Era Ora vs Lunita
This Friday is my Mom's birthday and we're going out to dinner to celebrate. Right now we have two reservations -- one at Era Ora and the other at L'unita. Both menus look great, so I'd love to get some input from you as to which place we should choose.
I'd expect that we'd be ordering fish/sea food as opposed to the pizza/pasta offerings if that helps make a case for one over the other!
Thanks in advance!
Not so oddly for this board, I had to make the same decision for the same day. We're booked at L'Unita.
134 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R2H6, CA
137 Avenue Rd, Toronto, ON M5R2H7, CA
I live near L'Unita and I've been a few times since it opened. I really enjoy the food but prefer the small plates to the secondi. Note: you have to order contorni with the secondi.
I find L'Unita loud and fun. It reminds me of a hip place in New York. I think it's a great place for drinks and grazing with friends. Now, I'd take my parents there, but with the understanding that it's not going to be a traditional "restaurant" experience. To get the best out of L'Unita you need to be ready to compose your own meal and share your food. Oh, and you sit really close to the people next to you (there's a big shared banquette down the wall and they will squish a three into a table for two making it a bit snug).
Era Ora is much more traditional.
What does your mum prefer?
After discussions with my mom, we settled on Era Ora. From the opinions listed here, it just sounded like a more formal, special occasion, type of place. That was reinforced by the fact that two other tables were celebrating birthdays :)
We were actually pretty disappointed. The food was okay, but none of us thought it was great. We both had a salad to start, and then the mixed seafood plate. My mother and I had enjoyed the grilled calamari much more at Bistro 990 a few weeks prior - was too chewy here. The other items, including salmon, a shrimp and a piece of the fish of the day (I believe it was Orata) were good, but pretty bland. We also found it interesting that while my mother and I had the same dish, we had different vegetables served with it (she got potatoes, I did not). My father thought his pasta was fine, and my sister seemed happy with her shrimp - none of us really loved it though.
The service was fine. The staff were nice, but not attentive. We had to flag them down several times when our glasses needed refilling and had sat empty and unnoticed. They left the menus on our table until we asked to have them taken away.
We won't be going back - but we definitely will be trying out L'unita. When we left Era Ora at about 11:30, it was quite empty. L'unita still looked hopping :)
We ended up at L'Unita. All in all we were very pleased. It didn't start well as they attempted to seat the 3 of us at a table for two with a 3rd chair in the aisle. As it was my friend's birthday I kicked up a little fuss. It hadn't been stated when making the reservation that they would seat us so. They looked about and offered us the communal table which I had originally rejected when booking. Thanks to the inclement and windy weather there was a cancellation and a proper table was given, luckily before my friends arrived. Nothing dampens a good mood like starting with a problem. My friends were none the wiser. All good.
To start we shared the marinated olives, bd girl had their version of a caesar salad and I the artichoke and parmigiano salad. Her's was creative and terrific as was mine. What made mine a particularly pleasant experience was the soft poached egg that when opened into the cold ingredients made for a very sensuous salad. Up next was the osso bucco tortelloni for bd girl while the other had a side of squash and we both had the mushroom agnolotti. They were all beautifully prepared and I have to say the portions were perfect. You could share and make it to the secondi or have it as a main if you had a smaller appetite. We did the latter. We were making it to dolci. I'm very glad we did. Her apple dish and my espresso chocolate cake were delicious.
During our time there service was attentive. The sommelier came to our table to assist in selecting the right wine. The owner sat down next to bd girl to give well wishes and a hug. A nice touch.
The room is quite attractive in a relaxed manner. I noticed people dressed anywhere from upscale casual to jeans and a buttoned shirt. The crowd was lively and of all ages. Pricing is incredibly reasonable. The table we were seated at had a good-sized pillow that we used as a very relaxing arm rest between us. L'Unita is just the right mix of informal and attractive to make for a calming, inviting, and upbeat night out.
We'd go back in a heartbeat. Reservations a must.