Monthly Archives: March 2015

Renoir (Montreal)

Address: 1155 Sherbrooke West. Montreal, Quebec H3A 2N3 (Sofitel Luxury Hotel)

Phone: (514) 285-9000

Website: http://www.restaurant-renoir.com/

Found in the Montreal Downtown, situated a block away from McGill University and Parc du Mont-Royal, this fine dining restaurant is a must-go-to and extremely easy to access.

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Upon entering the hotel lobby, we were welcomed by high ceilings, bright atmosphere, and open concepts.  To the left, there is an entrance leading to Renoir, the restaurant.HUBER-Bar.jpg

 

One end of the restaurant is the bar, dimly lit, quiet and relaxing.  It has a lot of windows, producing an open and tall space for its customers to experience and enjoy.  It will never feel like everyone is within your personal space.  Also, there is a glass door that leads to the patio.HUBER-Open-kitchen.jpg

 

On the other end of the restaurant is the sitting area for fine dining experience, with an open kitchen concept.  This ensures that our food is prepared on the spot, is fresh.  The open concept also creates a friendly environment, nothing secretive.

As our first time there, we studied the menu and talked to the waiter for recommendations and items that were not shown in the menu.  Other than ordering food individually, we did realize, a  line of words written in italics, for $59.00 you can have choice of a starter, a main course, french pastry and pressed coffee.  You can choose from the items under each category from the menu.  So, a semi prix fix menu but very versatile.  It is quite a good deal, depending on how hungry you are and wants to try a variety of foods.  So in the end, 2 in our group of 6, ordered the deal and everyone else ordered individual.

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After ordering, our waiter brought us shares of complimentary bread and beef tartare, with free refills.  Standard bread, though, it was on the hard and cold side.  But, bread is bread, nothing to go head over heals for.  Beef tartare was fresh, soft and chewy, with a hint of lemon juice and herb mixture of parsley, shallot and chive.  Good bite size.

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Gaspesie urchin soup ($19.00) was paired with homemade blinis with perfect egg and St-Pierre lake sturgeon caviar.  I favour neither caviar and sea urchin in general because of the distinct flavours and slimy texture.  I only tried the soup but not the caviar in the appetizer.  The soup was well blended into a creamy, smooth texture.  You do not taste much of the urchin fishy taste like when it is raw.  I assume urchins are tasteless when it is cooked.  It was really hearty and filling.IMG_6468

Bluefin tuna and homemade foie gras terrine ($23.00) with compressed abate pear, pomegranate and maple sugar brioche.  Soft tuna and foie gras texture, very fresh.  The fruits added a crunch, along with a sweet and sour fruit flavour to the appetizer.  Thus, really refreshing.IMG_6469

Day’s Special was Pan Seared Spanish Halibut Beets Risotto ($42.00).  The entree was absolutely amazing, scrumptious!  Risotto had a creamy texture, tasted a lot of butter, cheese blend, white wine, and beets; extremely flavourful.  The halibut was pan seared with salt and pepper.  It was fresh, and flaky.  The combination of the simple halibut with the rich and heavy beet risotto complimented each other well.  Neither of the two overtook each other and balanced one another.  But, it was extremely filling and heavy.IMG_6470

Fluke filet à la plancha ($28.00) mashed Jerusalem artichoke with pink garlic, kale cabbage, cherry stone shellfishes with savoury emulsion.  This is the healthier choice out of all ordered.  Filet was done to perfection, very juicy and soft, most importantly, intact in one piece.  Scared of overdone fish, where everything crumbles.  Tasted light, using salt and pepper for seasoning.  Essence of the garlic was the only flavour going towards the fillet and artichoke, otherwise, the entree will taste quite bland.  There was only ONE shellfish, with a foamy sauce on it.  Personally, I did not like the emulsion, too frothy, gave me the feeling we were inhaling and imagining a taste there.  Overall, simple dish with a clean taste, nothing too fancy.

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Duo of Boileau deer ($42.00) – filet and deer shoulder Wellington with foie gras and Mr. Rémillard’s pointy cabbages served with pumpkin and Indonesian pepper jus.  Deer had a texture like beef steak, except skinnier, leaner and tougher, probably from the deer’s high activity levels compared to a cow.  The deer fillet tasted like a steak marinated in a pepper sauce.  If you were not told it was a deer, you would have assumed it was a steak.  The wellington tasted really good, a flaky crust on the outside, wrapping the fat, juicy and melt in mouth soft foie gras deer combination.  Really filling, despite being served with petite portions.IMG_6472

Duck breast and grilled octopus ($33.00) served with eggplants and chanterelles (a form of fungus), Quebec apples and white curry spices.  The duck was grilled to medium rare, producing a deep red middle wrapped in lightly cooked skin.  This technique made the duck very soft and rendering a lot of its natural juices, keeping the natural flavours intact.
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How can you not top it up with a dessert? They have a pastry chef, educated in France, making pastries and desserts every morning. Therefore, their selection is different everyday. We ordered the chocolate pistachio cake, in the middle, and the chocolate praline mousse, second from the right. The chocolate pisatchio was had a strong chocolate flavour, and lacked the pistachio nutty taste. The chocolate praline mouse was very soft and chocolaty, a white dark n milk layer. But, both cakes were extremely sweet for my liking.

Great flavours, great texture, good portions and amazing service!  We were assisted by the manager and also the staff themselves.  They were very helpful and answered any inquiries we had.  On the friendlier side, we started cracking jokes and laughter filled the air.  Overall, extremely nice and always on the ball.  Ingredients are local, all from Canadian farms.  It felt good to support the Canadian market, back to basics.  The meal was astounding that we scraped up every little bit or leftover we could.

Ratings

Food 4/5

Ambiance 4/5

Service 4/5

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Santo Italian Restaurant

Address: 10 Royal Orchard Blvd, Markham, ON L3T 7R9

Phone: (905) 731- 0352

Website: http://www.santositaliancuisine.com/web/

Happy Birthday M!!  Thank you for choosing a local Italian restaurant in Thornhill, which felt very homey and comfortable.  The restaurant has been in the area for the past 20 years and why have I not heard of it earlier?!   Santos is very easily accessible, credit to the right-on-Yonge St.-plaza location.  There is a lot of parking space for drivers or travelers and is also reachable by main buses, YRT and VIVA, which run up and down Yonge Street.  It is tucked in a very developed residential area, therefore a lot of locals and neighbours reach the restaurant for a stomach fix.

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Credits: Santos Italian Restaurant

The interior decor was quite generic, nothing too special because I thought it felt like the Keg, a homelike comfortable and relaxing setting.

The evening we went, it was full house.  We waited approximately 15 minutes, even with reservations, quite reasonable.  The servers were very busy and kept pushing us to order quick.  I understand their point of view, where they do not want us to wait too long or disturb the flow.  However, we do need to study our menus and take our time.  We did not even get 2 minutes to read over the menu and the gentleman came to take our orders.  I wondered if they were annoyed by us because they had to do the same gesture 3 times to finally get our orders.  But honestly, 9pm on a Saturday evening for fine dining is quite late already.  No one came in after our group of 12 and by the time we were leaving, the whole restaurant was practically empty.  So, hold your horses!

Santos has a 4-course dinner special.  Prices are according to the main course that you choose.  They come with Caesar Salad, House Salad or Soup of the day, bruschetta, MAIN ENTREE, tiramisu or Spumone ice cream.  Half of us took advantage of the special and the others ordered individually.  This review is based on the dinner special because those who ordered it sat the closest to me.  

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Seafood chowder, the soup of the day, was definitely homemade. It had a lot of ingredients in it, clams, fish and shrimps and a lot of vegetables. They definitely made its own stock out of fish bones and shells for the soup base because you can taste the savory seafood flavours in the thick creamy liquid.  I devoured the soup, it was that good and legit.
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Bruschetta is quite standard, nothing special. It was a piece of baugett e topped with tomatoes in olive oil, basil and cheese.  Tomatoes were fresh and sweet but the cheese did not compliment.
imageRisotto Frutti Di Mare ($26) is Arborio rice with mussels, squid and shrimps with fresh tomato and basil sauce.  The rice was al dente and seafood was pretty much fresh.  All the meat was still connected to the shell, therefore it is not frozen seafood.  I enjoyed the overall flavour and texture of the risotto.  It was creamy in appearance and you can still taste the fragrance of the white wine and cilantro.  One thing I did notice is the chef did not apply a lot of cheese or dairy in general.  I personally do not like cheese because it feels extremely heavy and filling.  If you are someone who likes a simple risotto, this is the place to have it.

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Bistecca Alla Griglia ($30) – grilled New York steak (8 oz) with sauteed mushrooms served potatoes and vegetables or penne tomato sauce.  The steak is a no brainer or no surprise.  I have had better steaks before.  I am not saying this is terrible but just not as flavourful as the specialized steakhouses.  It was still juicy and tender but just missing something.  Also, the entree is quite heavy in proteins and carbohydrates.  The penne is al dente and the tomato sauce was sweet and savoury.  The suggestion I will make is make a steak frites or steak strip pasta.  That should be an interesting combination.wpid-20150207_215101.jpg

Tilapia Al Limone ($30) is a piece of fresh tilapia filet baked with lemon, white wine sauce, fresh herbs and garlic sauce, served with potato and vegetables.  You can choose between penne or vegetables.  I chose vegetables just for a more balanced meal.  The filet was tender and juicy.  It was covered in a bit of salt to retain some of its liquid and then breaded for baking.  The texture was great, kept fresh.  You can still taste the white wine even though majority of it was evaporated.   The sauce was zesty and savoury with the aid of herbs and garlic.  Nothing can go wrong with this combination of ingredients to make the sauce because they are a perfect match for one another and compliments one another.

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Raspberry Ice cream

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Mango Ice Cream

They ran our of tiramisu that evening and left us with the choice of apple pie, ice cream and something I do not remember.  The ice cream is home made and tastes exactly like a sorbet.  It was very light, icy and refreshing.  The fruit flavours were very strong and natural, definitely made of real fruit.  I wish I could have more than the two scoops.  Personally, I liked the raspberry better because it was sweet and sour and had the individual seed-like texture to chew on.  I guarantee you, it does not taste like medicine.  Nonetheless, both flavours were amazing; hard to choose!

I really like to support local businesses because it is very encouraging to see their many years of hard work pay off and familiar names are still around.  This dinner was very worth it!

Ratings

Food 3.75/5

Ambiance 3.5/5

Service 3/5

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魚樂轩 Fishman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant

Address: 680 Silver Star Blvd, Toronto, ON M1V 4S5

Phone: (416) 321-0250

Website: http://www.flctoronto.com/

Across the street from renowned Pacific Mall and Market Village, behind Splendid Plaza, is Silver Star Blvd where plazas of restaurants lie along the whole street, with numerous cuisine types and popular hangout places.

A special request was made to Fishman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant because it was my friend’s farewell dinner.  We have heard numerous raves about the restaurant, the striking portions of seafood and quality of the meal and how satisfying it was.  Here we are, as a big group of 9, finally trying out the restaurant.

Credit to Yelp

Credit to Yelp

You can easily notice the restaurant with the vibrant huge signs hanging at the front entrance and the rear staff only door.  The lobster logo is cute, reminds me a bit of Prince Edward Island and the lobster mascots in their souvenir shops.

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Credit to Yelp

The sitting area is surrounded by columns of clean fish tanks, holding the selection of lobsters, king crabs, sea bass and other edible marine animals.  I thought the restaurant looked cheap, trying to raise the class by showing off the expensive seafood.  Area is really tight, and overwhelming sometimes, felt a little claustrophobic.  The chair covers bothered me because are they ever washed?!  Some moments, I found oil stains on the chairs.  The OCD kicked in and started questioning the cleanliness of the restaurant.

Shark Fin and Seafood Dinner for 10 ($599) was a 9 course meal that we ordered.  The waitress showed us the fresh lobster, crabs and fish for our approval before cooking.  This act sort of sets up the hype for the rest of the meal and also for assurance.  The ultimate question now is could the price justify the meal?

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魚翅 Shark Fin Soup was thick and salty. Initially, it was not that salty but it really builds up on your palette. However, we were provided with many thick strands of real shark fin.  The texture reminds me of soup that has been left in the pot for extended period of time and overtime, thickened up.  I find it mediocre.  As an appetizer and first course, it was quite filling.

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港式避風塘炒蟹 Fried Crab in Hong Kong Style was beautifully presented.  I think the chef was trying to create a wow factor. It was topped with shredded lettuce and green onions.

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風沙頂龍 6lbs Deep Fried Lobster with Dry Garlic was presented nicely, another wow factor from the meal. It ginormous looking, getting the money’s worth of seafood and is pretty much the main course of the set dinner.

A same opinion was given to both the lobster and crabs. I thought it was a waste of the live seafood.  Because it was caught live from the tanks, a lot of fresh natural flavours and springy meat texture were already present in the crustaceans.  By boiling lobster and crab in water, chopping it into bite size pieces then deep frying it, the natural flavours were leaked into the water during the cooking process.  The texture of the meat was no longer hard moist, it was in fact a bit mushy.  I thought, might as well give me frozen seafood because, it really would not have mattered anymore.  The taste and texture between fresh and frozen was the same.

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金沙蠔 Deep Fried Oyster with Salt Egg and Vegetable tasted weird in my opinion, and was presented with shredded lettuce and green onions.  I did not fathom that rough fried texture.  It was thick and heavy, tasted ultra-salty.  It honestly felt worse than breaded-american style of cooking.  I must reiterate how the way of cooking wasted these fresh oysters.  Not only did the first bite feel oily, but the texture of the oyster was no longer springy.  It was no better than a tub of de-shelled oysters from the supermarket.

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清蒸石斑 3lbs Steamed Bass was probably the best dish from the evening. Thank heavens, the fish was not overcooked. The meat was hard and flakey, definitely fresh.  The soy sauce was sweet, that i can have bowls of rice to accompany it.  In fact, this is the healthiest of all seafood dishes in the set dinner.

Our set dinner was suppose to come with eel in black bean sauce. However, the restaurant had a lack of eel supply.  Our waitress gave us 2 substitution options, either the beef or half a chicken.  Seeing how the eel was more expensive than the 2 options given, there was no price adjustment for their lack of supply.  I felt a little ripped-off. But really, half a chicken?  Should give us a full.  But yes, we went for the beef.

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黑椒牛肉 Black peppered beef with vegetables was mediocre. This is always a safe dish to go to at all restaurants if you do not know what to order, or if all else fails.  I must sadly criticize how the bite sized beef was practically swimming in thick black pepper sauce.  In my opinion, quite salty.  Vegetables were good, steamed, extremely safe.

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清炒菜心 Stir fry vegetables

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红机子浸豆苗 Poached snow pea tips with berry

The vegetables were overcooked.  It lacked the crunchy texture and it was “aged”, where it had the rough and stringy texture.  I have a gut feeling the vegetables were poached or boiled before stir frying it.  However, after a heavy cholesterol hearty meal, vegetables were highly required to balance the internal body systems. We did not care how it tasted or looked.

Overall, I am surprised for a set dinner, it did not have rice or noodles with it.  When you eat at any high end Chinese cuisine, both noodles and rice are served towards the end.  My recommendation would be crab meat fried rice or lobster e-fu noodles.  I thought the dish presentation was quite cheap, everything sitting on a bed of lettuce where in other high end cuisines, they will do something intricate.  The cooking style requires no skill from the chef because everything was fried.  In my opinion, frying fresh seafood is a waste because the main purpose to fry it is to hide the “dead” texture of the seafood.  When it is fresh, the best way to cook is to steam, boil or stir it in a well heated wok.

Personally, I will not go back to the restaurant again because the price does not justify the meal.  For a first timer, go for the experience.

Ratings

Food 2.75/5

Ambiance 3/5

Service 3/5

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La Societe

Address: 131 Bloor St W #211, Toronto, ON M5S 1R1

Phone: (416) 551- 9929

Website: http://toronto.lasociete.ca/

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Credits: Yelp

Yorkville area is known for the luxurious stores and restaurants found along the streets and alleys.  La Societe is one of the many eateries, known for its French bistro and posh interior decor.  This is a great restaurant for after work dinners, dates, family reunions and parties.  The atmosphere is just great and very romantic.  It is just too easily accessible via the TTC subway or streetcar and has many parking lots in the area.

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Credit: Girls on Bloor

The interior is spectacularly decorated and extremely detailed, from the stylish stained glass reverse dome ceiling to the mosaic flooring. It was absolutely stunning and an amazing attention grabber. It seems to symbolizes the attention to detail in french cuisine. The decor makes the restaurant fancy and dressy.

Their servers were bustling around the restaurant. I must note how they look even height and size, well kept and attractive. Each and everyone of them worked very hard to satisfy the diners. They all had smiles and looked sincere. It was very comforting and reassuring. Our waitor was extremely well mannered and patient, while explaining the menu and specials. He was very tentative that he could not stop filling our waters and bread. He was just so nice! I understand it is duty and is trained to be like that, but he kept an open mind and was accepting. It was great!

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Quinoa Salad ($14) is mixed with black beans, green onions, sun-dried tomatoes and topped with lemon vinaigrette. The salad was very fresh and crunchy, with a hint of sweetness to it.  It had a refreshing taste, much thanks to the zesty lemon, olive oil vinaigrette.  I felt extremely healthy eating the appetizer because most of the food groups were touched upon – quinoa grains, beans as proteins and onions, tomatoes as vegetables.  It sure sets up the expectation for the rest of the meal.

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Mushroom Soup ($12) was drizzled with truffle crème fraîche.  Portobello mushrooms, wild mushrooms and dried porcini were tasted in the soup.  I believe the mushrooms were cooked in butter, onion and garlic to bring out its flavour and colour before blending and adding water plus cream.  Truffle is usually a complimentary ingredient to a cooked food item for additional seasoning.  The soup was rich and extremely creamy and had a strong mushroom flavour, while the truffle cream added a smokey aroma to the overall taste.  It is interesting how the appetizers are quite contrasting, from light, healthy style to rich and heavy.  But I do not regret it because this soup was amazing and remarkable.  Literally, we downed down the soup till the bowl was shining clean.  However, I hoped there were slices or bits of mushroom pieces that I can munch on.

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36oz Tomahawk steak ($109) was dry aged for five weeks then grilled to medium, with a herb infused mustard sauce to dip in.  On the side, it came with fries with mayo and a mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette, which was, once again, light and zesty.  It is only served in portions for two.  This platter pretty much took up the whole table space.  This steak was a monster and, unfortunately, I had starters before the entree.  We pretty much expected to have left overs.

The steak was very tender and juicy, all because of the dry aging process. The beef slices were extremely easy to cut and melts in your mouth. The fat is evenly distributed and well disintegrated. During the dry aging process, natural enzyme reactions in the meat breakdowns the muscles, therefore the soft and tenderness makes the meat more susceptible to absorption. The evaporation of the water from the dry aging process makes the beef juices more concentrated. I really enjoyed the steak. This was a very simple course, but the preparations were long. I must compliment how the overall outcome was very clean and savoury on the palette. Sometimes, a simple flavoured dish overrules anything complicated.

There are too many things on the menu I want to try. I will be back not only for the food but the overall experience La Societe gave me.

Ratings

Food 4.25/5

Ambiance 3.5/5

Service 4/5

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Cho Sun Ok

Address: 7353 Yonge St, Thornhill, ON L3T 2B3

Phone: (905) 707-8426

Website: http://www.chosunok.ca/

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Credit: yoon solution

Located in Thornhill, north of World on Yonge is Cho Sun Ok, a family owned restaurant providing authentic Korean cuisine.  Closest intersection is Center St. and Yonge St.  This restaurant is in a little plaza, next to an Irish pub, quite peculiar I find but we are in Canada, the most multi-cultural country in the world.  Every corner is different and worth exploring.

The restaurant was so bright and busy, that at 7pm, there was already a line up of 8 tables. But even after we were seated, the line up was still on-going.  I do like how the line up is more organized and rudimentary. You have to get a ticket from the cashier counter as oppozed to the entrance. Not only does this save room, it also gives more seating place and waiting space.

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The menu is simple and straightforward, a sheet of paper that works as table mat, recyclable and cheap.  I find it very effective because the moment we look down, it is readily available there.

imageBudae Jjigae Jeongol ($29.95)  is a sausage, ham, pork stew with an assortment of vegetables served in spicy beef based broth in a hot pot topped with ramen noodles and garnished with green onions. This stew serves in 2 portions.  It was quite filling and rewarding in my opinion.  We could barely finish it all.

Because the gas stove was turned onto high, the broth evaporated quite fast.  Water had to be poured in to keep the stew moist.  The heat also melted the fat in the meat.  The meats were processed ham, sausage, thick bacon and luncheon ham.  Therefore, a layer of oil formed on the broth surface.

Overall, the stew had no monosodium glutamate and not salty at all.  It relied on the vegetables, and chili powder to give it flavour.  The ramen and rice cakes absorbed all the goodness of the stew.  It was a really pleasant healthy savory meal. image

The stew comes with 2 bowls of rice and the mini appetizer side dishes.

I always appreciate natural home cooked Korean dinners.  I think this is one of the higher ranked Korean restaurants uptown.  I liked the bright clean interiors and the efficiency of the restaurant.  The flavours were spectacular.  I enjoyed looking at the customers around me, eagerly eating, full of hunger in their eyes and gulping everything down without ease.  I highly recommend.

Ratings

Food 3.75/5

Ambiance 3/5

Service 3.5/5

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Tutti Panini

Address: 141 King Rd #8, Richmond Hill, ON L4E 3L7

Phone: (907) 773-1020

Website: http://www.tuttipanini.ca/en/

4-tuttipanini-905.773.1020-exterior-700x500Tutti Panini is a local Italian restaurant found in the heart of Oak Ridges, currently a subdivision of Richmond hill.  The fast-food like restaurant is tucked in a small strip plaza on a side road of future residential development, but currently farm fields.  There are daycare, dental offices, tutoring centers and a karate center in the plaza.  I visualize a lot of families order take out here while they wait for their children, eat before class hours or to take home after classes.

We had dinner on a weekday.  By the time we arrived, 7:30pm, the storefront was clean and well kept, counters were clear of food but everything on the menu were hot items, had to be prepared or reheated in the kitchen.

tutti-paniniThe interior decor was cute. They try to mimic Italy’s southern shore lines, sitting on a patio, facing open streets or the ocean, feeling the warm breeze circulating the atmosphere.  Therefore, stone was glued on the walls and floor.  The walls were also decorated with fake see out window panes.  Vines and Italian wine bottle lamps were hanging from the ceiling.

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Fried Calamari ($7.95) was lightly battered and not oily, neither salty.  Calamari had a crunchy skin and chewy texture.  It was not overdone, where calamari can be hard like rubber.  But without the cocktail sauce, the calamari will be quite tasteless.

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Mussels Marinara ($7.95) was prepared fresh.  Great portion for the amount we paid; we had at least 3 pounds of mussels.  Each shell had the mussel meat intact, very satisfying.  It was very worth it.  I have a certain love for tomato sauce.  Their marinara sauce was liquefied, I tend to like sauces thicker.  But, the peppers and chili made the sauce really enjoyable, which provided a kick to the sweet and sour tomato sauce.  Very dynamic!  Too bad they ran out of dinner rolls, otherwise, we would have scooped up every drop of the sauce.

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Signature Sandwich, Tutti Panini (8.95) has veal, eggplant, mushroom, onion, peppers, and cheese toppings.  We requested for the spiciest sauce possible to go with the sandwich.  BIG and THICK sandwich, a good size for sharing.  It was a messy job to eat the sandwich though, my mouth was too small and not wide enough to accommodate and the toppings kept falling out.  It was a mouth watering hot crunchy sandwich which tastes very Italian and pleasant with the spicy sauce, adding depth to the overall flavours.

The whole evening, we were praising how good the food was and the amazing portion sizes.  The owner, also the chef, was friendly.  He was always smiling at us and asking how the food was, very polite and admirable.  I definitely recommend the fast food like restaurant to anyone for a quite bite.  Bon appetite!

Ratings

Food 3.5/5

Ambiance 3/5

Service 3/5

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Poutine La Banquise (Montreal)

Address: 994, Rue Rachel Est. Montreal, Quebec. H2J 2J3

Phone: (514) 525-2415

Website: http://labanquise.com/en/ IMG_6423 Poutine, a dish originated from Quebec, how can we not have it when we are within the Quebec borders.  There are many restaurants serving this comfort food in the city of Montreal.  But the colourful sign and building attracted us to Poutine La Banquise when we were randomly roaming the city in the morning.  Located in Mont Royal district and next to Parc La Fontaine, this restaurant is in a fashion and entertainment district, serving 24 hours nonstop.

First come first serve.  You either stay warm inside studying the menu while you wait or you snooze you lose and stand outside in the cold.  The wait line was quite long, at least half a block long!

Credit to Follow me Foodie

Credit to Follow me Foodie

You are welcomed by the open kitchen and cashier at the entrance.  You breathe in the oily fumes of the deep fryer and the grill.  At some point, this oily aroma was quite disgusting.  A new exhaust fan is needed or a stronger range hood.  The floors were greasy, but it was inevitable.

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But, it was cute to see a graffiti of the different types of poutine they offer on the entrance wall, described in words or by picture representation.  It was quite an attention grabber and gave an idea of what to order for the customers who are waiting to be seated.  The decor and the colours were bright.  I feel the eccentric and bubbly happy vibe the restaurant provided.

We were seated directly in front of the kitchen.  For the full 2 hours we were there, we inhaled the endless oily and greasy fumes.  Saying that, the advantage of sitting in front of the kitchen, was to ensure our food was always prepared correctly with no “extra ingredients”.  In fact, I witnessed peeled and shredded potatoes brought out in trolleys to be fried.  I think there must be at least a couple of kilograms there.  SO MUCH STARCH!

They were so busy that we could almost barely catch our waitress to order and for our waters.  The restaurant was filled to the max, shoulder to shoulder, and customers squeezing their ways into the booths and benches.  Fast paced environment~
IMG_6436 La Classique Poutine ($10.75 Large) is the standard poutine of fries with gravy and cheese curds.  We ordered it because we wanted to try the original poutine and compare it to the ones we had in Toronto and other parts of the world.  The cheese curds were thick and chunky, never melted.  Fries were thinly shredded and soft in texture.  It lacked the crispy surface I ideally liked in fries.   Gravy was extremely light in flavour and runny.  The three critical ingredients and sauce did not seem to mesh well together, felt like they were just there and separate.  Taste was quite bland.  The ones I had in Toronto and elsewhere used a thicker gravy sauce, and the cheese melted with the heat of the gravy and fresh fries, making the overall texture stringy.  So I guess I enjoy the altered versions of poutine more.IMG_6435 La T- Rex Poutine ($14.95 Large) is the classic poutine topped with ground beef, pepperoni, bacon and hot dog sausage.  T-Rex, self explanatory, a carnivore diet, meat only!  The toppings added flavour and texture to the poutine.  I tasted a lot of the pepperoni, sausage and bacon, making the poutine taste more salty than it should.  Three types of meat, out of four were processed foods, healthy level next to none.  Also, I could not tell if the sauce was gravy or not, since it was thicker and saltier than normal and colour looks different from the norm.  Proportion of the cheese was half less than the classic poutine to give room for the load of meat.  In general, I do enjoy this a bit more than the classic poutine.IMG_6434La Reggae Poutine ($15.50 Large) is the classic poutine topped with ground beef, guacamole, diced tomatoes and hot peppers.  Our favourite!  Avocado guacamole was sweet; tomato was sweet and sour, hot pepper was spicy, ground beef lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.  With all the flavours of the toppings mixed together, a savoury palatable mixture created.  A burst of flavour and had natural vegetable juice to moisturize the mouth after two dry poutine dishes.  We also finally got a bit of vegetable portion.

This was a heavy and hearty meal.  We could barely finish the 3 poutines.  In my opinion, there was no difference between the large and regular sizes.  If you do not want to feel bloated, go for the regular size and try different items on the menu.  Remember to drink a lot of water, poutine is quite dry.

Ratings

Food 3/5

Ambiance 3/5

Service 3/5

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