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Nov 30, 2007 04:36 PM

Amber European Restaurant - BWV

I'm not asking about Amber in Yorkville...but rather the perogi palace on the north side of Bloor east of Jane...anyone got any comments?? It's the weather for some hearty mitteleuropean comfort food...should I give Amber a try???

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  1. YES! Best perogies I've had in TO thus far. They are delicate, but huge, with lots of quality filling and many varieties are available including mushroom, sauerkraut and blueberry ones. A plate of 8 is all you need, if you want some of the delicious deep dish apple pie then only get a 5-plate unless your appetite is huge. Good borscht soup too, very hearty.

    My wife and I went recently on a cold night, I think we spent maybe $35 for 2 borscht, 2 plates of 8 perogies, a large beer and a piece of the apple pie. We were stuffed to the max.

    6 Replies
    1. re: bogie

      Prices have hiked since these posts...they did a renovation and Pieroghi plates are like $11 bucks now where my wife and I thought $8.95 was a the food, not the prices, best to buy frozen from Starsky's and boil ourselves. I think it has become 'yuppified'...

      1. re: ebay3392

        i for one am glad they've raised their prices. my mother only makes pierogi once a year because they are that time consuming. while much of the polish restaurant food in toronto (and elsewhere in north america) is pretty low cost in terms of ingredients, the pricing should include labour. and pierogi (and uszka and even polish style potato pancakes) are labour intensive. plus, i imagine that rents in the area have substantially increased.

        and really, there is no comparison between hand made pierogi and factory mass produced made. both in terms of flavour, but also, again in terms of costs of making them.

        1. re: Kasia

          My issue is this is when you come down to it, this is peasant food....from the Old Country...and jacking up prices like that will lose clientele, the yuppies will still go there as they don't know any better...but it is ridiculous when you average out over a buck per pierogi and especially theirs who use cheese whiz in theirs...enjoy it as my wife and I will not be returning. To me the difference between home made and mass produced is whether you can cut the pierogi with your fork only...that is my differentiator...

          1. re: ebay3392

            Pierogis made to cut with your fork are more than likely not just a dough of flour, water, etc., but likely have sour cream in the dough to make them very soft. The secret ingredient!!!

        2. re: ebay3392

          I disagree. I think the $11 is well worth it. I've lived in The Village all my life and I've been eating at Amber since I was small. I love love love the pierogies and for the portion size, I think the just over $12 with tax that I pay for the full size is very reasonable for a meal out. Doesn't seem like very much to me to be honest.

        3. re: bogie

          This isn't saying very much but the best Eastern/Central European food in the city (from every place I've tried). I've done extensive traveling in that part of the world and the food is fantastic. Very underwhelmed by other restaurants in this city.

        4. +

          2372 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6S1P5, CA

          1. I love Amber.My uncle introduced my husband and I to Amber about six years ago and now we drive across town to get our fix of schnitzel and pelmeny(like perogis but filled with minced lamb and garlic). The cheese blintzes are a great choice if you feel like something sweet.

            1. does anyone know their hours?

              1. Thanks all...can't wait to give it a try...sounds like great cold weather fare...

                8 Replies
                1. re: tochowchick

                  Just wanted to say I went to Amber tonight for the first time, and thought it was terrible. I was so disappointed, had been thinking about going for years and finally noticed the storefront so came by for dinner. The borsht was good, but my husband could see his Amber Chicken being made on a Foreman grill, not 'oven roasted' as described in the menu. My schnitzel was bland, barely warm, (did I mention flavourless?) and looked like it had been fried at the end of the day in not enough oil. I regret not going to our standby Chopin on Roncesvalles, which is reliably excellent. In fact, making our own Schnitzel and Foreman grill chicken and mashed potatoes would have been a much more satisfying meal. I don't tend to flame restaurants, but considering all the things I had read about Amber, this is one of my most disappointing dining experiences!

                  1. re: sway

                    Hi..sorry, got to ask..why go to Amber and order chicken? You could have had Kotlety, pierogies, anything Polish/Ukranian...which are all good as I have been there many times, but its like going to Pappas Grill in Greektown and ordering Asian stirfry, or Swiss Chalet and ordering a hot dog..why bother going? My advice is common sense, go to a specialty place and order what they are known for, if you are going to go off base which IMHO you did, you got what you asked for. Not every restaurant is good at everything..I have had their schnitzel and still like it better than Polonez...

                    1. re: ebay3392

                      Agree completely with what you're saying.

                      Amber and Polonez keep the grilled chicken on the menu for picky eaters/people on strict diets/people with GI issues that end up at their restaurant. I organized a group dinner at Chopin for Christmas several years ago, and the colour of my borscht (she gawked at my soup, and kept saying she couldn't believe I'd eat anything that looked like that. In retrospect, I should've ordered tripe soup to freak her out further), the thought of eating something as "foreign" as a perogy, and the sound of the word "schnitzel" (despite my description of the chicken schnitzel as something that's a little bit like a giant home-made chicken McNugget) freaked my very plain-eating friend out. For whatever reason, Polish food was very foreign to her, and she wasn't willing to try anything she wasn't familiar with. She ordered the grilled chicken.

                      1. re: prima

                        Thanks for the follow up..I felt bad after posting as I thought afterwards I was on the rude side but its just I have been there many many times, actually went for first date with my wife there so sentimental I guess..but don't slam it unless you ordered something of core competencies not something on the menu for the legitimate reasons you stated above. Now for the Schnitzel, I have never ordered the bland or plain one, but the mushroom or cordon bleu ones and always happy, as plain one will be that, my wife who is of Polish descent will make schnitzel but jazzed up with Tony Chachere's creole seasoning mixed in which is darn good...try with potato pancakes too...oh yeah!...but bland seasoning wise S&P are typical....I remember a Restaurant Makeover where they were in some Polish place and the cook was saying 'now adding some spices' and the celeb chef said 'that's salt and pepper, not spices' That is Polish cooking, garlic yes, but other than S&P no...and if it was just warm and not hot, if that person did not send it back for another one than shame on that person, your own are out paying good money for dinner, if you are to accept cold food without sending back for proper that is your fault and do not whine afterwards about it.

                        1. re: ebay3392

                          So, based on past posts -- the item(s) that merit ordering are the perogies only?

                          1. re: 5andman

                            Hi..if you had only one thing to choose, I would say YES..much better and fatter than Polonez...but a close second is the Kotlety as it is almost, I say almost as good as the ones my wife makes!

                            1. re: ebay3392

                              Sorry, hadn't checked in on CH in a while. My SO is always watching what he eats, and will always order the thing that seems lightest on the menu, so I can't really fault him for his order. The main issue with the chicken (besides that it was terrible) is that it was described as 'oven baked', and he actually asked the server if it would take longer than mine, as he expected it would take longer than my fried schnitzel. She was very confused by this, and said no, they would take the same. Of course, being made on a Foreman grill, it would only take a few minutes! While I do agree that you shouldn't go to a specialty restaurant and order something that doesn't make sense, I don't think ordering an oven baked chicken dish should be that outside the realm of a kitchen's competency.

                              I guess I didn't accurately describe how bad both dishes were. If I were to have stayed home, defrosted a chicken breast and made it on my own Foreman grill, it would have at least been prepared decently!

                              And the more serious issue with the schnitzel was not its blandness (no discernible salt added), but that it was not cooked in enough oil to even be in contact with all of the breading. It was overall a mess. And to be honest, I didn't think ordering schnitzel in a Polish/Ukrainian restaurant would be a stretch. As I said, we do eat at Polish restaurants regularly, so I am familiar with what the food is supposed to taste like. Possible they were having an off night, but I don't think I need to go back to test that theory! Chopin and its excellent schnitzel, tripe soup, potato pancakes will continue to feed my cravings for good Polish food!

                              1. re: sway

                                I like Chopin's schnitzel, too.

                                I've found Cafe Polonez also serves good schnitzels and potato pancakes.

                                Cafe Polonez
                                195 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R2L5, CA