Thursday, 29 November 2012

CAFE LUNA 3 out of 5

467 5th Avenue, S. Naples Florida, 34102,  (239) 213-2212 
Went to Cafe Luna after checking a few locations on 5 th Avenue South in Naples Florida.  We were attracted by the menu displayed on the street front.  Having seen a variety and size of dishes coming out of the kitchen, we decided to skip appetizers and we were glad we did.  The price was very attractive and the patio was very busy.  Two dinners (mains) and a bottle of wine for $29.99, it seemed too good to be true.  


nice atmosphere al fresco

I am always surprised when a restaurant calling itself Italian, does not provide bread - it is usually a bad omen for the meal.
One of us ordered the shrimp linguine with garlic and wine sauce.  It was very garlicky and had too much sauce.

linguine with shrimp

gnocchi with a cheese based cream sauce

chicken and broccoli with penne

veal parmigiana with cheese, pasta and sauce

After the mains were finished there was no room for anything let alone a desert or coffee.  It was a rather ordinary italian meal, with an inexpensive California wine.  The evening's weather and the fact that it was outside on a rather full patio was a big factor in choosing this restaurant.  
The seating was rather uncomfortable with low backed chairs and bulky cushions.  After further walking around the area and seeing the other options that were surrounding us, we regretted the choice we made.  The area is filled with a large number of very enticing restaurant choices, most with glamorous interiors and lovely patios.

Cafe Luna on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

BAHAMA BREEZE 4 out of 5
14701 S Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers Florida 33912 (239) 454-9234
Went to Bahama Breeze Island Grill today after landing in Fort Myers airport.  We started with a cocktail that they are famous for - it is called The Ultimate Margarita and was delicious on an 82 degree day in Florida at the end of November.

ultimate margarita

a nice entrance to a nice grill 

island feel

a real tropical feel

The Ultimate Margarita

Our waitress was wonderful, Eileen was enchanting and very efficient.  The entire crew here seemed to work seamlessly together. 
For our appetizer we started with coconut shrimp with an amazing mustard lemon dipping sauce, edamame, and a salad. 

coconut shrimp with lemon mustard sauce

edamame with sea salt and spices

salad with a sweet garlic dressing

For our mains we all ordered blackened grilled grouper with different sides, including rice, garlic mashed and fries.

blackened grouper with garlic mashed

blackened grouper with seasoned rice

blackened grouper with fries

The grouper was well cooked and the sides matched well.  We had some good simple California Merlot.  All in all it was a great atmosphere to enjoy our first meal in Florida after a long  morning of travel and the hassle of customs and airports.

Bahama Breeze on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 24 November 2012

LA FENICE 4 out of 5
319 King St. W. Toronto, (416) 585-2377, lunch Mon. - Fri. 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, Dinner Mon. - Sat. 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. - Closed Sunday.
Four of us went to La Fenice for dinner tonight, it was grey cup weekend in Toronto.  The city was pumping and the entertainment district restaurants were full.  We were fortunate to be early enough to get in to La Fenice.  Within half an hour it was totally full.  When we entered we were greeted by the maitre d who took our coats and hung them in a coat room - this prevented the inevitable battle of where to put them once we sat down.  A classy first impression.

As we were seated a waiter came around with a platter that had a selection of whole fish that were being featured tonight. He was followed by another waiter with a large platter of solid ribeye that could be cut and grilled to any size 6 oz, 8oz, 10 oz etc.  However, this night we all decided to order from the standard menu, since this was our first time at this restaurant.
waiters filleting grilled fish for patrons
We began with a basket of bread that was rather mediocre and tasteless.  We hoped this wasn't an omen for a mediocre meal.  It turned out that the meal was far better than the bread.
rye type loaf was tasteless without dipping in olive oil
For appetizers we all ordered the same thing the grilled shrimp with la fenice extra virgin olive oil.  They were lightly spiced, gigantic and absolutely delicious ($13) and worth the price.

large grilled shrimp - tasted like lobster
We ordered two bottles of a very tasty Ripasso Wine at a very reasonable price of $38 - it was a smooth and tasty version of Ripasso.
reasonably priced very nice ripasso
Three of us decided to have the veal scaloppine with fresh wild mushrooms as our main.  It was accompanied by a selection of grilled vegetables which blended nicely with the light wine sauce.  The veal was tender and delicious and the sauce was smooth and not over salted. ($22)
veal scaloppine with mushrooms and vegetables
One of us had the fettuccine con funghi freschi (fettuccine with fresh mushrooms).  I had the opportunity to taste it and it was divine.  The pasta was house made and melted in your mouth ($19).
house made fettuccine melted in your mouth
We finished our amazing dinner with great deserts.  Three of us had the raspberry chocolate tartufo.  One of us had zabaglione ( a warm custard flavoured with Marsala and served with berries).  We completed our dinner with a couple of cappuccinos.  All in all a wonderful meal with wonderful company.  We will definitely come back to this restaurant.

La Fenice on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 17 November 2012

PROOF THE VODKA BAR 4.5 out of 5

Yorkville area,  220 Bloor Street West in the Intercontinental Hotel, Toronto On. (416) 324-6645, Mon.-Thurs.  3:30 pm to 12 am, Fri. 3:30 pm to 1:00 am, Sat 3:30 pm to 2:00 am, Sun. 3:30 pm to 12:00 am
After having a great meal and some not very good wine at the Bedford Academy on Prince Arthur Avenue, six of us decided to go to the Proof Vodka Bar for some after dinner drinks - it was only a couple of blocks away.  So we took a leisurely walk through Yorkville - it was a beautiful still night for November.  

Across from the Lee-Chin crystal at the ROM is the Continental Hotel on the North side of Bloor Street.

the Lee-Chin Crystal at the ROM

On the front of the hotel beside the lobby is the Proof Vodka Bar.

christmas tree in the lobby of the Continental Hotel

Proof is a beautiful, relaxing, space to have a drink.  It has a number of white very soft leather couches, chairs, benches and bar stools.  The seating was so comfortable that we did not want to leave.  As the evening wore on, more people started to arrive, yet the noise level didn't rise because the bar is so spacious and has a variety of gathering areas.  It also has a beautiful patio lounge in the summer for outdoor dining.

The lounge was so comfortable that we had quite a number of wonderful cocktails and prosecos.  The waiter delivered some complimentary olives which was nice.  He was very efficient and personable.  The cocktails average between 9 and 14 dollars and are well presented.  Though we did not have any food, there is a good list of tapas and deserts which could be had with your drinks.  We will explore these on another visit.  All of us had an extremely wonderful time in conversation and enjoyed the calmness of this space. It has now become our go to bar in this area of the city - we can't wait to go back.

There are many pictures of this lounge and some menu items on their website.  They also have a good video on their website.   
Proof The Vodka Bar on Urbanspoon

Saturday, 10 November 2012

WINCHESTER ARMS 3.75 out of 5

120 King Street West, Dundas, On (905) 627- 8016

A typical British type pub found in the heart of Dundas Ontario.  It has been a part of the town for years and is very popular.  As a result the main patrons are locals, a lot of whom seem to know each other.  This makes it a welcoming atmosphere. 

My son and I have been here many times during the week.  We decided to have a meal on a Saturday and were shocked when we arrived to find a line up out the door.  They seemed to be understaffed and were trying hard to keep up with the seating.  The waitresses were almost running from table to table.  We were seated quite quickly considering the commotion.

  My son ordered a chicken sandwich made of barbecued chicken with roasted red peppers, cheese on a tender ciabatta bun - it was very tender and tasty. 

 I ordered the halibut and mashed, thankfully I only wanted one piece of fish, because it was gigantic.  The mashed potatoes were soft and plentiful and it came with coleslaw.  It was a substantial and filling pub meal.  

We had a couple of pints of Kilkenny on draught to complete the pub experience.  Our waitress was very competent and tried to make our experience as good as possible - she was very efficient.   As we were leaving the evening's entertainment was just setting up for the Saturday evening.
Unfortunately their website is poorly managed and not working properly.  However it's menu is typical of most pubs, with some different twists.

Winchester Arms on Urbanspoon

Monday, 5 November 2012


339 York Blvd, Hamilton, On (905) 577-0808 Mon-Thurs 11:30am - midnight,  Fri 11:30 - 2:00 am, Sat 10 am - 2:00 am, Sun 10 am - midnight

Went here a number of times for nachos and their irish nachos, which were quite tasty.  Three of us decided to try it for a full lunch meal.  It was after the lunch rush and there were several patrons still eating.  There was only one waitress, travelling back and forth from the kitchen trying to serve quite a large area of the restaurant, and she was run off her feet.
They have Country Music DJ's on Thursdays and live entertainment on the stage on Friday and Saturday.  There are TV's tuned to various sporting events scattered around the restaurant and bar area.  They also have an events calendar on their website.

I ordered a roast beef on a bun au jus with fries.  The roast beef was piled high, but was very chewy and I had to take some out of the bun because it was too hard to eat.  The fries were gummy and there was a lone pickle on the plate.  I had a glass of iced tea that was totally flavourless. 
My son had something called "road kill" chicken melt, which consisted of grilled cajun chicken breast, topped with avocado, salsa, bacon, lettuce, tomato and melted swiss cheese all on a toasted bun with chipotle aioli and sweet potato fries.  It was a mess to eat although somewhat tasty.

  My wife had the baby beef liver and caramelized onions (she didn't think it was baby beef liver).  It was somewhat overcooked and was plopped on a mountain of mashed potatoes with an overwhelming amount of gravy.  I don't think we will be returning here for food any time soon.  There are better places in Hamilton to eat lunch.
There is free parking and a patio facing the street.

Stonewalls on Urbanspoon

Friday, 2 November 2012


16 Sydenham Street, Dundas On. (905) 628-7800 Tues - Sat  12:00 pm to 2:30 pm and 5:00 pm to close     

Located in the heart of Dundas, the Quatrefoil has become the restaurant that is attracting a lot of attention in this town and the GTA.  It is run by the husband and wife team of Fraser Macfarlane and Georgina Mitropoulos who met as sous chefs at Scaramouche, a legendary restaurant in Toronto.  They converted a Victorian house to a calm but glamorous and sophisticated fine dining venue.  Their creations are based on fresh local ingredients with a French flair. 

The seating varies from quaint tables to large beige leather banquettes and benches.  There is a bar for patrons who are waiting to be seated.  There is also a large patio for summer evenings and afternoons and it can be quite busy outside in the summer months.

We made a reservation for Friday at seven and it was packed when we arrived.  There were five of us (we were celebrating my younger sons birthday) and we were ushered to a wonderful banquette in an alcove.  The noise level was low considering the number of diners in the room.

There is also seating upstairs, which can be reserved for large parties.  There is a good wine list with a wide variety of choices and prices.  We ordered two bottles of French 2007 wine ($55 a bottle) it was smooth and delicious.

After we were seated a wonderful selection of breads appeared that melted in your mouth.  They were house made.

We began with an amuse bouche of goat cheese and lentils served on a large boat like spoon that was gratis, it was an unusual way to start a meal

Four of us had the cauliflower soup which was divine and full of flavours that we could not even describe.  One of us had the seared sea scallops which were large and melt in your mouth with fennel, chorizo, fingerling chips and romesco sauce.

cauliflower soup - divine!

scallops cooked perfectly

I had the Barramundi fish feature which was encrusted with potato and baked.  It was served with fingerling potatoes and young beets, carrots, and other ingredients too numerous to mention.  This dish was substantial and had such a variety of flavours on the plate, it was hard to tell the taste of the fish.

barramundi fish surrounded in various flavours

Two of us had the Cumbrae's beef tenderloin with mushrooms, roasted leek , cheek cromesquis, smoked potato puree, bacon crumble which was perfectly grilled medium rare.

Cumbrae's fillet cooked medium rare with potato  puree

Two of us had the Willowgrove Hill boneless pork chop crispy belly, mustard greens, sweet potato, cranberry and peppercorn glaze.

boneless pork chop with greens and sauces

We all decided on the same desert; the creme brulee with ginger bread and orange sorbet, it was delicious and filling (notice the birthday candle).  We had the French press coffee to go with the desert. 

creme brulee with ginger snap and sorbet  

macaroons and chocolates - complimentary

The meal, which seemed more like an event, ended with the server providing a complimentary selection of macaroons and chocolates and the bill.  The service was very professional and everyone worked as a team from the greeters at the door to the waiters and waitresses in the restaurant. Though expensive it included two bottles of wine and a gourmet selection of food that turned the evening into a celebration, not just a meal. (Just think of what 5 leaf tickets would cost).

Quatrefoil Restaurant on Urbanspoon