By The Way Cafe – Wendy

400 Bloor Street West (at Brunswick)
416-967-4295

I’ve been to BTWC a number of times over the years, and have always had pleasant dining experiences there, this time being no exception.

I went to celebrate my birthday. I have made my way onto their email blast list, where they send out details of special offers. This particular offer was for a free entr饠anytime between a Sunday & Wednesday evening during the month of your birthday. This has become a bit of a birthday tradition of mine, and I enjoy it every year.

My friend Mark accompanied me for this dining experience. He started his meal with a vegetarian split pea soup that was to die for it was so good! They also brought out a plate of artisan breads and red pepper butter for us to munch on while waiting for the mains. Nice butter!

Our friendly server “Big Don” was very attentive and ready to answer any of our questions. (Mark generally has a question). I ordered the butternut squash lasagna, which was a great recommendation from Big Don. The thick layer of squash was sweet and subsequent layers were filled with spinach and mushrooms. I didn?t find any cheese, but that just helped to make it feel all the more healthy and provided an evening of guilt-free decadent dining. The accompanying salad provided just the right amount of twang! Everything was really tasty. Mark really liked his tofu salad as well.

I would loved to have had room left in my tummy for dessert, but my nutritious & delicious meal was so filling I had no more room left. Oh well, it provides a good excuse for a repeat visit.

Family Thai [Mark Aaron]

785 Danforth Ave
416-461-9288
open 7 days per week, 12 noon-midnight

 

As part of Wendy’s 30th birthday weekend, we decided to go dine at the newest Thai restaurant on the

Danforth, EOP (East of Pape)-the Family Thai. Conveniently located between my house and Wendy’s on the

Danforth, we looked at the menu and we saw (from the billboard) that they offer a large menu with many

vegetarian options.

Inside this new restaurant is still a work in progress. We did not see any Asian chatchkahs or

knicknacks, instead it looked like a university student’s apartment. The walls are adorned with kitschy

prints found at university poster sales that were laminated. Tables were nice but had milk and sugar

containers in cow prints. Alittle cheesy, not too Asian in decor, but oh well, a work in progress.

I must say all Thai restaurants in the city have the same menu. There is a beef, chicken, seafood

section, a small section with about 5 Malaysian dishes, a menu with alcoholic beverages, an appetizer

section, and a dessert section. Nearly all items are identical. I must confess it gets boring when all

of the Thai restaurants seem to collaborate and make their menus identical. How can i compare and

contrast when there is no diversity. For my meal, i ordered the vegetarian Thai hot and sour soup for

$5.95. The bowl was large and came fresh and hot and very spicy. To my surprise the broth was red and

hot, unlike most Thai Hot and Sour Soups which are black. When i visited a vegetarian Thai restaurant

in Montreal, they told me that authentic Thai Hot and Spicy (Hot and Sour was Chinese, she claimed) was

acutally made with lemongrass and lime and ginger and not black at all, but a yellow-orange clear broth.

She mentioned that the black broth of the Hot and Sour was actually a Chinese soup. How enlightening.

I had a lot of communication problems with the waitress when i ordered the cold veggie rolls. I asked

for a side order of peanut sauce (75 cents) and she told me that the cold veggie rolls came with the

sweet and sour sauce but it did not go well with the peanut sauce. I still insisted on having the

peanut sauce and in her broken, almost non-existent English, she told me i could only have the sweet and

sour dipping sauce.
I told her slowly that i did not want the sweet and sour dipping sauce,

but only the peanut sauce. She finally understand. Next came the hard part, asking her if the peanut

sauce was truly vegetarian, not made with oyster or fish or chicken stock. I asked her the ingrediants

in the peanut sauce and after several tries, she told me what the peanut sauce was made with. The peanut

sauce arrived with the cold veggie rolls and i was happy. The sauce was sweet and runny, not very

thick, but still quite delicious. I prefer thick and chunky, though.

It was funny to see how she reacted when the empty restaurant started getting busier. She nearly freaked out on us. When 2 customers entered the restaurant, she was in the middle of taking our order when she suddenly left and greeted the newer customers. As she sat them down, she came back to us, all frazzled, and apologized. Although she looked like she could have been in her mid 20’s, she acted like an awkward schoolgirl of 16 years old. As Wendy put it, “she was peculiar”.

For my main, i ordered the mango tofu, an assortment of stir fried veggies in a sweet mango sauce with

chunks of mango. My dish came was fresh and portions were large and i was very happy with the price

($8.95). Wendy ordered the Tom Yum Chicken soup with lemongrass, ginger, vegetables, and tofu. She

said it had a slight zing. My soup, on the other hand was the hottest, strongest soup i had ever had in

a long time. It had a bite and was much too strong. I could hardly taste the baby corn, tofu, bamboo

shoots, or the mushrooms. Wendy ordered another vegetarian dish: the stir fried veggies with cashews in

a coconut curry sauce. Since we shared dishes, we were able to taste each other’s dishes. I found her

dish to be easier on the stomach, more mild and creamy, with a medley of stir fried veggies and the

cashews really made the dish tasty. Both dishes were appropriately portioned and we were both quite

pleased with the value of our meal.

Like all other Thai restaurants, expect the typical Pad Thai,

Mango Chicken, Mango Tofu, Basil Beef, Basil Chicken, Basil Tofu, Thai Green and Red Curry, and a

variety of seafood dishes, seafood curries, and other beef and chicken dishes. Most dishes are under

$10.00 and some are in the $10.95-$12.95 price range. Family Thai also serves a variety of beers and

wine and mixed cocktails. Apart from the cheesy, kitschy decor, and the nervous, anxious energy of the waitress with broken English, we were quite satsified. Accepts all cards.

Cafe Next Door [brunch]

 790 Broadview
416 469 1971

Located right on Broadview right across from Broadway subway station, just a few steps north of Danforth, this funky cafe shares a patio with its sister company “The Magic Oven”. They serve quick, healthy, and light meals and weekend brunch and operates as a full service cafe. They offer a light healthy meals, salads, as well as energy bars, cakes, squares, muffins, and delicious fruit smoothies. They have a full brunch menu with traditional items like eggs, pancakes, cereal, fruit and granola, omeletes, and sandwiches and salads.

Wendy ordered the mushroom melt with asiago cheese and portobello mushrooms served with California fruit salad caught ($8.95). I ordered the bowl of oatmeal with fruit salad for $8.95. The portion size was not enough as this place emphasizes light meals (meaning tiny portions) so i also ordered the energy bar for $1.69. Most energy and protein bars are in the range of $1.50-$2.59. I was fortunate to taste Wendy’s dish and it was spicy and zesty and although sligghtly oily, i did detect the delicious Olive oil taste. YUMM!

Customers order at the counter and they serve the food to you. Staff are accomodating and friendly. However, on this particular occasion, we had a “newbie”–clearly this was her first day. She forgot to bring out Wendy’s fruit salad and she served me first but completely forgot about Wendy. I know Wendy was not happy. I think we both enjoyed the food but we felt neglected in terms of service. The “newbie” did not know anything regarding pricing and food products. The dessert menu is large. They make vegan soy shakes and bake cheesecakes, mousse cakes, creme brulee, ice creams, and snacks like spelt samosa rolls, kettle chips, healthy wheat free bars and desserts, flax bars, spelt and molasses muffins, energy bars, low carb meal replacement bars, sesame bars, and granola bars. They have a small summer terrace that sits about 3 tables. Inside the place is quite small with about 5-7 tables in one open dining room. Coffee creamers and sugar are all “help yourself” so it feels like Williams Coffee Pub since you order your food, but they do bring it out to you. Prices are between $7-$10. Accepts VISA and Interac.

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!

Paradise Ethiopian and Canadian Cuisine

950 Danforth Ave
(416) 416-406-6342

Located right at Danforth between Jones and Donlands, this cosy Ethiopian restaurant serves up traditional Ethiopian dishes, most under $10.00. Wendy and I went for dinner last Friday night and we had quite the adventure.

First of all, it was quite amusing to see such a small menu (only 2 pages) that consisted of one chicken dish and mostly lamb dishes and one popular vegetarian dish. The whole menu was shameful since it was full of atrocious spelling errors. How funny and incredibly embarassing.

The other thing that we found out right away was that our waitress did not understand any English. She tried though, but she could not fool us. She did smile a lot and say “yes” very often but we could have asked her if we could bomb the restaurant and she’d smile and say YES. We could have asked her to give us all the cash in her register and Wendy and I could be sure she’s say YES. We expected the ambiance to be tacky and cheesy but it was not. With authentic acrylic paintings of typical scenes in Ethiopia and calm African-inspired music, the setting seemed perfect but was made slightly tacky by the big screen TV at the corner of the restaurant that featured basketball. How tacky!

Our dishes were served within 3 minutes so i suspect some microwaving was involved. I ordered the vegetarian special for $10- which included a split pea curry type dish, a spicy orange lentil curry, a cabbage and potato curry, a spinach type curry, salad, and tasteless salt-free feta cheese. When we asked the waitress what this mysterious dairy product was, she said “yogourt” and we looked at her in a weird way.

Her permanent smile remained locked and we asked her to check to see if it was Feta cheese. I was certain it was salt free feta cheese. Afterall, it’s on the Danforth and the Danforth is known as Greektown. When she came back, she told us it was feta cheese–according to Wendy pretty awful feta cheese.
Wendy ordered the Doro Wat, a dark chicken in a dark curry with a hard boiled egg in the middle ($10). Wendy was not impressed since she wanted chicken breast and not chicken leg and she hates eggs of all types.

Our food was fresh, healthy, tasty, and very filling. All dishes were served in injera bread, thin flat sour dough sheets that capture the food since cutlery was not used in Ethiopian cuisine. We ordered drinks Mango nectar ($2) and soda ($2). All prices include tax so our bill came out to $22 including drinks. Not bad. The only problem was when we received our bill, we got two bills, one with the prices before tax and one bill with the prices after tax. Both bills came out to be $28.14 but we added up the prices after tax to be $22.00
What a frustrating experience.

The waitress could not communicate with us as her English skills lacked considerably. She also could not add as our bill came out to a completely different price than expected. What a funny and frustrating experience. Wendy and I agree that we’ll probably not go back to Paradise Ethiopian and Canadian cuisine. Although the food was good, the service was out of the ordinary and the staff were slightly aloof and spaced out. I found that the waitress who did not speak any English made it difficult to convey what we wanted. Even in multicultural Toronto, basic English communications skills is somewhat important, isn’t it?

7 Numbers [Wendy]

Mark & I went to eat at Seven Numbers Danforth the other day, and discovered just how quickly this new location has become a local favourite. In fact, we showed up without a reservation, we just went on a whim, & had to wait about 30 minutes for a table as the place was really crowded, but it looked like a fun dining adventure, so we didn?t mind. Once seated, we studied the menu posted on the blackboards which changes daily. This is one of those Italian restaurants where everything is ordered separately, & is itemized by Antipasti, Primi, Secondi & Contorni. Family style dinners are available for 5 people or more (I suspect only with reservations). In fact, reservatioins are required for 6 people or more.

I started my meal off with a nice glass of Valpolicella ($9). I scoured the antipasti selection & considered many of the options such as pan fried calamari, prosciutto with figs salad, pan fried olives & focaccia, cheese plate ? the possibilities were plenty, & finally I decided upon the buffalo mozzarella with bresaola & truffle oil which was melt in your mouth fantastic ? I chose well, though I?m sure I?d have felt the same way about any of those other options.

There was again a decision to be made about my main course? I considered Rosa?s ossobuco, the grilled long & thick Italian sausage, the grilled tuna w/spicy tomatoes or the tilapia fillet, and decided upon the Veal Braciola (wrapped veal with spinach & romano cheese baked in tomato & white wine). I am not generally a veal person, but this was really good & had a bit of a spicy kick too ? nice to warm you up on a cold night. Now, as I stated before, things need to be ordered separately, so when you order the veal, that?s it ? no side dishes included at all (i.e. rice, potatoes vegetables, salad ? nothing) so, I ordered a green salad to accompany my veal. It was a simple mixed green salad with an herbed balsamic vinaigrette, & surprisingly substantial for $2.

I finished my meal off with a citrus tarte with semi sweet chocolate. I loved the flavour combination, but found the crust on the bottom a bit overcooked. My Americano was a nice accompaniment to the tarte.

All in all with taxes & tip my portion of the meal came to $46 which isn?t too bad when you consider all I had. If you aren?t paying attention, your bill can come as a bit of a surprise as all of the individual elements look so cheap on their own (i.e. $9 for the buffalo mozza, $9.5 on the veal, etc, but it does all add up.

The food was quite good, the service was friendly, the atmosphere was warm, despite the volume level. This is not a place to have a quiet conversation, as you will find yourself yelling just to be heard by your dinnermate across the table. The buzz is distinct. The one thing I found a bit off-putting was the fact that when I attempted to pay in cash, the waitress said they didn?t have change, that they did not have a cash register or float? WTF?!? All restaurants have floats, you have to have a variety of payment options available for your customers. At no point was the statement made to provide exact change only. I did not want to put it on a credit card & it didn?t look like the type of place to have interact. There was no way I was giving her a $14 tip on a $46 bill. I sent her back to look for more & of course she found some change.

Other than that oddity, the meal was pleasant. I would go back, and bring a credit card.

 

 

Omonia

426 Danforth Ave
416-465 2129

 

Located right on the Danforth at Danforth at Arundel near Chester subway station, next door to another famous Greek establishment Kalyvia. Known to the community as a traditional Greek dining establishment since 1978, this place holds over 200 seats spread across 2 dining rooms, looks old, rustic, and woody, looks kind of dark, need brightening up, [maybe a renovation?], looks kind of 70’s or 80’s, comfortable cosy ambiance, with wood chairs and comfortable tables

The kitchen is open and exposed to patrons. Pedestrians can see what’s cooking from the street. Omonia offers catering and delivery. Place can be rented for special events. In the summer, there is a 140 seat outdoor terrace, open during the summer

There are some vegetarian items, in a vegetarian section of the menu (Vegetarian mousaka, Vegetarian pita, Spanakopita (4 for $7.95), Hummus (excellent but slightly oily for $5.95), and Green/Greek Salad

Accepts all cards, friendly service, casual, and very unpretentious crowd

Willow, The

 

The Willow is a Tex Mex Bar & Grill on the South side of Danforth near Broadview, & has become the spot of choice for post-show gatherings at the Bad Dog Theatre www.baddogtheatre.com. The place to sit is the back rooms, or failing that, wherever Jose is serving � he is an awesome waiter that knows his audience. I no longer have to order, he knows what beer I want & brings it. The menu is a mix of Tex Mex & pub regulars like burgers & chicken fingers. Do yourself a favour & stick with the Tex Mex, as it is what they are known for. The menu features items such as nachos, quesadillas, tostada & other Mexican delights. The last few times I�ve been here I had the Supremo Nachos � corn chips, melted Jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, chicken with salsa, sour cream & guacamole. It was really filling � I had to get help to finish, which is great considering the price of $9.95. Another time I had the vegetarian Tostada, which is an open faced crispy corn tortilla topped with vegetables, refried beans & melted cheese, also served with a side of refried beans & rice. This was a steal at $9.95 � I had to take some home to eat later! I�ve also had their salads & Mexican mice & things like that, all very tasty. Skip the fries.

The beer selection has changed recently & so they no longer have Guiness or Smithwicks or the other standard British/Irish brews on tap, but they have recently acquired Dos Equis on tap. I switch between that one & Carlsberg.

Now I know some people who have had negative drink experiences there, (obviously Jose was not working that day, he�d never let anything bad happen) & I do know some who are not fond of the food, but you can�t please everyone all the time.

The bar features a big screen projector system for sports & special event viewing if you are into that kind of thing. They are also very amenable to seating large crowds & let you move the tables around as you need. The patio is bright, colourful & heated! Perfect for the crisp autumn weather! Check out their website at www.thewillow.ca It�s cute & colourful & features pretty pictures of the food & tells you more about the history of the establishment.

 

 

Danforth Dragon [Mark]

861 Danforth Av
Phone: (416) 461-9238

 

Danforth Dragon is located right on the Danforth at Danforth at Jones. This place is one of the only restaurants in urban Toronto that serves Hakka style food, Chinese food spiced Indian-style. Ambiance is casual, cosy, with one dining hall, a diverse menu of wines, beers, and cocktails. The decor is slightly kitschy as there is a flashing sign outside (similar to Las Vegas flashy signs). For my appetizer, I ordered the Hot and Sour soup, made vegetarian upon request. Staff are friendly and VERY accomodating…anything can be made vegetarian and spiced accordingly. Pleasant, relaxed, cosy, casual, unpretentious ambiance

Unfortunately the soup was boring and bland. I would have preferred Wendy’s Hot and Sour Soup spiced with Mancurian sauce (her soup had chicken but it could have been made vegetarian). For my entree, I ordered the stir fried veggies and tofu in a Manchurian sauce (ginger, coriander, chili, paprika, garlic) very zesty with a kick, and similar to a vegetable curry.

Wendy ordered the Hakka style noodles with chicken and shrimp. The portion size is huge and prices are all under $10.00 for the most part.

The menu includes a variety of fish, seafood, chicken, and beef curries, chow meins, stir fries, as well as North American favourites such as chicken wings and French fries. Some dishes include the Fish ball soup, Hakka Chow mein, Stir fried veggies, spicy egg roll, seafood is top notch.anything shrimp is great.shrimp balls, snow peas with house spicy sauce, green beans with garlic sauce, ghobi (cauliflower curry), Kung Hei Chow Mein, pan fried dumplings, veggie and chicken pakoras, shrimp with lobster sauce, chinese mushroom with tofu, fish dumplings in a delicious broth, chicken tikka, crispy ginger beef, singapore or manchurian chow mein, sweet corn soup, manchurian veggie balls are one of the most popular vegetarian dishes as well as shrimp balls, Indian style chop suey, and manchurian fried rice is a favourite among frequent diners.

Danforth Dragon accepts all cards and the service is very friendly and accomodating.

Ten Feet Tall

1381 Danforth Ave
(416) 778-7333
See also Brunch, Danforth, Bar/Cafe

www.tenfeettall.ca

Paulo and I decided to go for brunch one Saturday morning and we wanted to try something different. We saw the sign “We serve brunch” at Ten Feet Tall so we decided to check this place out. The sign outside the restaurant does not give justice. From the outside it looks like a typical bar east of Pape on the Danforth near the corner of Greenwood. With a plain black and white sign and with a minimalist exterior design, we did not know what to expect. When you step inside, you will see a funky, eclectic, open concept bistro cafe/bar.

Once inside, we were introduced to funky, ecclectic interioirs, with a large mural on the wall depicting a stormy scene at a Mediterranean beach. It was said to belong to the old restaurant and that the current owner did not want to take it down. Ten Feet Tall has only been opened one year [as of Oct 2004]

With mosaic-tiled walls and linen-draped patio doors, hand-sculpted light sconces, eclectic artwork and a collection of ceramic insects on the wall, this cafe stands apart from the rest. The strong colour scheme of blood-red ceilings and dark walls really makes this bistro stand out.

Ten Feet Tall serves a diverse menu with a separate brunch and dinner menu. Dinner includes a variety of pastas (gnocchi, ravioli, chicken in a tomato sauce, pad thai, pasta with grilled chicken, portobello mushrooms in a Jack Daniels cream sauce), 4 types of pizza (Pepperoni, Danforth, Kristen, and Kiss Me), sandwiches (grilled veggie, grilled cheese, club sandwich, hamburger), chicken curry, cajun catfish, New York steak, and chicken breast stuffed with chevre and fresh herbs.

On my first visit, I ordered the Ten Feet Tall salad, a large creative plate of greens, spinach, strawberries, shaved parmesan cheese, and candied almonds in a thick balsalmic dressing. I could taste the bits of almonds but not the “candied” part.Paulo ordered the Ten Foot Breakfast, bacon, scrambled eggs, toast, home fries (he said they lacked flavour) and coffee and he enjoyed his dish but he thought his meal was warm but not hot.

On my second visit, I went with my friend Justine (May 2005) and she ordered 10 silver dollar pancakes with fruit and it was great. I had an egg white omelete (they do not charge extra for egg white omeletes) with mozzarella, eggplant, mushroom, and spinach. The omelete comes with 2 toppings and it is only one dollar to add additional toppings to the omelete. My omelete came with toast and home fries and i substituted them for salad at no extra cost. Again, I found a no bullshit kind of place, unlike By The Way Cafe.

I loved my meal. It was fresh, delicious, and healthy. Other items include a variety of dishes with funky names (like beautiful veggies), stir fries, pizza, meat and chicken dishes, burgers, wraps, and some vegetarian dishes.

Some brunch items to note are the Eggs Danforth, poached eggs with pancetta on an English muffin, with hollandaise sauce and feta. All dishes come with a side order of home fries and toast. The Kitchen Sink, an interesting dish of
poached eggs on a toasted english muffin with smoked salmon, spinach, and roma tomatoes in a blanket of hollandaise sauce and crumbled feta. Other dishes include eggs benedict, eggs florentine, eggs mormor.

They also serve extra thick French toast, with powdered sugar and fresh fruit, berries, and maple syrup as well Waffles. Try the Elvis Waffle, a thick waffle with peanut butter, banana, bacon. Try their Danforth pizza with olives, grilled peppers, red onion, and feta, the “Kiss Me Pizza” with feta cxheese, pepperoni, jalapenos, red onion, and roasted garlics, or the Kristen Pizza with caramelized onions, mushrooms, grilled peppers, and sun dried tomatoes.

Service was excellent and staff were really friendly

I will definitely go back for brunch and dinner and explore the entire menu. Accepts all cards. Bathrooms downstairs are nice, clean, and there is a lot of artwork done by neighbourhood children (I think). Sits about 50 people. Open Mon-Fri 5pm-11pm. Serves weekend brunch 10am-4pm. They are VERY veggie friendly. They can make most dishes vegetarian and they can prepare dishes spicier, milder, bigger, and smaller, just inquire wait staff.

Reviewed by Mark