Category Archives: Restaurant review

The Best Pizza in Toronto

My bestie Kathryn and I love pizza. We have eaten a lot of pizza in our time around the world. She knows a pizza blogger and we’ve decided we need to share our pizza picks. We are qualified pizza connoisseurs because we’re living the dream when we eat pizza by a pool with Taylor Swift blaring. This project became more serious last year when we conducted a pizza taste test and were surprised to learn that Blaze pizza, a chain from the US was a real winner with their spicy sauce. Since then we have tried a few pizzas and here is our list so far, which will be updated as we try more pizza. 

  • 1. Blaze Pizza (150 John St)-We are huge fans of Blaze pizza for the spicy sauce, the gluten free crust option, and all the toppings you can choose for yourself. The pizzas are made to order and are thin crust deliciousness. 
  • 2. General Assembly Pizza (318 Adelaide St W)-This pizza is a winner with a light, thin, slightly chewy crust made to order from a menu of interesting topping combinations. The kale salad is excellent. 
  • 3. Via Mercanti (188 Augusta Ave)-Italian style pizza with just the right amount of chew that tastes homemade and professional, like nonna would make. 
  • 4. Farm Boy (1005 Lakeshore Boulevard E)-makes a pretty tasty cauliflower pizza for people on restricted carbohydrate diets. I was willing to eat this pizza and it was more than acceptable-good news!

Veggies for Lunch: Kupfert and Kim Meatless and Wheatless

The meatless and wheatless tag line caught my attention when I walked through the First Canadian Place underground in December. I bought lunch at Kupfert and Kim this week. I ordered the First Canadian which was quinoa with shredded beets, kale, carrots, cabbage, radish, microgreens, tempeh, sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds and maple dressing. I used a serving of hot sauce as well for flavour.


First Canadian Kupfert and Kim Meatless and Wheatless

First Canadian at Kupfert and Kim Meatless and Wheatless

The First Canadian with its blend of veggies and quinoa makes for a healthy, satisfying vegetarian lunch. It is a great way to enjoy a variety of veggies for a work day lunch. The dose of veggies is likely to help keep your energy levels up after lunch. The selection of sweets at Kupfert and Kim are good nutritional energy boosters-possible afternoon snacks. The breakfast selections look appealing, as they are breakfasts I would be likely to make and serve to guests myself.



Healthy Yorkville Lunch: Mela Cafe

I am 8 years late in my discovery of Mela Cafe, Italian Vegetarian Magic at 7 Yorkville Avenue 416 916 0619. Perhaps its location where Wanda’s Pie in the Sky once was kept me from coming too close, as I missed Wanda’s very much. I came across Mela Cafe last week after buying DLish cupcakes and looked around the corner for some lunch. Yes, I got dessert before choosing a spot for lunch.

The chalkboard menu and glass display cases at Mela Cafe were very enticing. I tasted a certain magic in the food with the mixed veggie salad and sweet potato mash with rapini topped with homemade tomato sauce I had. I enjoyed my lunch so much that I went back the next day for beet risotto with greens, which was delicious. As was their signature eggplant sandwich, which I enjoyed another time.

Mela Cafe is a great little spot to have some lunch or get takeout for dinner. Their food is prepared with great care to a point where the chefs Roberto and Kim grow their own vegetables. They are real innovators here. The quality shows through in the delightful taste of the food. I highly recommend Mela Cafe for a healthy, delicious meal that inspires us to eat more veggies by showing us how tasty veggies can be. What an amazing accomplishment for Mela Cafe!

Vivian’s Picks at Foxley, Toronto

We had a special occasion to celebrate last night and our group of four friends had dinner at Foxley 207 Ossington Avenue, Toronto. Somehow I got carte blanche to do the majority of the ordering…I’m pleased to report all  four of us had a most inspired dining experience with all the amazing and unique flavours Tom Thai creates.

Here is what we ordered and shared. I highly recommend trying this list sometime. This is a top Asian fusion dining experience I have had and it won over three friends. Enjoy!

Blue Crab Avocado Salad

Seaweed salad with mango and herbs

Kale salad with pecorino cheese

Lamb and duck proscuitto dumplings

Oven steamed black cod with asian greens and truffle oil

Scallop ceviche with kumquat

Tempura oyster handroll

Lemongrass marinated grilled cornish hen


Momofuku Noodle Bar Toronto

I just had dinner with a friend at the Momofuku Noodle Bar in Toronto. I did not have patience to wait in line for the noodle bar in New York, but I did have dinner at Momofuku Tsam and a little dessert at the Milk Bar while I was there last year. My friend was recently at the Momofuku in New York and we were both interested to see what it was like in Toronto.

It’s a loud, bustling atmosphere with a modern dining room in Toronto. Momofuku noodle bar is very well executed fast food. We really saw that in action while sitting at the bar in front of where the food was being assembled. The shrimp fried rice looked pretty enticing as it was being put together. We did not get to try it, as our server forgot to tell us about the specials, because I distracted him with my questions about the short menu. Service was quite attentive and informed throughout the restaurant, which I really appreciated. Apparently they serve only Tito’s vodka here and in New York and the bartender handled my grumbling with grace. It was a pleasant experience to wait in the upstairs bar area and overlook the busy restaurant below.

The brilliance of the noodle bar is in its small menu. David Chang has created a great formula for flavourful asian food and trained the staff well to execute on a focused list of food. The famous pork buns are assembled in volume and are the same as they are in New York. These buns are a great fast food take on Peking duck with its combination of tasty animal fat, sweet sauce, scallion and cucumber in a bun.  The ramen comes in a broth that has flavour depth and an egg that is specially slow poached in the combi oven. Special egg poaching technique seems to be a current food trend. We tried a sous vide ‘poached’ duck egg at Peller Estates this summer where the egg texture was the same throughout the white and yolk.

The Momofuku brand has a lot of potential to expand further with its fun atmosphere and tasty food that can be replicated. The food here is more exciting than the UK chain Wagamama. However, my favourite asian influenced restaurants remain Mission Chinese in San Francisco for its amazingly spiced food and Foxley in Toronto for its bold and unique flavours.


Grand Electric, Toronto-A Convivial New Dining Experience

A friend and I braved the lineup to try Grand Electric for dinner last night. I had read a rave review by Joanne Kates in the winter and have meant to try it for some time. A beautiful warm night certainly made it easier, as the capacity of the restaurant doubled with their patio full of picnic benches crammed with people in every possible seat.

I must admit I have been on a taco tasting mission this month. One of the motivating factors has been missing out on Rick Bayless Mexican food, at Tortas Frontera at Chicago O’Hare airport. I have had my heart set on eating there since January this year. I knew nothing of Rick Bayless when I passed by the restaurant at the crack of dawn on my way back from Hawaii in early January. I just knew the menu looked amazingly appetizing and I had to try it another time. I passed through Chicago again in May and due to many circumstances at the airport, I missed out on eating at Tortas Fronteras again!!!

Tacos have been on my mind to say the least, so first stop was Tacos el Asador on Bloor. Very simple, well done, authentic tacos with their fish tacos being most exceptional. Next stop was going to be Playa Cabana, but the line was too long for the friend I was with, so we went to an old standby, Dos Amigos. After so many years, Dos Amigos does not disappoint with their blackberry margarita, cactus salad, and tacos al pastor complete with 3 sauces and pickled jalapeno.

Third on the taco tour was Grand Electric. After a wait of over an hour, we were shown 2 seats at a picnic table on the patio of Grand Electric. Our tablemates were friendly, we asked for recommendations and scoped out what they were eating. We decided to order one of every taco, in addition to spicy squid, tuna ceviche, and miami ribs.

I wish I could tell you which taco was what type, but that is the fun of eating here. Big, bold, intense flavours and not easily discernible meats…the fresh garnishes of cilantro and thin sliced jalapeno are a sparkling touch. Everything we had was great, although I cannot say I loved the fish taco. The key lime pie is super. So is the bourbonade. Grand Electric is first and foremost about the special, convivial experience and the food is outstanding as well. Otherwise, it isn’t so fun to wait for over an hour, squeeze into a picnic bench by a wall and deal with a ‘queue’ for the washrooms. The whole experience was unique and reminded me of another very different dining experience, Mission Chinese in San Francisco. Dining is a highly social activity and Grand Electric gives Toronto an innovative, new experience.

Another point of curiosity for me was learning of another Mexican restaurant situated in Brooklyn, NY with a similar name, Gran Electrica. I asked one of the owners and Grand Electric in Toronto was open first and both restaurants appear to be inspired by the same painting, Grand Electric Skull. The Brooklyn restaurant has some big names behind it, so it will be most interesting to compare notes. Hopefully some friend will head to New York soon and let me know.

Fresh Restaurant

Fresh is a vegetarian restaurant that I have been to on quite a few occasions with friends for a quick, healthy meal. The quinoa onion rings are my absolute favourite and must be ordered every time I go there to share. They have a perfectly crisp coating with a tender onion centre.

A client shared with me recently that the macro greens bowl is an approved Weight Watchers menu item. I am pleased to report that the macro greens bowl with brown rice, crispy tofu and green dressing is very tasty and satisfying as a main course. This is not my best food photography, but this is a tasty meal:

The combination of crispy tofu, bok choy, sweet potato, tomato, brown rice with the green dressing is a satisfying taste and texture combination.

I don’t typically choose smoothies and juices at restaurants, but the Fresh drink menu is very appealing with its large array of smoothies and fresh juices. The latest one I tried had the most appealing name of eternal youth. The eternal youth smoothie tasted great while including kale and E3Live.

Fresh is a great option to try delicious vegan and vegetarian meals with familiar foods like onion rings in the mix. Vegetarian diets have numerous health benefits and trying a vegetarian meal at home or at a restaurant like Fresh is a great place to start. Expanding the variety of foods you eat, especially plant foods is always a great idea as it increases the variety of nutrients you intake.

Another great experience at Buca

I introduced a friend to Buca last night after we checked out an ambitious photo fundraiser by Zark Fatah on King W.  We started with roman broccoli, which was perfectly cooked and so deliciously seasoned. The lamb skewers were also excellent. Pizza was absolutely necessary. Octopus and clam was one pizza and I ordered the one with poached tuna, olives, fresh chili and bottarga. Both were an incredible food experience-varied and bold flavours with the unfailingly crisp thin crust. I was just educated on Monday at the Terroir symposium on what bottarga is. As I understood, it is fish roe that has been preserved in wax and it is used to add umami to dishes. My tuna pizza certainly was a taste sensation, with plenty of umami.
Chef Melissa Saunders and I coincidentally have an aversion to tiramisu. However, we were both convinced on separate occasions to try it at Buca, due to their appetizing presentation in a cocktail glass. It was the best tiramisu I have ever had, because I actually liked it! Strawberry was the new version, with house made dried strawberry adding an extra dimension of flavour and texture. Just another outstanding dining experience at Buca.

New Toronto Restaurant: The Saint

Chef Melissa Saunders and I came across the Saint on Saturday night by accident. We had trouble deciding where to go with no reservation. I had almost convinced her and Prince Charming to go to Foxley for dinner, but we passed by and checked out the Saint instead. We were sold by the greeting of a familiar face we had met many times at Buca, a restaurant Melissa and I adore.

We enjoyed a cocktail at the bar while we waited for a table. The atmosphere is a sleek and lively tavern. The Saint delivers on the trend of well made cocktails. I decided on first glance of the menu that I had to have the fried chicken, a food I love and enjoy a few times a year.

Our dinner was pleasant. I enjoyed the perogies the most in our group. The menu was not descriptive, but we were told when we came in that everything was made in house. I felt the description of ‘perogies’ was a detriment to the dish, because the perogies had a delicious, tender filling of slow cooked pork. The cod fritters were well done, but perhaps a touch pricey at $18 for 2 large pieces. The fried chicken was half a chicken that was crisp, tender, juicy and well seasoned throughout. The lemon flavoured gravy was not worth the caloric intake in my opinion. My dinner mates quite liked the fries. I didn’t love them. My favourite fries are still Jamie Kennedy’s.


Well done veggies was a nice surprise from the Saint kitchen . The cauliflower with bacon was roasted well. The honey roasted fennel with cherry tomato was excellent. Best of all was the coleslaw that came with the fried chicken. Service fell short a bit when we needed to find our server to order a slice of pecan pie and get our bill. The pecan pie was good, but not anything too special.

We are not rushing back to the Saint for the food just yet, but it is a welcome addition to Ossington. Another fun spot for a cocktail and snack. The whole strip is great food and drink destination that keeps getting better.


Goodbye Four Seasons Avenue

I said goodbye to the Four Seasons Avenue lounge more than once this month. It was always a great place to meet friends for a quick drink or bite. A lively environment where it was possible to have a conversation. Their burger is one of my all time favourites in addition to the fries. Even the pickiest burger taster I know, chef Melissa Saunders thought the burger was great. It had the perfect proportion of bun, juicy burger and a hint of cheese. The fries were super crisp. Enjoying a drink, great burger and fries is a healthy indulgence. So many fond memories of enjoying life at the Four Seasons while watching people go by on Avenue Road and Yorkville.