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I find the cooked food here a bit hit and miss, probably because many Chinese dishes don't hold well when spending a long period of time in steam tables, so the key is to get a meal here during peak business hours when turnover is greatest. This was my favourite "build your own" combo to date: salt and pepper pork ribs and spicy stir fried vegetables and pork (with at least 3 different kinds of chilies!) with steamed rice and a side of broth (not pictured). This was super fresh and tasty food for a reasonable price and was eaten in the store's sit-down dining area.

The food is consistently quite good here—especially the vegetarian items. Today I tried the made-to-order Dosa and was absolutely thrilled. Beautifully thin and addictively crispy!

The KovenDec 15
If you love Metal (or even if you just tolerate it) this place rocks! The black paint and bench seating from Navarra do not look at all out of place here.

I went for the Cryptopsy Burger ($6.50) with good quality Montreal smoke meat, swiss cheese, mustard, and deli pickles. This was damned tasty! A coworker who tried the plain "Klassic" burger found it on the dry side. Best go with something that has a sauce or at least cheese!

To accompany this solid burger, I opted for the "Punk" sized Klassic Poutine ($5). This was a generous bowl of okay fries with appropriate cheese and great gravy. They have a whole bunch of specialty poutines and they come in three sizes. The middle size ("Rock") is good for a modest meal. Our server described the largest size ("Heavy Metal" of course) as weighing up to three pounds!

Unpretentious and reasonably priced tasty food enjoyed along with the soothing screams of death metal. What's not to love!!

We dropped in for lunch this week to try Steve Mitton's new small plates menu. The list of options is quite long and everyone was pretty happy with their food.

I went with the Beets ($9), consisting of a delightful grilled slab of halloumi sitting on a puddle of mustardy dressing and topped with tender baby beets, sliced almonds, and orange zest. The flavours were great, if a little too sweet (yeah, that's how beets roll).

To accompany this relatively light plate, I chose the Frites ($5), which arrived quite dark, well sesasoned, and with a little cup of mayo for dipping. Given the name, I expected thinner and less seasoned French bistro style fries, but these were tasty and filled me up real good like. And of course "Beets and Frites" has a great ring to it.

This first visit was a promising one. Worth a revisit!

flora hallDec 11
Flora Hall – how I wanted to like you….but it wasn’t meant to be.

I love the idea of renovating an old garage into a brewery and restaurant. The beautifully restored building caught my eye one night when driving on Bank St. (situated just west of Bank on Flora St.)

We arrived around 7pm on Friday to a very busy, very loud room. Décor is industrial with little colour – but it works. Windows allow you to see some of the large beer storage tanks, which I liked.

Immediately there was confusion as to how to get seated. There was no sign, neither did there seem to be a host/hostess. The servers whizzing by us were deliberately diverting their eyes as was the bartender. After a few minutes we saw a woman who seemed to be the hostess – she was having a disagreement with a customer at the back of the room. We wandered back there, more people started coming in – they were also confused about the seating arrangement. We eventually got the hostess’ attention but only after she seated a number of people who had come in after us at the few open spaces. She told us she would try and find us a table upstairs. We awkwardly stood against a wall behind the bar. Eventually she sat us at one of the three communal tables on the main floor. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind communal tables, they can work very well, unfortunately when you have bench seats (like a picnic table) it is very difficult to get in and out if you are not on the end.

Despite all this we sat down for some food and drink. They have a number of their beers on tap as well as some ciders and a few wines. I enjoyed my oatmeal stout very much. The food on the other hand was another story. The two of us shared:
- Skillet pizza with jerk chicken and mozzarella – the crust was a little underdone, the chicken had a lot of flavour/spice
- Meatball sliders (three) – meatballs and tomato sauce were bland, buns had a great texture and the side lettuce salad on the plate was nicely dressed
- Fennel and green apple salad – a pile of fennel and green apples cut as matchsticks, again bland

It was very, very loud which made it difficult to have a proper conversation – maybe it is not that type of place. All to say, I won’t be back.

Pub 101Dec 11
Everything on the menu is $7.11 here ($5.11 if you order a beverage). This leads to entertaining observations such as a basket of fries costing the same as a poutine or a burger with fries.

I went for the "Spicy BBQ Burger" with the salad option. It was really quite good, especially for seven bucks! The burger was diminutive in diameter but hefty in height. Jalapeño peppers, a tasty beef patty, and good lettuce and tomato. Nothing to complain about there! The salad was better than I expected: baby spinach with cucumbers, shredded carrot and red cabbage with a pleasant balsamic dressing. Would go back for a meal that's so easy on the wallet.

Date night with wifey at Stofa was very nice. Everything was good to very good but nothing really wowed us. The floor and walls are on the bare side, making the noise level high on a busy Saturday evening. Service was exceptionally attentive and informed, with water glasses refilled reliably and dishes introduced with detailed descriptions.

We started with a couple of cocktails that were not bad but not super interesting. My Olive Jar (top left in pic) was a bit like a watery martini but with a nice rosemary and saline background flavor. My wife's Pink Negroni was heavier on alcohol content with a good grapefruit hit. $12 per cocktail.

The complimentary bread offering consisted of a pair each of crostini and sun-dried tomato bread served with a red-pepper paste finished with oil (top center). This was nice and gave us something to nibble on as we waited for our food.

We opted to order a variety of dishes and share everything. The Cuttlefish ($16, top right) starter was not exciting at all. Super tender cuttlefish and squid rings tasted like they were cooked sous-vide (not a good thing in general). They sat on a bed of boring white beans. Normally I welcome boring beans but when I'm at a pricey restaurant with historical links to the magic of Atelier I expect more. The two rich black olive halves were the star of this dish.

Our other starter, the Baby Gem Salad ($13, middle right) was more of a success. Grilled quarters of baby romaine with a flavourful curry dressing, some half yellow fingerling potatoes, and delightful cardamom cashews. This was very good!

We ordered just one main, the Duck and Buffalo Milk Ravioli ($26, center). As you can see, the presentation was not great, with each of the three ravioli smothered in a murky grey porcini mushroom foam. The flavours here were good and the ravioli dough was impossibly thin. The bed of black lentils underneath were exceptional: tender and toothsome with a hint of acidity to brighten up the dish.

We opted for two of the "for the table" sharing plates: the Shishito Peppers ($9, middle left) were generous and flavourful, served on a heated skillet with onions and radishes. We got 3 or 4 spicy ones! The Bacon Fat Pont Neuf Potatoes ($9, bottom left) were wonderfully fluffy on the inside and nicely dressed with gossamer ribbons of guanciale, droplets of mayonnaise, and some nice crunchy bits.

For dessert, my wife had the Passion Fruit Soufflé ($14, bottom center). This was an impressively sized dessert but the soufflé was excruciatingly sweet and the tonka bean ice cream reminded me of hand cream. Eaten together, they balanced each other out very well.

My Avocado and Chocolate ($12, bottom right) was more of a success, with a puck of brownie-like chocolate cake topped with a squirt of lemon curd and a ball of avocado ice cream. Thin shards of chocolate meringue provided interesting texture and flavour contrast, while dots of lemon curd and mild coconut gel added delight. The sprinkle of lime leaf powder on half the plate gave it visual interest but was too mild to really affect the flavour profile.

All in all, we had a lovely meal but we were expecting more. Next time, we'll be tempted to try the seafood tower for two (market price was $80 yesterday), which looked impressive and appeared to be extremely popular at other tables last night.

After seeing other dishes around the dining room we realized that the strength here seems to be the main dishes and we likely made a rookie mistake by focusing our order on the rest of the menu. Bear in mind that this is a very young restaurant. It shows promise and it certainly seems capable of finding its groove as time progresses.

Cacao 70Dec 9
A pretty satisfying Nutella and strawberry crepe

Waffles at Cacao 70Dec 9
I would agree that the interior of the market location is a bit frumpy, especially compared to the slick interior of the Lansdowne location. However, all was fine when we were seated and ordered our food. Service was attentive: water on the table, timely check ins and friendly staff. The food was as good as the Lansdowne location's.

I was starving so ordered the Savoury waffle. It is grilled mushrooms, red onions, ham and 2 fried eggs with cheese, béchamel sauce and maple syrup. It was very good, not perfect. The others in my party had the Cacao waffle and strawberry and Nutella crepe and both were pretty good.

The Hot chocolates were good too. Again, it's not the wow experience but it's pretty good. How can chocolate on everything not be good?

Som TumDec 8
Am i the only person visiting this restaurant? It can't be. It's always packed at lunch time and has a decent crowd in the evening.

This is combo #2. $15.50. Pretty tasty.

Bite ThisDec 8
Zym for mayor!!!

The Duck Confit Poutine ($14) was exactly as it should be: excellent fries, lots of tender duck leg, generous gooey cheese curds, and a nice meaty gravy. It was easily enough for my lunch although our server mentioned that she didn't remember it being so big. Highly recommended!

This time I did try the Kimmari ($6.65) with my Spicy Rice Cakes ($8.95) and it was a mistake. Piping hot and crunchy, it is as described on the menu: a pile of sweet potato glass noodles wrapped in a sheet of seaweed then lightly battered and deep fried.

Unfortunately, the kimmari was cooked in rancid oil, which had seeped in through the batter and soaked the noodles. I mentioned this to the owner so hopefully this was just a one-time mishap. Tip: if you smell rancid oil when you enter the restaurant you may want to stay away from deep fried menu items. I noticed the smell before ordering, but dismissed it as probably just old oil splashed on the stovetop or something...

The spicy rice cake tteokbokki was perfect as usual! They gave us a nice little sample of kimbap (sushi-type roll) and that's definitely what I'll get to accompany my spicy rice cakes next time!

Bite ThisDec 6
Zym, now see what you’ve started? I hope you’re happy!

Bite ThisDec 6
I'd vote in favor of free food truck parking at City Hall at all times.

And then have lunch there daily.

Bite ThisDec 5
Sounds good to me

Bite ThisDec 5
So I should be able park my food truck on the lawn at City Hall and we're good here?

First time trying one of the salads here and I was really impressed! The Francesca ($12) involved a massive pile of arugula, tuna, white beans, and grape tomatoes, all tossed with a nice olive oil and some lemon.

It tasted great and made for a super healthy light lunch. 😍

I had the pad thai thanks to Scrabbies picture and this time I decided to try the other special.

Here's a picture of the BBQ pork (not xa xiu/char siu) with egg on rice for $9.99. Wasn't a sunny-side up egg and no bowl of beef/pho broth but still a pretty yummy meal for the price. I was actually expecting a whole chop but it already being bite-sized pieces made for a quicker lunch.

I think this special rotates between chicken and pork frequently.


Bite ThisDec 4
Sounds like a nothingburger here. So what if the tables are on city land, the people who eat the food pay the taxes. Seriously.

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