food review

scallop pizzaOmi Restaurant
243 Carleton Street, Toronto
Ph: (416) 920-8991

On my last visit to Toronto during another cold, snowy spell, we visited Omi Restaurant in its old location on Church Street and had our first introduction to their Omakase meal. Omakase essentially is a chef's selection of dishes based on high quality fresh ingredients available on that particular day. On that first visit we were so impressed that we actually went back a couple of days later to try it again. Then it closed.

When we learned that it had relocated to Carleton Street (see Mexico and Me: Day -2) we decided it would be our choice of restaurant for one of my two nights in Toronto en route to Mexico. So again we went for the omakase.To acompany certain dishes of the tasting menu our server provided a smoked soy sauce – interesting and unusual aroma and taste.

Grilled SabaLift Bar and Grill
333 Menchion Mews
Ph: 604 689-5438 or Reserve Online

Heading off to a play at PAL, the Performing Arts Lodge, I looked for a restaurant in the vicinity. I remembered that I had passed Lift  on several occasions while strolling around  Coal Harbour and wondered each time whether the food would be as good as the view.  This was the perfect time to try it out.

We snagged a parking spot on Cardero right opposite PAL. Although it was relatively mild for late autumn in Vancouver, there was a chill in the air, so we walked briskly to the restaurant. Once seated we warmed up quickly and the view from our window seat was as great as expected. We enjoyed the ambience of the restaurant, and admired the lighting of the bar area, flaming red when we arrived,  green later when we left.

Villa del Lupo
869 Hamilton Street,
Ph: 604-688-3058

I was recently invited to dinner at Villa del Lupo, an elegant Italian restaurant in a heritage building on Hamilton.  Although I have dined there several times, it has to be more than ten years since my last visit. It retains the old-world European  ambience with comfortably sized tables, spaced far enough apart  to allow quiet conversation. 

For a change this dinner was not a prelude to a theatre outing so it was great to be able to relax, eat leisurely and enjoy wine with our meal. The service was quietly efficient and obliging. The menu featured Nodino di Vitello,  a veal chop, done Marsala style. I did not fancy gnawing on a bone in company and I was sure I would want to eat every last morsel of the dish, so two of us asked if we could substitute scallopini for the chop. No problem.

So following an Insalata Caprese with deliciously sweet tomatoes and fresh bocconcini,  I got Vitello Scaloppini with porcini and marsala wine demi-glaze. And sure enough the veal was soft as butter, and if I had not been with company I would have sopped up every last drop of the gravy and probably licked the plate too.

Dockside Restaurant
1253 Johnston Street, Granville Island,  Vancouver

Phone number604-685-7070 or Reserve Online

The Dockside Restaurant in the Granville Island Hotel is really convenient if you are going to see a play at Performance Works, about  1 minute walk from the hotel entrance. We were going to see Influence, a new play by BC writer, Janet Munsil, that was opening at Performance Works, so dinner at Dockside was an excellent choice. Whenever I have been there before it has been quite busy so I made a reservation for 6 pm. We were shown to  a window table with a beautiful view across False Creek. Vancouver is such a spectacular city. 

Cobre Restaurant
52 Powell St, Vancouver
Phone: 604-669-2396 or Reserve Online

Shortly after 6, in good time for my reservation,  (see Gillian's Kitchen) I arrived at Cobre Restaurant which features "nuevo latino cucina" (which I hope translates into contemporary Latin American cooking ). I was seated at a nice spacious window table where I could look out onto Powell Street. I was cold and hungry, and my dining companion had called to say she may not get there until 6:30.

Quel dilemme or rather qué dilema.

I turned to the wine list.  A glass of Pascual Toso Sauvignon Blanc from Argentina sounded appropriate for the occasion. But I definitely needed some food to go along with it. From the  pan tibio (warm bread) section I chose the  Argentinian sardo pupusa y 6 chili tomato jam  - six small round thick corn tortillas, lightly fried - the tomato jam was not too hot for my tastebuds and added a nice kick to the bread.


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