Bistro 990 Restaurant

 

Bistro 990 is known as the place to go for a fancy dinner, especially during the film festival when all of the stars descend upon the place. My firs visit to Bistro 990 was with a group of people, the Toronto Chapter Executive of the Concordia Alumni Association. This place is great for group gatherings. If you go, hopefully someone else is taking care of the bill, otherwise bring a credit card, because it isn?t cheap.

The appetizers range from $8.00 – $24.50, with main entrees in the range of $21 – $42 and, are largely meat focused. They offer a wide range of meats including steak, veal, game, lamb, etc.

For my meal, I started with the house salad $8, and had the Noix de St. Jacques au feu-vif ($28) This dish included 4 seared scallops, with a butternut squash & walnut risotto. We drank shiraz, which is referred to as ?the new chardonnay?.

My meal rocked the house, it was fantastic. Around me, people who had the steak frites were determined to be a real winner. The kids who had this finished their plates in a flash. Anoter from my group had the ostrich, which he said was very good, as was the chicken dish his girlfriend had. Every dish went back to the kitchen licked clean!

Pavlova is my new favourite dessert. This meringue & marshmallowy dessert topped with a berry compote was out of this world amazing. It went down real well with the cappuccino I had. One of my dinner companions had a dessert what had a flourless chocolate cake & grand marnier, which she really enjoyed.

The service we had was excellent, our server was really attentive, friendly & helpful. One thing I noticed was that the restaurant was not too noisy, which is great for having either an intimate conversation or a business meeting.

I had a great experience, I’d definitely go again.

 

 

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Fujiyama

49 Baldwin St
(416) 596-1913

The food was good, but the service was so much less so.

This is a standard sushi restaurant, the food was really quite good, but the service was exceptionally slow and forgetful, odd considering that the place was half empty on a Saturday night.

I might try it again on a different day, or maybe at lunch, you never know, it may not be such a bla experience.

Tacos El Asador

690 Bloor West, at Clinton,
416-538-9747

This place is super cheap! prices start at $1.95 for a veggie taco, and combos that have a couple of items & a drink range from $5.60 – $7.50, with the all time high price of $16 for a fried fish meal.! After eating in Bistro 990 the day before, this place is the bargain find of the year.

The name says it all – tacos is what they specialize in, but there are also enchiladas, soups, burritos, quesadillas, etc. I had a combo that was an enchilada and a soup. The soup portion was big, and it smelled great. it tasted very fresh & was chock full of vegetables, very yummy. This was definitely a homemade soup too, certainly not your Campbell’s over salted standard.

The atmosphere is decidedly casual, with the picnic tables and plastic cutlery, and tv’s all around, but you really go there for the good value. The service was impressively fast & friendly, and for $7.50, I was stuffed. My dining companion Chris likes to go there on Monday nights to relax and unwind before heading in across the street to catch the Catch 23 Improv show in the back room at Clinton’s.

Judging by the patrons, I think this is a local favourite spot, there was a constant stream of customers for both take out & eat in. This place was so cozy, you would not feel out of place eating alone.

My dinner, drink & dessert with tax & tip came to a grand total of $9.55. You could have done it even cheaper! I will definitely be returning to the comforts of Tacos el Asador.

Pan on the Danforth

516 Danforth Ave.
Phone: (416) 466-8158

 

I’d always wanted to try Pan on the Danforth, and Winterlicious provided an excellent opportunity to check it out. This restaurant specializes in Greek & Mediterranean cuisine, which is reflected in the menu. The atmosphere is very nice, cozy & relaxed, I think this would be an excellent date spot, and judging by the crowd there that night, is also good for small gatherings (6-10 ppl). The look of the place is really inviting, the dining area is long and narrow, the back of it is raised a few steps, and there’s a fireplace at the end, there are candles everywhere, nice decorative accents, beaded chandelier type fixtures, real paintings and music that is at a very reasonable volume and I was sitting right under the speaker, so that’s saying something!

I went by myself for dinner – I really wanted to go & it was a last minute decision. My server checked in on me frequently, asked if I liked the table he chose for me, if I needed the music lowered, helped me choose my wine. I was very happy with the attention I received, which is something I think can get forgotten when a lone diner is out.

For my appetizer, I selected the Mezedakia, (mixed dip platter) which included hummus, taramosalata, (cod roe dip) and tirokafteri, (feta & spicy banana pepper dip) which also included a bit of cous cous in the middle. The dips were accompanied by 2 perfectly warmed pitas seasoned just right. These dips were all yummy, but my fave was the taramosalata. Yummy!

My main dish was the Kakavia – a traditional seafood dish of shrimp, mussels, seabass, calamari, scallops, salmon and onions, served in a homemade tomato white wine sauce. I can honestly say this was the best calamari I’ve ever eaten! It was fresh & meaty, cooked to perfection, not remotely rubbery or stringy. This was a divine dish. The sea bass was definitely up my alley. The portion was so generous as well, I struggled to finish, but I ate the bowl clean.

I asked my server about vegetarian options which were not evident on the menu, other than in the appetizers & salads, and he assured me that there are options like veggie moussaka, pasta dishes or they can customize a dish for you, so vegetarians are not to worry, you are welcome here. Now this is a nice place, so I would not categorize it in a cheap eats guide – entrees range from $14.95 – $24.95, but it was definitely well worth it.

I finished my meal with an extraordinary fig and port ice cream, caramelized in red wine and cinnamon reduction. YUUUUUUMMMMMM!!!!! Hats off to the chef, this was fantastic & homemade even!

Pan on the Danforth was truly a wonderful dining experience! The service was attentive, knowledgeable & friendly. The food will bring me back for many more visits as well – Pan is an awesome find!

Utopia

On a strip where overpriced and underwhelming is the norm, Utopia stands a cut above the rest. Serving up a wide variety of sandwiches including burgers and burritos for reasonable prices, Utopia’s small dining room is constantly packed with patrons. The quasi hippy mood mixed with the hustle and bustle service lends to a vibrant and trendy atmosphere perfect for a quick and delicious bite.

Since my roomate and his girlfriend were touting this restaurant for over a year before I even tried it, it has since become a staple of my local take out food. Burrito choices are varied including chicken, lamb, shrimp, steak and vegetarian mixed with cooked onions, lettuce and a choice of monterey jack, chedder, goat, and feta cheese. Sandwiches are served a la carte or with a side of rice and beans. Meal sizes are sufficient and I have always been left satisted.

Little Italy has its fair share of uninspired eateries but smack dab in the middle Utopia continues to serve up fine sandwiches.

Bamiyan Kabob

In the world of ethnic cuisine, Afghani doesn’t usually register high on the radar. With only a smattering of restaurants in Toronto, I was lucky to stumble across one while looking for a completely different restaurant during one day’s aimless lunchtime drive. Located in a small strip mall up near the Science Centre, a bright, clean and sparse decor welcomes the visitor to Bamiyan. With similar names to Indian cuisine, like tikka and lahor it is easy to assume that Afghani cuisine doesn’t differ greatly in the Pan Asian sphere. However, beyond the food names, the similarlities with Indian cuisine end there. While Indian food is cooked in a sauce, Afghani food is all about dry spice. Bamiyan offers several dishes served “kebab style” including chicken tikka, lamb, sirloin steak and ground beef. You can order each dish with rice or without and it always comes accompanied by a side salad and a helping of naan. Afghani naan differs from Indian naan in that it is firmer and breadier than its more floppy namesake. One more difference in the cuisines is that the curries used in Indian food are spicy while Afghani spice is more benign. Bamiyan offers hot or mild sauce with each dish though even the spicy sauce is benign compared to typical Indian fare.

Bamiyam is the perfect spot for a quick atypical lunch. Orders are placed at the counter and you are given a number which is usually ready in short amount of time. Ample seating is available, though the restaurant can fill up at times due to its popularity.

Indian Hut

636 Church Street,
Phone – (416) 934-0235
http://www.indianhut.ca

 

Indian Hut is a a large, spacious restaurant located in an old restored Victorian House on Church right near Bloor, just north of the gay village. -Dimly lit, with huge windows and large spacious tables, Indian Hut has a lunch buffet (weekdays: 11:30am -l 2:30pm for $9.95) and dinner buffet, (7 days a week from 5:30pm – 10:00pm for $15.95) and a take out and eat in menu. To order from the take out menu, visit http://www.restaurantsonthego.com or call 416-932-3999.

Indian Hut also offers Indian cooking classes so you can make restaurant quality food at home. Cost is for 6 weeks, 2 hour lessons, one lesson per week @ $250. [Feb 2005 prices] . Dishes will be adapted without having to use restaurant equipment. Contact Neerja Dhawan at 416 934 0235 to register.

Indian Hut has an upstairs banquet room for larger groups to use for special occasions. Surrounded by traditional Indian music, in an ambiance that is completely non-kitsch, possessing a calm ambiance, with candlelight, real linen napkins and tablecloths, this place serves traditional North Indian cuisine that is fresh, piping hot, and flavourful.

I started my buffet adventure (I don’t do buffets very often!) with a vegetarian lentil soup, purreed to perfection. I found that there were many vegetarian options like the Bhartha (Curried Eggplant), Daal (Lentil Curry), Chana Masala (curried chick peas), Vegetable pekora, Saag Paneer (Spinach and cheese) as well as unlimited Naan bread served fresh and hot, and Pappadum

Food is hot, fresh, and served in traditional Indian Hot plates. Food was always refreshed and waitress was knowledgable, friendly, and always filled our water. Some popular dishes worth noting include Butter Chicken, Garlic naan bread: light and fluffy bread made in a tandoor oven and smothered in garlic butter, Beef roganjosh, a tender beef curry in a spicy sauce, Navratna korma: a medley of 9 vegetables in a light tomato cream sauce with mild spices and nuts, Goan mutton curry, a lamb curry cooked in a goan style curry sauce, and Tandoori chicken marinated and baked in yogurt, ginger, garlic and spices.

Some desserts include a variety of traditional ice creams (Kulfi), Bharfi, Rice Pudding, and Cheese Balls covered in syrup, or Dough balls deep fried in syrup. Accepts all cards, serves liquor, open late.