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Go to Barrio's

Just had a fantastic meal at Barrio's tonight. Had the prix fixe as part of Leslielicious. Started with a divine mushroom and spinach crepe with mornay sauce, followed by trout almondine served with fingerling potatoes and a side of green and yellow beans. Absolutely amazing! My husband took the other Leslielicious combination: squash and roasted sweet potatoes with frisee and goat cheese dressing followed by the pork tenderloin on a bed of egg noodles with peas, leeks, and a dollop of fig coriander mustard. Unforgettable.

As if we did not have enough to eat, we were also treated to bread and dips (on the house) -- chickpea coriander paste and a black bean paste -- between courses.

By the time dessert came around (an incredible fruit tart -- more like a danish -- with a creme concoction on the side), we had to get it to go.

Overall: yummy flavours, generous portions, wonderful service and presentation. With beer and a nice bottle of wine, the bill for four people came to $200 with tax and tip. Worth every penny!

My only regret was that I was at Pop Bistro the night before. Pop's merely adequate food and nickle-and-dime-you-to-death approach ($9 for soup, $12 for a glass of wine, $14 for a bottle of San Pellegrino), was, in contrast, sadly pedestrian. It was unfortunate that I had the meals one night after the other: it merely heightened my regret that I bothered with Pop. I should have skipped right over that meal and spent my money at Barrio's.

Leslielicious or not, you must go to Barrio's Lounge. Queen Street East near Logan.

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  1. Please say this is a typo.
    "$14 for a bottle of San Pellegrino"

    1. Uh uh. That's what it is. $14. I know. I know. My fault for ordering it in the first place.

      3 Replies
      1. re: courgette

        Outraged, I just called them.

        But, they say that they charge $6 for a bottle of San Pellegrino.

        1. re: Fwagra

          There might be two sizes... The larger bottle is $14. I have the bill.

          1. re: courgette

            I've only seen 2 sizes of San Pellegrino. The really small bottle (perhaps around 250ml) and the large bottle which is 750 ml. Do they make another size? Not that it should matter, even at $6 it seems really steep. You can buy a case of 12 x 750ml at Costco for about $15. Enough said.

      2. Thanks for the warning about Pop Bistro! I live in the area, and have been looking forward to trying it. It's off my list now!

        1 Reply
        1. re: DRD

          Same, I live around the corner from Pop Bistro and have been thinking about checking them out... will probably think twice unless there are any other (more positive) reviews.

        2. My point is not necessarily to discourage people from trying Pop, only that Pop's pricing is a bit out of whack for the quality.

          I am happy to have new restaurants on the east side with nice decor and linen on the tables! They gentrify the place and adds a vibrancy to the neighbourhood. Please do try it and compare it with other restaurants and prove me wrong.

          1. Just went to Barrio for breakfast this morning. I was delighted with the prices and the quality of the food. I was surprised to see that my friend and I were the only ones in there. The food is so good.

            I had the farmer's sausage with home made spatzle. Yummy. Friend had the omlette with brie with a salad (just to make it a little virtuous).

            Please go and spend your weekend brunch dollars here.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Zengarden

              Don't tell too many people. we like not queing for great food!

              1. re: Zengarden

                I tried to go there for their terrific, non-crowded brunch on the long weekend, but Barrio was mysteriously closed with no explanation.

                1. re: Food Tourist

                  It wasn't closed when I went this weekend. Try again?

                  I would go here a thousand times before I would go to Bonjour Brioche which seems to be a destination brunch spot for a lot of folks.

                  But I digress. Go to Barrio.

                  1. re: Zengarden

                    I know, I know. Brunch at Barrio is virtually perfect. I really don't understand why they are mostly empty. It's so much better than Joy Bistro, Ed Levesque's, and even Smalltalk across town. I'll just make sure to call ahead next time.

                    1. re: Food Tourist

                      I think there's just too many brunch options down there and not that much pedestrian traffic or higher-end shopping to make the area a destination. I know the neighbourhood finally seems to be on an upswing but I wonder if it can sustain all these restaurants...

              2. Go to Barrio if only for the coffee and maple braised pork belly, topped with a potato pancake with crisp country bacon. Luckily, my dining mates did not care for pork fat so I got to eat all three big chucks of pork belly while they lapped up the coffee maple sauce with the pancake. Yum!!

                1. I went to Barrio last night for dinner. Overall, it was very good. I think it has very good potential. When I arrived it was very empty, however, by the time we left, it was a full house, which is a good sign.
                  The server was very attentive, if not attuned to certain things. For example, when I ordered coffee with dessert and did not receive the coffee by the time dessert was finished, I said politely that I would not need the coffee now that dessert was finished. He apologized and said he was waiting for the right time to give it to me. Not sure when the right time would have been other than with dessert, but c'est la vie.
                  As for the food, it was very good for the most part.
                  We shared dumplings with vegetables and chicken with a goat cheese dip. The dumplings were very tasty. We also had frites, which were fantastic. My friend enjoyed her crab salad, which was kind of like a deconstructed version with shrimp crackers and shredded lettuce. The main (we all had the same main) was crusted sole with fennel and crispy leeks. The crispy leeks were good. The "crust" on the sole was a pesto and was good, but a little more would have been good and the sole was a bit overcooked for my liking and a bit underseasoned. We finished with dessert. One friend enjoyed her lemon tart. The other liked the warm flourless chocolate cake. I had the creme brulée which was tasty, but a little runny for my liking and there was a bit too much leftover uncooked sugar in certain areas.
                  Overall, it was good and I would go back.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: pescatarian

                    Some people do insist that coffee comes after dessert. My mother is very firm on this point, but she always specifies when she orders. The waiter should probably ask in the future.

                    1. re: pescatarian

                      In classic European service, coffee is, indeed, a separate course that follows dessert. However, I expect your server simply forgot.

                      1. re: embee

                        I'm pretty sure he forgot. I wasn't overly offended, I just personally prefer to drink my coffee with my dessert. Kind of to offset the sweetness.