Saturday, January 28, 2017

73. North Poké: Hawaiian

North Poké
179 Baldwin St
(in Kenssington Market)
M5T 1L9
416 599 7653

On a grey January Saturday we head to North Poké for a taste of the Hawaiian food trend that's taking Toronto by storm. The tiny shop has limited seating on tall stools by the windows and a couple of benches where you can wait for take out. We order the Shack Special (Salmon, gochuchang dressing, kimchi crema, radish, fried shallot, scallion and microgreens) regular size with 4 oz of fish, $9.95; large with 6 oz of fish $13.95 and The Big Wave (Albacore tuna, charred jalepeno citrus dressing, black garlic, mayo, pickled shallots, tenkasu & rice large) with 6 oz of fish $14.95. Everything tastes fresh, clean and is surprisingly filling. Three lunches including bottled drinks, tax and tip $56.81.

 Rating: Ambiance (3)
Service (4)
Food Presentation (3)
Food Quality (3)
Value for Money (3)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

72. Sugar for My Honey: Austria

Sugar for My Honey
3399 Lake Shore Blvd W
(between Kipling and Browns Line)
M8W 1N2
647 933 2099


Since we were the only patrons in the restaurant for the entire time we were there, we had exclusive service. Palatshinken, traditional Austrian crepes, are the staples here and are offered in many sweet and savory versions. I try the feta, spinach and sun dried tomato served with a side salad for $10.99. The crepe has a very pleasing texture but I find the balsamic vinaigrette a bit over done for my taste. The schnitzel Vienna style with potato salad is a generous portion for $14.75. Excellent fresh coffee provides a nice foil for the authentic, made in house Sacher Torte, $5.95.

Rating: Ambiance (3)
Service (4)
Food Presentation (3)
Food Quality (3)
Value for Money (3)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

71. Pero Restaurant and Lounge: Eritrean & Ethiopian

Pero Restaurant and Lounge 
812 Bloor Street West (just west of Ossington) 416 915-7225

My Eritrean dining companion guided me through the menu, pointing out the subtle distinction between Ethiopian dishes and those from her homeland. Good thing, as the server was not very well informed and not very attentive.
The coffee ceremony is quite a treat and is accompanied by salty popcorn. As my friend was expecting her first child, I savoured it solo.


Rating: Ambiance (3)
Service (3)
Food Presentation (3)
Food Quality (3)
Value for Money (2)

Monday, August 17, 2015

70. Keralia Kitchen: Latvian/Scandinavian


Karelia Kitchen
1194 Bloor Street West
(just west of Dufferin)
647 748 1194

The noise level is fairly high as we enter as a large group is enjoying their meal. Glasses of water and brunch menus arrive promptly with very helpful explanations about various dishes and how to order. 
From the brunch menu our mains are: Beetroot Rosti Smørrebrød, $12.99; Smoked Salmon Tartar, a creative dish with quail egg, fresh made cheese and Finnish mustard, $14.00; and  Duck Scramble (pictured above) with house smoked salmon, $14.00.
After a look in the pastry counter, we can't resist  dessert and choose Carrot Cake, $6.00, Buttermilk Pie topped with peach slices, $7.00 and a Black Fig Galette, $4.50. A game of "musical forks" ensues as we each want to taste the others' delicious treats. 
Total for three very filling meals with drinks $76.21.
As we leave, we're already plotting what to try on our next visit. 

Rating: Ambiance (3)
Service (4)
Food Presentation (4)
Food Quality (4)
Value for Money (3)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

69. Taiwan: Kanpai Snack Bar

Kanpai Snack Bar
252 Carlton Street
(at Parliament)
416 968 6888

I ask the server if there is a "rule of thumb" as to how many plates to order in this hip, street food inspired place. (Think tapas crossed with dim sum.) She replied that 4 to 6 are recommended for two people and clearly knew the menu very well.
There are so many interesting things to try and we had a tough time narrowing down our choices which were: Ske-lo Salad, with large shrimps avocado and orange pieces, $7 (pictured below); Three pieces of TFC which were huge in extra crispy coating, $9; Edamame said knock you out, fried edamame with garlic chips $4; Fu Manchu fried cubes of tofu, $5; deep fried calamari, $7; O. G. Bao a night market inspired sandwich of slow cooked pork, taiwanese relish, pickled cabbage, teriyaki shoyu, crushed peanuts on a soft steamed bun, $6; and we just couldn't resist trying one of the three interesting deserts - Wow Bao,  bao bun served with nutella and condensed milk dipping sauces, $6. Total for three generous lunches $60 including tax and tip.
The funky decor is well thought out, even down to the bathroom faucets. Decor plus service plus food equals a real winner.

Rating: Ambiance (4)
Service (4)
Food Presentation (4)
Food Quality (4)
Value for Money (3)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

68. Cameroon/Senegal/Gambia: Tree Top African Cafe

Tree Top African Cafe
620 Dundas Street West
(between Bathurst and Spadina)
(416) 519 9600

On this unseasonably cold and wet June afternoon, we welcomed a cup of lemon grass tea, $2.00, in this little cafe on the fringe of the Kennsington Market neighbourhood. There were more take out customers than those dining in.

We chose a Vegetarian Plate, $12 that came with a house made samosa, salad and Kilimanjaro Couscous, a Pan-African dish; Fou fou (pounded yams, cassava, green banana and other starchy veg) with fish and vegetables (photo above), $13 and Plantain with Chicken a generous portion with salad for $13. Many menu items are Senegambian and Pan-African.

Tree Top African Cafe was opened in 2014 by Cameroon born musician  Njacko Backo  and Saikou Sado who also owns the nearby African Drums & Art Crafts store.


Rating: Ambiance (2)Service (2)Food Presentation (3)Food Quality (3)Value for Money (2)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

67. Guadaloupe and Martinique: Le Ti Colibri

Le Ti Colibri
291 Augusta Avenue 
(south of College)
(416) 925-2223

Don't be in a hurry to be greeted and served, unless you're one of the regulars, at this long narrow shop in Kensington Market. There are a few seats indoors and a couple of tables out front. I was watching the food being prepped while I waited for my lunch and thought to myself, "they're lucky I'm not a health inspector". There was little evidence of hand washing and keeping ingredients free from cross-contamination. 

I tried the Callaloo Veggie Fish plate which, seen above, comes with a mixed salad, fried plantains and a mini bokit  (a yeasty type of deep fried dumpling). The callaloo mixture is well seasoned and has okra and onions.



Rating: Ambiance (2)
Service (2)
Food Presentation (3)
Food Quality (3)
Value for Money (3)