Asian Legend

 5186 Yonge St, North York (416) 221-9797
418 Dundas Street West – (416) 977-3909
505 RR-7, Thornhill – (905) 763-8211

Located right in the heart of the Newtonbrook neighbourhood at Yonge and Finch, comprising an extensive corridor of Asian (mostly Korean) restaurants between Yonge and Finch and Yonge and Sheppard. Asian Legend serves Northern Chinese cuisine with vast menu with many vegetarian options. This classy restaurant, which was jam packed with people at 5:00pm has 2 other locations in Thornhill and in Chinatown Downtown.

On this venture up to North York, I went to meet my father at Finch station. We both walked south on Yonge to find the perfect restaurant that we would both like. For our starters, we shared vegetarian steamed dumplings in a nice rice vinegar sauce. (4 for $5.00). In addition, I ordered a vegetarian hot and sour soup with tofu, mushrooms, baby corn, bamboo shoots, in a thick vegetarian broth.

For my main, as usual I ordered a vegetarian stir fry with tofu. Vegetables included broccoli, mushrooms, baby corn, baby bok choy, and baby corn. The sauce was vegetarian and I added some hot sauce to it. My father ordered a “small” crab, shrimp, and wonton soup. His “small” size soup was actually quite large in portion. As well, he ordered an order of spring rolls which he enjoyed because they were crisp, fresh, and not too greasy. For his main he ordered the beef and broccoli, huge portions, fresh and filling and affordable ($8.95).

Asian Legend has a sleek design that relies on minimalism, with huge tables spread across two dining halls separated by partial walls. Decor is not kitschy but with warm orange lights and minimalist design and high ceilings, the ambiance was relaxing, calm, and soothing. At the end of our meal, our bellies were full and the bill came out to $40 with drinks (2 Diet Cokes), 2 mains, and 2 appetizers. What an excellent deal. Accepts all cards and has a liquor license.

Satay on the Road

1572 Bayview Ave
(416) 440-0679

2003 Avenue Rd, 
(416) 488-5153

2306 Queen St. East (416) 698-8618.*

* Malaysian food not available at our Queen Street location.

 

*March 2005*

Satay on the Road on Bayview was renovated. It no longer looks kitschy and cheesy. It no longer has palm trees hanging from ceiling. It looks very industrial, modern, with clean lines, marbled tiles, and looks very trendy, a la “Salad King”.

Satay on the Road is located in the heart of Leaside Village on Bayview between Eglinton and St. Clair Another location is located in North York and in the Beaches

SOTR is a very casual place, with cosy diner chairs and tables, and kitschy decor (Thai-style hut roofs that surround tables, giving it that “Tropical Island” feel)

The menu is typical “Toronto Thai” so it is not worth mentioning. They have all the typical beef, chicken, and shrimp dishes. They also have the typical vegetarian fare so I was not surprised. Without fail, I ordered the veggie hot and sour soup, one of the best i’ve ever had in Toronto, next to The Friendly Thai, with chunks of tofu, bamboo shoots, three types of mushrooms, served in a HUGE pot

For my entree dish I ordered the Tofu Satay Dish with four skewers of tofu, stir fried veggies and a curried peanut sauce [VERY similar to The Friendly Thai]. The peanut sauce, however, was different. It did not resemble the typical brown I expected. It was very chunky but it was yellow, like it had been “curried”. It was still excellent and the waitress told me it was vegetarian so I believed her. [i.e. no chicken or fish stock added]

Paulo also ordered the deep fried veggie spring rolls for his appetizer and he ordered the Pad Thai that came with a side of marinated boneless chicken breast. He loved it.

The restaurant is spread across two dining halls, both cosy and casual. There is a bar at the back at the restaurant and table mats advertise a medley of cocktails which was kind of cheesy.
SOTR accepts all cards and there are three locations in the city.

Milestones

Unit A13-095 Yonge Street
(Empress Walk Mall at Yonge/Sheppard)
(416)-225-2552
For a complete list of locations

Milestones is a classy chain of restaurants, similar to Kelsey’s or East Side Marios, but slightly more upscale and less of “horse stables” ambiance. In other words, Milestones seems less noisy crowed with huge tables, spread far apart, with dim lighting, and an overall ambiance that is more calm and inviting. Located in most suburbs malls or in the middle of big box stores, I went to this particular Milestones at Yonge and Sheppard with Steve and Debbie in the fall.

The first floor was a bar/pub and the second floor was an intimate dining hall, with a cosy ambiance

Due to the limited vegetarian items on the menu, I ordered the Vegetarian Thai Noodle Salad- large and colourful with avocado, tomato, letture, cucumber, Thai rice noodles, mushrooms, artichokes, in a spicy Thai dressing ($9.99). Debbie had steak with garlic potatoes. Steve had grilled salmon with rice

All dishes came in large plates and super large portions. Decor is trendy with large spacious tables and booths. Rich in wood and comfort, yet provides an atmosphere of energy and fun. Very crowded with people but not congested

Friendly, welcoming, and knowledgeable staff. Decor is super modern and classy, in an elegant design
Milestones is a chain across Canada, all over Greater Toronto, Greater Vancouver, all of Ontario, B.C., and Alberta. Milestones claims to be the proud creator of Bellini, a frozen cocktail, a blend of Lamb’s white rum, peach liqueur and champagne, topped with sangria.
This restaurant also serves an extensive list of wines, house wines, beers, cockails, margarita’s, dacquiris, and other drinks

The men is very diverse, as it includes steak, chicken and ribs, soups and salads, stir fry’s (not vegetarian) , seafood, pasta, but unfortunately very few vegetarian options. The only vegetarian options I found were the veggie burger platter, tomato basil capellini (tomatoes, basil, sundried tomatoes, calamata olives, and feta), Miso Dragon Bowl (Asian vegetables, brown rice, and Thai peanut sauce), the California spring greens salad (spring greens, glazed pecans, red onions, goat cheese, and strawberries), the typical garden salad, a roasted garlic caesar salad, and the Vegetarian Thai Noodle Salad.

In addition, they also serve an extensive brunch and low carb menu. They also serve low calorie meals, as well as items with little or no trans-fats.Brunch is served 7 days a week until 4:00pm. Typical brunch items includes a variety of omeletes, egg benedicts, French toast, poached eggs, and mimosas. The lunch menu is very similar to the dinner menu but there are more sandwiches burgers and wraps (known as rollups)–mostly in chicken and beef varieties

Some vegetarian appetizers include hot tortilla chips with fresh salsa, baked goat cheese and roasted garlic dip on flat bread, and the toasted onion and herb focaccia triangles. Liquor license. Accepts Interac, and VISA. I was quite pleased that they had a low carb menu and there were some vegetarian appetizers but not enough vegetarian entrees.

Il Fornello (Beaches Jazz Festival)

Il Fornello- The Danforth
576 Danforth Ave.
Tel. (416) 466-2931
Major intersection: Danforth & Carlaw

Il Fornello- Yonge and St. Clair
1560 Yonge Street
Tel. (416) 920-7347
Major intersection: Yonge & St. Clair

Il Fornello- Bayviw Village
2901 Bayview Ave
Tel. (416) 227-1271
Major intersection: Bayview & Sheppard

Il Fornello- Theatre District
214 King St. West
Tel. (416) 977-2855
Major intersection: King & Simcoe

Il Fornello – Beaches
1968 Queen St. E
Tel. (416) 691-8377
Major Intersection: Queen & Woodbine

Il Fornello- Queen’s Quay Terminal
207 Queen’s Quay West
Tel. (416) 861-1028
Major intersection: Queen’s Quay & York

Il Fornello Bloor West Village
2277 Bloor St. W.
Tel. (416) 761-9222
Major intersection: Bloor & Runnymede

IL FORNELLO *newest location-opening July 2005*
491 Church St

Located right in the heart of the Beaches, this cool, hip and trendy eatery is surrounded by art, exposed brick, dim lightings, and a funky menu that incorporates traditional Italian fare with health conscious and trendified food. On my last visit to the chain in the Beaches, I had the large Insalata Roma … (mixed greens, chèvre, roasted peppers, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette). My friend Justine had the artichoke and pesto pizza, Daniel had the hearty Beef Manicotti which he thought Insalata Roma … (mixed greens, chèvre, roasted peppers, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette)was fine. He found that there was a heavy use of sage I think, which made the meat taste a little heavy/hars; maybe better use of oregano or other Italian spice would have been in order. My sister had the squid was a little on the rubbery side. Both Daniel and my sister thoroughly enjoyed the 1 litre of Sangria. There are some vegetarian pizza items, some made with spelt crust, and many offering soy cheese. The salads are funky (Tossed Salad , Caesar Salad … Grilled Chicken and Baby Spinach with mango and endive, Strawberry, Pear, Spinach Salad, Wild Mushroom and Arugula Salad, Crispy Prosciutto, Arugula and Spinach salad

Pastas include Linguini di Mare (tiger shrimp, scallops, mussels and calamari, light olive oil, tomato sauce), Penne Capri , with roasted chicken, wild mushrooms, spinach, in a lemon, garlic olive oil sauce, Spaghettini Primavera … (spaghetti with sauteed vegetables), Truffled Wild Mushroom Cannelloni (Cannelloni with Wild mushroom and ricotta), Tortelloni Fornello … (cheese tortelloni in a spicy tomato cream sauce), Manicotti (ricotta and spinach filled pasta baked in tomato sauce), and Daniel’s dish Cannelloni (meat filled pasta baked in tomato sauce), Spaghettini Misto … (Spaghettini with grilled chicken, tiger shrimp sautéed with caramelized onions, rapini, cherry tomatoes, in a lemon garlic olive oil),
Fettuccine Salmone … (Fettuccine with smoked salmon, and veggies in a dill vodka cream sauce ), the classic Penne Arrabbiate … (Penne in a spicy tomato sauce), and lastly Linguini Sorrentina … (Linguini with fresh basil, bocconcini cheese, and tomato sauce)

Pizzas ($9.00-$13.50) are served on multigrain crust, spelt crust (add $2), Quejos crust (add $3) and even carb-reduced crust (only available at Il Fornello at 1560 Yonge St. and Bayview Village)

Some pizzas include Prosciutto Pizza,Pizza Santo (w/soy cheese) ,Italian Sausage Pizza,
Pizza Affumicato (tomato sauce, carmelized onion, smoked chicken, spinach, and pine nuts),
Pizza Pollo (tomato sauce, roasted garlic, grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, and provolone),
Pesto Pizza (gaisli, grilled chicken, fire roasted eggplant, pesto), Pizza Gorgonzola (red wine caramel pears, gorgonzola, caramelized onions, walnuts, lemon dressed arugula), Fig Pizza ( prosciutto, honey figs, mascarpone, and shaved grano padano), Pizza Salmone (pizza with smoked salmon) , Pizza Tre Colori (very colourful pizza with Buffalo mozzarella, basil oil, prosciutto, oven cured roma tomatoes), Wild Mushroom Pizza ( 3 kinds of mushrooms with brie and basil oil), Pizza di bufala (Buffalo mozzarella, basil oil, oven cured roma tomatoes), Pancetta pizza … (regular cheese pizza with pancetta), Mediterranean Pizza … (Mediterranean vegetables, asiago cheese), Traditional Pizza (tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms), Pizza Nove (basic vegetarian pizza), Escargot Pizza (Escargot, garlic, tomato sauce, mozzarella), Pizza di Bufala (Buffalo mozzarella, basil oil, oven cured roma tomatoes
Anchovy Pizza (Tomato sauce, mozzarella, anchovies, and black olives), Pizza Semplice (Tomato sauce, fresh herbs, and mozzarella), Tri Coloured Pepper Pizza … (green, red, yellow grilled peppers, tomato sauce, roasted garlic, and chèvre), and Hawaiian Pizza (prosciutto, pineapple, tomato sauce, and mozzarella)

You can build your own pizzas too. Choose your crust (multigrain crust $1.25, spelt crust $3.25, gluten-free quejos $5.00, carb reduced crust), then add your ingrediants to make your own unique and personal pizza. Select from various cheeses: buffalo mozarella ($5.00), brie, chevre, gorgonzola, gaisli, asiago, mascarpone, camboloza, ($4.00)

Choose your meat and gourmet vegetables: grilled chicken, pancetta, shrimp, grilled chicken, pancetta, shrimp, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, escargot, roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, feta, provolone, pine nuts, bocconcini, smoked chicken, prosciutto, smoked salmon, spicy Italian sausage, pesto, fire roasted wild mushrooms, soy cheese ($3.00)

Other herbs and vegetables to choose include: fresh basil, caramelized onions, fresh rosemary, fresh dill, mixed fresh herbs, roasted garlic, ham, anchovies, snow peas, pepperoni, roasted eggplant, parmesan cheese, oven-cured roma tomatoes, red peppers, fire roasted field mushrooms ($2.00)

Other smaller vegetables and condiments include: hot peppers, pineapple, tomato sauce, broccoli, onions, green peppers, black olives, green olives, red onions, capers, spinach, freshly chopped garlic ($1.00)

Il Fornello also has a small “alternative menu”. Alternative items include spelt pizzas, pastas, and Gluten free pastas . You can design your own pizza or pasta dish. For gluten free items, add an additional $1.25 for Rice pasta instead for menu items marked with a +.

Some “alternative” menu items include the Pizza Santo (Tomato sauce, herbs, spinach, red onion, roasted red pepper, ‘non-dairy’ cheese ), Gluten-Free Pasta, $13.25 (wheat and gluten-free pasta with olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, and veggies)
Quejos Pizza Crust $5.00 (gluten free Quejos pizza crust and design your own pizza)

Accepts every card. Expect lineups on the weekend and for brunch.

Pickle Barrel

Pickle Barrel Locations:
Yonge/Eglinton
Yonge/Dundas
Leslie/Cummer
Yonge/Steeles
Yorkdale Mall
Promenade Mall [Thornhill]
Markville[Markham]
Web site: http://www.picklebarrel.ca

This place offers a vast menu (over 300 items) of different kind of food: low fat, healthy, vegetarian, many Jewish-style entrees, Italian, Asian, pasta, fish, chicken, a menu for all tastes. There is an extensive list of desserts with a beautiful display of gorgeous cakes, pies, HUGE ice cream sundaes, and they have the best Frozen yogourt smoothies. Smoothies are served freezing cold, smooth, thick, and creamy, and served in a tall glass.

For dinner, I usually order a vegetable stir fry that is kind of bland (please note that food at the Pickle Barrel is more on the bland side) and I also order a Frozen Yogourt Smoothie with juice, fruit, and soft serve Colombo Frozen Yogourt, always low fat and tastes just like ice cream. My friend ordered the grilled salmon with an orange glaze that came with salad and potatoes. Although I do not eat fish, it looks nice and it was $11.95.

Prices are decent, portions are huge. Entrees are between $7.95 – $12.95, desserts are between $6.95 and $8.95 and appetizers are between $5.95-$9.95. Last time I ordered the roasted vegetable quesadilas with roasted zucchini, eggplant, red pepper, onion, with cheese. I got four large quesadilas with an order of salsa on a bed of lettuce for $5.95. Most other vegetarian items, unfortunately, involve big thick buns like the veggie burger, or vegetarian lasagna or pasta dishes or pizza. The California wraps are not vegetarian but there are healthy wraps like grilled chicken, fish, and turkey. Lisa Weinberg, a registered dietician was the one who initially developed the low fat, healthy menu which consists of about 20 items. Catering is offered for more than ten people and take out is also available. I would recommend this place for good old “North American trying to be ethnic” comfort food.

They accept every card in the world so this is convenient. Portions are big so be prepared to eat a lot. Check out the menu at Yonge and Dundas at http://www.picklebarrel.ca/picklebarrel/dundas.pdf. There is also a low carb menu, a kid’s menu, a take out menu, and a low fat menu. It seems that every location has a slightly different menu, depending on the demographics. Check out their web site at http://www.picklebarrel.ca

Belly Busters

3447 Yonge Street
(416) 489-6051

This hole-in-the-wall submarine shop along Yonge St. just south of York Mills has legendary status amongst my brother and his friends. They especially like to “hit” this place late at night when they are red-eyed and suffering from a bad case of the self induced munchies.

After hearing the praises of these subs for so long I popped in for a take-out order one rushed Friday evening before heading up north to the family cottage. Trying to remember four separate sub orders for people with selective tastes was not an easy task; but with the help of the owner who also prepared the submarines I was able to get everything right. I have a soft spot for restaurants where the owner also prepares the food while cohorting with the patrons. It shows a sense of pride, dedication and intimacy that is missing from larger restaurants (see Mystic Muffin review)

I must admit, I am not the biggest sub fan, but my turkey/bacon sub was generally quite good. Really, I only have Mr. Sub and Subway to compare it to so I can say this is the best out of those three.

Paprika

3450 Bathurst St.
416-789-3478

 

Owing to my Hungarian heritage, I was exposed to this type of Eastern European fare at a very early age. Luckily my North American born mother did not allow my over zealous grandmother from forcing the grease riddled breaded chicken down my throat. God knows how that would have affected my already over taxed body type. Kidding aside, I still enjoy the traditional “Poliginta” (better known as a cheese blintz) Bubby will prepare in order to convice me to pay her a visit in her uptown apartment.

With agonizingly slow service, Paprika on Bathurst north of Lawrence offers good home cooked Hungarian eats in a traditionally decorated setting. The restaurant has a very distinct feeling as most of the clientele seems to come from the “old country” and the menu is written in both Hungarian and English.

The standout dish at Paprika is definitely the Schnitzel which one can hear being pounded into form from behind the wall separating the dining area from the kitchen. It is so big, that when it finally comes to the table it actually hangs over the sides of the plate completely covering the potatoes under it. Another personal favourite is the bean soup which is thick and has bits of hot dog in it.

I’m not sure whether to recommnend coming hungry to this restaurant as it takes a long time for the food to arrive; however, you will most certainly need a doggy bag by the time you are done.