Showing posts with label Price: $$. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Price: $$. Show all posts
Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria is a growing pizza chain from Western Canada, where a handful of locations is opened. Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of being invited to Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria at the Bloor West location. That location opened in 2012, and has since become a popular spot for pizza in the Annex. Famosa is best known for its authentic Neapolitan style cuisine, which makes no apology for their creative menu of fusion pizzas. Dean (the owner) runs two locations with his brother, and he is very passionate about the trade. He explained in details about the journey that they embarked on to bring us this delicate taste of Naples menu that we were able to sample.


Located on Bloor & Spadina, the restaurant features a decently sized dining area with an open concept kitchen. The interior composed of contemporary rustic décor with warm colours, and dark wood floors. They recently launched a new F/W menu with a small selection of new items including Mac & Cheese, Korean BBQ Beef Pizza, and Patate Pancetta Pizza.

We started dinner off with the Fire-Roasted Tomato Bisque - roasted Campania tomato soup topped with feta cheese, and served with flatbread. This was one of the highlights of the evening. The bisque was rich with flavor, as the tomatoes hail from Pompeii, Italy. The body of these tomatoes taste stronger, sweeter, and have less acidity in them due to the growing conditions of the volcanic ash that makes up the significant content of the soil. With some added crushed peppers, and Parmesan cheese, the aroma of the bisque was brought to its greatest. Definitely a must order if you want to warm up from the cold weather.



Famoso Salad ($15.50) - Romaine lettuce, prosciutto crisps, carrots, cherry tomatoes, soppressata (spicy salami), fire-roasted chicken, feta, dijon-balsamic vinaigrette



Pistachio Pesto Primavera ($15) - Linguine, house-made pistachio pesto cream sauce, roasted zucchini, green peas, roasted mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, Grana Padano + $3 (add chicken)



 For the main courses, we decided to try out two of their newest pizza items from their F/W menu. Let’s start with the Patate Pancetta ($16.50) - crème fraîche, rosemary, russet potatoes, fior-di-latte, mozzarella, pancetta, caramelized onions, sea salt, white truffle oil, Grana Padano, lemon wedge, topped with a fried egg. This was a very rich pizza with an assortment of ingredients including pancetta that is cured pork belly with similar properties to both prosciutto and bacon. This particular pizza can be considered  pretty close to a brunch item, as the center was topped off with a fried egg, garnished with a very generous portion of  caramelized onions, and russet potatoes, white truffle oil, and fio-di-latte mozzarella. A wedge of lemon was also provided as a taste only basis.



 The second pizza we got was the Korean BBQ Beef ($16.50) - house-made Korean BBQ sauce, fior-di-latte, house-roasted pulled short ribs, green onions, cheddar cheese, house-made hoisin sauce, which had a heavy emphasis on fusion. With a mix of house-made Korean & hoisin sauce, the pizza was topped with Italian ingredients such as fio-di-latte cheese, cheddar cheese, and green onions. The pizza was intense with flavor and leaned towards more of the sweeter side as the bittersweet taste of tomatoes was absent from this combination. The emphasis on sweet soy and hoisin was captured instead bringing you one of the more heavier accented fusions in the menu.





Overall, the dinner experience was great, as we had a nice seat right in front of the wooden stove. We saw chefs prepping the menu, tossing the pizza, and eventually transfer to the 800C oven that will cook for approximately 90 seconds. The oven was specially-made.

As we talked to the owner, we learned that much of the menu was coordinated with the head office. They would collaborate on menu items, and then it would be streamlined across all locations to allow good control of the ingredients that are distributed. However, the brothers do have some personality in their franchises because they are able to develop their own drink menu catered to the audiences in the Annex area. The owner and staff are culinary artists, and if you have the pleasure to sit at the front where the food are being made, be ready to be treated to the faces of the many artists that are preparing your dishes.

The following dishes were not sampled by us, but rather captured while they were on the counter.



 



Address: 386 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1X4

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Famoso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria

by on Saturday, December 03, 2016
Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria is a growing pizza chain from Western Canada, where a handful of locations is opened. Earlier this month, we ha...
Located in the vibrant St. Lawrence Market district is the 1920's style bar East Thirty-Six. East Thirty-Six is a restaurant and cocktail bar focusing on house-made ingredients for craft cocktails and a gourmet menu of shareable dishes. Co-owner and Mixologist, Julien Salomone, brings several years' experience to the beverage program by "infusing syrups, tinctures and liquors in-house to heighten the stunning array of cocktails."

Here you will find an extensive list of seasonal cocktails like the Island Delight, Rouge Passion, and Le Caterina. Check out their list of cocktails here.


A couple of weeks back, we had the pleasure of attending the fall/winter tasting at East Thirty-Six. That evening, guests got to try four new cocktails from their fall/winter drinks menu: 

The St-Germain - Beefeater gin, st-germain elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, syrup, and cava


Apothecary - Hayman's london dry, Hayman's sloe gin, tonic syrup, lemon juice, rosemary tincture, and perrier


Nutcracker - Lot 40 rye, drambuie, house spiced rum, walnut bitters, and black cardamom


Night Capp - coffee vanilla infused bourbon, macadamia nut syrup, and espresso


East Thirty-Six is an intricately designed and sophisticated space inspired by the Old Hollywood vibe, It's rather reminiscent of a 1920s era bar with dark furnishing, marble bar, and steel light fixtures. Patrons are greeted by a large bar space where they are welcome to enjoy an array of craft cocktails by Julien Salomone. Compliment your craft cocktail with an assortment of sharing plates from East Thirty-Six's gourmet menu of shareable dishes like the octopus, Humboldt squid, Berkshire pork belly, or a platter of oysters.





East Thirty-Six is an ideal spot for a social gathering, intimate dinners, or after work events. Many of the shareable-plated dishes are perfectly paired by the cocktails and wine accompaniment. So, it's an especially good place for group gatherings, as you can try a variety of dishes. East Thirty-Six is open daily (4 pm to 2 am), and serving food from 5 pm to 1 am (Monday to Sunday). 



Address: 36 Wellington St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1C9

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East Thirty-Six Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
In Chinatown, there is a plethora of Asian dining options to choose from. Recently, I had the opportunity to check out the newly opened 98 Aroma where they offer refined Northern Chinese cuisine. The prices are higher than some of the neighboring establishments, so I highly recommend going with a group of 3-5 people to offset the costs. This way, you can order several dishes to share, as most plates are served with generous portion sizes and are meant for sharing. 

The outside may look unassuming, but the interior was designed to replicate traditional Chinese decor with its elaborate wood ornaments, and Asian-inspired craft works. The dimly lit restaurant sets a very relaxing ambiance, and there are several private booths available along with tables.

The menu consisted of several popular Northern Chinese dishes like dumplings, scallion pancakes, and spicy seafood and beef dishes. Most of Northern Chinese dishes are characterized by its bold flavors, and dishes are served in big portions. So, you can expect both at 98 Aroma. My friend and I started off with the refreshing Summer Breeze Salad ($9.99) - a colorful mixture of sweet-potato noodles, julienne leeks, bell-peppers, red cabbage, radishes, onions, and carrots with a sweet vinaigrette


Northern Chinese cuisine is very wheat-based, so I had to order the Pan Fried Pork and Chives Dumplings ($9.99), which was very good. The crispy potstickers were filled with a generous amount of pork, and the chives gave it a nice aroma after being pan fried.  


 Next up was their signature dish, the Steamed Tilapia with Chopped Bell Chilies ($29.99) - the dish arrived in a considerable sized bowl with the bone-in tilapia slathered in a rich yet spicy sauce. The fish was juicy and flaky, and the chili-based sauce complemented it beautifully. However, there were just way too many bones, so be extra careful when eating. 


 
I enjoyed the crispy texture of the Fried Salt and Pepper Calamari ($15.99), and it was perfectly spiced. 


Out of all the dishes, my least favorite was the Signature Chicken Wings ($15.99). Pricewise, it's pretty expensive for wings, and it was lacking in flavor. The peppers were sporadically spread out to the side, so it wasn't spiced very well.


Overall, I had an enjoyable dining experience at 98 Aroma. The restaurant was bustling with customers that Friday evening, and I thought that the wait staff did a good job of handling the customer service. Since they are a new establishment, there were two new waiters on staff training around that time. They were relatively slow, but it's understandable since they're new. 98 Aroma is a welcome addition to the area as they offer a more refined take on Chinese food, and is sure to please the people in the area looking for a nice place to dine.

Address: 440 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2G8

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.


98 Aroma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

98 Aroma

by on Saturday, November 19, 2016
In Chinatown, there is a plethora of Asian dining options to choose from. Recently, I had the opportunity to check out the newly opened 98...
There has been an influx of west coast imports as of late to Toronto, and another added to the list is Ebisu on Queen (Toronto). They have been open for a couple of weeks, and are still in the mist of their soft launch stage. Ebisu Japanese Restaurant originated from Vancouver, as its first location opened in December of 2006. There are two locations in Vancouver and one in Richmond, along with two restaurants under the Kamei names. The brand itself is very well-known in Vancouver, and they hope to expand it in Toronto with this new outpost.

So, what is Ebisu? Ebisu translates as "Yebisu" - meaning the fisherman's god of fortune and good luck. Ebisu is the only one out of the Seven Gods of Fortune to originate from Japan.


I was invited about a week ago to attend a media tasting to try a few of their signature dishes (some from their Vancouver menu). Prior to their grand opening, I was here to give Muse Salon (upstairs of Ebisu) a try, where I had an enjoyable hair salon experience. Ebisu on Queen (Toronto) took over the former Sushi Queen space located at 204 Queen St. West, and had a complete renovation of the space. The newly opened Ebisu on Queen embraces the concept of izakayas with its paneled wood, and minimal decor giving it a contemporary tranquil feel.

The contemporary space is perfect for lunch or dinner with friends, but is also fitting for any occasions including watching sport games, birthday parties, large parties, and even romantic dates. Similarly to their popular Vancouver outposts, they offer an extensive menu of tapas dishes and drinks set in a lively sushi bar lounge. The extensive menu offers traditional Japanese fare with a mix of international flavours along with a huge selection of drinks.




The evening started off splendidly with an array of drinks from the Ebisu Drink Menu. We opted for the Maccha (Green Tea) Cocktail ($8.95), which was surprisingly light and refreshing.





The menu at Ebisu on Queen (Toronto) centered on contemporary and fusion Japanese food. In regards to fusion dishes, there were several dishes that were made of a combination of different culinary elements. An example of such dish was the Cajun Tuna Tacos ($7.50) - seared fresh tuna & shredded mixed salad dressed with our tantalizing house ginger saucewhich consisted of lightly seared tuna mixed with tomato, fresh avocados, and dressed with a house sauce. One of the issues that I found was the consistency, as one of the tacos was not evenly coated while the other was drenched. 



In addition to signature rolls, Ebisu offers three different kinds of seared box sushi (battera sushi) on the menu. Battera sushi was made by pressing sushi rice and fillet of a fish into a mould to create a rectangular shape, and then lightly seared with a blowtorch. Additionally, the battera sushi are topped off with different toppings to give each one a distinctive taste. It should be noted that the searing is done at the table by the server, so you can watch it being done.



Saba (Mackerel) Miso Battera Sushi ($11.50)





Salmon Motoyaki Battera Sushi ($12.50)


Out of the three options, my favorite was the Hamachi (Yellowtail) Jalepeno Battera Sushi ($13.50).



The Chowder Pot Pie ($8.95) was a dish filled with comforting flavors, and perfect for the cold winter. Flaky puff pastry tops a rich mixture of vegetables and clams.


In recent years, I have come to love Takoyaki ($6.95) - deep fried octopus balls topped with bonito flakes and house sauce. Whenever I am out at a Japanese restaurant, I would always order a side of octopus balls (just for myself). The ones from Ebisu on Queen (Toronto) were cooked perfectly that I ate 10 takoyaki without realizing it! They were nice and doughy on the inside with a good portion of octopus pieces, and generously topped with mayo and bonito flakes.


For those who love sake, the well-priced, Izumi Toronto Sake Sampler ($9) may be an option. Several izakayas don't have samplers available (prefer diners to buy full bottles), so the management at Ebisu decided to offer this option on their drink menu. This allows diners to sample a flight of three different Izumi branded sake; Sake Sangria, Nama Nama, and Teion Sakura for a set price.



The Oyster Motoyaki ($9.50) - fresh beach oysters, spinach, white mushrooms baked in a Japanese Motoyaki sauce, was pretty huge, and contained a good chunk of oysters baked into a half shell. It was pretty good - creamy and flavorful.


I have always enjoyed DIY aspects of some dishes, and the BBQ Beef Short Ribs ($10.95) - slices of thick & juicy Angus beef short ribs marinated in Korean influenced homemade BBQ sauce served with a mini BBQ grill on the side, was no different. It came out on a portable tiny grill, and diners have the option to grill them to their liking. The BBQ ribs were tender and well-marinated in a sweet soy sauce.


Real Crab Vancouver Roll (4 pcs is $6.50 and 8 pcs is $11.50) - crab & avocado wrapped in BC smoked sockeye salmon, is one of their signature rolls that is very popular in Vancouver.


Spicy Sashimi ($8.95)


Pork Cutlet Curry ($12.95) - with organic green salad


If you want to try the ramen, then I would suggest dropping by for the lunch deals as they have a good selection of lunch sets. The lunch sets come with ramen, mini don, and a dish of today's appetizer for typically the same price as a ramen priced around dinner time.

Miso Ramen ($13.95)


Ramune (Japanese Soda) High Ball ($8.95)


Ebisu on Queen (Toronto) is open Monday to Sunday for both lunch and dinner. Check out their website for their full menu of seafood, vegetable, sushi/sashimi, hot stone rice bowl, ramen, and more.

Address: 204 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z2

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Ebisu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato