quick comments on my 3 days in Toronto
The Tasmanian sea trout special was excellent, as was the venison, the lobster appetizer, and the raspberry/pineapple napoleon. The sauces were innovative but not gimmicky. Even mundane ingredients like pea pods were first rate. The ambiance wasn't entirely my scene - kind of like a setting for a pivotal scene in a Hugh Grant/Sandra Bullock movie.
This tiny spot on 657 College Street in Little Italy is my pick hit of the trip. It's simple and it's amazing. They have grilled fish sandwiches (shrimp and calamari) and not much else. I tried one with salmon, one with grouper. The garlicky spices are superb.
I'm not going to bash this tourist spot quite as harshly as others on this board. I had the Sunday brunch buffet. Perhaps the biggest disappointment were the flavorless shrimp; how does that happen? There were a few so-so fish entrees, and one decent smoked fish thing. The chowder was bland. But I liked the potato salad, the regular salad, the crab legs and oddly enough, the chicken cacciatore.
Excellent service. The rotolino special (roast pork with a pear sauce) was very good, as was the penne arrabiata. The mushroom bruschetta looked like a pizza bagel - not that there's anything wrong with that.
Jin Cheng Bakery:
This place on Dundas in Chinatown had an intriguing assortment of buns. The hot dog bun wasn't anything special, but the curry beef and barbecue pork were very good. I wasn't hungry enough to sample the steam table items but they looked good.
This one's underrated, I think. The smoked salmon/candied salmon/asparagus appetizer, the bison short ribs and the rack of lamb were very good. Everything on the dessert list looks good, but the spiced poached pear with caramel glaze was the most fascinating of three desserts we got on the C$15 sampler for two.
Carousel Bakery at St. Lawrence Market:
I liked the legendary peameal bacon sandwich. They don't do arctic char anymore but it's still listed.
The grilled sardines were excellent, and the mixed greens had an usuallly diverse assortment of elements.
Stopped in for poutine - very good fries and cheese, the gravy was a bit salty but oddly addictive.
Glad you enjoyed yourself and thanks for the recomendation for Fish Store. I'll have to check that out for sure. Sounds great.
Grouper sandwiches are hard to beat.
Thanks for posting about The Fish Store. I was walking by there a few weeks ago and thought it looked like a cool little (really little) spot but it was closed that day. When I got home, I somehow remembered it as "Fish Shack" and was googling it to no avail. Now I have the name and a rec - thanks!
Captain John's is one of the worst places to eat and I wonder what caused you to even go in? Poor you. Were you seduced by the boat environment? Or did someone seriously misguide you? Aw.
Nothing on your list is on my list but I think, based on what you say, I will try the Fish Store!