Saturday, 27 October 2012

ELEPHANT & CASTLE 3.5 out of 5

Entertainment District, 212 King St. W. (416) 598-4455  hours: 11:30am to 2:00am 

Four of us decided to have some drinks and apps at the Elephant and Castle on King Street in the entertainment district (they have 20 locations throughout North America).  We have been here many times before, for dinner specials and just drinks (good selection of draft beers).  For our apps we ordered, the bruschetta and an order of nachos with chicken.  The bruschetta was thin and kind of unusual and we didn't care for it.  The nachos were very large portion, which allowed the four of us to fill up quickly. They were delicious.

We drank a selection of draft beers including, London Pride, Stella Artois, Innes and Gun and Kronenbourg 1664.  This is a large Restaurant-Pub that has many different sections on the main floor including a long bar, a poolroom area and a large patio on the side in good weather.

It is always a lively place and can get very busy, especially after 4pm.  During the week a number of sections are occupied by various office folk letting off steam and can get very boisterous.  Service can be very slow - they could use more waitresses and bar tenders at busy times.  All in all if you want a good draft (a little pricey), some good pub food and a friendly atmosphere this is always a good choice.

bruschetta - very thin

large tray of nachos

Elephant & Castle on Urbanspoon

Food for Pleasure Toronto restaurants

Friday, 26 October 2012


1140 Bay St. Toronto On., (416) 923-3354, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Four of us went to the New Yorker Deli on a late Friday afternoon.  We have been here a number of times and have never been disappointed.  It is virtually guaranteed you will have a good satisfying, reasonably priced, simple meal.  Two of us had the chicken pot pie and salad with house dressing.  One of us had the chicken club sandwich and one of us had the whole wheat chicken wrap.  

All of our choices were well prepared and delicious.  The service was efficient and without fault.  They are noted for making their own lemonade and freshly squeezed orange juice.  Also, each table has at least three to four different mustard choices.  My son's favourite is the honey mustard which is absolutely delicious.  The fries are delicious and filling.

located at Bay and Bloor across from Bay Bloor Radio

eerie painting of the two towers has been on the walls for years

clean and simple - notice the mustard bottles

chicken pot pie and salad with dressing - delicious 

chicken club sandwich, coleslaw, fries

whole wheat chicken wrap - need two hands to hold it 

New Yorker Deli on Urbanspoon

Monday, 22 October 2012


1340 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, Ontario L7S 1B1, (905) 633-7494, Mon - Sat 11:30 to close, Sunday 9:30 to close

Went to Spencer's at the waterfront in Burlington for my son's birthday.  There were five of us Monday for dinner.  We have been here before for drinks and apps, but never for a full dinner.  We arrived at about 7 and the restaurant was more than half full.  We were ushered to a banquette table which was comfortable for five people.  I ordered a couple of bottles of french Merlot wine and we began ordering apps, including the warm olive selection, lobster dumplings kaffir lime caramel, scallops and pork belly cider braised fennel.  They were all absolutely scrumptious!  We slowly savoured the apps and ordered our mains.  My son (birthday guy) and his girlfriend ordered the red fife and ricotta gnocchi with cauliflower chantrelles, poached egg, brown butter.  My wife and other son ordered the arctic char with cauliflower risotto, chorizo and brown butter.  I ordered the heritage chicken with salsify, gnocchi, sweetbread, maitake, brussel sprouts.  All of us thoroughly enjoyed our meals.

For desert my sons and my wife ordered the smores cheesecake covered in a chocolate shell.  My son's girlfriend ordered the sorbet. They raved about the delicious desserts.  My wife and I had the cappuccino and it was delicious.

The ambiance of the restaurant and its location added to the enjoyment of the evening.  Monday night when every one moved a little slower, made it enjoyable and calm, which allowed us to enjoy each other's company with no rush.

It was one of the best restaurant experiences I have ever enjoyed.  The only drawback was the cost.  But you only live once!!

lobster dumplings app

scallops with pork belly

warmed olive selection
arctic char and cauliflower risotto
chicken - absolutely divine

gnocchi with poached egg
foamy cappucino

selection of sorbet

smores cheesecake

Sunday, 21 October 2012


36 Prince Arthur Avenue, Toronto, On., M5R 2J9, (416) 921-4600 Mon - Fri 11:00 - 2:00, Sat - Sun 10:00 - 11:00

Went to the Bedford Academy after seeing the BYOW ad on their website.  I emailed them to find out the details and they responded right away with the details indicating that I had to bring the receipt that showed it was purchased at the LCBO, come after 5 pm and pay a corkage fee of $5.  After checking the menu in advance online we had noticed that they called themselves a gastro pub.  The food was definitely different from a pub, but they had a laid back pub like atmosphere.

We came at about 6 pm and were greeted and seated in the dining area, which seemed cramped with too many tables.  We ordered some appetizers and the waiter opened the wine that we had brought.  It was a nice Chianti.  We shared our apps including calamari fritti with Chipotle aioli and pomes frites.  I ordered the dry rubbed char grilled pickerel fillet on a grilled vegetable salad drizzled with garlic butter.  The pickerel was awesome, but there were too many grilled vegetables in the bowl and they overwhelmed the taste of the fish ($19).  My wife ordered the butternut squash ravioli with caramelized apples and brown butter sauce ($16). She liked the ravioli, but it was in too much oil.  My son had the prosciutto wrapped beef tenderloin with truffled potatoes and seasonable vegetables, and he liked it ($19).

The room was very noisy due to a group that really should have been in the bar area.  Also, we were sitting at a very dark table and my flash wasn't working, so the only pictures I could get were of the room itself, and even these were very dark.

The service was very good, and I like the BYOW touch.  We will probably try the Bedford again either in the summer on the patio, or on a brighter day, when we can see our dishes.

We have been here many times since our first experience and have come to like the Bedford.  The service is excellent and everything we have tried here is fabulous.  They have improved their wine selection and have kept the $5 corkage on Saturdays.  Their specials are always unique and tasty and we find their prices reasonable.  We would recommend you try this restaurant.

Bedford Academy on Urbanspoon

Friday, 19 October 2012

EMMAS BACK PORCH 3.5 out of 5

2084 Old Lakeshore Road, Burlington, On., L7R 1E3, (905) 634-2084, Mon, Tues 11:00 am - 12 am, Wed 11:00 - 2:00 am, Thurs 11:00 am - 12:00 am, Fri 11:00 am - 2:00 am, Sat   10:00 - 2:00 am, Sun 10:00 am - 12:00 am

Went to Emmas with one of my sons for dinner.  It was about 6:30 on Friday evening and it was packed in the bar and restaurant area.  
It has a great location with a patio right on the lake and an outside bar that is open in the summer.  The inside has a large bar and dining area and a dance floor some evenings with a DJ.  
My son had about three pounds of wings, two pounds with lemon pepper coating and one with a curry coating.  They are relatively dry wings and he really enjoyed them - taking some left overs home with him.  I had a thinly sliced roast beef on a bun au jus and it was tender and delicious (the juice was a little too salty).  I ordered an ice tea and it really tasted like tea!  The manager came over and asked if we liked our choices.  He was talking to each table individually (this is a nice way to keep patrons coming back).

It is a large restaurant and is packed with a variety of ages - a friendly kind of place.  The noise was somewhat deafening but it was just laughter and people talking loudly. It was not a quiet place to have a meal on this particular night.  The prices were reasonable and the food was very good.  We will definitely be coming back.

great patio view even in fog

variety of clientele and very busy

excellent wings

melt in your mouth roast beef au jus

Emma's Back Porch on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 18 October 2012


178 James Street North, 905-777-8490,   Open Tuesday to Sunday Noon - 10 p.m.

I and several of my friends went to Ventura's Restaurant on James Street North in Hamilton.  It is an authentic Portuguese restaurant that is famous for it's fish platters and Portuguese dishes.  It is a charming restaurant and quite large and comfortable inside (and very clean). We began with some rather ordinary buns, a variety of appetizer dishes including sardines, mussels, grilled calamari and shrimp.  We followed this with a number of Seafood Platters from their menu, which included lightly fried whiting, sword fish, jumbo tiger shrimp, mussels, rice and cubed potatoes.  Many of the fish items were not filleted and had bones that makes me rather hesitant and slow in eating.  The shrimp and whiting were good but not very filling. Unfortunately I am allergic to mussels and do not really like sardines, however the group appeared to enjoy them.
We completed the meal with Portuguese custard tarts (which are amazing) and espresso.  The owner Virgilio Ventura is a great host and very entertaining.  We had a number of bottles of Portuguese red wine.  We decided to go with a platter style serving, so our bill with taxes and tip was $40 each.

It was a good meal all around in a very nice Portuguese restaurant, with some good friends.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

360 College Street West, Toronto (416) 348-9200 
Decided to try a new restaurant on College Street in Little Italy, it was called Marinella.  We checked the menu on the board outside and it seemed to have some dishes we wanted to try.  We began with the usual request for a bottle of wine, Chianti and it was good ($40).  The meal began with a plate of homemade bread that was still warm, and definitely homemade.  The bread was accompanied with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping.  Had to ask for another plate of it, it was melt in your mouth good.  We ordered calamari fritti and an olive bowl as appetizers to share, they were a reasonable price and very good.  The calamari were large and covered in a nice panko like coating and an accompanying tomato sauce which was not acidic.  My wife ordered gnocchi in tomato sauce (she has tried many gnocchi dishes in many restaurants) and she said it was very good.  I ordered the veal parmigiana with the standard spaghetti accompaniment.  I found the veal thin and delicious.  I cut it with the butter knife. The accompanying spaghetti tasted homemade (usually it is a filler to accompany the veal parmigiana), but this was different, it was definitely homemade and scrumptious.  We completed the meal with a cappuccino and shared a tiramisu that was homemade.  

When we first arrived the waiter told us that tonight's cooks in the kitchen were the owners mother and brother and that everything was homemade.  Well I had to agree, our meal  was delicious and tasted homemade.
I do not take well to acidic tomato sauces, but this was not definitely not an acidic tomato sauce (try Kit Kat's sauce and you will see what I mean).

In summary, this was a great meal.  The waiter was very efficient and deserved the larger tip.  The only drawback was that the restaurant owner had turned away at least a dozen people, saying they were booked for the night, yet when we left an hour later it was still mostly empty.  He lost possible return customers - I am not a fan of reservations!!

nice Chianti

fresh house made bread, olive oil and balsamic

large calamari with nice crust and tomato sauce

olive bowl appetizer

house made gnocchi

veal parmigiana and house made spaghetti

house made tiramisu

Marinella on Urbanspoon
Marinella on Urbanspoon