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George or Chiado

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My bf and I are planning a special occasion dinner very soon. We are debating between George and Chiado. I've been to both but in each instance it was over two years ago. My bf hasn't been to either.

This is a very rare occasion for us as he's a chef and NEVER gets a night off on a weekend. That being said I want to treat his to the best dinning experience possible.

For him presentation is just as important as the quality of the food, for me it is service.

Thoughts chowhounds?

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  1. if you want mostly seafood, Chiado, especially whole fish.

    if you want a mixture, then Geroge.

    1. George has one of the nicest garden patios in town. Chiado you'll sit inside.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChalkBoy

        I forgot about the beautiful courtyard. I think that may be the place!

      2. Definitely George. If he's a chef, he'll appreciate the sophistication of George's dishes. Chiado is good but the dishes are more "simple" and straightforward in execution. Especially George has a tasting menu so you'll get to sample a variety of dishes.

        6 Replies
        1. re: sbug206

          Definitely Chiado. If he's a chef, he'll appreciate a decent meal. And he won't do an analysis of the plate.

          But why not try a different approach. The Ms. is a superb cook. Were she in Toronto, I would take her to Tagine ( Moroccan,Lawrence east, on which I posted yesterday) for an interesting, excellent and superbly cooked meal in a nice, comfy room. And cheap, $22 for soup to nuts, literally. Don't be put off by the low price. The family that owns and cooks is new to the busines and full of enthusiam, energy- and talent.

          Not to worry because it is Moroccan. No weird ingredients or tastes. Refined cooking- there isn't the slightest suggestion of a heat (chili) or grease problem in the cooking.
          He might really like Tagine. and it is special. George's sort of fooling around you can have anywhere. Tagine may be distinctively memorable.

          VVM

          1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

            agreed
            not on Tagine because I've never been but on what was said about George.
            George is just fusion confusion

            1. re: j6p

              I have to disagree. I consider my first meal at George one of the best I've had in my limited life. I enjoyed the complexity and layering of flavours. George has nicer ambiance too.

              1. re: sbug206

                I have to disagree. I consider my first (and last) meal at George not one of the worst, but the worst meal that I've had in my limited life, considering its price and aspirations. I hated the lack of talent (no, bizarre or childish ideas) in creating and matching flavours and the overall bad aesthetic. Plus bad handling of some items. Then there was the offensive charade that this stuff was actually good, the proof of which was the very high prices. After paying so much , how many would admit that they had been had? Performance art, not good dining.
                But this was years ago, and the Ms. chose better than I did and had a better meal.
                VVM

                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                  I disagree. You're far more likely to hear disappointed reviews of an expensive restaurant (like George), where expectations are easily upset. I've had some bad experiences at George, some good, some worth the money, some not.

            2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

              I fully understand and appreciate your suggestion but that is the kind of meal we seek out all the time when he has a night off during the week. It is what we do for fun! The more interesting, weird, ethnic the better! :-)

              However, this is a special occasion where I want him to have wine pairings, a stunning plate and top-notch service.

          2. I've also been to both. It sounds like this is about pleasing your boyfriend. At George the food will have challenging pairings, be complex, have interesting plating, and demonstrate various techniques. At Chiado the food will be simple, the mains come with the same vegetables, there is less emphasis on plating and it doesn't demonstrate much technique other than searing and grilling. Your boyfriend may walk away from Chiado feeling that he could have duplicated this at home, I wouldn't say the same thing about George.
            Let us know where you end up and what he thought.

            3 Replies
            1. re: dubchild

              Based on Toronto standard, the meals that I had at Chiado were very good. However, the few tasting menus that I had at George were truly amazing. Worthy of a Michelin star IMO. Again, I am talking about Toronto only!

              1. re: dubchild

                Yes, I agree with dubchild completely, whereas I found food at both places delicious (except maybe certain thing like the 'dry soup' at Chiado which is way too heavy for me), I found the food at George more interesting in all aspect such as plating and combination. If plate presentation is a important factor, definitely go for George. I also like the atmosphere at George more than Chiado.

                1. re: dubchild

                  Agree. Chiado has really delicious Portuguese fish dishes and a great Portuguese wine list, but George is more likely to impress on just about every other level, especially those important to a chef.

                2. JennaBean, I guess what everyone is saying is it depends on what style your bf enjoys the most, modern fusion or Mediterranean rustic? Since you know that answer you know where to take him now.

                  Both places can be very romantic. Although George does have a magnificent patio, Chiado has a better post-dinner stroll.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Googs

                    I think for this special occasion I'd like him to be wowed. I've really enjoyed both places in the past but what's been confirmed by the group is that the presentation will be much more impressive at George which is a big part of what he loves about his job and a high-end dinning experience.

                    1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                      Getting back on topic......

                      My vote would be for George. Marvellous patio, excellent food, (although it's been over a year since I've last been). I must confess I've not been to Chiado yet. It is on my list but for some reason keeps getting bumped. I dunno know, just doesn't seem to have the wow factor for me.

                      Curious though on how it became narrowed down to these 2?

                      1. re: JennaBean

                        If you're looking for the "wow" experience, I don't think either one will do that. They're both solid restaurants but not one which I would go to for special occasion potential wow experience. Notwithstanding, you ask only for which is better... especially with wine paring, I'll go with George.

                    2. I've not been to George, but was recently at Chiado. It was a truly sublime experience. The fish was grilled to perfection and the service was the best I've had in a long, long time. It was quite a fabulous meal all in all.

                      1. First I’d like to thank all of you for your thoughts and suggestions. In the end we went with George for our special evening out and had a wonderful time.

                        We arrived for our reservation and were promptly seated at a lovely table in the courtyard. The soft lighting from the umbrella was added a soft glow to our table.

                        We considered the tasting menu but decided to order a la cart.

                        We each had three dishes plus the amuse.

                        Between the two of us we had the following dishes:

                        Lobster in phyllo dough
                        Octopus Salad with roasted red peppers
                        Veal Sweetbreads three ways
                        Wild Salmon with Artichoke Ravioli and smoked salmon
                        Lamb Loin with roasted Eggplant
                        Pacific Halibut with curry onion fritters and sweet corn foam

                        All of the dishes were beautiful in terms of plating. Some were pleasantly surprising in terms of the spice – ginger and curry with the lobster and phyllo. The highlights were the mains of lamb loin and pacific halibut. Both were outstanding dishes. Visually very appealing, cooked perfectly, generous portion side and stunning in terms of the combinations of flavour.

                        The only ‘let-down’ of the evening was the veal sweetbreads three ways. While they were prepared nicely, it wasn’t veal sweetbreads three ways, it was crispy sweetbreads with three types of garnish – one of which was an AMAZING cherry and chipotle. And let me quality let-down. Instead of a nine out of 10 there were a seven.

                        The service overall was good, but out server had one or two too many tables and as a result was a bit slow at times. However, she was pleasant, knowledgeable, and willing to go and ask the kitchen a question when I wanted to know about a specific item on my plate.

                        Overall this was exactly the kind of evening we were looking for.

                        A solid 8.5 out of 10 without a doubt.

                        To give you a point of comparison in terms of fine dining, when David Lee was at the top of his game at Spendido I would have given that dining experience a 9.5 out of 10.