1116 Queen St. East Cash only, no phone
Queen & Pape – @ Brooklyn
Eat out only – unless you sit in one of the 3 chairs, or outside on the bench.
The prices are low, the value is huuuuge – $4.75 fish & chips where you get so much you struggle to finish. They make every order fresh, and serve each crispy bit in newspaper. This place is well worth the trip, believe me, I go out of my way to make the trip down special. Check it out!
Katsu Japanese Restaurant Phone: (416)466-3388
572 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K 1R1
Who would have thought that you could find all you can eat made fresh to order at a reasonable price in Toronto? My first sushi experience was very expensive at $80 each for 3 people. I moved to Vancouver shortly thereafter, and found the sushi there to be very fresh, affordable and good, so I was instantly hooked.
So I’ve eaten at katsu Plenty of times, have ordered take out & have taken advantage of the all you can eat buffet. The standard menu is extensive, and the prices are all average, just like the service. The buffet, however, is far better than average. The prices for the buffet start at $8.99 for a Monday-Thursday lunch. The dinner price is higher (Thursday-Saturday $16.99) but, you get far more selection & you get the more expensive sashimi.
They really mean it when they say “all you can eat”, because whatever you don’t eat, you must pay an additional price per piece that you don’t finish. I suspect that’s to prevent against people ordering a lot, then taking the leftovers home in a doggie bag, thus getting a really good deal. The simple solution is just to order as much as you can definitely eat, and order frequently throughout the night. As soon as your plates are empty, they bring another order form for you to fill out. Be careful, it is really easy to overeat at that price, but it will have been worth it.
880 Ellesmere Road
The first time I went for a meal at Hopper Hut I was taken there by an East Indian employee who’s taste buds were well attuned to the fiery spices of southern Indian food. I am not one to shy away from spicy food but I recall being so overwhelmed by the heat that I had to ask for a side of yogourt just to neutralize the sensations.
My most recent visit to Hopper Hut didn’t diverge much from the first. I stuck to the conventional South Indian choice of vegetarian thali while my lunch partner decided to go with something called the vegetarian lamprie. I wish I was able to discern much less recall what the different vegetable curries were that made up the thali. There were three tomato based curries, each one spicier than the first. The three other vegetables were not as spicy but after a few bites of the other ones it didn’t matter since my mouth was already on fire. The thali also came with a large bed of rice half covered in a yogourty/onion sauce and the other with a milder, tasty “orangey brown” sauce… that is really the only way I could describe it at this point. If this sounds like a lot of food for $6.99 then you need not worry about the papadam and an extra potatoey dish that comes alongside the thali. Dessert, also included in the price of the thali, is a tapioca based custard, that thankfully was not spicy; though by that time I had already used evey napkin at the table plus some to sop up my running nose.
Next time I go for South Indian, I am going to have to try something other than the thali. The lampries that my friend ate was pretty much the same as my meal but with all the ingredients blended together in a banana leaf. This actually made it more difficult to eat as she couldn’t supplant the hot spicy taste with the cooler dishes. Quite an experience but not one that I could easily get used to on a regular basis.
640 Queen Street West
La Hacienda was one of the few remaining restaurants on the Queen West strip that I had yet tried. This may be owing to its dark, shabby interior which is more suitable to a watering hole then a place to eat. On my roomate’s insistence, a group of my friends decided to eat here for a friend’s going away party.
We took a seat on the enclosed back patio which was almost pitch black and very “budget” in a Green Room type of way. We decided to take our time and order our meal in parts starting with a round of pitchers and a plate of nachos. The nachos did not have enough cheese as my friend pointed out to the waiter when we ordered a second round and the vegetables were still somewhat raw.
The menu consisted of the traditional Tex-Mex fare but was missing some of the more obvious favourites of fajitas and tacos. I settled on a chorizo enchillada which is a tortilla stuffed with meat, cheese, and some veggies and baked in a casserole dish. Chorizo is normally quite spicy, and though the waiter claimed the chorizo came from St. Lawrence Market, the taste of it was drowned out by the awful ragu-like salsa accompaniment.
As stated before, La Hacienda is in the same class of the Green Room or Red Room in terms of affordability, style and taste. A good place to come and talk with friends but not for a tasty meal.
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
The last time I visited Il Fornello must have been for some sort of celebratory function in junior high school when I was still too young to be treated to a real fancy restaurant. Il Fornello is a chain of faux-fancy restaurants that attempt to mimic the cuisine and ambiance of its contemporaries even though noone is really fooled by these pretensions.
My first visit to Il Fornello since that time was for a brunch party for a good friend. I had heard recent musings that the brunch at this paticular Il Fornello on the Danforth was surprisingly good so my hopes were high. The menu definitely suggested a creative touch to what my pre-conceived notions would have told me was generic, chain food (to view go to : http://www.ilfornello.com/if/menudanforthbrunch.shtml). The array of omelettes was varied and I decided on eggs that came sprinkled with smoked salmon, sour cream and chives with a side dish of mango, spinach salad. The meal was also supposed to include Belgian endives which didn’t come until I pointed out this misstep out to our friendly waitress.
I found my eggs to be dry and compared to my smoked salmon omelette at Eggstasy which came overflowing with sour cream, this one was sorely lacking in that respect. The cookie cutter image of the perfectly cooked omelette didn’t impress me much and reminded me why chain restaurants usually don’t do it for me. Luckily, I was still able to enjoy this average meal due to the great brunch company I dined with.
676 Queen West
San is one of my favourite restaurants on the Queen West strip. My introduction to San was also the first time I tried Korean cuisine and I have returned several times since. San actually serves a mix of Korean and Japanese food with sushi dishes coming alongside more traditional Korean cuisine.
The restaurant itself is difficult to spot as the name is only written in small white letters on the front glass window . The interior is dark and slick and they always seem to be playing some cool music . On this particular visit, Michael Jackson’s Anthology seemed to find its way on to the CD player, which had more than a few people nodding their head to the pop classics.
After two delicous lychee martinis, I quickly browsed the menu and decided on the dynamite rolls. Each Japanese dish is served in a box with several sides including firm tofu, dumplings with glass noodles, salad with a delicious dressing, and a small helping of something that I assume is a Japanese vegetable but am not completely sure. The dynamite rolls were delicous and also came with shrimp tempura.
San ends every meal with a shot of ginger, sugar and water. A delicious aperitif to end off a delicious meal.