Saturday, October 25, 2008

46. Russia: Anton's

6233 Bathurst Street
(just south of Steeles)
416 222 7727

Tucked out of the way in a strip mall, Anton's is a popular place with people from former Soviet Union states. Russian television plays on a large screen over the bar and we English speakers are in the minority. Downstairs is a banquet room for special functions, but it's unoccupied this evening. We receive friendly, efficient service even though the place is packed and they're possibly understaffed.
The menu has a wide cultural range of items including two Uzbeki traditional dishes. Our starters small combo salad (middle eastern fare including tabbouleh, babaganoush, grilled eggplant with tomatoes), $7. 99, bread and borscht $4.45 arrive promptly and I quickly realize that I have over ordered. The main courses come with garden salads: Salmon kebabs with mashed potatoes [seen here]$14.99 and Lamb kebabs $14.99 with rice. In both cases the kebabs are grilled to perfection - not over-cooked and dried out like you get some places. We drink lemon tea, coffee and ice water. Our total bill for three is $52 plus tip. Our server packs up what we can't finish and I head home with food for at least two more meals.

Rating: Ambiance (2)
Service (3)
Food Presentation (3)
Food Quality (3)
Value for Money (4)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

45. Japan: Fune Japanese Restaurant

Fune Japanese Restaurant
100 Simcoe St
(West of University, at Adelaide)
416 599 3868

This Japanese restaurant is located in a basement on a side street in downtown Toronto. It has a pleasant, welcoming authentic atmosphere - we were greeted by "Moshi Moshi." We arrived at about 17:00 on a Saturday when it was uncrowded, and we were seated beyond the novelty conveyor belt [pictured] where the food goes round in circles in wooden 'boats.'
We order drinks: plum wine, cranberry juice and green tea. We choose our entrees which come with miso soup and salad to start: chicken teriyaki dinner char-broiled tender chicken with teriyaki sauce, vegetables and steamed rice, $17.95; vegetable tempura dinner which is more than just your average variety of veggies and includes squash, oyster mushrooms, sweet potatoes and yams, with steamed rice $16.95; Deluxe Sushi Dinner -chef's choice of 8 kinds of Nigiri Sushi with California rolls [pictured here] ,$24.95. For desert we order ice cream - one scoop of ginger and one scoop of green tea servd together in a dish, $2.95.
Overall a good experience, although the food was somewhat bland. If you're in the Theatre District, it's worth a visit for the ambiance and unhurried service.
Total for four dinners including tip $120.00.

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

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sister Act

Sussex Ethnic Eats

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and so I'm very pleased to announce the launch of a "sister" blog called Sussex Ethnic Eats.
When my sister and her family visited Toronto last spring, they enjoyed joining in our restaurant reviews and have been inspired to visit multicultural eateries in their home county of Sussex in the southeast of England (population approximately 1.4 million).
Their group kicks of this weekend as they sample Greek cuisine at the Harbourside Inn, in Newhaven [picture above].
Bon Appétit!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

44. Uruguay: La Pasiva

La Pasiva
896 Wilson Avenue
(between Keele and Dufferin)
416 636 6555

It's 12:30 on a warm, sunny October afternoon and there is only one other occupied table at this local eatery. Parking was tricky in this strip mall which has limited appeal.
We are greeted quickly by a friendly waitress who brews a fresh pot of good coffee for us, $1.50 a cup including refills.
I chose the tuna stuffed tomato from the appetizer section of the menu, [photo above] $6.00. It comes attractively presented but is unexceptional in taste. The Figazza - crisp pizza crust topped with tangy tomato sauce, sauteed onions and herbs, however is very tasty, $3.50.
Hubby ordered a Chivito, which is a Uruguayan national dish. The menu described a much heartier version - with fried egg, olives and more - than what arrived. Served with fries this chicken sandwich was bland and short of fixings, $9.95.
The lived-in interior is nondescript although there's a map of Uruguay on the wall and jolly Latin music was being played. Total for two lunches, $25.37 plus tip.

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

Saturday, October 4, 2008

43. Serbia:Royal Meat Barbeque

Royal Meats Barbeque
710 Kipling Ave
(at North Queen)
416 251 1144

Royal Meats has transformed this former site of a run down donut shop into a bustling hamburger restaurant. Like the Sky Ranch, it's not an ideal spot for vegetarians but there are some interesting meatless menu items.
The Shopska salad - sliced green peppers & onions with diced tomatoes, cucumbers and sirene (a white brine cheese with a milder flavour that feta), $4.99 for the large size. The kaymak (a clotted cream spread) on a lepinya bun is a steal at $1.99. At the server's suggestion, I added sliced tomatoes and pepper. The meat eaters in the group thought that their sandwiches were exceptional value for money. The Steak Sandwich [picture below] was fresh and properly cooked, $11.99 in a fries and drink combo.
Don't be fooled by the exterior, which suggests a licensed, table service restaurant. You order your food at the counter, which looks like a butcher shop with sausages, patties and other cuts of meat on display, then pay the cashier and find a table. They give you a plastic disk that flashes and buzzes when your food is ready and you go back to the counter to choose your toppings.
With the decor they've gone for a black and silver pseudo-industrial look and an open kitchen so you can watch your order being flame broiled. Food is served on china plates and with proper cutlery. This gritty neigbourhood is not "a destination" but if you're looking for an alternative to the fast food chains this is it.

Rating: Ambiance (2)
Service (2)
Food Presentation (3)
Food Quality (3)
Value for Money (4)