a friendly atmosphere in the restaurant, we loved our experience.

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Patria | Toronto Dining

One of my first meals back in Toronto, I spent a lovely evening at Patria. Spanish food and spanish wines, it brought a few memories back from a summer spent in Barcelona. To start, Sangria was a must: white wine sangria with crisp apples and mixed apple cider and poached apples, with a lemongrass reduction. It was so refreshing for the first night of fall in Toronto.

To eat, small plates were the way to go:  from foie gras stuffed  buns to Jamón croquettes, the little bites were absolutely delicious. We then had Estrella to enjoy, a spanish beer served in a wine glass. It was very citrus tasting on its own, and had to be drank with food. The pairing was just wow. Take a look to find out more about Estrella Inedit.

We had a pasta dish with clams and bacon and melted cheese - it was my favourite dish. I could not put my fork down. Unfortunately the photo I took in the dim light was too dark and a bit wobbly but I wanted to include it anyway so you could see for yourself. A potato hash dish with a fried egg on top was very much like comfort food - a dish that is popular in Spain too.

Patria specializes in Paellas: your traditional seafood paella, a meat paella and a medley. There was one chef who worked on only the paellas that night and I believe that's all she did. It is a bit of a wait to have the paella but definitely worth trying. It was very tasty.  If you've never had paella before be sure to order it from Patria.

Dessert: Churros con Dulce De Leche and a Mousse De Dulce De Leche Conchocolatey Crema Fresca. WOW. The best part of the experience was the desserts. I am a fanatic for dulce de leche. The texture of the mousse was so smooth and the churros were crispy and not too sweet. Dipping them into the dulce de leche just made the world.

To say the least, I was extremely pleased with my visit to Patria - thank you for your hospitality and knowledge that you shared with us on food and wine. It was an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. Your love for food and drink really showed. I can't wait to come back next time with new friends and family, who can enjoy the wonderful and warming atmosphere at Patria.

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Enoteca Sociale

An absolute favourite. Italian, family styled dining is one of my favourites. I of course have to blog about Enoteca Sociale because a) it's definitely a number one of mine in Toronto and b) it's just so good! IMG_8637

Opened not long ago, this Enoteca has so many things working for them. They are welcoming, the service is superb and they know what they're talking about! Moreover, if you want to taste the best of italian food (or as close as you're going to get to it) with local produce, Sociale has it all. The menu has changed every time that I've been and has not failed me once. From antipastis like their house-cured meats, to their home-made pastas (which is a huge seller for me), everything is delicious.

The last time I went I got to enjoy bone marrow - decadent and so worth it - as well as various pasta dishes from spaghetti to ravioli... Pork chop was another entrée that I got to taste (simple dish but juicy nonetheless).IMG_8638

That evening, a sticky toffee pudding (the best in Toronto might I add), a lemon pudding, and a butter tart with a chocolate filling was offered on the menu.

I highly recommend Enetoca Sociale, but make sure you make reservations WELL in advanced (I usually book at least two weeks in advanced!) Enjoy!

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Campagnolo

Walk-ins are apparently not uncommon in Toronto when it comes to eating out. My uncle and I were able to walk into Campagnolo at around 7pm and got seats at the bar. We enjoyed a very fulfilling dinner that included pastas, mains, delicious cocktails and a yummy dessert. The bar tender also acted as our waiter and happily recommended his favourite dishes and drinks. The dining room is a decent size and evokes a homey and casual feel. There are two kitchens (one in the dining room and the other at the back). It is a bit loud but the music and ambiance with everyone inside makes the room come alive. The menu tends to change quite often, but we enjoyed a calamari dish, bone marrow with crostinis, two pasta dishes and a very sweet dessert.

Campagnolo was a memorable experience and I am glad I finally got to dine at this snazzy joint. The food was great tasting and presented very nicely. The service was wonderful. I highly recommend anyone in Toronto to dine here!

Jacques Bistro

Set in Yorkville, Toronto, Jacques Bistro has been known for its omelettes and french cuisine for many years.  Both my mum and I went to the restaurant for lunch, as she was the one who told me she used to dine there many times with her father. Walking up a narrow staircase and into a small dining room, the waiters greeted you in proper French (and English if you could not converse in their tongue). We were sat against the window and amongst an older crowd (but don't fret, it's the food that makes it all the better if you're a foody and a youngin' like my mum and I). There are many specials offered and a lot of choices to pick from the menu. I ordered an onion soup, and the Bonne Femme omelette (bacon, mushrooms and onions). My mum ordered escargots and an omelette for herself too. Simple foods, but this is exactly my kind of thing - if you can make something so simple taste so good, you are in my good books.

Jumping back to when we first came into Jacque's Bistro (who by the way still works, cooks and runs the place) my mum told me that they were known for their floating island - a soft meringue floating on English custard, almonds, caramel and fresh fruit. My mum is never wrong about desserts, and boy! Jacque's île flottant was to DIE FOR! You have to go and try for yourselves.

I highly recommend for anyone who loves french cuisine to pay a visit to Jacques Bistro. The service was fantastic, the waiters were friendly and I even got to practice my French. Students: Jacque's is definitely affordable and the portions aren't exactly small either (rich in flavours for sure). Bon Appetit!

Ursa Minor? URSA Major!

URSA - relatively new to the restaurant scene in Toronto located on Queen St. West. A take on contemporary Canadian food, but also values the nutrients of its products. Very much like comfort food, the menu offers a variety of meats and fish and plenty of vegetables (as written up on Toronto Life: "Greens are compressed in a vacuum to create the texture and feel of blanching, without the nutrient-harming boiling water.") The dining room is dim and loud, accompanied the bar on your right as you walk into the restaurant. The cocktail menu is great - there's all sorts of cocktails for everyone. The service was fantastic - everyone was super friendly and if we had any questions about the menu, they knew their stuff! One thing that was memorable was a dish with crickets in a salad - wild and fun, and utterly creative. Some might be a bit shocked by the fact that bugs are on the plate but honest to God, they tasted like chips. Even more memorable, the desserts they had to offer were unique and delectable. Overall, I was impressed after the reviews I had heard from friends and family about URSA. I would definitely head back for a second time around. A great atmosphere and the food hits the spot.

Khao San Road is a favourite in TO!

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Simple, authentic, and true to the roots of curry, Khao San Road has much to offer downtown Toronto. Owned by the once Sukhothai couple, the duo have launched a more modern and authentic restaurant for various crowds. Their squash fritters were crispy and served with a sweet and sour sauce. They weren't greasy at all! They were absolutely more-ish. They offered a variety of thai curries - red, green curries and many more. I didn't get a chance to try the pad thai but every time it passed the table, it smelt AMAZING. The green curry was definitely a lot spicier than the red one. The flavours weren't over powering and very clean. The creaminess of the red curry was very tasty and the herbs and bay leaves were very prominent. The crackling of (i'm thinking something along the lines of won-ton wrap) was dunked on top of the curry. With the texture of the curry and the crunch of the crisps, the dish was complete. I highly recommend getting to Khao San Road as early as possible as they do NOT take reservations. It's packed every night!

 

Hopgood's Foodliner

Comfort food on the East coast. Hopgood's Foodliner recently opened in the last year or so and offered simple foods with complex tastes. Some things were bang on, and some others just really simple tasting. Many of the food items (like the tuna tartare, the sweetbreads) sounded like they were yummy foods to eat. Yes they were yummy, but unfortunately, there wasn't much of a wow factor. Prices were a little higher than I had thought they'd be, considering what was offered. On the contrary, the desserts were delicious and so unique. Their special "bar" was definitely special! The cocktails were fantastic - the bar tender had much passion that went behind making each and every one. My favourite was the Lucy Bijou. The menu does seem to change every now and then, I have yet to go back but you can check it out online here.  I would be back in a heartbeat for the cocktails and desserts. Hopgood's Foodliner really is simple and comforting food. There is a very homey, ambiance offered in the dining room, or sit at the bar and watch the cocktails be made with TLC. Enjoy!

Kingyo Toronto

Not to be confused with Kingyo in Vancouver, Koji San recently opened Kingyo Toronto in Cabbagetown.

The second you walk into the large, open space, the glowing and flashy casino machines are the first thing that capture your attention. From Japan, these machines were flown in especially to create an old school feel with stone like walls. Pots of water, filled with little coy fish/goldfish are placed throughout the restaurant (be sure to check the one just outside the bathroom.) A large table also has its centre filled with water and more fish to look at.

The food as you can see, was super tasty and fun to look at. The presentation was impressive and the taste pretty much matched what you saw. Simple foods, turned into glamorous and delicious dishes. My favourite of the night came at dessert - the green tea brûlée was amazing!! I've had them before elsewhere but these ones were so true to the taste of proper green tea. Lastly, what topped my night off was the frozen grapes in a vase. I had no idea what I was looking at but flowers in a vase. But with a second take, I then came to realize, "wow! Grapes!" The perfect last touch to just clear your palette. Koji San, thank you for a wonderful and memorable meal!

Affordable and great location, Kingyo Toronto will definitely be a hit for a while. This city needs a simple, japanese restaurant that provides great products of all sorts: fish, vegetables, meat - you name it! Check them out here. 

Short and Savoury

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Sansotei Ramen is a new hot spot for ramen fans. Your choice of thick, thin or original Sansotei noodles and with different toppings. Your typical Pork broth with egg, scallions, and menma too! Menma is definitely a must with ramen for me, and I was pleased to finally see that Toronto is getting it right! The pork that comes with your ramen can also be chosen from  lean to fatty. Sansotei offers gyoza as well as takoyaki (octopus balls). Super reasonable for the large bowl of noodles you get and you have to get there early! Otherwise, go at off times (like the hours of 2pm-5pm). You could be waiting from 10mins to 45mins!! It's thumbs up for Sansotei - you guys will for sure be my go-to for a late lunch!