Bombay Palace

 71 Jarvis St
Phone: 416-368-8048

Iqbal Chatwal opened his first Bombay Palace in downtown Montreal over 20 years ago. It has been a trusted favourite ever since, expanding its proven recipe for success to locations in New York, Los Angeles, Budapest and Hong Kong, as well as Toronto. Dishes are prepared in Punjabi style and this place caters to a health-conscious crowd by providing a menu of low-fat and low-cholesterol dishes that still retain the flavours of traditional Indian dishes.

Having visited several Indian restaurants in Toronto since moving to Toronto in the summer of 2001, I have always passed Bombay Palace but never had an opportunity to go in, until Paulo’s 33rd birthday. Conveniently located downtown at Jarvis and Adelaide, just a pinch north of King. Known in Toronto as “high Indian cuisine” I was thoroughly impressed with the plain and simple and kitsch-free decor spread across two luxurious and comfortable, spacious dining rooms.

Tables were large and not jam-packed like many other restaurants that try to pack in as many people as possible into one small dining space. Bombay Palace was definitely not claustrophobic.

I was VERY thirsty, so I started with a Mango Lassi, which was a bit of a disappointment because it was not thick enough and it was filled with ice and portion size was small and kind of expensive ($2.95).

For my main I ordered 2 entrees- saag paneer (spinach curry with Indian cheese) ($8.95) and mushroom kaju muttar (curried mushrooms with cashews and peas). I did not see many mushrooms but i thoroughly enjoyed the peas and cashews and the wonderful coconut curry sauce ($8.95). As a side, i ordered kashmiri naan (thin white pita type bread) stuffed with a paste of dried fruit and cashews ($3.95). Most Naan bread and Roti/Chapati were in the $3.95 range.

Paulo ordered the Palace Feast ($22.95.) This included Chicken Tikka, Seekh Kebab, Prawns, Lamb Roganjosh, Bombay Aloo and the vegetable curry of the day (pea curry)

Paulo complained that the service was slow and he was hungry but the food was very high quality and he could definitely taste the quality of the meat and the chicken. He was happy that the Tandoori chicken was white meat and not dark meat. To this day, I do not know the difference, having not eaten any meat since 1991 and chicken since 1992.

Although service was slow (especially since it was empty on that freezing -27 degree Friday night, staff were friendly, constantly refreshing water, and were helpful with answering questions.

Bombay Palace accepts all cards. Extensive wine list (you can order by the glass) and also includes a small menu of cocktails

La Vecchia

2405A Yonge Street
416 489-0630

 

Justine and I, both picky eaters needed a nice, calm place to have dinner one night. We wanted to stay in her area (Yonge and Eglinton) since she was not feeling well. While walking up Yonge and browsing the restaurants, we decided it was safe to eat Italian. I knew that my favourite cuisine (Thai and Indian) would not agree with Justine’s stomach so I settled for Italian. Justine and I chose to dine at the fine restaurant she had heard rave reviews about : La Vecchia.

Inside, the restaurant was very busy and very dark, but not noisy like Seven Numbers. The ambiance is very similar to Seven Numbers but much more expensive. The decor is gorgeous, dimly lit like Seven Numbers, with stone interior, with a traditional Mediterranean feel, with a classic trendy touch: Black and White photographs of famous people spread throughout the restaurant. Tables had real tablecloths and linen napkins and extremely comfortable seats.

With a large selection of wines and menu items divided into appetizers (antipasto), insalatas (salads), secondi (meat and fish), contorni (pasta), and pizzas. La Vecchia comprises one large dining room divided into three sections- the front facing Yonge street, the middle facing the bar, and the back- more quiet, dark, and cosy

Justine complained that there was only one single stall washroom which she thought was not very practical. La Vecchia also has three separate menus for lunch, brunch, and dinner.
The brunch menu includes a variety of traditional favourities like crepes, waffles, and French toast. As well, light fruit plates are served as well as traditional egg dishes but with an Italian twist . Some crepes include crepes filled with kiwis and smothered in strawberry sauce and French toast with Blueberry preserve and maple syrup, as well as light crepes filled with berries and smothered in chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Traditional favourites include: eggs benedict, eggs florentine, and eggs with grilled steak, and over 10 types of frittatas with a combination of cheeses, vegetables, and meats. Some frittatas include frittata vegetariana, frittata gamberi, frittata al salmon, frittata carina, frittata di capra, frittata la vecchia, all are served with house salad and toasted calabrese.Sandwiches (on foccacia bread) include rustico, montanaro, americano, and genovese.

Lunch items include a bruschetta on calabrese bread, minestrone soup, antipasto, Insalata Caprese (Italian salad) , Insalata Caesare (Caesar Salad), Casanuova, Insalata Di Mare (seafood salad), Insalata Verde (spinach, wild mushrooms, greens, and goat cheese), Insalata Mediterrneano (Mediterranean), Insalata Di Pollo (Salad with marinated grilled vegetables), grilled calamari, and sandwiches served on foccaccia bread. Also served for lunch are mini pastas: capellini ciociara, rigatoni romani, linguine primavera, penne arrabiata, penne alla vodka, fusili saraceno, orecchiette picante. Homemade pasta includes tagliatelle biancaneve, tortellini ortolana, agnolotti di monte, ravioli r. benigni, gnocchi pomodoro, risotto primavera, risotto po, and risotto del giorno

Secondi (meat and fish) dishes include: scallopine mastroianni, scallopine piemonte,pollo savoia, gamberi marina, salmon dell’ atlantico, pesce del giorno, mini pizza with salad, mini margherita, mini calabrese, mini quatro stagioni, mini potente, mini vegetariana. Whole pizzas include armani, and contadina.

The dinner menu is almost identical to lunch menu but prices are more expensive and portions are much bigger. The dinner menu offers more varities of Calamari and Bruschetta and more pizza combinations. (pizza margherita, pizza vegetariana, pizza contadina, pizza la vecchia, pizza castello, pizza capricciosa, pizza san siro, pizza bianca, pizza diavola, and pizza caruso. Pizzas are traditionally made with an ultra thin crust and there is a generous serving of tomato sauce and pesto.

For our dinner, I ordered the pizza vegetariana, with an authentic “ultra-thin” crust, with grilled peppers, zucchini, goat cheese, pesto, and zesty tomato sauce. It was fresh and served very hot with a generous serving of sauce and pesto. Justine ordered the pizza margherita with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and tomatoes

The waiter appeared snooty because we did not choose to have sparkling or still water. We opted for “tap” water. I felt that we looked down upon. I certainly do not think it’s necessary to order overpriced water just because we’re in a fancy restaurant. Liquor license. Accepts all cards.

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu Korean Restaurant

 691 Bloor St. west
(416) 537-0972

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu is a small restaurant in the heart of the Korean Business District located on Bloor between Bathurst and Christie. This place is named after a popular street in Korea (Buk Chango Dong) and Soon Tofu, meaning Soft tofu. Located right near Christie subway station, the restaurant contains about 15 tables in a very brightly lit, casual dining environment

I avoid dining in this neighbourhood because I fear that there will not be any vegetarian options for me. On this particular evening I dined with Daniel, his friend Grace, and Grace’s roomate Anna. Both Grace and Anna are Korean. I was hesitant about going out for dinner in the Korean neighbourhood but Grace reassured me that there were vegetarian options for me. It also made it easier since she spoke the language.

At Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu the menu only contains 6 items. I was disappointed to find out that there was only one vegetarian item for me to choose from. Items include the Combination Soon Tofu (meaning Soft Tofu) dish which includes beef, shrimp, clam, and soft tofu, Seafood Soon Tofu includes a medly of seafood (oyster, shrimp, and clam) with soft tofu. Dumpling soon tofu is a beef and tofu dumpling. Soy Bean son tofu is a mushroom , clam, beef, and tofu dumpling. Vegetable soon tofu is a soup of mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, and onion, with soft tofu.

I ordered an alternative version of the Dolsot Bibimbab, a wonderful stone pot layered with rice, 6 veggies, and topped with beef and egg. I asked for them to omit the beef and egg and substitute it with a large serving of soft tofy (soon tofu). Staff were flexible and accomodating

Anna, who is also vegetarian had the vegetable soon tofu but she thought it was too watery. Grace and Daniel both had the Ddukbego Bulgogi and Dolsotbab, which is a stone bowl full of beef soup with vegetables, and glass noodles. All of their dishes came with purple rice while my dish came with white rice. Both Grace and Daniel loved their meal very much and Grace really liked the sweetness of the dish.

The last item was broiled bulgogi (beef?) and dolsotbab, a stew of beef and vegetables. Our meals came with an assortment of 4 free appetizers. Among them was the traditional Kim-chi, a pickled cabbage in a spicy red pepper sauce. It is as common to Koreans as white bread is common to North Americans.

In addition to Kim-Chi, other wonderful appetizers included Kong Na Mul (bean sprouts), Kong Ja Bon (beans with anchoves), and Do Ra Chi (Pickled raddish root). All of the dishes were $6.95 except Broiled Bulgogi and Dolsotbab which was $7.85

I would definitely go back. Portions were sufficient, service was good, and food was piping hot, fresh, and made to order. They accept cash and Interac. A bit noisy and crowded. Excellent prices.