Podium Restaurant & Bar (closed 2007)

5th floor- Olympic Spirit Toronto
35 Dundas St. East @ Victoria
416 775 3200

Being a new restaurant in town, Mark & I decided to give Podium a try. We were headed out to an event in the area, so we thought why not?

Located on the 5th floor of a building just off of Yonge & Dundas Square is in theory a good location, however a bit more signage would really help. You see the sign up above on the top of the building, & go inside & it isn’t super clear how to get there. Eventually we figured to take the elevator up. The elevator opened up right into the restaurant itself.

The entrance was stunning; it was a beautiful mosaic tiled area that covers the floors, walls and ceiling. The place was unfortunately very empty of that Saturday night in particular. If you look out the window, you look onto the square, but it was raining that night, so we decided to take a booth near the fireplace in the back. I’m not too sure what the point is to have an Olympic themed restaurant when the food does not coincide, but whatever. The entire restaurant has a very circular feel to it, I guess to emote speed. The colors used for the décor are red, black, and silver. It’s really quite a striking place, despite the Olympic athletes that decorate one wall. More round booths like the one we chose would really make an impact I think. They are very intimate spaces, but large enough for 5 people at least.

The host was very friendly, as was our server. As this was our waiter’s first day, he solicited some assistance from the host to address our questions. One thing I appreciated was that they recommended dishes in a variety of price ranges, not all top priced items. As nothing on the menu was exactly to Mark’s preferences, they were extremely flexible and accommodating to his needs, and developed a whole new pizza, special for him. They were really nice about it and did not even charge us extra. The staff here are fantastically skilled in customer satisfaction.

We started off by sharing an arugula salad, with walnuts and Oka cheese, which was delicious. Mark had his custom order vegetable-laden pizza and I had the Seafood Papardelle $18. Nice pieces of seafood were nestled in a nice tomato sauce. The shrimps and scallops were particularly good. The calamari was not bad, although slightly overdone. There were entirely too many mussels for my liking. I much preferred the scallops and shrimp. Unfortunately the spinach papardelle, completely clumped together. The portion sizes were perfect for people with big appetites – I could not finish the entirety of my meal.

Being right at Yonge & Dundas makes this a great place to start off the evening before a show. The staff were especially sensitive to people on a tight schedule, needing to get to shows on time, easily able to speed things up without showing any signs of stress. There were a number of other items on the menu I wanted to try so I’ll definitely be going back.

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