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Nov 21, 2010 05:41 PM

London ON updates?

I lived in London for 4 years, about 4 years ago, and have since been back on the west coast (Vancouver). Some colleagues and I will be back in London in a couple months for a conference and will have 4-5 dinners in town. I thought I'd check in to see if my old favourites are still good places to eat, and see what new options there might be. I'm hoping for relaxed, moderately-priced meals (entrees under $20-25 preferably) and options further south in the city (we will be staying near White Oaks mall).

Old favourites:
Thuan Kieu
Hong Ping
Massey's (only got to try this once as they had just opened before I moved but I remember they were tasty)
Ring-a-Wing (don't judge!)
Prince Albert's Diner (for the kitsch factor)

Here are some new places that have caught my eye on the board. Do these sound like they might fit the bill?
The Church Key
Rei Dos Leitos
Si Senor

Thanks for your input!

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  1. Have been to Abruzzi once and it was good. Dinner entrees run towards the higher end of your range though:

    Would recommend a newer restaurant, Green Tea Asian Cuisine, over Hong Ping. Authentic Cantonese and very well executed. As a plus, it is located in the south end (near Wonderland and Southdale).

    1 Reply
    1. re: ibbileyta

      If you're all Vancouverites, I'd suggest passing on Shiki for sushi. Sushi in London is only so-so and can't compare to the offerings in Vancouver, simply due to its landlocked location.

      I wish I could make some suggestions to you, but I don't live in London and when I pass through, restaurants are chosen purely for proximity to the 401. As such, we usually wind up having pho at Ben Thanh by White Oaks Mall or having Korean at Take Sushi (right by Shiki). I find the sushi there below average and expensive, but the Korean options are decent.

      Take Sushi
      142 Fullarton St, London, ON N6A0A4, CA

    2. The Church Key serves decent pub food, with a few gastropubbish dishes.

      I like the churrasco chicken from Rei dos Leitos, but have only gotten take-out. They have the original location on Hamilton Road, and another location in Cherryhill Plaza on Oxford West.The plaza location (which looks like a fast food restaurant inside) closes by around 7 pm most nights IIRC, which I find inconvenient for restaurant offering take-out.

      I've been to Abruzzi 3 times. It's a decent Italian option for London. I prefer the food at La Casa, also on King.

      A newish option that's reasonably priced is Kantina, a Serbian restaurant located at 349 Talbot Street just south of King.

      I want to like Braise, but have found dishes to be hit or miss. I probably should revisit, to see how things are lately, but haven't had a chance.

      Barakat and Massey's are still great.

      I'd skip Chinese food in London if you're living in Vancouver. If you really want to eat Chinese food while you're in London,Tasty Coast on Springbank is my favourite Chinese option right now, but I'd stick to the Chinese dishes and avoid the Malaysian/Indonesian dishes.

      The Only on King serves fresh market cuisine, with mostly local ingredients, and is one of the better options for continental food downtown. Not too exciting, but usually well executed.

      Joe Kool's is an old standby for nachos, kitchen sink pizza, etc.

      One option in the south end you might want to consider is Nova Lisboa, located at 3 Glenroy Rd, near Pond Mills. I haven't been for a few years, but they served tasty, rustic Portuguese food last time I was there.


      Church Key
      476 Richmond St, London, ON N6A, CA

      Barakat Restaurant
      , London, ON N6B, CA

      2 Replies
      1. re: phoenikia

        I would echo most of phoenikia's suggestions and add the Morrissey House on Dundas which calls itself a "Local" (pub) and serves fantastic fish and chips.

        Another new option is "Relish" in Wortley Village for about 30 different kinds of burgers including beef, lamb and bison.

        You'll have trouble hitting your target of entrees under $25 at Braise and The Only on King.

        The Only on King
        172 King St, London, ON N6A, CA

        The Morrissey House
        359 Dundas St, London, ON N6B, CA

        1. re: foodtvtype

          Sorry, I didn't realize that the Only raised their prices since my last visit!
          Most mains are currently between $27-$29.

      2. Thanks for the feedback!

        I guess we will skip Shiki. I agree that the fish wouldn't be as fresh and I recall it was a bit on the expensive side. They did have a 'sansai yamakake' that I loved and haven't been able to find elsewhere. I also remember feeling like I'd stepped into some alternate universe some nights when dining there - once we saw a table full of Japanese businessmen, and another time a table of Japanese construction workers wearing uniforms typical of those worn in Japan!. We wondered if there might be some secret wormhole through the kitchen...

        I don't think we'll seek out other Chinese options, even if there are better places. I only mentioned Hong Ping out of sentimental reasons as I enjoyed chatting with the young owners there when they first made the move from bubble tea shop to restaurant.

        I was never much a fan of Ben Thanh (terrible pad thai, not that it is a Thai establishment)... but the location by White Oaks Mall sounds convenient. That said, Thuan Kieu was always my pick for Vietnamese.

        Nova Lisboa and Kantina both sound really interesting. Relish sounds fun too, and might prevent us from resorting to Jack Astors (which I notice is near our hotel).

        Jack Astor's
        1090 Don Mills Rd, Toronto, ON M3C3R6, CA

        Hong Ping Restaurant
        339 Horton St E, London, ON N6B1L6, CA

        Thuan Kieu Restaurant
        1472 Huron St, London, ON N5V2E5, CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: twinkienic

          I'm also not a fan of Ben Thanh. I also like Thuan Kieu, as well as Viet Nam restaurant on Dundas St near Kellogg's and Que Hong on Highbury at Huron in the plaza.

          Even though Shiki's sushi isn't going to compare to the sushi you get in Vancouver, I'd still consider it the best restaurant in the south end of town. You could always stick to the cooked dishes, and they always seem to have specials that are difficult to find in other Japanese restaurants. I've also seen lots of Japanese customers eating at Shiki over the years.

          There's also a Keg on Wellington near Southdale Road, if you want to stay in the south end, but avoid Jack Astor's.

          Let us know where you end up eating!

          Jack Astor's
          1090 Don Mills Rd, Toronto, ON M3C3R6, CA

          Thuan Kieu Restaurant
          1472 Huron St, London, ON N5V2E5, CA

          Viet Nam Restaurant
          1074 Dundas St, London, ON N5W3A6, CA

        2. I'm fairly new to London, but have enjoyed both Abruzzi & Church Key.

          I had lunch at Church Key and found it to be excellent value. My meal there veered torwards gastropub selections and was very pleasantly surprised by the meal.

          I recently had dinner at Abruzzi, and enjoyed pizza with duck on it. As a Torontonian, I couldn't help compare it to my favourite duck pizza from Pizzeria Libretto. It was not as good, and more expensive. However, I'd return. Lovely atmosphere and I would like to try their pastas.

          I haven't seen it mentioned here, but I recently went to Quynh Nhi, a vietnamese restaurant on Wharncliffe. I didn't actually get any vietnamese food and instead ordered the pad thai on a recommendation and REALLY enjoyed it. It was very different then most pad thai's I've had. It is not of the sweet, sugary variety but more balanced with good heat.

          I'm still looking to try Massey's!

          Church Key
          476 Richmond St, London, ON N6A, CA

          Quynh Nhi
          55 Wharncliffe Rd N, London, ON N6H2A4, CA