World Class Bakers

690 St Clair Ave W
Phone: 416-654-0606

This spacious and elegant Italian Cafe and bakery is located at St. Clair and Christie in Wychwood Park, across from the famous Mediterranean restaurant Mezzetta

Offers freshly baked croissants, bagels, specialty breads, cookies and a large variety of cakes (all home made). You can also try the amazing buffet of traditional Italian dishes like veggie Lasagna, Roasted Vegetables, Roasted potatoes, Green beans in a tomato stew (YUMM), and Roasted Chicken. ($8.99 veggie, $9.99 non veggie buffet). A definite excellent deal. Food is fresh, delicious, and constantly refreshed. I must admit, it does not have the look of a buffet where people are desperate going back to stuff themselves on seconds and thirds. There is a laid back casual ambiance that I love in World Class Bakers. I went here quite often for food and beverages in January when I was dating a local. We quiote enjoyed the food and healthy veggie selections and super affordable prices. World Class Bakers resembles a cafe where locals hang out, read, and relax.

World Class Bakers offers free wireless internet access so locals are encouraged to drop by, have a coffee, read, and surf the Internet for as long as they want.

With a full espresso bar you can order a latte, cappucino, and just regular coffees. Don’t forget to try the samples at the cash. Exceptionally friendly service.

Also offers programs like Spoken Word Series (monthly on Wednesday evenings from 7:30pm-9:00pm) and a Discussion Group that meets every second Wednesday evening (8:00pm). A real community hangout for locals of the Wychwood Park neighbourhood. Also offers home cooked hearty breakfasts. Hours are Mon-Sun 7am-11pm. Cafe sits 36 seats. Only accepts cash but has an ATM in the cafe.

Jolly II Italian Restaurant

2625 Weston Road
(416) 242-6666

 

Centrally located at Weston and the 401 right near the Weston GO station and close to downtown Weston Village, Jolly 2 is a traditional Italian restaurant that has been serving patrons since 1988.

Jolly is authentic looking with comfortable seating in an open-concept dining hall

Jolly offers an assortment of salads, fresh pasta, pizza, lasagna, veal or chicken parmigiana, and other authentically Italian dishes all served cafeteria style (no worrying about a tip!)

Jolly serves typical Italian sandwiches like veal or chicken on an Italian bun, BBQ chicken sandwiches, steak sandwiches, Prosciutto and Cheese , sausage sandwich, and meatball sandwich.

Jolly also offers gourmet pizza and panzerottos and serves traditional Italian soups like Minestrone, Stracciatella, and Tortellini. They also serves pasta (Penne or Rigatoni) in Tomato sauce with meatballs or sausage as well as pasta in other shapes (spaghetti,rigatoni, penne or fettucine). Some sauces include pomodoro (tomato), meat sauce, meat sauce with meatballs, arrabiata (spicy tomato), pink (tomato and cream), and tomato sauce with sausage. Cream sauces include vodka sauce, al fredo, and a penne primavera in a choice of sauce (tomato, garlic and olive oil, cream, or pink).

Stuffed pasta includes gnocchi (YUMM), manicotti, lasagna, ravioli, Agnolotti, and Tortellini , stuffed either with ricotta cheese or meat. Pasta with seafood is priced from $10.95-$15.95

Jolly also serves a variety of salads (Caesar, Seafood, Spinach, Tomato, Tuna, and Greek)

For my first experience at this exciting new place I ordered a side order of roasted vegetables and the daily special of eggplant parmigiana; thinly sliced panfried eggplant (not breaded thank God) topped with tomato sauce and cheese. It was so delicious and not too greasy, I could taste the delicious olive oil flavour in the sauce and cheese.

The roasted vegetables were excellent. Roasted veggies were composed of roasted peppers (multi-coloured), zucchini, and onions

. Since they serve food “cafeteria style” it’s fast, fresh, and casual, and definitely NOT like crappy food courts or crappy cafeterias.

Jolly seats 120 people indoors and offers a large outdoor terrace that seats 80 people. Food is constantly refreshed. Prices for lunch can be under $10. Lunch portions are kind of small, but taste makes up for it. I would recommend ordering many small dishes. Also offers a famous hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage, and all of the fixings at low prices.

Many vegetarian options. Accepts all cards. Wheelchair accessible. Liquor license. Jolly II also offers catering services and take out.

Classico Pizza & Pasta (Wendy)

 

 2457 Bloor St W
416-763-1313

Classico’s is a little hole in the wall restaurant at the Western tip of Bloor West Village, just outside the Jane subway station on the South side of the street. The atmosphere is very casual, and they serve up decent Italian fare, essentially Classico is a decent neighbourhood spot.

There is an extensive selection of pizzas & pasta dishes, including one curry dish. Most of the mains are meat or seafood based, but my veggie friend Mark ate here successfully.

All meals start out with nice warm bread rolls. They are simple but good. My first visit here, I shared the calamari appetizer with my boyfriend (who has been going here with his family for years). The calamari was very well cooked ; no elasticity in sight. The grilled veggie sandwich is definitely to be counted among the best menu items here ; very flavourful, decent portion size & comes with a side salad for a mere $6.95. The old standby chicken parmesan is ok, and for $11.95 you are provided with a portion big enough for two meals, so I have to take half of it home.

This is a place to go if you are looking for a nice casual dinner at a very reasonable price. No pretension, just a decent meal.

Toba [Mark Aaron]

243 King East
416-367-8622

URL: www.toba.ca

To summarize Toba would be simply “lovely”. Set in the St. Lawrence market area on King and Sherbourne,

Toba is a cute and unassuming place that serves an elegant brunch with a small and diverse menu. Quality

is high, presentation is beautiful and artistic and decor is minimalistic with funky art on the walls,

representations of working women in the 1970’s- Andy Warhol style. Brunch prices are between $10-$15 per

person. Drink prices are kind of steep but service, food, and whole brunch experience is just so

lovely.

Some stars and funky fixtures hang on the walls, almost looks like a kid’s bedroom surround the place.

Toba has a clean, slick look, very similar to Verveine.

For our brunch, we were served by a very friendly waiter and we started with plain lattes, extra hot,

and served in tall glasses ($5). Toba serves up some daily baked good (scones, muffins, pastries)-

$2.75 as well as mimosas and other “brunch” alcoholic beverages. Aaron started with the vegetarian

poached eggs with 2 eggs over chipotle brioche with grilled tomato, spinach, old cheddar with a

Hollandaise sauce ($11). The dish came out looking gorgeous, colourful, with texture, freshness, and

everything looked attractive to the eye. I ordered the French toast (4 triangular wedges) in a pecan

maple sauce with caramelized pears topped with maple syrup ($10.50). The dish was spectacular. Other

dishes include typical brunch fare: granola + fruit + yogourt ($5), Blueberry pancakes with fresh fruit

and whipped cream ($9.75), Hang over helper (scrambled eggs chorizo, green pepper, old cheddar, served

with organic greens, home fries, and toast ($11), the “traditional” breakfast (2 eggs any style with

choice of bacon, sausage or peameal bacon with home fries, organic greens, and toast) $10, poached eggs

with peameal bacon, Hollandaise sauce, and organic greens ($11), Duck Crepes (Wendy friendly)- with

Peking duck, carrot, apple, cabbage, hoisin sauce, and gruyere ($12), a crab melt (crab salad with gruyere and bacon on a baked angel biscuit($11), Corned beef hash (corned beef with shredded potato, caramelized onion, red peppers, with 2 baked eggs, Holandaise sauce, chipotle puree, organic greens, and toast ($13), and finally Steak and eggs with Hollandaise sauce, home fries and organic greens ($15). Toba serves a different “tart of the day” with organic greens and home fries for $10 and the omelete of the day is served with organic greens, home fries and toast is $11.

Toba is not hip and cool like Auntie’s and Uncles but it’s chiche and classy. I would definitely recommend this place for brunch-goers. Extra friendly service with high quality food, beautiful decor, and great ambiance. Great to bring a date. Seats about 15 tables. Serves Italian fare at night for dinner. Accepts all cards. Liquor license

Amore Trattoria

 2425 Yonge St. 
Tel: (416) 322-6184

Amore Trattoria is a traditional Italian eatery located in the heart of the Yonge and Eglinton yuppie ghetto. Located on 2 levels in an open concept dining space, Amore is decorated with a minimalist design with a Mediterranean colour scheme, with very few paintings on the wall, with small tables huddled close together. Ambiance is calm, romantic, and dim lighting. This is the perfect place to bring a date.

Amore’s simple one page menu offers mouth watering salads (insalata), pastas, thin crust gourmet pizza, zuppa (soups), mains, and decadent desserts. Mains are priced from $12.95-$16.95.

Amore serves traditional pasta dishes like Penne Pollo, Presto Pesto, pastas with cream-based sauces, Prima Veras, Arrabiatas, and Bolognese. Amore serves dishes “tapas” style so patrons are encouraged to order an appetizer, salad, main, and dessert. This gets to be expensive, though.

Also serves ultra thin gourmet pizzas and you can even build your own pizza (Il Fornello style) . Also offers a spelt flour option for the crust.

For our dishes, I started with a homemade vegetarian minestrone soup with red kidney beans, potato pieces, carrots, zucchini, and other veggies, in a rich tomato broth. For my main, I ordered an ultra thin spelt flour pizza with grilled eggplant, zucchini, sundried tomatoes with mozzarella oozing with a pesto and tomato sauce mix. Justine had the fettucine with a cream sauce with mushrooms that resembled Alfredo sauce.

Amore appears almost identical to Il Fornello where it tries very hard to be authentic in a trendy way. They serve thin crust pizza but also offer “healthy” options like whole wheat and spelt. Price range is similar to Il Fornello and expect that your pizza will cost more if you add extra veggies, sauce, or any other gourmet type additions like roasted red peppers, pesto, garlic,and other yuppified ingrediants. Pasta dishes come fresh and piping hot. Portions are decent and wine is served the traditional way, in cups! Waitress was very accomodating as Justine and I together can be a nightmare for any waiter or waitress in Toronto. Dim lighting and minimalist decor makes this place a perfect setting for a date. I must admit that I was not full and I was worried since I had the Toronto International Marathon the next day and I think my pizza did not have enough carbs to sustain me, but it was DAMN GOOD! I would definitely go back and try other pizza combinations.

Amore is opened Mon-Thu 11:30am-10:30pm, Fri 11:30am-11:00pm, Sat 10:30am-11:00pm, Sun 10:30am-10:00pm. Accepts all cards. Serves Sunday brunch. Liquor license.

Trapezzi Wine and Dine [Mark Aaron]

505 Danforth Avenue
Toronto, ON
M4K 1P5
(416) 465-8778

 

Wendy and I decided to check out Trapezzi because it was one of the newer restaurants on the Danforth that had opened up some months ago. We knew that it was slightly shi shi poo poo so we thought that the Summerlicious food festival would give us an opportunity to try out a complete meal at a fixed price.

Trapezzi looks like a bar and bistro with dark hues of navy blue, chocolate brown, and black. The walls are furry and padded, perhaps an aid in sound absorption, or, perhaps it gives it a luscious, soft comfortable feeling. I would love to have soft padded walls throughout my house! Trapezzi is comfortable and clean, with clean lines and a contemporary hip look that is stylish and trendy. The menu comprises mostly Mediterranean fare (meaning Italian and Greek) and mains are around $15-$20 (OUCH!). For our summerlicious $20 dinner adventure, I started with a salad of baby spinach, red onion, orange segments, goat cheese, walnuts, citrus dijon vinaigrette. Oh my gosh, was it damn good. It was sweet and the vinaigrette made the salad light and refreshing, perfect for a hot summer day. Wendy had the mushroom & leek soup, in a big heaping bowl, very filling and hearty. She also ordered a bottle of sparkling water called Aoli. For my main, I ordered the gnocchi with roasted red peppers, baby spinach, shaved parmesan, saffron cream. I did not like the cream sauce as I am not a creamy sort of person. It tasted like a rose sauce but I really enjoyed the delicate flavour the gnocchi with the roasted red peppers and the baby spinach and parmesan. I am not a fan of cheese at all, but this cheesy dish was an exception. Portion size was laughable. The plate was flat and trendy but I think I only got ten gnocchi pieces. What a joke! I still think that nouveau cuisine does not mean I have to starve. I swear that I only ate ten individual pieces of gnocchi so I was very dissatsified since I know that this main would have been $14.

I ate slowly and really enjoyed my meal, but I doubt I would go back for dinner here. I would probably go to Trapezzi for brunch, but not dinner. Wendy got lucky with her main dish. She ordered the Fruit de mare with Pan seared garlic and herb crusted Atlantic Salmon, sautéed spinach, roasted mini red potatoes, and grilled lemon. Her portion was much bigger and she seemed very satisfied. For our dessert, we ordered two desserts and we shared. Wendy ordered the Tiramisu, with lady fingers, marscapone cheese, and espresso, in a rich cream cheesy icing. WOW- YUMMY! Excellent. I ordered the thick and dense Dark Chocolate and Caramel Torte, a dense chocolate moussy cake with a caramel crusted bottom layer, similar to Skor Bar. My dessert was superb.

Other items on the menu include a variety of salads ($8-$10), mussels ($10), a variety of pasta dishes like smoked chicken penne, rigatoni, fettucini, linguini, ($14-$16) and risotto dishes like pancetta risotto and mushroom risotto. ($16 and $17) , as well as a variety of pizzas ($14-$15)(some include caprese, carne, bourbon chicken, and trapezzi), as well as beef, chicken, lamb, duck, and sea food mains ($23-$30). The beef, lamb, duck, seafood, and poultry dishes all come with a variety of sauteed or roasted vegetables so it’s probably worth the inflate prices. Desserts include a variety of Gelatos ($5), Strudels, ($8), cakes ($8), as well as lattes ($3.50), and capuccino ($3.50), and alcoholic coffees (all $7). Trapezzi is also a full service bar and serves over 50 types of wine (red, white, rose, sparkly), as well as liquors. Trapezzi also serves a variety of funky flavoured Martinis ($10) , creative, sweet, and delicious cocktails ($8-$14), and apperitifs ($8-$9).

In sum, our experience at Trapezzi was great. Staff were friendly and accomodating and they did not treat us differently just because we ordered from the Summerlicious menu. The place is small but the decor and colour scheme is very hip and cool, comfortable, and relaxing. Fully Licensed Restaurant and Bar. Catering available. Seats 45 people as a restaurant. Seats 100 people as a bar. Accepts all cards. Open 7 Days – Monday thru Sunday 11am – 11pm
Bar opened until 2am. DJ plays music after 11pm on weekends. Serves a weekend egg-themed brunch. If you want a shi shi poo poo experience to the max with a good vibe, good food, and friendly staff, then come to Trapezzi. Just make sure you eat before because portions seem to be small.

Nevada [Mark-June 2005]

1963 Queen E
(416) 691-8462

 

Nevada is a trendy Italian restaurant in the heart of the beaches. I went there for brunch in Sept 2002 and I only remember one cool thing: the wicked patio. I do not really remember the food, very well. I do not remember it being bad, but I do not recall it being memorable. One of the largest and nicest patios in the Beaches, Nevada is a casual fine dining place for local folk.

Similar to The Beacher cafe just a few blocks east, Nevada serves Italian and North American dishes, made shi shi poo poo on fancy schmancy oversized plates. Place is beautiful in decor but food is very “blah”- like The Beacher Cafe. Both are charming and decorative and very homey and comfortable but food is very mediocre. Nevada is definitely one of the more trendier dining spots in the Beaches. Dinner entres are $9.95-$14.95 and they serve a weekend brunch with a fairly large menu. Gorgeous side patio that sits about 50 people comfortably. For our brunch adventure, Wendy ordered bacon, sausage, and a potato latke which she thought was too “eggy”, and she did not appove of the yellow tinge. I ordered the Peaches Foster French Toast and boy- it was not 3’s Company (Stuffed Peaches French Toast in a Berry Confit). I was looking forward to a mouth watering array of peaches braised over bourbon with a medley of fruit, bacon, and sausage. Of course the friendly and accomodating staff replaced the yucky bacon and sausage with more fruit, thank goodness. HOWEVER, when my French toast was served, it was way too eggy and there were 3 small slices of peaches and no hint of bourbon. I was not looking to get drunk (I’m not a drinker at all) but i really wanted to taste the intense flavour of bourbon and it was not there at all.

Nevada also serves a varierty of egg dishes (like most brunch spots) and it’s pretty cool to serve Challah and Potato latkes. I did not know that Jewish food was that trendy. I certainly was scared of it when i was growing up. Trust me, i dreaded potato latkes each Chanukah. As Wendy and I have been friends for 13 years, she is certainly more of a potato latke expert than I and she did not approve of 3’s Company’s latkes or Nevada’s.

Dinner at Nevada seems to be standard trendy fare: thin crust trendy pizza, pasta dishes, fish, chicken, a seafood dish, and a steak or meat dish. Very typical. I would suggest going here if you seek casual fine dining, a hip and cool decor with friendly, energetic, and young staff, and mediocre food. Although the painted mural sign on the exterior wall of the patio claims that it is a bakery, Italian market, and bakery, Nevada is only a restaurant. Accepts all cards, open late.

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.

Cafe California

 538 Church
Toronto, ON M4Y2E1
Phone: (416) 960-6161

Located right at Church and Wellesley, this small cafe sits about 15-20 tables tightly and has an ambiance of cosy, homey, and casual. With a Mediterranean decor (blues, greens, and deep reds as the backdrop), Cafe California stands out as a being a casual dining spot in the village. With a gorgeous mural of buildings and a skyline in colours of blues, light green, and greys, with gorgeous wood tables, wrought iron accents, nice flower arrangements, and large pieces of fabric draped along the ceilings, Cafe California is pleasing to the eye. With subdued Mediterranean colours, the cafe is not campy (like its next door neighbour Zelda’s) but very homey and cosy.

I went last Sunday morning for brunch with Paulo and I was happy to see that there was a separate brunch, dinner, and lunch menu. For our brunch we saw many items worth mentioning. Cafe California offers some vegetarian selections, a variety of healthy salads, and other light dishes. As well, their brunch menu offers a variety of sandwiches, beef or chicken fajitas, grilled chicken sandwiches, stir fries, and pastas. For brunch, I ordered a French crepe ($8.95) with poached pears, with a side of cream cheese, sprinkled with powder sugar with a side of apple butter and manjar sauce (i.e. caramel sauce). The crepe was light and not greasy and I was very happy with the portion size. Paulo ordered the Italian Frittata, an open-faced omelette with prosciutto ham, white asparagus, diced tomatoes, spring onions and potatoes topped with Monterrey Jack cheese that came with a side order of garden salad. Portion size was very generous. Service was fast and friendly. Waiter made an extra effort to go the extra distance, to be helpful, friendly, and informative.

Other brunch items worth mentioning include the Eggs Benedict/Eggs Pacifica – 2 poached eggs and spinach on a toasted English muffin w/ peameal bacon or smoked salmon, topped with Hollandaise sauce and served with a potato latke, Huevos Completos – 2 eggs any style w/ sausage, peameal or strip bacon, pancakes, toast and potato pancakes, the Italian Frittata, Omelette – Choice of Western or Spanish, soups, bruschetta, Spinach Salad w/ roasted pecans, mushrooms, orange segments and goat cheese in a honey mustard vinaigrette. Cafe California also serves an assortment of salads, including Caesar Salad, Greek Salad, and their signature dish “Chicken Santa Barbara”- a large garden salad with roasted pine nuts, rasins, with grilled marinated chicken breast and a sundried tomato and pesto vinaigrette, spinach fettuccini with cajun chicken, mushrooms, sweet peppers and onions in a creole sauce, grilled Atlantic Salmon in a raspberry white sauce w/ rice and vegetables. They also serve one “healthy” pizza- a thin crust pizza w/ chorizo sausage, mushrooms, sweet peppers and Bermuda onions. In addition, some sandwiches include the Mediterranean Club Sandwich w/ grilled chicken breast, bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato on Italian panini w/ salad or fries, the Vegetarian Plate w/ grilled vegetables, goat cheese, and focaccia bread, a Hamburger Served with mixed greens or home-cut fries, and finally a Veggie burger w/ mixed greens or home fries.

Beverages include a variety of coffees, espresso beverages (lattes, capuccino, etc), liquor based coffees, brunch cocktails, Sangria, Mimosa, and a variety of wines and spirits.

Cafe California also offers an extensive and creative variety of martinis. Offers a great selection of desserts, including unique cheesecakes. Great front and side summer terrace. Many vegetarian and healthy options. Accepts all cards.

Podium (closed in 2006/07)

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

 

Podium is a 200 seat, full service restaurant and bar which is open for lunch and dinner. Sleek and elegant, it’s set in the heart of the Yonge/Dundas

concrete jungle on the 5th floor of newly constructed Olympic Spirit building. The building, located at the corner of Victoria and Dundas is yet another

supplement to the Yonge/Dundas Concrete park that tries to emulate New York’s Time Square with flashy lights, T-O Tickets (like New York’s TKTS), and situated in what is known as
the country’s busiest intersection- whoop dee do! I still do not see the need to build an Olympic Spirit building- Canada does not invest huge sums of money

into the Olympics and its athletes. Further, since when did we get so patriotic when it comes to the Olympics. I thought it was odd to have an Olympic

Spirit building since we just lost the 2008 bid for the World Olympics. This new place is a 5 storey complex with a museum, gift shop, and Podium sits

atop on the 5th floor with a huge outdoor summer terrace that gives a panoramic view of the yucky Yonge/Dundas Concrete landscape.

The entrance to this place is confusing since you must enter the building on the ground level at Victoria and go up to the 5th floor. Signage is crappy,

(there is one small paper sign that says “Podium 5th floor outside the elevator) . Although coined as a tourist spot, it’s difficult to find this
restaurant with such poor signage.

Upon entering, we were mesmorized with how beautiful it was. The entrance had shiny new pieces of mosaic tiles in warm earth tones. The colour scheme comprised bright red walls with cheesy images of athletes. There were 4 circular booths in red leather which

could fit about 4-6 people. Most of the restaurant had clean lines with small pale wood tables in minimalist, modern, simple lines. There is an exposed wood

burning oven where pizza is made before our eyes and a large circular bar where many drinks are prepared. The staff were extremely friendly, warm, and

enthusiastic.

The menu itself is quite limiting for vegetarians as the only items that are veggie friendly are pizza and pasta. However, the wonderful thing was that

staff were so flexible, that they could basically create things from scratch that did not exist. For our appetizer, we ordered a salad of mixed greens, arugula, a mozarella-like cheese (?), apples, caramelized walnuts, in a maple dressing ($12). For our mains, I ordered a veggie pizza with pesto, shrimp, and some goat cheese. I asked

the server to have the shrimp removed and instead, he added more pesto (YUM), some goat cheese, bonconncini cheese, grilled peppers, snow peas, and grilled

mushrooms. The pizza was thin crust and whole wheat and only $14. It was fresh, hand made, and very tasty. I was very happy.

Wendy ordered the seafood pasta dish with mussels, shrimp, and scallops, in a wide spinach pasta for $18. She loved her dish very much but she thought that

they mixed up the pasta dish. I think she ordered pappadelle pasta and her pasta was something different. Our portions were of decent size and service was

stellar. In addition to pasta and pizza, Podium offers a wide variety of dishes featuring soups, salads, stir fries, gourmet sandwiches, chicken, fish,

and steak. They offer gourmet sandwiches for lunch like the grilled Portobello mushroom and vegetable sandwich, topped with goat cheese. This sandwich was

accompanied by a house salad or French fries.

As well, other popular dishes include the Asian beef stir-fry served with julienne vegetables, snow peas, in a ginger sesame hoisin sauce. Another dish includes a rack of lamb glazed with Russian mustard accompanied by a potato latke and a Shiraz reduction. The menu also includes a vegetarian favourite from my pasta days: a penne arrabiata (with or without the sausage) in a spicy tomato sauce topped with grana padano. Podium also has an extensive wine list to accompany any dish you order.

I have mixed feelings about the decor. On one end, it’s hip and cool and chic. With dim lighting, clean lines, the vibrant red walls, and bright red leather circular “futuristic” booths, Podium really has an ultra hip style, but then there is an element of “kitsch” and “cheese” when you see the print and art on the walls are all athletes in various poses (winning, losing, running, swimming) and when you look at the floor and there are references to famous Olympics events on the floor, I must admit that it ruins the elegance and chic-ness of it all, but that’s just my opinion. I know the theme but there are more subtle ways you can play with decor so it’s not “in your face”

The view from Podium’s patio overlooks Yonge/Dundas Square, which, i guess for tourists is spectacular. Trust me, there are nicer spots in Toronto than Yonge/Dundas square. I think Podium is a great place for tourists and theatre goers because you are so close to the Canon Theatre (former Pantages Theatre), Massey Hall, EATON Centre, and not far from the Bluma Appel theatre (part of CanStage), and the Hummingbird centre.

Staff were extremely friendly, accomodating, warm, and flexible. Service was prompt, fast, and food was fresh and full of flavour. Accepts all cards. Full liquor license. Spectacular bar with a large outdoor summer terrace with great views of the city (north western view–you can see the U. of T. campus very well!). I would definitely go back because staff were so accomodating to my neurotic vegetarian needs, but I was disappointed that the only vegetarian items were pizza or pasta.