Each link includes the first part of the review. Many of the reviews also include pictures of the individual dishes.
Dr. Josh Josephson
Trained as a research optometrist, and now owner of Josephson Opticians, one of Josh Josephson's abiding passions is food. Inspired by his father's highly seasoned Romanian influenced dishes and his mother's small but perfectly executed English Canadian repertoire, his own skills developed in reaction to the poor food provided in his college dorm when he moved out to fend for himself. Almost three decades ago, he and a partner established The Cookbook Store with Alison Fryer as manager with whom he continues to share his culinary vision. While remaining owner of Josephson Opticians, Josh has mostly retired from optometry and now satisfies his curiosity about international cuisines through frequent eating pilgrimages to both famous and obscure restaurants around the world.
Member: les chevaliers du tastevin; la chain des rotisseurs; the international wine and food society.
full poster of Josh with some of Toronto's leading chefs that appeared
in Toronto Life in 2010. Photos by Caitlin
A Texas BBQ Odyssey
For the purposes of scoring I have used the Kansas City BBQ Society
method: Appearance, Taste, Texture (in this order). Scoring 1 out of
10, 10 being best.
Buca Yorkville, Toronto
Tuesday May 19th
Buca Yorkville shows the range of expertise of chef Rob Gentile
and his senior chef associates. This restaurant experience is one of
the best one can enjoy in Canada.
Four Sunday Lunches at Edulis
Tuesday May 5th
Here I go again about Edulis, but, this restaurant and what it serves
is unique in the Pan-Canadian field of restaurants. Sunday lunches
at Edulis are for me, one of the great ways to while away an afternoon
with friends. There is no menu, only what chef Cabbalo has just locally
discovered and been inspired by.
New York, Spring 2015
Sunday May 3rd
York, Spring, 2015: Cosme, The Leopard at Des Artistes, Xi-An's
Famous Food, All'Onda, Marta (Martha Washington), Au Za'Atar.
North 44Dinner for Les Chevaliers du Tastevin
Thursday March 12th
hors d'oevres: house cured Tasmanian sea trout on potato blini,
topped with creme fraiche and citrus; duck rillete on house crostini,
topped with spiced apple and duck skin crackle; crostini topped
with bison tartar, radish and micro greens
Thursday, February 12th
menu is inspired from the historic foods of the natives, early settlers,
and subsequent immigrants to Canada. The only other restaurant that
I have visited with this theme, was Heston Blumenthal’s London restaurant,
The Greatest Pieds de Cochon I Have Ever Tasted Anywhere!
Wednesday January 28th
Originally, I first enjoyed this exceptional dish made by Pierre
Koffmann at his formerly renown London resto, Tante Claire.
I was stuffed with fresh morels. I ate everything but the toenails!
Yes, Another Spectacular Meal!
Saturday December 27th
I just want to establish that I have no shares or financial interest
in Edulis. However, for me, eating there, virtually each time, has
been quite a wonderful gustatory experience.
Palm Beach, Florida
Thursday December 18th
Palm Beach is not a city of particularly good restos, but they have
restaurants that do the classics very well. Below, I have featured
some of the restaurants that I frequent most often. I did not mention
Pizzeria Oceano only because I have mentioned it so often. For me,
one of the best crusts of any pie I have experienced in North America.
Bosk Restaurant, Toronto
Friday December 12th
Bosk, in the Shangri-la Hotel, has had a new chef for a little while
The New Splendido: Two Fabulous Tasting Events
Wednesday December 3rd
I have noticed that the trend for many of the best restos, some relatively
new, when I travel to London, Paris and New York, is to have no menu
per se. Just how many courses and how much. Essentially, an omikase
(trust the chef) menu with whatever ingredients are the most interesting
from the best of what is supplied from the region or locally. The waiter
asks is you have any food dislikes, food preferences (such as better
cooked meat or fish) or any food allergies. Another local restaurant
that is following this procedure is Edulis.
Saturday November 29th
Chef Nick Liu has waited a long time to get his own resto open and
it was worth the wait. The robust Asian flavours seductively linger
on your palate and on your mind.
The Kathi Roll Express
Sunday November 23rd
A sampling of Indian street food
Restaurant in the Trump Hotel
Wednesday November 12th
America restaurant is a partnership of Charles Kabouth's Ink Entertainment
and Oliver and Bonacini Restaurant Group. The chef de cuisine is Bill
Osborne. Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 11pm on, America turns
into a stylish supper club. We were here to eat.
Edulis, Truffle Season and The New Style Menu
Friday, November 7th
I have noticed that the trend for many of the best restos, when I
travel to London, Paris and New York, is to have no menu per se.
Just how many courses and how much. Essentially, an omikase (trust
the chef) menu with whatever ingredient is the most interesting from
the best of what is supplied from the region or locally.
Crow BBQ Special Event
Wednesday October 29th
Big Crow BBQ, big expectations for this special event. we began
with some snacks during the meet and greet: all beef salami (verscht)
grilled over the wood burning fire with an apricot mustard glaze
Friday October 25th
The Ossington strip has gotten busier and from my recent experience
at Mamakas, this new resto has added a new dimension to the strip,
a resto that will become a regular for many people because the food
is in the Greek tradition and very pleasing.
Yasu, One of the 3 Top restaurants for sushi in Canada
Tuesday October 21st
Yasu, essentially has no menu. It is omikase based on whatever is
the best and freshest from the market that day.
Paris, Fall 2014
Friday October 18th
I looked foward to eating at some very new and potentially exciting
restos in Paris, particularly the "New Alain Ducasse".
This new restaurant is focused on plant based cuisine, a very forward
thinking philosophy reflective of the very serious current research
in a form of eating/nutrition that optimizes good health, and is
now becoming the prime directive of many leading physicians to their
Wednesday October 15th
Buca Yorkville just opened. The menu is a wonderful, rustic but
sophisticated mediterranean, a mostly seafood menu. And of course,
some great Buca pizzas. And it is one of my favourite restos in Canada,
South Beach, Miami, Florida
Thursday July 17th
Milos, a Greek resto, specializing in truly fresh seafood, began
in Montreal and now has branches in New York, Athens, Los Vegas
and South beach.
Rasa Restaurant, Toronto
Wednesday July 9th
Rasa is the new restaurant from creative chef Adrian Niman, co-proprieter
and chef for the well known, highly popular caterer, The Food Dudes,
and formerly chef at Bloke and 4th.
Ici Restaurant at the Windsor Arms Hotel
Monday June 30th
Long established Toronto chef Jean Pierre (JP) Challet has moved
his restaurant to the Windsor Arms Hotel. He brings his unique and
classic French food, the last bastion of this kind of classic French
cooking, since Didier closed.
Greenwood Smokehouse, Toronto
Sunday June 15th
BBQ smokehouse restos have been opening more and more frequently
in Toronto, over the past 3 years, some successful and some rather
Scaramouche Restaurant, A Wonderful Tradition
Tuesday June 10th
In my opinion, not enough is written in the various resto related
publications or general media, about long established, consistently
good, very pleasing restos worth a visit, such as Scaramouche, Josos,
etc. Newspaper editors are typically only interested in what's new!
The fact that these restos are so consistently very good, is indeed
A Special Dinner at Splendido Restaurant
Wednesday June 4th
There are so many new restaurants in Toronto but the vast majority
are either ethnic, serve bar food or "comfort" food. There
are very few fine dining establishments in Toronto. Splendido remains
one of the very best, not only in Toronto, but in Canada. This meal
is an example of the possibilities.
A Foodie's Fantasy in Istanbul, Turkey Part two
Saturday May 31st
This is a continuation of our eating experiences in Istanbul. YES!!!
There are more adventuresome deliciousness! Some of these experiences
were among our best.
A Foodie's Fantasy in Istanbul, Turkey
Tuesday May 27th
Before I begin this review, I can tell you that my best restaurant
meal experience in Istanbul, was at Asitane. That is not to say that
Beyti, our other favourite, was not as good....it was, and the
service impeccable. But Asitane was unique.
Wednesday May 21st
Fat Pasha is chef Anthony Rose's 3rd resto on Dupont (Big Crow and
Rose and Sons). As with his other restos, it is popular (for good
reason), packed and noisy (but one can still hear conversations).
Favourite Pizza Place in Florida
Saturday May 10th
This is it....Pizzeria Oceano: no reservations; lineups to get a
table if you arrive after 5:35pm and when the dough runs out, and
it runs out, they close.
and Izzie's Deli, Toronto
Tuesday May 6th
Twenty four hours, slow smoked Jack Daniel's pulled beef, simmered
in Jack Daniels bbq sauce, on a sour dough bun and topped with creamy
granny smith apple slaw and I put cole slaw on top too!
Select Bistro, Toronto
Tuesday April 29th
Chef Alberto Ponzo is highly accomplished in his renderings of true
French Bistro cuisine, making this restaurant perhaps the best French
food experience in Toronto.
Catering from the Food Dudes
Thursday April 23rd
The Food Dudes, personified by chef/owner Adrian Niman and guest chef
Matt Blondin, catered an outstanding, standup dinner at a friend's
Thursday April 17th
Snacks, from the bottom, clockwise, hummus with garlic and sweet harissa;
tomatoes, onion and bell pepper; eggplant and tomato.
UK: The Square
Saturday April 5th
Phil Howard is the chef/co-owner of The Square, a restaurant in
London, awarded 2 Michelin stars.
Best Sunday Lunch: Edulis
Sunday March 2nd
There are so many restaurants in Toronto that do very good Sunday brunches
and lunches, but Edulis is unique in what chef Michael Caballo offers
House, Arabian Gulf Cuisine in Toronto
Friday Februrary 28th
We have such a wonderful opportunity to experience cuisines of great
cultural diversity in the Toronto GTA. Now, Gulf House a new restaurant,
has opened on Yonge street just north of Bloor
Thursday February 13th
Black truffle and mushroom feuilletee.Scallop carpaccio with black
truffle and traditional Dijon ginger bread. Lobster tartar with
e Aguacate, Toronto
Saturday February 8th
Chileajo: mixed veg and lentils tossed in guajillo sauce, garnished
with queso fresco, sweet onion and a drizzle of olive oil.
Wednesday February 5th
Black Skirt does Sicilian/Calabrian influenced cuisine.
One of North America's Great Kaiseki Experiences
Monday February 3rd
This special kaiseki meal was catered to our special requests. Unless
otherwise stated, all dishes are sashimi and the sauces are house
Tuesday January 28th
Buca Bar, the latest endeavour from King Street Foods (Buca, Jacob's
Steak House, The Saint Tavern virtually all under the chef management
of one of canada's most talented chefs, Rob Gentile.
D-Bar at The Four Seasons
Saturday January 25th
Butter lettuce salad with honey crisp apple........
Return Visit to Coppi Restaurant, Toronto
Tuesday January 21st
Coppi has been around for quite some time. It is an important restaurant
in the the region, north of eglinton and south of the 401 highway. One
of the great dishes of this restaurant, that I typically enjoy, is
the fish (snapper or sea bass...I prefer snapper), cooked in a salt
Thursday January 16th
This evening was a specially arranged dinner under the supervision
of the relatively new chef, Marc St Jacques.
Restaurants, Fall 2013
at Kempinski Hotel Bristol, Quarre at Hotel Adlon, Das Liebniz Klaus,
Die Berliner Republik, Gel Gor, Lorenz-Adlon
Friday December 27th
Carbon Bar is the long awaited new restaurant from the Nota Bene restaurant
team of chef David Lee, Yannick Bigourdan, perhaps the city's best
front of house manager and renown restauranteur/real estate developer/wine
importer Franco Prevedello.
Trinity Taverna, Toronto
Friday December 13th
Paris Restaurants, Fall 2013
Wednesday December 4th
Cafe Boulud at the Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto
Saturday, November 30th
Each Daniel Boulud resto, in different
cities, ie, Montreal vs Toronto, is a very different experience in
terms of quality of prep and style of prep, etc
Thursday November 28th
and Labour, Toronto
Monday November 25th
This resto is chef Matty Matheson's pride and joy.
His passion for flavours and textures is infectious and inspiring
when one eats here.
Vancouver: Wildebeest and Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle
Friday November 15th
All noodles are made in house in the traditional way.
Duck, a la Tour D'Argent, Served for the First Time in Canada, at Edulis
Tuesday November 12th
Pressed duck, canard a la presse, was a dish made famous by La Tour
D'argent in Paris, in a presentation that when first presented, was
the height of elegance that was at once both spectacular and barbaric.
New York Restaurants, September 2013
Friday November 8th
Osteria Morini; The Marrow; Cafe Sabarsky.
The Chase Fish and Oyster, Toronto
Tuesday November 5th
The Chase has been very busy since it was first opened.
Friday November 1st
Altura, Toulouse Petit, Bar Sejor and Ma'ono Fried chicken and Whisky
Trevor Wine Bar Kitchen
Tuesday October 29th
I principally came to try the Parlour Deep Dish Pizza, which Trevor,
features at it's bar.
Persian Restaurant, Toronto
Wednesday, October 23rd
I feel that Banu is one of the unsung resto hits of Toronto.
For lovers of middle eastern/mediterranean cuisine it is worth
Chippy's Revisited, Toronto
Saturday, October 19th
The last time I visited Chippy's (and the first time), it was quite
a disappointment after all of the good hype I had heard.
Das Gasthaus, Toronto
Tuesday, October 15th
Delicious potato salad and very good pickled veg, but the herring did not taste
or smell of the smoke, was a touch over brined and overcooked.
The Drake Hotel, Toronto, A Return.
Monday, October 7th
The Drake is a very casual resto known for it's comfort food, when
Anthony Rose was chef.
Taormina, Sicily, 2013: Vicolo Stretto; La Capinera; Da Giavanni;
The Restaurant at Grand Hotel Timeo; Prince Cerami, Mama Rosa.
Thursday October 3rd
The Grove, Toronto
Monday September 30th
Smoked mackerel on rye toast with aioli; devilled eggs topped with
paper thin radish and crispy blood sausage. Delightful treats to
Tokyo Restaurants: Tenkaippin Ramen, RyuGin, Birdland Ginza, Ukai-tei,
Kandagawa, Sou-tei, Sushi Kanesaka Ginza, Kururi, Mikawa Zezankyo
Tuesday September 24th
Whenever I visit Japan, I am always inspired by their unique culture.
Bosk, at the Shangri-La, Toronto
Thursday September 12th
opened with a very promising chef that did not work out. Subsequently,
chef Damon Campbell was brought on as executive chef.
Rastaurants, Japan: Arashiyama Kitcho, Kikunoi, Yoshikawa, Yutaka,
Sunday September 8th
Eating in Japan, is not only about the food, but also about
the experience. For me, there is nowhere in the world that
the eating "experience" can
compare and provide this singular enjoyment.
Saturday August 31st
The selection of sandwiches, sauces and toppings, all terrific possibilities!
Revisiting Momofuku-Daisho, Toronto
Tuesday August 27th
At Daisho, dishes are served family style. The occasion of this
meal was a tasting of some of winemaker Norman Hardie's large format
Enoteca Sociale Revisited
Friday August 23rd
Grilled pork sausage with pecorino fresco and grilled shishito
peppers. Good sausages, good combo.
Tuesdsay August 20th
Speaking of bacon sandwiches, Rashers claims to be North America's
only bacon sandwich shop. The sandwiches, as "listed" on
the menu, typically include cheese. I just don't like the taste
of cheese and meat, as you often hear me say, cheese obscures the
flavours of meat
Peameal Bacon Sandwich at St. Lawrence Market, Toronto
Saturday August 17th
A lot of press, from across the USA and Canada, have mentioned
this St Lawrence Market locale, a sandwich shop on the west side
of the south market, where small lineups are constant. A blown
up photo of Emerile Lagasse sits in front.
The Butcher's Son, Toronto
Thursday August 15th
This is a small neighbourhood shop on Yonge street, just south of
Eglinton, that has good quality products that are hormone and antibiotic
free, very good sausages and very good prepared foods. The shop is
co-owned by Five doors north executive chef Vito Rizzuto and butcher
THR and Co Restaurant, Toronto
Tuesday August 13th
I enjoyed a sensational meal at the new resto opened by the partners
of the Harbord Room. The chefs Cory Vitiello and Curt Martin (executive
chef at THR) really know and understand how to compose their ingredients
for a maximum flavour experience.
O'Mei, Chinese Food Restaurant, Richmond Hill, Ontario
Friday August 9th
This is the place to come for lobster 4 ways. I preordered this
dish when I reserved. The 8 pound lobster was presented to us and
then taken to the kitchen to be prepared. All the while, others
guests of the restaurant had giant lobsters up to 10 pounds being
taking from the kitchen and presented around the restaurant.
Boulder Colorado 2013: Basta, Frasca, Oak on 14th, Lucille's, Tora,
Wednesday August 7th
Basta is one of my favourite places to eat in Boulder. Wonderful
wood oven roasted pizzas with very tasty crust and toppings, and
other very good dishes.
Live Organic Food Bar, A Destination For Vegetarians and Lovers
of Just Good Food
Monday August 5th
Live, is one of my favourite vegetarian destinations. I
also love some of their pre-made salads which I pick up at Noah's.
Joso's Toronto, A Frequent Favourite and One of North America's
Best Seafood Restaurants
Friday August 2nd
For me, Joso's is easily one of my favourite restos for
fish and shellfish in North America! This is where I come for truly
fresh fish, a freshness that I can depend on in a city not on the
coast. Joso's does not get enough attention in the Toronto region
, except often wrongly, for the flagrant exposure of the nude,
voluptuous, female and male torsos.
Special BBQ Dinner at the Stop at Wychwood Barns
Tuesday July 30th
Les Chevaliers du Tastevin had their first ever summer event
catered at The Stop Community Food Centre. The Stop’s Green
Barn, located in the Wychwood Barns at 601 Christie Street,
a sustainable food production and education centre which
houses a state-of-the-art greenhouse, food systems education
programs, a sheltered garden, our Global Roots Garden, community
bake oven and compost demonstration centre.
Saturday July 27th
Crostini with house made cotechino sausage and rapini. A
Stock Restaurant at Trump Hotel, Revisited
Thursday July 25th
I had visited Stock restaurant when it first opened. This was
a return visit to see how it was faring. Interestingly, a chocolate
tasting cart with various bars and variously filled bon bons, was
added. This visit, the service was impeccable. The wines by the
glass were still very pricey.
Opus Restaurant, Toronto
Tuesday July 23rd
Besides being a very good resto for eating, Opus has one of the
3 finest and most comprehensive wine lists in Canada.
Vancouver Eats 2013
Thursday July 18th
Cin Cin, Meat and Bread, Big Lou's Butcher Shop and House Made Sandwiches,
Vij's, Chewie's, Memphis Blues BBQ, Woodland Smoke, Abigail's Party,
Blue Water Cafe
Big Crow BBQ, Toronto
Monday July 15th
Big Crow is the new BBQ style resto opened by chef Anthony Rose,
right around the back of his popular Rose and Son's diner.
Lunch at Stockyards Larder, Toronto
Friday July 11th
Stockyards is renowned for its outstanding BBQ, perhaps the best
in the greater Toronto area. But, they have other great things too.
Sunday Lunch at Edulis Restaurant, Toronto
Tuesday July 9th
Lunch is only offered on Sundays, at Edulis. It is a very special
occasion for a wonderful, hearty, family style meal. There is only
a set menu offered and it changes every Sunday.
Haisai Restaurant, a National Treasure, Singhampton, Ontario
Tuesday July 2nd
To most chefs in Canada, many international ones as well, as well
as to his many patrons, chef Michael Stadtlander has become a national
treasure. A man who can produce a most sophisticated meal or the
simplest of farm cuisine and make that into a repast for a king.
The Saint, Toronto
Friday June 28th
The Saint Tavern is brought to you by the group that owns the steakhouse
Jacob and Co and Buca. The restaurant has a very good chef but the
kitchen is overseen by the Buca exec chef with very good taste and
impeccable technique, Rob Gentile.
Tuesday June 25th
Carmen, is Veronica Laudes's new oevre after her success with the
thriving Torito. The executive chef, as at Torito, is Luis Valenzuela.
Bent Restaurant, Toronto
Saturday June 22nd
Chef Susur Lee developed the restaurant Bent with his sons, Levi
and Kai, for them to operate.
Strada 241, Toronto
Wednesday June 19th
Very good, crispy skinned, fried calamari sided with hot sauce. Rapini
with lemon vincotto dressing all topped with roasted red pepper,
curly endive and pickled red onions.
Chef Marc Thuet Shares the Roster at Splendido, Toronto
Monday June 17th
Chef Victor Barry, one of Canada's best chefs shared the limelight
at his resto, Splendido, with another one of Canada's great chefs
Gilaneh, Persian cuisine in Toronto
Thursday June 13th
There are a handful of Persian restos in Toronto. Two I would go
back to are Gilaneh and Banu.
Friday May 31st
Chef Patrick Kriss* (formerly chef de cuisine at Splendido) is the
chef who replaced the capable chef, Matt Blondin. Chef Kriss prepares
a very modern and personal take on Acadian inspired cuisine. Note:
Patrick Kriss has left Acadia as of Spring 2013. *Note Patrick Kriss
has now left as well
Bar Isabel, Toronto
Tuesday May 28th
Bar Isabel is the new stomping ground for heralded chef Grant Van
Gameren, former chef and co-owner of The Black Hoof.
Yours Truly Restaurant, Toronto
Monday May 20th
I apologize as I am behind with my posts because of a lot of business
traveling. This menu is representative of an experience at this restaurant,
where there is no menu of courses, but a list of seasonal and other
items included in the dishes of the day.
Hoof Raw Bar: brunch resurrected
Friday, May 17th
After closing the Hoof Cafe, about 1 year ago, where brunch was served
on the weekend, The Hoof Raw Bar now does weekend brunch. If you
have a hearty apetite and you are a meat lover, you will love this
The Noodle Bar: Momofuko in Toronto
Thursday, May 9th
There is a lot of talk about the Momofuku restaurants. This visit
was to the Noodle Bar.
Lunch At Liberty 25, Toronto
Monday, May 3rd
My food savy nephew, whose office is in Liberty Village has been
at me to try this resto.
Pizza e Pazze, Toronto
Thursday, May 2nd
Controversy follows claims for the best pizza in Toronto. Everyone
has their faves. A very well experienced friend staked his
claim on Pizza e Pazze so I was encouraged to try it out.
Salad King, Thai Restaurant
Monday, April 29th
Linda has lineups, many, hungry passersby or Ryerson students, looking forward
to a tasty, very inexpensive meal of good value.
Some Singular Dishes From Different Restaurants, Toronto: Pangaea; Buca
Friday, April 26th
I consider these "must have" dishes, worth trying.
New York Restos, Spring, 2013: La Mar, 11 Madison Park, Marea, Aamann's,
Fette Sau, Soto.
Tuesday, April 23rd
La Mar is a Peruvian cebicheria, a celebration of seafood, artfully
crafted into a citrus, spicy, refreshing cuisine.
Hashimoto Restaurant: a Kaiseki Extravaganza
Saturday, April 20
This meal was selected by special arrangement with myself and chef Masaki Hashimoto, and is not the standard kaiseki meal provided by the restaurant. This meal is the epitome of kaiseki cuisine, made available to a patron, long knowledgeable, to the chef. This meal is a selection of the most exceptional ingredients of the moment, mostly imported, fresh from Japan.
April 16th, 2013
Much has been written about Playa Cabana, which offers some of the
best Mexican food in Toronto. Here is an overview of a recent experience.
A most noteworthy item was the surprisingly good burger.
Romanee Conte: An Extraordinary Dinner at Splendido
April 12, 2013
It is indeed an extraordinary lifetime experience for any wine lover,
when one can taste so many DRC wines all together, at the same time.
Splendido restaurant was the venue for this esteemed occasion and
chef Victor Barry's take on the food to match the wines, made for
an event itself.
now offers a "tasting menu" only two days a
week. The rest of the week there is only a set menu of "street
food", mostly consisting of lettuce wraps.
Richmond Station Restaurant, Toronto
April 8th, 2013
Richmond Station is a small restaurant helmed by Top Chef Canada
winner, chef Carl Heinrich, who also had spent 4 years in New York
at Daniel Boulud's DB Bistro Moderne. When I looked at the simple,
very brief menu, I kinda wondered, what was I doing here?! But,
here I was and decided to make the best of it.
Popup Dumpling Event at The Beer Academy, Toronto
Thursday, April 4
This popup event featured some wandering stars, like chef Nick Liu, who is setting up his new resto, Gwai lo, and chef Bertrand Alepee whose catering company, The Tempered Chef, moves him around as well, chef Chris Brown of The Stop, who helps out where he can, chef Zane Caplansky whose resto is the go to deli south of Eglinton Avenue, chef Steve Gonzalez who is soon to open his resto, Bushwick and chef Scott Vivian of Beast.
Zakkushi Izakaya, Toronto
Sunday, March 31
Izakayas are a very popular Japanese style "bistro" featuring Japanese comfort food. Many new izakayas have recently opened in the Toronto area. Zakkushi is one of the recent entries, a crowded, noisy bustling place. There are a lot of skewered items offered on the menu. For the most part, they are "ok", but not special enough to make me want them again. The exceptions were the wagyu beef and the tongue.
How it all begain in 1983.......
Tuesday, March 26
I am an unabashed lover of cook books as is Barbara Caffery. My partner in starting in The Cookbook Store back, way back in 1983.
The Cookbook Store began because there was an opportunity for Barbara and I to take over from the existing "Books For Cooks", which was struggling. I loved the idea of establishing a wonderful store that would be a major resource for cook books. Barbara simply loved the idea of being in the book business and cook books added a note of excitement for her, as well as fueling her passion for baking.
Nota Bene: Suckling Pig Wednesdays
Sunday, March 25
Suckling pig is the Wednesday special. It is served with napa cabbage braised in the juices of the pig. Not only is this an extraordinary dish, but, for me, it is as good as suckling pig ever gets, anywhere I travel. I can't wait to come back for more! Juicy, wonderfully flavoured meat, delicate, but crispy skin.....a masterpiece!
Terroni, Yonge Street, Toronto
Tuesday, March 19
Terroni and sister restaurants have a longstanding rather vaunted reputation in Toronto. It it's earliest days at the original restaurant, I very much enjoyed the pizza.
I do not choose to write about negative resto experiences. I prefer sharing my very enjoyable resto experiences and have no wish to be a "critic". But, by writing about this experience, perhaps someone with the Terroni organization may get wind of this review and try to get this restaurant's act together. It has a great location and a seemingly devoted clientele that keeps it packed most of the time.
Edulis Restaurant, Once more: a Wonderful Gustatory Experience
Tuesday, March 12
I have written about my Edulis Experiences, more than once. And here I am writing about my experience again. But, each experience has proven to be so pleasing and so special, I feel obliged to give credit where such credit is due and to share my pleasure with those who might soon come to enjoy this restaurant. See for yourself. NB, Some of these dishes must be pre-ordered a week ahead.
The Grove Restaurant, Toronto
Saturday, March 6
The Grove is a hot new restaurant. Jacob Richler, writing for Macleans magazine, named it the best new restaurant of 2012. The Grove was remarkably featured in part of a recent article concerning English cuisine, that was a feature in the New York Times. The English influence was present, but not overbearing, but, don't hold that against chef Ben Heaton. This was simply good cooking.
Wednesday, March 6th
Kingyo is a Toronto branch of the Vancouver restaurant, Kingyo, that
serves refined Japanese comfort and bar food.
L'Unita Restaurant Revisted, Toronto: New Chef
Saturday, March 2
L'Unita has gone through a few chef transformations, but, I found that the current chef is doing good things. I was glad that I had returned to experience the transformation. I sent a good friend, a resident of New York, a well known wine writer and former restaurant reviewer, to dine here, after my visit. He was truly impressed by the pizza!
Annual Groundhog Day Event at Cava
Wednesday, February 27
Groundhog day at Cava restaurant is an annual opportunity for some
of the best Toronto region chefs to compete in making pig focused
dishes that are judged by the resto attendees and 3 "professional" judges,
this year Dick Snider of City Bites Magazine, Andrew D'Cruz of Toronto
Life and Malcolm Jolly of Good Food revolution. The dishes must be
at least 50% pig. The winner gets to keep the Groundhog trophy for
a year and a gift certificate from The Cookbook Store. It is a fun
fest for the chefs and patrons.
Ninki Izakaya, Toronto
Monday, February 25
Another new Japanese izakaya for the Toronto scene. If they good improve on certain aspects, Ninki could be a good pre-ballet/opera dinner destination.
Calling All Sausage Lovers
Monday, February 18
Some of the very best sausages that I have enjoyed from Toronto purveyors, come from chef Kyle Demming's Sausage Partners on Queen Street East. This is a butcher shop, not a resto. These sausages have wonderful texture and flavour and are made from pigs raised by small hold farmers.
Why I Love Didier Restaurant
Saturday, February 16
Chef Didier is the Toronto area master of classic French cuisine. Nothing fancy, here. Just great french classics perfectly executed and where indicated, classically great, silken, sublime reductions (sauces).
Michael's Restaurant, Toronto
Thursday, February 14
Michael's is not just a very good place for steak. It is a steakhouse, but it also has a very well rounded, well executed menu of a range of salads, pastas and seafood. For example, there are very few restaurants in Canada that offer wild salmon (and if they do, it is usually Copper River....not my fave), and michael's offers wild Irish salmon!
Jabistro, Superior Japanese Food in Toronto
Monday, February 11
Jabistro offers a superior Japanese food experience. I found the sashimi to be very fresh. The torched sushi (a new experience for me, despite several trips to Japan and top resto experiences there) in the form of oshizushi, pressed rectangular shaped sushi, was quite a gustatory experience.
Dinner at Rose and Sons Restaurant
Friday, February 8
For me, having followed in Anthony Rose's kitchen footsteps for years, back to when he was Cooking in San francisco, then New York, then Toronto at the Drake, for me, chef Rose is one of the KINGS OF COMFORT FOOD. Food at Rose and Sons is more of the creative same.
Patria Restaurant, Toronto
Saturday, February 2
So far, the scoop in the food community is that Patria is a hit, and I must concur.
Pan con tomate: toasted bread, drizzled with olive oil and rubbed with tomatoes. The tomato flavour would be better in season, but, this is Toronto in winter!
Karelia Restaurant: Finally, Smorrebrod in Toronto!
Sunday, January 27
Since the closure of the Copenhagen Room at Bay and Bloor, the GTA has been waiting patiently, for years, for a good resto to provide the community with smorrebrod, Danish style, open-faced sandwiches.
Actinolite Restaurant, Toronto
Sunday, January 20
Actinolite is a lovely neighbourhood resto in the north part of the now very popular Ossington Avenue neighbourhood. Everything is made in house, from the bread, cured olives for purees, to the ice cream. Herbs are harvested in their backyard and dried (when out of season). This is a resto I would definitely return to for a very satisfying meal.
Atlantic, Toronto: Mastery of a Symphonic Range of Flavours
Tuesday, January 8
I delight in revisiting Atlantic restaurant, from time to time, to enjoy chef Nathan Isberg's command of a symphonic range of intriguing flavours that are not a part of the routine, typical food lexicon. The following images are from 3 different dinner events I enjoyed at Atlantic. The range of dishes presented is a compendium of my impressions of a chef not noticed enough in this fair city. Chef Isberg's reptoire of ideas is truly extensive. Atlantic should be on any local food lover or visitor's map of the best restaurants in Toronto.
July to December 2012 posts
Banh Mi Boys, Toronto
Wednesday, December 26
This sandwich shop has been around for quite some time. Typically, I don't do lunch when I am in Toronto. But, I finally made it to this great sandwich shop. It is indeed worth the journey and the line-up. Ten bahn mi sandwiches are on offer and I could have tried all 10...
Chef Michael Caballo, Edulis, Toronto
Thursday, December 13
Edulis is one of Canada's very good restos, a resto that keeps bringing me back. Wonderful comfort food flavours, simple but intriguing twists on prime, elemental ingredients, with echos of some of the very best of Spanish rural, regional influences. The resultant dishes are cooked to perfection. Where else, for example, could I enjoy better herring. Now, for many who read that, they may say, "so"? But it is indeed, with such simple endeavours, that chef Michael Caballo excels. Two other exceedingly simple dishes executed to perfection, his arroz caldoso con bogavante (Spanish lobster rice) and chantecler chicken baked in hay. Keep in mind that some dishes must be ordered in advance and that the menu changes depend on the products that inspire the chef.
Seventh Annual Game Dinner at Nota Bene, Toronto
Friday, December 7
Steven Latner is a passionate hunter and we are so glad when he shares his bounty with his friends. He gives game talented chef, David Lee, carte blanche, to create wonderful, game based dishes with the best seasonal products, LIKE TRUFFLES!!!!! Steven and each of his guests always contribute fabulous wines for this event. I just wanted to share this wonderful experience, with everyone. It shows what the food possibilities could be in this bountifully blessed restaurant city, Toronto.
Ethiopian Food in Toronto: African Palace, Lalibella
Wednesday, December 5
I must admit to a long standing kind of addiction to Ethiopian food, first introduced to me probably 20 years ago by Aster Belayneh, owner of Addis Abbaba restaurant. I get a craving for Ethiopian about once every couple of months, a craving fortunately shared by children, whom I first introduced to this cuisine many years ago.
Langdon Hall: An Extraordinary Fall Special Dinner event
Tuesday, November 13
I have to say, that although I have had enjoyable meals at Langdon hall, the 2 special occasion dinners that chef Jonathan Gushue created for me, with a few friends, over the last 14 months, have been the finest meal experiences that I have enjoyed in Canada, a large range of symphonic flavours. Call chef Gushue and ask him to create an event like this and he will rise to the challenge and provide you with the most remarkable experience. Be prepared to spend the entire evening and be prepared for wonderful, novel flavour surprises.
More Paris Restos: Le Comptoir, Le Chateaubriand, Semilla, Lunch at the Crillon, Epicure Restaurant at the Hotel Bristol, Crystal de Sel
Chef Yves Camdeborde's set menu is only offered once every 2 weeks. Dinners and lunches available 7 days a week are a la carte from an extensive menu but reservations are only possible for guests of the hotel (on the premises that he owns, Hotel Relais St. Germain).
Buster Rhino's BBQ, Oshawa, Ontario
There has been a lot of talk, in the food community and among BBQ aficionados about Buster Rhino's BBQ so we decided to journey west of Toronto to experience this resto first hand.
The Traditional Spanish Influence in Toronto: Returning to Torito
Friday, November 2
Tortilla (baked eggs, potatoes and onions) accompanied by aioli. This version was a bit too dense and heavy and was not as good as some of the very good versions I have enjoyed in Spain.
London, UK Restaurants: Nopi, Ottolenghi, Barbacoa, Hedone, Koffmann's, Hawksmoor, Locanda Locatelli
Tuesday, October 30
Nopi is Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's reservation style resto. There are 4 other wonderful no reservations, very popular take out/eat in cafes, scattered about central London. The hallmark of their cuisine is how they bring together an incredible, unique symphony of disparate flavours, fragrances, textures and colours, in every dish.
The food at Ottolenghi is served in a small cafe with very limited seating and no reservations. The array of mostly vegetarian salads and vegetable service, along with the mouth watering desserts, is truly daunting when you walk in. This spread is mostly for takeout but is also well represented on the menu of the day.
This is Chef Jamie Oliver's attempt at BBQ, and a very credible one, for a European resto, indeed. Generally speaking, meat is smoked for 6-12 hours over a combo of hickory and apple wood, depending on the meat and the cut. The beef is hung on sight and dry aged on premises for 5-11 weeks.
Hedone has been open for about 1 year and was just awarded a Michelin star. It is a bit out of the way, close the Chiswick underground stop, west of central London, but, I felt it was worth the journey.
Pierre Koffmann owned London 3* restaurant Tante Claire, which he eventually closed when he decided to "retire". Koffmann has come out of retirement, opening the resto, Koffmann's, a relaxed brasserie in the Berkeley Hotel, where he cooks in the Gascon style from the memories of this mother's and grandmother's kitchens.
This is a very loud, male bastion of meat centric food. The ambient noise was off the charts. This resto is for folks under the age of 40 as no one older will be able to discriminate the sounds of conversation.
Locanda Locatelli was first brought to my attention by my Roman gourmand friend, Armando Manni, maker of the very best white truffle oil in the world and perhaps one of the 2 best olive oils in the world.
Drinks at the Langham Hotel Bar, London, UK
Friday, October 19
The Langham Bar is a lively locale where one can order some delightful small plates, which include some very good Lebanese snacks. But, the drinks list is extensive and worth reviewing.
Dinner at George, Toronto
Wednesday, October 17
Chef Lorenzo Loseto is one of Toronto's most acclaimed chefs. We were here to plan a dinner revolving around Burgundian wines.
An Inspired Wine/Game Dinner at Nota Bene, Toronto
Friday, October 12
Chef David Lee has a long, inspiring track record of creating exceptional game dinners. This one was another standout enhanced by an extraordinary selection of great wines from fabulous vintages.
Daisho at Momofuku, Toronto
Saturday, October 6
The New York chef, David Chang's Momofuku "complex" in Toronto, Daisho, the Noodle bar, Shoto (the tasting room) and Nikai (the bar) is very well designed. Daisho's all glass multilevel exterior wall takes advantage of the terrific view overlooking university Avenue.
Chantecler Restaurant, Toronto, One of the Best
Saturday, September 29
I consider Chantecler, one of Toronto's best restaurant experiences. The hallmark of the restaurant has been interesting flavours and textures, simply assembled, without pretension. Below, is a dinner typically held during the week and following, the Sunday dinner "Lettuce Sunday".
Dhaba Indian Resto, Toronto, A Special Event Dinner
Thursday, September 27
This was an arranged dinner with a specially created menu by chef PK, my favourite Indian food chef in Toronto.
The chef's version of street food, house made crunchy papdi semolina wafer, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans and avocado, topped with house made tamarind flavoured yogurt chutney and dressed with "street spices" and on the right side, a thin skinned crunchy semolina gol gappa puff.
Pizza at Buca, One of My Faves
Monday, September 24
One of my 2 fave places to enjoy pizza in Toronto, is Buca. I ask for a well done crust, although they do that frequently without being asked. The crust, as I prefer it, is thin and crispy enough to pick up slabs which are cracker-like in stiffness (the pieces don't flop, at least when first served). The pizzas also have interesting, delicious flavours. The toppings for this one consisted of a rich base of tomato sauce (so often bland at other pizza serving restos) with basil leaves, zucchini flowers, sliced zucchini, cherry tomatoes and perfectly (under) cooked shrimp. The tradition is to cut the pizza with scissors provided.
Grand Electric, Toronto, A Terrific Taco Spot
Friday, September 21
This is another one of those "no reservations" pesky line-up spots! Arrive 20 minutes before they open and you should get in no prob. The NOISE is overwhelming, but the tacos worth it. Probably better to sit on the less noisy patio. The staff is very friendly and highly accommodating. The tacos are wonderful and what makes them particularly enjoyable are the quality of complex and interesting flavours brought to the filling.
Paradise Farms Cafe
Tuesday, September 18
Paradise Farms Cafe has lofty aspirations for providing high quality healthy burgers for it's clients. Black aberdeen angus, Scottish Highland beef ( a lean grass fed cow with high omega-3 fatty acids), Italian chianina and wagyu breeds are humanely raised on the Cafe owner's farms and not fed chemical additives for inducing weight gain. High aspirations indeed.
Thursday, September 13
Kinoton Ramen offers pork bone soup stock in 3 concentrations: light; medium and rich. I tasted the mild broth, which had nice flavour but was a bit too light and frankly, uninteresting for me. But, the "rich" broth was an amazing experience and closely resembled my North American gold standard, Ippudo, in New York City.....maybe even better!
Harbord Room Restaurant, Toronto
Sunday, September 2
The Harbord Room gets a lot of buzz. I had not been for a long time and my daughter wanted to take me there. The house made burger is often commented about, quite positively. It was listed "#1" on the Toronto Life "25 Best Burgers" web site.
The Steak Tasting of Steak Tastings
Thursday, August 30
What made this purveyors steak tasting so exceptional was that some of Toronto's finest beef purveyors were primed well in advance, to not only select the best beef for this event, but to dry age the beef truly well. We had our serious amateurs (there were 5) and our serious experts, selected from the "Beef Boys" such as myself, the ever witty food and resto writer, Jacob Richler and Nota Bene chef David Lee, a chef whom I consider one of the most perceptive and organized of his profession, a person with a most highly discriminating palate.
Leslieville Pumps BBQ, Toronto
Tuesday, August 28
What convenience! Get gas, easy parking and good grub available night and day: BBQ during the day and later, at night, Indian food. I was there for the BBQ.
Chef David Hawksworth and Chef Victor Barry Collaborate for a Splendid Dinner at Splendido Restaurant, Toronto
Friday, August 24
I have long been a fan of Splendido's chef Victor Barry. Last september, I visited Vancouver and enjoyed eating at chef David Hawksworth's eponymous restaurant. I was looking forward to experiencing this collaboration.
Chef Claudio Aprile and Guest Chef, Curtis Duffy of Grace, Chicago, at Toronto's Colbourne Lane Restaurant
Wednesday, August 22
This special dinner event, at Chef Claudio Aprile's Colbourne Lane restaurant, was a blend of the cooking philosophies of 2 very prominent north american chefs who are cooking at the leading edge of current gastronomy. Chef Curtis Duffy, who formerly worked at Charlie trotter's, was a long time sous at Chicago's Alinea and was exec chef at Avenues in the Chicago Peninsula Hotel where he garnered many rave reviews. He is now about to open his own resto, Grace, in Chicago.
La Societie Bistro, Toronto
Monday, August 20
Well, I finally made it to this resto that many friends and acquaintances were talking about, but fewer are today. I have no real excuse. It is well located in the city's main shopping district close to Bay and Bloor Streets. The decor (something I never get into into in my blogs, because as I always say, one can't eat atmosphere) of this bistro brings back memories of some of the grand bistros of Paris.
My Dinner With Julia Child
Friday, August 17
About 20 years ago, Michael Vaughn hosted a dinner for Julia Child at his home. Michael's guests were restauranteur Franco Prevedello, newspaperman John Honderich, Star food reporter Marion Kane, food writer and cooking teacher Bonnie Stern, author, Margaret Visser and co-owner of Inniskillin Wines, Donald Ziraldo, and me.
Sunday Lunch at Edulis Restaurant, Toronto
Monday, August 13
For me, any meal at Edulis, is a special treat, so I decided to try the Sunday Lunch. On Sunday, the lunch I am about to describe, is prix fixe $40.00, and wine is HALF PRICE! There are no choices, the meal selection is fixed.
Hvrati Bar, Toronto
Friday, August 10
Hvrati bar is a restaurant/ bar combo, serving Croatian food, one of my favourite ethnic cuisines. One of the wonderful features of this bar is that 50 (!!) different beers are available.
Koiyoi Izakaya, Toronto
Tuesday, August 7
One of my favourite experiences when visiting Japan, is to go to the unpretentious but very good izakayas, kind of like the Japanese version of a pub with their version of local comfort food. Koiyoi is a very simple unpretentious resto with very authentic Japanese comfort food that appeals to me.
Pizza, Pizza: Some New Wood Fired Pizza Restos in Toronto
Tuesday, August 2
Wood fired pizza restos have become more and more common, not only in Toronto, but in cities all over and even in the more remote regions, like locally, the Muskoka countryside. In theory, it is the way to go. A good wood fired pizza is often thin, with a firm but flakey crust and very mild, pleasing smoky flavour overtones. But the makings of the crust, not just the kind and source of flour, but crust ingredients and the toppings all play a major roll in the enjoyment of really good pizza.
Jack and Grill BBq Competition, Toronto
Tuesday, July 31
Jack Daniels sponsors a small BBQ competition in June, in Toronto. renowned BBQ pro, Ted Reader is the emcee and main BBQ judge. I was the other judge.
Annie Sibonney's Shakshuka
Wednesday, July 25
Breakfast at a friend's and Annie Sibonney, former chef, owner of Relish Gourmet Tours and host of TV program From Spain With Love, is contributing this dish. The fragrance of the herbs and spices made my mouth water and I could not wait to taste this masterpiece!
Revisiting Cava Restaurant, Toronto
Thursday, July 19
The unerring palate of chef Christopher Macdonald and creativity and cooking skills of executive chef Doug Penfold make for a wonderful eating experience at Spanish influenced Cava restaurant.
Luma Restaurant at The Bell Lightbox, Toronto
Monday, July 16
The Toronto International film festival is held at the Bell Lightbox. The Oliver Bonacini Group (Canoe, and other well known restos) operate this restaurant franchise. The "high end" restaurant at the Lightbox is called Luma and the executive chef is the very capable Jason Bangerter. We planned this meal around a coming event for the Chevaliers du Tastevin (Burgundy wine society), but the wines for this small group were supplied by the attendees of this planner, some shown below. I have also mentioned some of the thinking that went into the final selection of courses.
A Spanish Experience at the Gilead Cafe, Toronto
Friday, July 13
Jamie Kennedy always delights. He is a serious, culturally well rounded chef. This event had a Spanish theme in honour of an olive oil that was being featured at this dinner.
Dinner at the Home of Chef David Lee; Defining the Evolution of Food Appreciation Today
Tuesday, July 10
I have been eating David Lee's cuisine since he was at Splendido. My friends and I had arranged many quite spectacular meals there that were among the best we had enjoyed in Canada. Since he opened Nota Bene, his food has become simpler, culturally more far ranging and more accessible. Recently I was invited for dinner at his home. The meal was wonderful, but one of the dishes was so pristine, simple and flavourful, I just had to present it in my blog.
A Pop-up Resto Collaboration by Chefs Dan Burns and Jason Carter
Wednesday, July 4
Two friends, chefs presently on their own in Toronto, decided to collaborate on a brief series of dinners. Chef Jason Carter spent 10 years working with Susur Lee and most recently was the very reliable executive chef at Centro restaurant. Chef Dan Burns, with an extraordinary pedigree, began as a math and philosophy grad, switched into food prep and after brief early years working in west coast restos moved to Susur's in Toronto in it's early years, spent 3 years running the pastry department at Copenhagen's resto Noma, the San Pelligrino #1 rest in the world, then as senior chef de partie at The Fat Duck, in England, another top 5 resto in the San Pelligrino list of the best, and most recently as the New York based Momofuku empire’s head of research and development. WOW!! Big expectations here.
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