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Review of multiple restos in Leslieville/Riverside

I recently moved to the area and have been making my way through the local restos...from from Jilly’s onward :)

Here are some impressions so far…

Prohibition/Booze: I have eaten here a few times…the $15 hamburger is good but I was a little disappointed that it was smaller the third time that I had it (though the price was the same). The philly steak was also good but the wings were just about the worst that I have ever had. Ok, they are new and still experimenting but those should not have gone out. The best dessert is the flourless chocolate cake (supplied by It’s the Icing on the Cake).

Coyote Willie: Awesome Mexican food at a cheap price…I had chicken enchiladas, an incredibly good pecan pie and a drink for $14. Clearly you do not go here for the atmosphere though.

Burger Shoppe: Ok I guess but really for those who have a taste for the “conventional”.

Dangerous Dan’s: You either love the ambiance or hate it (I am in the former camp) but there is no denying the burgers (especially the Greek burger) are good…and HUGE! I haven’t been brave enough to try the 24oz burger with three layers of cheese and bacon, served with poutine. The wings weren’t that great though.

The Real Jerk: Good food (big portions) and friendly service but I am not so crazy about the atmosphere. My favourite dish was the Jerk Pork…I was also pleasantly surprised at the heat level of their Real Jerk sauce (I estimate 150,000 SHU)…also good grapenut and coconut ice cream (from Greg’s on Bloor?)….avoid that flan thing!

The Citizen: I went there on opening weekend..I don’t remember what I had but I left satisfied…I had a good chat with the owner (they also own a resto on Queen West)…seems like they know what they are doing.

Jimmy’s Place: Granted, this is not exactly the same crowd as the newer more upscale restos but it was pretty good…and CHEAP! Tuesdays and Thursdays are ½ price wing nites and I had wings, a huge bowl of fries, a can of pop, and extra sauces for $10 TAX INCLUDED! The wings were better than the more expensive restos reviewed above.

Kubo Radio: I love the feel of the patio (pink/purple chairs) but the service was horrendously slow and the duck/beef burger was average at best. I’d still repeat but only in patio weather.

Lil Baci: A new resto owned by its neighbour Kubo Radio….possibly the thinnest pizza I have ever seen..in fact, it was so thin and slippery that I had a hell of a time cutting it (had to revert to eating with my hands)…I don’t anticipate a repeat.

Bonjour Brioche: The “Centro” of breakfast places…it seems that you go here to see and be seen rather than for the food…not that the food is bad (it isn’t) but it is a notch below Le Petit Dejeuner. I have the same thing every time (smoked salmon omelette with caviar over rosti)…at least it is consistent.

Toast: Solid breakfast food…just as good and pricey as Bonjour Brioche but with a more laid back atmosphere.

Joy Bistro: Ok now THAT was not worth $55…enough said.

Stratengers: Isn’t this billed as a “top” pizza place? It was good…but top? Wasn’t “special” enough to merit a repeat.

Leslie Jones: I went here despite some bad reviews on Chow Hound…I don’t know why it got bad reviews as I had a good experience. I had the tomato/leek soup with feta cheese, braised beef with green peppercorn sauce, and homemade chocolate torte…all courses were good, as was the service. Not crazy about the “cash only” policy though.

Edward Levesque’s Kitchen: WOW, everything here was bursting with flavour….no subtlety about this place (those who do not like strong flavours stay away). I had the onion puree soup, linguine with buffalo mozzeralla, roast tomato, and awesome garlic chips and the avocado/pistachio ice cream for dessert. Service was incredibly good…I could do without the jazz music.

Gio Rana’s Really Really Nice Restaurant: Good food but really small portions. I could have easily had my entire dinner all over again…and still have room left. I had the gnocchi appetizer, the pulled pork wrapped in ribeye and covered in goat cheese as the main dish, and chocolate torte for dessert. This would probably be my first choice to bring a friend in from out of town.

Batifole: A new personal favourite! I loved it! Really reminded me of being back home in Montreal…I had the escargot, horse meat tartare and crepes in Jack Daniels sauce (with fresh pecans)…I will DEFINITELY repeat

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  1. Gorgeous report... I am not an east-ender, but I keep wanting to do the food tour... at least now I'll know where to go.

    Thanks -
    Rab- bit!

    5 Replies
    1. re: Rabbit

      wow that was fast :)

      thanks! I hope to visit TOMI-KRO next...

      Loftman

      1. re: loftman

        Pop Bistro? Sushi Marche? Pulp Kitchen?

        1. re: cowhound

          haven't been to those yet...may go to Sushi Marche today (if it's open)

          1. re: loftman

            You should also try Le Cafe Vert. It's good. I enjoyed the food. But what sticks out was the service (former waitress from Pulp Kitchen), it has a nice quaint feel and the coffee was laced with cardamom which was very tasty. It's small though, so don't go with a large party.
            I used to love Pulp Kitchen. Haven't been in awhile though. I really like their Spiralina Smoothie and they make good lattes.

          2. re: cowhound

            I went to Pop BIstro a few weeks ago and quite enjoyed it. I had the chicken and a salad. and it was all very tasty. The service was very friendly and courteous. All in all a nice evening at a local resto.

      2. thanks I will try those as well.

        I did end up going to Sushi Marche...not quite as much selection as I am used to from a sushi place...it did have a unique taste (citrus?) and texture...i may repeat but not in a rush to do so.

        1. hey loftman! could you tell me more about jimmy's place? what's the address for it? i gather it's like a pub kinda place? i've been lookin' for a good wings place - seems like its one i should try! what else do you recommend? does it have the usual pub grub? burgers, pastas, salads, bruschetta, poutine type stuff?

          5 Replies
          1. re: jennjen18

            yes it definitely has those types of things on the menu...it is indeed a pub rather than a "wing place" (like Duff's, CW Coop or St. Louis). their chicken souvlaki is decent too...

            Jimmy's Place Bar & Grill
            Address : 755 Queen Street East, Toronto, ON M4M 1H3
            Telephone : 416-462-3023

            thanks embee...what don't you agree with?

            1. re: loftman

              I have to disagree about recommending Jimmy's Place for wings. We tried it last night for the first time, and although it was not busy (one table and two customers at the bar), it took over 45 minutes to get our order. Just getting our drinks took almost 20 minutes. When the wings did arrive, they were very small, overcooked, and the sauce-to-wing ratio was way out of whack. All we could taste was the sauce. We chanced the poutine and what arrived was a huge plate (I do agree that their portions are enormous) with fries covered in tons of gravy and what seemed like melted kraft cheese all over the top. When we wrapped our heads around the fact that this was in no way poutine, but almost like cheesy fries in a bowl, we didn't so mind them. Reminded me of what my friends and I used to throw together on a Saturday night when we got the munchies. The bill on half price Tues: two orders of chicken wings, one order of "poutine" with two pints on tap: $22. Our verdict - we won't be back.

              1. re: torontogal

                then stay away from the wings at Prohibition LOL

                hmmm...too bad..to put things in context though, i had wings at Duff's (arguably the best wings in Toronto) last night and even though it was their "half price" wing nite, I still paid over $40 for my dinner (double what you paid...for 2 people!)

                BTW, I had the battered zuchini, 20 wings with Armageddon sauce (and extra sauce for the fries), a basket of fries, and a pitcher of diet coke.

                1. re: loftman

                  In no way was the comment a reflection of the price!! You're absolutely correct, we had 20 wings between us, a big plate of cheesy fries and a couple of pints, all for $22. All I was saying was no matter how low the price, the verdict was still the same: we won't be back. Bad food is bad food at any price. For us we'd rather pay more for something that tastes good, and where we recieve at least some semblance of service.

                  1. re: torontogal

                    oh i hear you...I'd rather pay $100 for a great meal (Barberian's) than $50 for a crappy one.

                    anyway, better luck next time...

          2. While I don't agree with all of your opinions, that was a great post. Thanks loftman :-)

            1. I just ate at Tomi-Kro...it was great! Here's what I had:

              Foie gras creme brule with lingone berry jam, cucumber, red onion pickle

              Filet of beef with wasabi mash, gorgonzola, and caramelized onion

              Whipped brie with dried fruit compote, balsamic glaze, and crostini

              service was very friendly...the atmosphere reminded me of Jamie Kennedy (where I ate 2 days ago)...at least the portions were bigger here :)

              3 Replies
              1. re: loftman

                Mmmmm... that all sounds heavenly! What are the prices like, if you don't mind me asking?

                1. re: vorpal

                  foie gras $14
                  Filet of beef $22
                  Whipped brie $8
                  bottled water $6
                  I think the Diet Coke was around $3-$4

                  1. re: loftman

                    I just ate at Tomi-Kro for the first time last night, it was superb.