Fisherman Villa

25 Glen Watford Dr.
416-321-1624

You could imagine my surprise when I heard we were going to eat dim sum at a place called Fisherman Villa. Supposedly, this restaurant used to be a seafood joint which never changed its name after switching cuisines. Or so the story goes. I find there are many Chinese places that have odd English names… or maybe they just don’t care what the English name is since the majority of their customers are Asian anyways.

Regardless of the name, Fisherman’s Villa serves traditional dim sum cuisine in Scarborough at Midland and Sheppard. The restaurant isn’t large enough to accomodate carts being wheeled around, which is too bad since half the fun of dim sum is watching the different and interesting dishes circulate throughout the room. Instead, we left the ordering to our Asian compatriots, ensuring tasty choices at the right prices.This was mostly true, as we plowed through two different dishes of shrimp wrapped in rice, breaded squid (similar to calamari but resembling fingers instead of curls), a large bowl of won ton soup, a green vegetable dish called troy sum(sp?), sticky race wrapped in a lotus leaf, and steamed ribs with rice. The only dish that I steered clear from was the chicken feet. The little toes kind of freak me out. For dessert, we had coconut and tapioca pudding in a bowl, and a more solid form of the same thing. Strange having almost the exact same dessert as a solid and a liquid.

To tell you the truth, this is only the second dim sum restaurant I have been to so it is a little unfair of me to review these places as a novice. Comparing it to Dragon Dynasty I would say it doesn’t quite live up to the aura of that restaurant; however, as far as decent food in general goes, Fisherman’s Villa does just fine.

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Ameer

 

Ameer serves traditional Lebanese cuisine in “Little Arabia” at the corner of Warden and Lawrence. I decided to try this place for lunch after previously sampling some very good baba ganoush and hummus from here. It turned out to be one of the best middle eastern meals I’ve eaten in (greater) Toronto.

The interior of the restaurant is something you would imagine of a middle eastern restaurant. Arabic decorations, white tile, clean with soft, traditional music playing in the background. The place was empty save for a group of women celebrating someone’s birthday. Our waiter was very friendly and accomodated my desire of having a side of chicken shwarma with my vegetarian platter. My choices for middle eastern fare are quite boring and I tend to stick to the usual falafel and dips. There’s just something I love about this combination of food that always seems to be the best choice on the menu. The platter was HUGE and came with large helpings of hummus, baba ganoush, five falafel balls that were crisped to perfection on the outside but soft and warm inside, mild garlic dip, several tasty grape leaves packed with rice and assorted spices, and a large basket of pita bread. Each of these parts of the meal including the stuffed grape leaves which I do not usually care for were delicious. The extra side of chicken shwarma was tender and tasty as well. The only problem was that there was too much food.

Olive and Lemon

119 Harbord St. Toronto
416 – 923-3188

 

Judging by its name, I was not particularly enthralled to dine here for my brother’s and his girlfriend’s birthdays. Not that there is anything wrong with these two ingredients per se (the olive and lemon NOT my brother and his girlfriend!). It’s just that the combination doesn’t sound particulary interesting either. If the restaurant was called Chili and Chipotle that would be a different story…. though that sounds too much like a cheesy Mexican rip off a la Carlos and Pepe’s.

Regardless of the food and service which were both decent; sitting outside on the patio on a beautiful late summer Sunday evening was what made the meal enjoyable. Our waiter started off very well, recalling a long list of the specials of the day with a certain panache that left everyone at our table gushing over him. The menu was extensive, featuring many pasta dishes and a few meat and fish dishes. There were several appetizers, and we decided to share the usual family fave, grilled calamari as well as the shrimp crostini special. Both dishes were tasty yet meagre. The lack of shrimp is not surprising; however the amount of squid was dissapointing.

For my main, I had the grilled salmon served on a bed of arugala with grilled pears adorning the side of the plate. I don’t recall exactly what the salmon was seasoned with but it was fine and was grilled just about right. I found the pears to be the only creative part of the evening and a successful addition to an otherwise typical entree. I should not forget to mention the wine which we ordered; the cheapest on the menu but quite good nonetheless. For dessert, we shared a triple decadent chocolate cake which was not anything special at all.

I found the service, which started off excellently, to get worse as the meal progressed. At one point we asked for a refill on waters which took about 10 minutes. Also after our meal was finished and taken away I had to ask another waiter to send ours to tell us about dessert.

I found everything about Olive and Lemon to be average. From the name to the food to the service.

Il Fornello on The Danforth [Brunch]

Il Fornello- The Danforth
576 Danforth Ave.
Tel. (416) 466-2931
Major intersection: Danforth & Carlaw

Il Fornello- Yonge and St. Clair
1560 Yonge Street
Tel. (416) 920-7347
Major intersection: Yonge & St. Clair

Il Fornello- Bayviw Village
2901 Bayview Ave
Tel. (416) 227-1271
Major intersection: Bayview & Sheppard

Il Fornello- Theatre District
214 King St. West
Tel. (416) 977-2855
Major intersection: King & Simcoe

Il Fornello – Beaches
1968 Queen St. E
Tel. (416) 691-8377
Major Intersection: Queen & Woodbine

Il Fornello- Queen’s Quay Terminal
207 Queen’s Quay West
Tel. (416) 861-1028
Major intersection: Queen’s Quay & York

Il Fornello Bloor West Village
2277 Bloor St. W.
Tel. (416) 761-9222
Major intersection: Bloor & Runnymede

IL FORNELLO *newest location-opening July 2005*
491 Church St

 

Although this restaurant is a “chain,” it truly does not feel like one. Each one is quite different in its decor, charm, and appearance. We went to the Il Fornello located right on the Danforth at Danforth near Pape. This place is usually crowded with swarms of people dining on traditional Italian dishes like pasta, pizza, bruschettam, as well as universal favourites such as grilled fish, sirloin steak, and chicken asiago. Famous for serving pizza, I was surpised to learn that they also serve a spelt crust pizza with soy cheese.

The restaurant’s theme is “traditional Italian fare with a twist of trend.” Main courses are from $12.95-$16.95, salads are from $6.95-$9.95, pizzas from $9.00-$13.50, and appetizers are between $6.95-$9.95

Known for being trendy and bordering on pretentiousness this place actually serves up a really “non-trendy” brunch.

That Sunday morning at 11:00am, the place was surprisingly not packed, but had a more laid back ambiance. The waiters were extra friendly and the one serving us had a permanent smile on his face. He always was there to pour us continuous amounts of water. Service was exceptional.

I went with four friends and was surprised to see a separate and simple brunch menu containing about ten classic “brunch” items. Most of the items were not vegetarian as most consisted the omelete of the day (add $1 for an egg white version), baked eggs with pea meal bacon, eggs salmone (smoked salmon with baked eggs), and other fancy egg dishes, all presented with artistic beauty, colour, and flare.

I enjoyed strawberries, bananas with Jenny’s famous granola [who the heck is Jenny anyway?], served in an extra large plate with a generous serving of strawberries, bananas, and granola. On my second visit I had the egg white omelete with broccoli and cheese and it was amazing. It was not greasy and the portions were decent. All omeletes of the day come with three different kinds of salad.

Brunch items include an assortment of cocktails- Bellini and Mimosa ($5.95), as well as fresh fruit Smoothies ($4.95). Il Fornello serves up an assortment of egg dishes (scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon ($8.95), Eggs Italiano ($8.95), Baked Eggs ($8.25), Vegetarian Baked Eggs ($8.25), Eggs Benedict ($7.95), Eggs Salmone ($8.95), Omelette of the Day ($8.95). For people opting for the egg white version, add $1.00

Other traditional brunch items include the French Toast with table syrup ($8.95), Belgian Waffles with fresh fruit, table syrup and fresh cream ($7.95), add a caramelized banana for $1.95 extra,
the Breakfast Pizza ($9.25- tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, red pepper, bacon and two baked eggs on a wood oven fired thin crust.), the traditional Breakfast ($8.95 -bacon, scrambled eggs, potatoes, fruit salad and buttered multigrain toast ), and Crab Cakes ($11.00)

Side orders include multi-grain Toast ($2.00), Toasted English muffin, ($1.70)
Pan-fried potatoes($1.70), Bacon ($2.50), and Fresh fruit ($3.50)

We sat in the spacious outdoor terrace by the front of the restaurant. Inside the restaurant the place is gorgeous with an open concept wood oven where you can see the chefs prepare your food before your eyes. There are little romantic corner tables, all secluded from the rest of the restaurant, large glass windows separating the restaurant from the outside, and a gorgeous country-kitchen bar with a vast selection of wines and beers. Service is prompt and exceptional. we were happy overall with our meal, the ambiance, and the presentation of the meal. Accepts all cards. 10 Locations across Toronto