Address: 10 Royal Orchard Blvd, Markham, ON L3T 7R9
Phone: (905) 731- 0352
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.
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.
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.
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.
Risotto 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.
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.
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.
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!