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Toronto Restaurants that are an *EXPERIENCE*

AgentSanchez

TRIBE Promoter
i've had dinner at three restaurants michelin star'd (Momofuku Ko, Jean Georges NYC and French Laundry. I would go back to all of them again in a heartbeat.

c.
This wording is misleading. A chef cannot have a michelin star - the restaurant holds the star. It is simply not possible to bring them with you ;)
 

Vise

TRIBE Member
Recommendations for Rome?
La Pergola. Bring your wallet! :D

We're headed to Barcelona next week, there for a few days and then driving up to Nice (via Marseille) before heading to Monaco for the F1 race. Restaurants are fully booked for the entire trip, should be rather good. :)
 

futronic

TRIBE Member
Let me know what you unearth, Vise. Did you book at Disfrutar? My meal there last year was awesome. PM me your list if you prefer.

-- Jay aka Fut
 

djfear

TRIBE Member
La Pergola. Bring your wallet! :D

We're headed to Barcelona next week, there for a few days and then driving up to Nice (via Marseille) before heading to Monaco for the F1 race. Restaurants are fully booked for the entire trip, should be rather good. :)
I think I need to take your approach to visiting Europe. The amount of tourist restaurants is unbelievable and its difficult to look for stuff online because someone's "best picks" are the shitty tourist spots off the side of some. Main square.

That being said, we hit up a lot of smaller places in unknown towns in Italy, and it helped a lot that my cousin in law (cousins new Italian husband) showed us some great stuff. To name a few:

- home made aperitif from a tiny bar in Sesto Calende north west of Milan.
- home cooked meal at new family's house, along with a 4 course meal and some delicious local liquors.
- local mountain cottage restaurants that had some delicious meats and mountain cheeses.
- amazing wine bar in aqui terme.
- some locally recommended restaurant around the corner from barolo that had amazing beef tartar (which my vegetarian cousin had to try hahaha).
- Jerry thomas project cocktail bar in Rome!!!

Trips not over, heading to Florence now and Paris on Friday. :)
 

Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
I think I need to take your approach to visiting Europe. The amount of tourist restaurants is unbelievable and its difficult to look for stuff online because someone's "best picks" are the shitty tourist spots off the side of some. Main square.
Our approach to travelling is usually to book 2-3 blowout restaurants, meaning places on the "World's Best 50" list, Michelin starred joints or places that have Tripadvisor's 'Certificate of Excellence'. The top spots often require booking a few months in advance. We have also planned our travel itinerary around food. (We travelled to Girona, Spain for the sole purpose of eating at 'El Cellar De Can Roca'; there was nothing else to do in that town.)

1-50 The Worlds 50 Best Restaurants
Top Michelin starred restaurants in Rome
Rome Michelin Restaurants - the Michelin Guide - ViaMichelin

We also check shows like Anthony Bourdain's 'No Reservations' for lesser known gems and, of course, we rely on local recommendations when we arrive.

Now that we travel with a toddler and an infant, it's harder and harder (i.e. impossible) to hit finer dining establishments. :)
 

Vise

TRIBE Member
Let me know what you unearth, Vise. Did you book at Disfrutar? My meal there last year was awesome. PM me your list if you prefer.

-- Jay aka Fut
Yeah man, Disfrutar is tonight... the final meal of our trip sadly as we head back to reality tomorrow morning.

As for the meals here are most although I'm sure I'm forgetting a few. All dinners in Barcelona aside from one (Forestier at Miramar) were tasting menus... ranging from 15 to 25+ courses. Some truly mental stuff. :D

Barcelona - Dinner:
Tickets
Suculent
Rias de Galicia
Lasarte
Forestier
Disfrutar

Barcelona - Lunch/Tapas:
El Quim de la Boqueria
Somorrostro
Pinotxo Bar
Cal Pep

France:
Mia (Montpellier)
Le Petit Nice Passedat (Marseille)
La Terrase (Nice)
Bistr'au (Nimes)

Some other random brasseries in Nice/Monaco as well but nothing worth mentioning... we kept it low key in Monaco since it was a shit show due to the race and we were super casually dressed (ie. no Alain Ducasse at 400 Euro per head).

Many, many, many meal highlights is an understatement... in particular Tickets, Suculent, Rias de Galicia, Lasarte, and Le Petite Nice Passedat were all amazing for different reasons. Without question have eaten the best seafood/fish in my life on this trip and at minimum have likely added 2-3 meals to our all time top 10. :)
 

futronic

TRIBE Member
Glad you're having such an awesome time. That's a pretty kick ass list of restaurants. Props to you for doing so many tasting menus! Haven't you heard of a "light" meal? ;)

I've enjoyed meals at a few of the places you listed. Let me know what ends up on the menu at Disfrutar! I ate there one year ago next week and it would be interesting to know what new items are on the menu!

And while I haven't eaten at Rias de Galicia in Barcelona, I will actually be eating at restaurants on the various Rias *of* Galicia next week. :) (Do a quick Google search for Maruja Limon in Vigo ...)

I will be in seafood heaven along the coast for about five days.

-- Jay aka Fut
 

Vise

TRIBE Member
Props to you for doing so many tasting menus! Haven't you heard of a "light" meal? ;)

I've enjoyed meals at a few of the places you listed. Let me know what ends up on the menu at Disfrutar! I ate there one year ago next week and it would be interesting to know what new items are on the menu!
Go big or go home! :D

Disfrutar was awesome from start to finish... the space is very cool, service/reception was awesome, and of course the food is both delicious and extremely progressive. You could feel the clear linkage to the chefs time under Adria. We actually got to chat with the pastry chef briefly and turns out she is from Toronto too, very cool.

While I don't normally take pics of our meals felt like I had to make an exception here for obvious reasons. Menu is included too:

Disfrutar - May 31, 2016

I also have pics of the EPIC tasting menu from Le Petit Nice Passedat, will get it up soon... easily the best fish courses I've ever had anywhere.
 

djfear

TRIBE Member
That looks yummy! How long did the meal take? Was the place full? Didn't seem very busy at all.

The only place I take photos of food these days is at my own place. :p
 

Vise

TRIBE Member
That looks yummy! How long did the meal take? Was the place full? Didn't seem very busy at all.
Meal took just over 3 hours... and it doesn't seem busy because we were the second or third table there at 8pm. It was completely full and they only do one seating per night.

One thing that I really liked is after arriving the host gave us a quick tour of the restaurant + kitchen and introduced us to the chef. He then also let us choose our own table! Very unique and not something I recall happening prior to a meal before.
 

futronic

TRIBE Member
Go big or go home! :D

Disfrutar was awesome from start to finish... the space is very cool, service/reception was awesome, and of course the food is both delicious and extremely progressive. You could feel the clear linkage to the chefs time under Adria. We actually got to chat with the pastry chef briefly and turns out she is from Toronto too, very cool.

While I don't normally take pics of our meals felt like I had to make an exception here for obvious reasons. Menu is included too:

Disfrutar - May 31, 2016

I also have pics of the EPIC tasting menu from Le Petit Nice Passedat, will get it up soon... easily the best fish courses I've ever had anywhere.
Awesome! I'm glad you enjoyed it! I believe the pastry chef's name is Francesca? I chatted with her last year when I was there also. She's very nice.

Looks like there are some "reference point" dishes that they have kept on the menu such as the "beet that comes out of the land," "crunchy egg yolk with mushroom jelly," the carbonara (which is awesome), and four or five others, but the rest has been completely redone which is good to see.

I do find it interesting that the price has increased by 40% over last year for the same menu. I guess that's what happens when you get your first Michelin star!

Look forward to your other pics!

-- Jay aka Fut
 

futronic

TRIBE Member
Ok friends, looking for resto recommendations with BYOW. Corkage should be $25 or less, anything more than that, to me, is obnoxious.

And... Go
Richmond Station - $25
Bar Isabel - $25
Beast - $20
Hopgood's Foodliner - $25
Edulis - $25
R&D - $15
Rose and Sons (or any Anthony Rose place)
Carmen - $25 (two bottle limit)
Bestellen - $25

Verify corkage before going, obviously, but those are all the going rates in the past year. There are more options too, but if your friends don't want to eat at one of those places, I don't know what's wrong with them. :D

-- Jay aka Fut
 

Vise

TRIBE Member
Look forward to your other pics!
Here is the set from Le Petit Nice Passedat... for any Bourdain fans it is the restaurant he ate at with Eric Ripert from the Marseille episode of Parts Unknown. The location is rather stunning to say the least.

Le Petit Nice Passedat - May 26, 2016

From checking the pics believe I'm missing a few courses too, was a long night. Think we made a mistake going for the extended tasting menu, it was waaay too much food and $$$... but I guess you only live once. :D
 

futronic

TRIBE Member
Here is the set from Le Petit Nice Passedat... for any Bourdain fans it is the restaurant he ate at with Eric Ripert from the Marseille episode of Parts Unknown. The location is rather stunning to say the least.

Le Petit Nice Passedat - May 26, 2016

From checking the pics believe I'm missing a few courses too, was a long night. Think we made a mistake going for the extended tasting menu, it was waaay too much food and $$$... but I guess you only live once. :D
Absolutely stunning dishes! Thanks for sharing. And that cheese table looks incredible.

What did you drink? I saw some bubbly on the table. Did you do pairings or just order off the list?

Personally, I prefer to order off the list as one can generally drink better for the price. That can obviously pose a challenge with a tasting menu, but when in doubt, drink Champagne (or something else sparkling), as it's the most versatile. That's what I did at Disfrutar, Alo, etc, and what I will do at Maruja Limon. And if there's a red meat course that really needs a red, then I just order a glass.

Ravinjunkie:

Corkage is just the general term for the fee associated with bringing wine to a restaurant. The closure type doesn't matter.

In Montreal, BYO places don't have a liquor license, hence why there is no corkage fee. I don't believe it's possible to BYO to a restaurant that has a liquor license unless you know someone.

In Ontario, BYOW is only possible at restaurants that already have a liquor license. They need to apply for a special rider/endorsement on their license that allows for BYO and pay a very nominal fee to the AGCO for it. It's a rubber-stamping process, to be fair.

Ontario restaurants will charge a corkage fee to offset supposed lost revenue to people bringing wine. Considering most restaurants in Toronto charge 2.5-3x markup (or more) on their wine lists, I will bring wine every time when I can. I think it's complete bullshit that a restaurant wants to charge $90 for a $30 (retail) wine that is way too young to drink. It's even more criminal that some want to charge $45 or more for a $15 bottle of wine. And that's not getting into the fact that licensees (restaurants, etc) don't pay the HST, so that $30 retail is only $26.50 or so to them.

I think restaurants should charge more for their food instead of often using it as a loss leader with alcohol sales generating the majority of the profit. Wine is a very important component of a meal for me. I put a lot of thought into what wines I think would go well with a particular menu, always check to make sure I'm not bringing a wine that is already on the restaurant's list, etc. Why should I, as a wine drinker, subsidize the meals of people that choose not to drink?

Furthermore, it pisses me off how poor wine service is in many restaurants. Many waitstaff over-fill wine glasses because they want to get through the bottle as quickly as possible and offer you another. I routinely need to tell servers to stop pouring and will often then pour myself.

I could go on and on about this, but I'll get off my soapbox so we can get back to restaurant talk and Vise's photos from his trip.

Has anyone been to Antler? Heard good things and will check it out when I am back from vacation.

-- Jay aka Fut
 

djfear

TRIBE Member
Furthermore, it pisses me off how poor wine service is in many restaurants. Many waitstaff over-fill wine glasses because they want to get through the bottle as quickly as possible and offer you another. I routinely need to tell servers to stop pouring and will often then pour myself.

I could go on and on about this, but I'll get off my soapbox so we can get back to restaurant talk and Vise's photos from his trip.
Almost every restaurant that I've been to, aside from many fine dining establishments, the servers over-pour the wine. I also mostly do not drink wine at restaurants because of the ridiculous cost, so I've given up on the process altogether. Of course this rule gets thrown out the window once you're in europe and the wine prices are reasonable.
 

futronic

TRIBE Member
Even fine dining establishments often over-pour wine. And I agree that wine prices are much more reasonable in Europe.

-- Jay aka Fut
 

ndrwrld

TRIBE Member
Casplansky's owner just got shut out of their store by the landlord. owner doesn't know why.
now i want a sandwich.
 

Metal Morphosis

TRIBE Member
My pleasure!

Where did your friends end up going, and did they enjoy it?

-- Jay aka Fut
someone talked up Rasa so that was the ultimate destination.
super fun - went for The Experience tasting menu (7 courses).
so.much.food.

the bottle has been saved for a later date - most likely a steak dinner at the cottage where we can really savour it in peace & quiet.
 

futronic

TRIBE Member
I'm pretty sure Rasa does corkage too - but $30?

Glad you had a good meal? I have enjoyed their food at Taste of Toronto the past couple years.

-- Jay aka Fut
 

Metal Morphosis

TRIBE Member
I'm pretty sure Rasa does corkage too - but $30?
yeah, they do corkage. we just figured we probably wouldn't finish a bottle and didn't want to waste it so had a bunch of cocktails instead.
Glad you had a good meal? I have enjoyed their food at Taste of Toronto the past couple years.
-- Jay aka Fut
This was what was included in the tasting menu (in no particular order)

BRUSSEL SPROUTS, scotch bonnet vinegar, cauliflower cheese, fried onion
THE CHOPPED SALAD, vegetables, quinoa, jalapeno feta, harissa chickpeas
CAPRESE, albacore tuna, tomato bruschetta, olive, basil puree, crispy cheese
BURGER, ground steak, beef cheek, provolone, gochujang sauce, beansprout kimchi
PIDUCCI, lamb tenderloin, halloumi, labneh, pomegranate, pine nut gremolata
BANGKOK BOWL, yellow fin tuna, calamari, mango jicama slaw, smoked peanuts
TRUFFLE GNUDI, mushrooms, portobello soil, pickled shimeji, walnut pesto
and this dessert:
STICKY BUN, walnut praline, cream cheese anglaise, candied bacon
 

djfear

TRIBE Member
My local neighbourhood dessert spot needs a mention here.

Roselle Desserts is a proper pastry shop specializing in caramels, late night desserts on Friday & Saturday, soft serve ice cream (only one flavour at a time, but well worth it), mille crepe desserts on the weekends, and just amazing at everything that they do.

Steph & Bruce (the owners) worked in France and have a solid background in what they do, with perfection being a cornerstone of their work.

Located @ King East & Power St.
 
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