119 Harbord St. Toronto
416 – 923-3188
Judging by its name, I was not particularly enthralled to dine here for my brother’s and his girlfriend’s birthdays. Not that there is anything wrong with these two ingredients per se (the olive and lemon NOT my brother and his girlfriend!). It’s just that the combination doesn’t sound particulary interesting either. If the restaurant was called Chili and Chipotle that would be a different story…. though that sounds too much like a cheesy Mexican rip off a la Carlos and Pepe’s.
Regardless of the food and service which were both decent; sitting outside on the patio on a beautiful late summer Sunday evening was what made the meal enjoyable. Our waiter started off very well, recalling a long list of the specials of the day with a certain panache that left everyone at our table gushing over him. The menu was extensive, featuring many pasta dishes and a few meat and fish dishes. There were several appetizers, and we decided to share the usual family fave, grilled calamari as well as the shrimp crostini special. Both dishes were tasty yet meagre. The lack of shrimp is not surprising; however the amount of squid was dissapointing.
For my main, I had the grilled salmon served on a bed of arugala with grilled pears adorning the side of the plate. I don’t recall exactly what the salmon was seasoned with but it was fine and was grilled just about right. I found the pears to be the only creative part of the evening and a successful addition to an otherwise typical entree. I should not forget to mention the wine which we ordered; the cheapest on the menu but quite good nonetheless. For dessert, we shared a triple decadent chocolate cake which was not anything special at all.
I found the service, which started off excellently, to get worse as the meal progressed. At one point we asked for a refill on waters which took about 10 minutes. Also after our meal was finished and taken away I had to ask another waiter to send ours to tell us about dessert.
I found everything about Olive and Lemon to be average. From the name to the food to the service.
Late Night Pizza
One of my favourite pastimes is to disregard all of the self-imposed dietary restrictions I place on myself during the day, and indulge in a late night pizza snack following a debaucherous night of drinking. My favourite city to do this in is Montreal , as that city boasts a plethora of extremely cheap ($1 or less!) pizza joints that satisfy those late night desires. My favourite jaunt was definitely 1+1 (or what I referred to as Une plus Une) on St. Laurent just south of Avenue des Pins which served up a tasty slice for $1 plus tax.
Toronto has it’s own calibre of late night pizza joints that offer a far greater variety than their Montreal counterparts if not nearly as reasonably priced. Let me say upfront ,so you understand my tastes, that for these late night ventures my ultimate slice of pizza consists simply of pepperoni and cheese with my own generous additional sprinkling of hot red pepper flakes:
For a little while I was on a big Amato’s kick. With several locations around the city (St. Clair West, Yonge just south of College, Queen West and College West) Amato’s really caters to the downtown crowd. With a huge variety of slices Amatos definitely covers the gambit as far as tastes are concerned. And the pizza is pretty tasty too. However at $3+ a slice this “snack” turns more into the second dinner I shouldn’t be eating at 2 a.m. just before bed.
Located at Harbord and Spadina, Cora Pizza was one of the first “underground” restaurants I was exposed to as a teenager. University of Toronto students would boast about being the only ones in the city to know about this fabulous spot. That feeling holds as you enter and notice the display of photos of seemingly regular customers adorning the wall. The pizza itself is ok but too doughy for my liking. Haven’t been here much lately as it is too far north for my post-drinking downtown crawls.
Isn’t this the McDonald’s of pizza? Why even review this generic, ghastly decorated joint? Well, I admit it. Pizza Pizza is one of my guilty pleasures of an already guilty pleasure! Like I said, my favourite slice is the simple pepperoni with tons of hot pepper flakes and in-store Pizza Pizza is still one of the best for it. Though I enjoy the slice, the garlic dipping sauce is one of the most nauseating things I have ever smelled or eaten.
Located at the corner of College and Clinton, John’s is the closest to what I’ve been looking for since returning from University in Montreal. It also helps that it is a 3 minute walk from my apartment (much like 1+1 was in Montreal). With a limited variety of slices, John’s serves up a nice thin crusted pizza with all the right trimmings. I have twice been here where I was offered a second slice absolutely free. The pizza itself is quite tasty and is the perfect size to fill your aching belly before drifting off into sweet, sweet, drunken sleep.
Reviewed by Aaron
Harbord Fish and Chips v.s. Chippies:
Harbord Fish and Chips
147 Harbord Street
893 Queen St W,
Having been thoroughly unimpressed with Chippies, the new and trendy fish and chips restaurant on Queen West, I thought I would try this more unassuming joint on Harbord between Spadina and Bathurst.
I had heard many good things about Harbord Fish and Chips but then again the NOW Magazine gave Chippies a 5 star review and doesn’t shut up about it. The problem I find with Chippies, besides the cute guys behind the counter singing “Shook me all night long” by AC/DC, is that they just don’t serve enough fish. I’ve been there twice, and both times have come away with a mountain of fries but little in the way of main course. The side sauces are a nice touch, but the ones I tasted were nothing special.
Harbord is a small, un-trendy, mostly take out joint. Like Chippies, Harbord also serves up a mountain of french fries. I guess I shouldn’t complain, fries are delicious and the meal IS called fish AND chips. The difference with Chippies though, is that Harbord actually provides a decent portion of fish. I ordered haddock and I was happy to see a nice big rectangular piece of fish plumped down on top of my heap o’ fries before being wrapped up in the traditional newspaper (unfortunately it was the National Post).
If you have a craving for fish and chips go for the solid Harbord version over the fluffy, trendy, more expensive Chippies.