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May 15, 2006 01:15 PM

Any great restaurants in the Newmarket/Aurora, Ontario area?

  • m

Any must try restaurants in this area?

Thank in advance for any replies!

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  1. w
    Wannabe foodie

    I like Chinook in Aurora (close to Bayview & Wellington/Aurora Rd). Been there a few times. Newmarket doesn't have much, and certainly nothing I'd consider great.


    9 Replies
    1. re: Wannabe foodie

      What are the best items on Chinook's menu and could you please describe the taste? I'm going there on Saturday for dinner with a non-'hound friend who suggested it.

      Has anyone been to Aw Shucks in Aurora?

      1. re: Food Tourist

        I've been there once. It was fine but there was something about it I didn't like. It was a while ago so I really don't remember what it was.


        1. re: Food Tourist

          If you live in the northern 'burbs and don't have access to Starfish or Oyster Boy downtown, RUN don't walk to Aw Shucks in Aurora. It's a diamond in the rough.

          I don't know who the chef is, but he's brilliant with fish and seafood. The server, however, was completely clueless about seafood (though willing to please overall). We enjoyed Raspberry Points, sweet Lameques, and Thrumcap oysters (despite being slightly discouraged from ordering Thrumcaps by the server since other customers don't enjoy the briny salty taste!). Oysters are shucked and served with freshly grated horseradish, lemon wedges and a choice of several condiments and mignonettes. A couple of oysters had tiny shell particles showing a slightly inexperienced hand at shucking. We were highly impressed with jerk shrimp pineapple skewers (5 for $8) which were perfectly cooked to pop with juiciness. What a delight!

          Generously portioned mains (sea trout $22 - not on the menu - and Great Lake pickerel $24) featured confusing sides (navy beans - resembling southern BBQ style beans - not saucy, thankfully - and potatoes with pickerel - but no veggies.) Since sea trout was not on the menu, I had a chance to pick any other fish dish to replace the main ingredient - so I chose to "hold the diver scallops" to be able to enjoy 'truffled beluga lentils', crisp green beans and broccoli - the lentils drowning rather pleasantly in plenty of butter and dill with no discernable truffle aroma. Both huge fillets of fish were cooked perfectly.

          Drink specials after 7 pm on Thursdays led to a gin and tonic for $3.47 plus taxes. We both thoroughly enjoyed NZ Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc ($11.50 each glass - the other wines by the glass were much less expensive). No sparkling wines by the glass, but 3 chardonnays and many more whites and reds by the glass. 2 oz martinis for $8.

          Split a key lime tart ($7) for dessert - the meringue topping constructed into boulders resembling honeycomb candy. It almost worked. Lots of coconut in the crust. Kind of a coconut-key lime-lemon meringue hybrid.

          Upon first entering Aw Shucks, it looks and feels like a small town bar complete with casual picnic table patio out back and oysters on ice displayed by the booze. However, the side dining room is well-decorated and elegant, possibly justifying the $70 per person dinner. They even have a real espresso machine.

          1. re: Food Tourist

            Aw Shucks is a great resto. Live music on the wknds, great bartenders, and good wait staff. The hosts were a bit distracted when we were there, and could have been more professional but otherwise the place was great and the food is fantastic! I am no oyster connoisseur but I had an appetizer of raw oysters with a bunch of different sauces/flavourings brought to the table, which all tasted great and very fresh, as well I had an out of this world Caldeirada Da Marisco (Portuguese Seafood Stew) and I can't remember what my hubby had but he enjoyed his as much. I'd definitely go again. Would be fun with a group as it's a lively place but not so lively that you can't hear each other. Definitely go! I've heard lots of good things about Chinook as well. Only been there once for coffee and lunch, had a big salad that was really good, I think a mixed greens with goat cheese and chicken or something... and I remember the coffee was really good too. My hubby had a jerk chicken sandwich on focaccia an it was quite good too. I wouldn't rate their food as outstanding but it's definitely good. The atmosphere is nice, almost like a market/marche style but a little dressier in a way (though not a formal restaurant by any means, I'd say dressy casual at best - though again haven't been for dinner either). NOt sure abotu the night time scene there. The service fluxed during our visit between pretty rude/ignorant and outstanding (different servers). My guess is they aim for quality service and usually hit it, unfortunately I think they have a few people working there who just can't be bothered. Or maybe it was an off day. But I'd give it another shot. There aren't a heap of places of that caliber here in Aurora... I'd say Aw Shucks and Chinook are the kinds of restaurants that in Toronto might blend in amongst myriad choices for fantastic food/service, but here in Aurora, they really stand out.

            1. re: Wannabe foodie

              Chinook is more casual and less intimate than expected, but the food is decent. 3 oz martinis for $8.95 and a huge variety of non-alcoholic options including smoothies and fresh granny smith and anjou pear juices impressed us. Basket of assorted breads (cold to the touch) arrived with the fanfare of special asian spice dipping oil, its concentrated flavour reminiscent of Japanese salad dressing found atop iceberg lettuce at most bargain sushi joints. 10 oz veal chop ($28) was a bit fatty and on the small side but enjoyable nevertheless, cooked at medium, the suggested minimum. Tarragon parm chicken ($18) pleased two of my companions and another enjoyed peppery tuna steak. A la carte sides provided simple or classic choices (one starch and two veggies) such as onion-laden tangy scalloped potatoes, fried "smashed" potato, grilled beets, asparagus, sweet potato, zucchini, giant portobello, etc. Server was knowledgeable but missing zucchini side was forgotten for too long. Most dishes are under $20, making it an affordable night out. Marketplace sells Dufflet cakes and truffles, imported chocolates, unique preserves, cheeses, and take-out meals. Try a bag of fraktals (belgian milk chocolate-covered toffee coated in cashews) $5 for 100g, made in Aurora.

              1. re: Food Tourist

                The cheese selection in the take-away section of Chinook keeps improving. Though prices are high, many rarer cheeses (e.g. raw Montboissier de liva) are on sale - some of which can't be found at Pasquale Bros or other cheap Toronto cheese shops.

                Fraktals are up to $6 for small bag.

                Other gourmet items there are so ridiculously overpriced; I can only assume it's because there is no competition in Aurora.

                1. re: Food Tourist

                  Went there, based on this recommendation. Overall positive, but for a Wednesday, it was very busy and maybe short a server. Staff were good, but the kitchen was having some trouble - meat was overcooked (twice!) probably due to lack of attention in the kitchen. Manager was good about it. Arrived at 6:30, with reservation, got appetizer after 7:00; mains around 8:00 pm. Had to leave without coffee, due to time pressure.

                  Store is very interesting.

                2. re: Wannabe foodie

                  Lunch with dear friend. Outstanding experience. Service deft, engaging, & seamless. Menu eventive + standard fare available for less adventurous. Ceaser salads crisp, garnished with good portion shaved Parmesan, crostini, & prosciutto. Shared mains at suggestion of waitress. Chicken curry had chunks of white meat chicken well marinated in sauce, accompanied by fresh cucumber/ yogurt salad and rice. Seafood fettuccini had sautéed scallop, tiger shrimp, & sqid - on fresh pasta with tomato ragu & arugula. Desserts were delish! Chocolate mousse in candied pecan basket, and plate of tasters that we couldn't finish. Coffee fresh & hot - topped up. All in $103.00 for 2, including 1/2 litre of good merlot.

                3. only been to chinook for lunch. the eggplant parmesan is good. stay away from the seafood baguette.

                  1. My wife and I really like India Time at the cornrer of Mulock and Yonge. There is a Thai restaurant in the same plaza that was good too. I've been told it has changed hands and has gone down though.

                    I don't know if it was because I wasn't expecting a lot but we ended up at Milestones last Valentines day and I was very pleasantly surprised. Had a great meal and a nice time.

                    If you want something a little more laid back, drive out to Kettleby. There is an Italian bakery in the old general store. They have a hot bar, sandwich bar and plenty of desert items. We go there a lot. The food is really good and all prepared fresh daily. Not exepensive at all either. They make their own bread and it's a great value too.

                    For fine dining, Hogans in King City is really good. There is also a small pub downstairs there that we stopped into once. Really nice place, food comes out of the Hogans kitchen and wasn't really expensive.

                    Heading a little further south to the north end of Richmond Hill, there is All Star Ribs and Wings. If wings are your thing. Same kinda idea as Wild Wing but so much better.


                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Davwud

                      Tried India Time, it was really dead - I was the only one there for lunch buffet... maybe it's better in the evenings. I can't say I thought much of the food.

                      I did like the All Star Ribs and Wings - mostly for the beef ribs. There's one in Newmarket now.

                      1. re: randomthoughts

                        I can't say that I've been to India Time in about 5 years or so. I usually get my Indian fix in the city.

                        I've been less than impressed with All Star in RH for a couple years now. A few buddies went last week and said it was terrible. All 3 had to send something back for one reason or another. No one came over to ask why. One complain was the fries were brutal. Even the waitress said the new ones they use are getting tons of complaints.


                        1. re: Davwud

                          Any of the Indian buffets I've been to in the city have been miles ahead of India Time... I guess the volume, etc.

                          My friends don't like the wings at All Star (I thought they were serviceable). I usually get the sweet potato fries, which could be crisper, but again, serviceable. I haven't tried the Newmarket location.

                          1. re: randomthoughts

                            I only did the buffet at IT once and it was fine. The other times I ate there it was dinner off the menu.

                            The wings there used to be better. I still think that some of my favourite flavours are still quite good. Not Duff's or King Henry's Arms good but still good.


                            1. re: Davwud

                              What are your favourite flavors? I've been meaning to go to the Newmarket location and I'll get a beef rib/wing combo :)

                              1. re: randomthoughts

                                Mehican Ranchero.
                                Hot Blonde
                                Wet and Wild
                                Nero's Epilogue
                                There's a couple others as well.


                                1. re: Davwud

                                  Thanks! That'll do to get me started!

                                  1. re: randomthoughts

                                    Now keep in mind that since I went on my diet 30 months ago I've maybe been there half a dozen times.
                                    They do change the menu and sometimes flavours go away. So not all of them may be still there.

                                    Also, these are breaded wings though you can ask for them unbreaded. I found that I'd order them one way and then would start ordering them the other for a while.

                                    One other thing to keep in mind. There are flavours that are A + B + Hot Sauce named one thing and A + B + Suicide Sauce named another. The same wing only a step up.

                                    Some other flavours that buddies liked were Chill, God of Thunder, Ephestius, Caesar does Texas and Piza Piza


                    2. For the Asian flavours:

                      Solo Sushi Ya, 291 Davis Drive
                      Pho Saigon, 16925 Yonge Street

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: oishi

                        Have to second that vote on Solo Sushi Ya!

                        We usually go during the week but I understand on weekends it pays to call ahead. Quite busy apparenty.

                        1. re: oishi

                          Solo Sushi Ya is awesome. Expensive, but awesome - one of my favorite restaurants. I'd like to go there more often but lack dining partners willing to spend that much. Their omakase doesn't vary all that much, it's more like a prix fixe - but it's a very good selection of raw and cooked dishes... I need to do a full review.

                          I've heard bad things about Pho Saigon from an ex-employee and will never go, whereas I've heard good things from a different ex-employee (and enjoy the food greatly) of Golden Bell Thai in the same plaza. Lunch at Golden Bell, however, is much cheaper than dinner, though the selection is limited. I plan on asking for my favorite dish (chicken satay noodles) to be made spicier, but I keep forgetting.

                          Golden Bell Thai Restaurant
                          16925 Yonge St, Newmarket, ON L3Y5Y1, CA

                          1. re: randomthoughts

                            I've been to Pho Saigon many times and think it's great. I've taken another hound who also loved it.
                            I'm not sure what it was you heard but if it was some sort of kitchen thing, both PS and Golden Bell are owned by the same person.


                            1. re: Davwud

                              I'll look into it, but I don't think that's the case - I had heard that PS is owned by a relative of the grocery next to GB.

                            2. re: randomthoughts

                              Considering Solo Sushi Ya is owned and run by Japanese. For the authenticity and quality of food provided, IMO their prices are more than reasonable (especially when compared to other similarly operated outfits). In fact, their Chef's tasting 'Omakase' menu at $55 per person is great value for money!

                              Sushi Ya
                              20 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T1L2, CA

                          2. Keswick's The Corner House is fantastic (it's around the corner from our cottage). The food is upscale bistro and very tasteful. I was there last year, so can't comment since it was so long ago.

                            Corner House Bistro - 240 Church Street - (905) 476-4800