I grew up in Ottawa but moved away when I was 8. When I go back I often stick to the By-ward market area because I like the coziness of it. There are the stores I frequent each trip, my favorite Vietnamese restaurant (Saigon, also listed on this blog), and its just comfortable.
One of my friends who lives in Ottawa finally got me out of my “comfort” zone recently and reminded how much more Ottawa has to offer.
I’ve heard great things about Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen. Finally got to check it out with a girlfriend.
Walking inside is like transporting to a paradise, they have not spared anything on the decor, and the result is magnificent. It is located in a converted older house so you do get a cozy feel inside at the same time. There are two levels with a bar and dining seating on both. Unable to get a reservation (as we waited until the last minute), we did walk in and thankfully was able to get counter seating near the upstairs bar. Full menu is available no matter where you sit so that’s a plus.
I’ve been wanting to check out La Société for a while, I have heard amazing things about their brunch.I love any mention of a French bistro.My best friend and I finally made it out to the restaurant recently for dinner.The intention was to partake in their Summerlicious 2018 menu but of course, murphys law, we were more tempted by items on the a la carte menu instead.
La Société, has two locations, one in Toronto on Bloor street at the edge of Yorkville, and one in Montreal.Rumour is they paid out quite a pretty penny to the previous tenants of the 131 Bloor Street West location in order to take over the lease.
They describe themselves as having a fresher, lighter approach to classic dishes while still being an inspired and dynamic French bistro.You definitely will not be disappointed by the variety on their menu, all the classic French bistro dishes are still there along with some more inventive dishes. Continue reading →
One of the things I love about Toronto is, twice a year they have food specials at various restaurants around the city. Winterlicious and Summerlicious give you the opportunity to try restaurants that you may not have otherwise decided to go to (or shell out money for in the case of the more expensive establishments. During these two times a year, restaurants offer a 3 course set menu for lunch and/or dinner.
This year I decided to check out the lunch at Ricarda’s, a relatively new restaurant in the heart of downtown Toronto. Located at the corner of Richmond and Peter streets, it opened in July of 2016. Ricarda’s describes themselves as featuring “a novel and pure form of hospitality to Canadians, otherwise only known to the fortunate few who have had the chance to experience traveling to the countryside of southern Europe and the Mediterranean coast.” Continue reading →
While Old School’s menu might have a foundation built on classic dishes, once the restaurant has put their spin on them, they are anything but traditional.
Nestled on the corner of Dundas West and Palmerston Ave, the choice to go here for the brunch the other day was completely random…. finding a parking spot right in front played a big part I won’t lie.
Considering it was mid morning on a Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised the the wait on a table for 2 was only about 15 minutes. They seemed to have their system down as to how fast tables will turn over, therefore giving waiting patrons highly accurate seating times, which was thoroughly impressive.
The decor is I think best described a modern diner… the seating arrangement is comfortable and the restaurant is deceptively spacious. We had to wait a bit for our food… but hey it was a Sunday and it was snowing outside, what do you expect? I had zero issue with it because if you expect everything to be fast about Sunday brunch…. well then you are just delusional. Continue reading →
This past weekend, the Shameful Tiki Room on the edge of Parkdale celebrated it’s 2nd anniversary in Toronto.
If you haven’t visited it yet, you are in for a treat. The Shameful Tiki Room is literally a bit of paradise within Toronto. An amazing little cocoon of tropical drinks, shareable snacks, and palm trees and thatched roofs keeping you safe from the Canadian weather outside. Continue reading →
Hard to believe that it has taken me this long to make a trip to Patria in Toronto. Nestled down a laneway off of King West, hidden behind a subtle black iron archway (with the name etched in the curls of the iron), Patria is a contemporary surprise. Floor to ceiling windows gives the restaurant an open air feeling.
Specializing in Spanish tapas, it is best to go with fellow diners that will be as equally willing as you to experiment and really experience what the Executive Chef Stuart Cameron has to offer. Continue reading →
Cluny Bistro had been on my list of restaurants to go for a while now. My best girlfriends and I decided we would select it as our belated Christmas dinner venue. Nestled in the Distillery District, it is in the perfect spot for a French bistro. Cobble stones leading up to the historic building makes for an old world feeling that in no way would the bistro have been able to create in a modern space.
I wanted to get a feel for what the founders of Cluny were trying to accomplish with their bistro, therefore I visited the “about” section on their website. What I found was a cute list of what they felt made up their restaurant, but written in recipe format. I also got the impression that this restaurant had at least a bit of a humorous side and this was not going to be a typical stuffy French restaurant. Following is the ‘recipe” for Cluny Bistro:
1 Big crazy dream
11,000 sq feet Beautiful space designed by Munge Leung Design (Canada’s top hospitality design firm)
45 Historic buildings surrounding the restaurant
100 Caring hearts from the professional, yet fun, hospitality team
2 dozen Heated debates over what the coolest French restaurants are
1/2 tsp French truffle & Parisian butter
A dash of Creativity and playfulness
1 Elite management team
26 Bottles of Vallium to ease the nerves of everyone involved
I made it out to Café Boulud recently on a wintery Friday night. It was the perfect setting in which to keep warm against the outside chill. Luxe leather chairs and banquettes paired with contemporary French bistro style lighting, created very much a French bistro feel. Every detail has been thought through down to the bistro style red striping on the cloth napkins.
The restaurant is owned by renowned chef Daniel Boulud. The vision behind the café is a menu “rooted in French tradition, highlighting both bistro classics and contemporary dishes inspired by Chef Daniel’s family meals in Lyon.”
The only down side at all, is on a busy night, the noise from D bar one level down, Cafe Boulud is on a mezzanine level overhanging the bar which means if you are seated near the edge of the restaurant you can hear rowdy groups below. Thankfully the café is enchanting enough that it’s able to keep you distracted for the most part.
We started the meal with the Canadian oysters, a selection of 6 market oysters at $18cdn, fresh and served with a light mignonette.
Also started with the Foie Gras au Torchon, served with cherry and green almond light spread and toasted brioche at $24cdn. The foie gras was not seared as I normally have it but was li
ght. I was not a huge fan however of the toasted brioche because I felt it took away from the delicate nature of the foie gras, it was also difficult to spread the foie gras on it. Overall I
likely would not order this starter again.
As my main I ordered the Confit de Canard. Slow cooked duck, perigord style sautéed potatoes, and parsley salad for $36cdn. I have absolutely nothing but glowing praise for this dish. The duck was absolutely perfect and pretty much melted in my mouth. I would order this again in a heartbeat!
My companion ordered the Homard aux Choux, grilled lobster with bok choy cabbage and ginger beurre blanc for $56cdn. The lobster was perfectly done and there certainly was not a single bite left on the plate. The presentation and plating was also stunning.
Unfortunately there was no room in my tummy for dessert, next time I’ll probably forgo an appetizer to ensure I can finish off with a sweet. Looking around, a popular selection seemed to be the Baked Alaska for two, pistachio and vanilla ice cream, raspberry sorbet, and fresh meringue flambeed with kirsch. It was a show watching the flambéing done table side.
For full menu, to make reservations, and any other additional information visit the Café Boulud website HERE.
This past fall I had the awesome opportunity to take a short trip down to New Orleans (affectionately known as NOLA). I’m not going to go through my whole trip because, let’s be real, all you really wanna know is some foodie spots to hit up right?
Well I’ve selected my top 3 spots within the French Quarter that must be included in any trip you make to NOLA. Continue reading →