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3 new places to hit

ekim256 Jun 12, 2011 12:05 AM

Hi Chows,
I've been on the road so I've been out of touch with what's going on. I've been peeking though! I'm back in Toronto for a week, and I would like to have a few options to keep in my back pocket...some aren't really new, but just haven't been noshed yet:

Le Cafe Michi
Marben (I know I know...shame on me for not going there sooner)
Shiso Tree Cafe

And a couple of non-fancy non-exciting Asian options for my picky father:
Bi Bim Bap Korean Stone Bowl Riceteria
Grand Chinese Cuisine

Others? I realize that this is more than 3...but I won't know where I'll be this week so I'm spreading them out :P

Danke Danke


488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

Le Cafe Michi
1802 Pharmacy Ave, Toronto, ON M1T1H6, CA

Grand Chinese Cuisine
655 Dixon Rd, Toronto, ON M9W1J3, CA

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  1. meatnveg RE: ekim256 Jun 12, 2011 08:28 AM

    - Marben: wnt last night and highly recommend it. Go for the pig roast (basically they take an entire pig and have a 20 person dinner from it). It's the last Sunday of every month and rezzies are needed.
    - Wvrst: An all sausage only menu!! I had the Kangaroo sausage yesterday, quite good. It's at the old Thuet Conviction spot. Others include rabbit, pheasant, vension, bison, wild boar...
    - Enoteca Sociale.
    - Woodlot
    - Frank's Kitchen

    609 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

    488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

    Enoteca Sociale
    1288 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

    Frank's Kitchen
    588 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1B2, CA

    609 King St W, Toronto, ON , CA

    1. TorontoJo RE: ekim256 Jun 12, 2011 08:38 AM

      Marben, yes -- try the pulled pork croquette for porky, crunchy goodness.

      Fishbar, meh. Just went on Friday and in no hurry to go back.

      I'm not sure that Bi Bim Bap would be particularly exciting for a Korean family -- it sounds like he's toned down his flavours for the neighbourhood and the banchan offerings are limited.

      488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA

      3 Replies
      1. re: TorontoJo
        pescatarian RE: TorontoJo Jun 13, 2011 11:11 AM

        I was at Bi Bim Bap when I was in the area a few weeks ago. I am not Korean, but I've eaten at number of more authentic (I think) Korean restaurants in TO over the years. My favourite place to get bi bim bap is Buk Don Chang Soon Tofu. Bi Bim Bap is definitely different. I wish they had more of the usual banchan offerings. I could do without the miso soup (don't think it goes with the bi bim bap) but the kimchi was good). I ordered the spiciest hot sauce and it wasn't that hot. However, the Bi Bim Baps were good. Served in stoned bowls. My friend had the traditonal version and I thought it was interesting because they use more greens in their version than in the other places I've been to. I've read on other boards that the veggies we get at the typical places aren't really that authentic and that there are more local greens in a traditional bi bim bap (I can't remember the usual green that is supposed to be more traditional and I can't remember what was included in Bi Bim Bap's version, but I wonder if it is in fact trying to be more traditional in that sense). They have many different variations on the traditional bi bim bap (not traditional, I don't think to have so many variations) and I tried one of the variations, which was a seed bi bim bap, with a multitude of different types of seeds with the rice and veg. It was delicious. I didn't get an overwhelming sense of authenticity, but it was very good. They also brought a (cold) cinnamon tea at the end of the meal, which was very nice. The prices were slightly higher than the usual joints I go. Overall, the food tasted very good, the service was good (the owner was very friendly and seemed to care about the food) and I think it is worth a visit for the food, not necessarily for the level of authenticity of the food. I wouldn't go out of my way for it, but if in the area (while I will often make a special trip to Buk Don), I would go again.

        1. re: pescatarian
          ekim256 RE: pescatarian Jun 17, 2011 12:32 PM

          My loveable and oh so cranky father wanted bi bim bap, then at the last minute decided to pull over in the dt ktown because he was "too hungrrrryyy" and he ended up at Arisu. I had bibimbap because i was craving it and we also ordered mackerel.

          not impressed. If I knew my dad was gonna pull a fast one, I would've taken him to Etsu or Hana for a cheaper and tastier bowl. Or to Swish for the lobster stone bowl.
          The gochujang was not up to par, their banchan was good, but their bibimbap was disappointing. I thought of returning to try their soups, because thats what I originally wanted but it's more of a sharing thing and my dad wasn't in the mood, but I don't foresee myself going back.

          Appreciate the feedback Jo and pescatarian - I might have a chance it check it out. I missed fiddlehead season (sadness!) and too busy to make my own...craving Korean food like crazy since I've been on the road :-)


          45 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T 1Y9, CA

        2. re: TorontoJo
          ekim256 RE: TorontoJo Jun 18, 2011 09:30 AM

          they were out of the pulled pork :( had the jerk chicken and soft shell crab salad. The crab was good, the jerk was not memorable. It took while to be told that they ran out of pulled pork, then to get a menu to re-order. My friend was pretty hungry from a long flight home so I felt bad that we had to keep waiting. Good patio though :D

        3. jlunar RE: ekim256 Jun 12, 2011 09:35 AM

          Have had some good meals at Mot Na Son up in North York if you want a Korean option. Not that I'm any judge of authenticity and all that, but they do have less-seen options (so I'm told) of cold corn noodle and the hot pepper pancake.

          Enoteca Sociale is really quite good.

          Mot Na Son Restaurant
          5374 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2N5R5, CA

          Enoteca Sociale
          1288 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

          1. s
            szw RE: ekim256 Jun 12, 2011 10:41 AM

            To be honest, I would not recommend Bi Bim Bap to an asian person. Instead, go to Song Cook at Yonge/Steeles

            1 Reply
            1. re: szw
              berbere RE: szw Jun 18, 2011 03:29 PM

              I beg to differ - to each her own for sure - I would recommend Bi Bim Bap to other asians/koreans who already know the real thing and want to try something that's a bit different, a little bold and made with a health conscious approach. the bibimbap variations at this resto are not what you would find at most korean restos in the city: altho their traditional bibmbap is more traditional in the toppings and rice they use, the other mushroom or seed baps are variations on the traditional dish. I appreciate the variations and the fact that they take so much care with their ingredients, toppings, and particularly the rice. I've taken my mother and other koreans here and we can definitely taste the difference in the way they prepare the rice which is the foundation for any bibimbap. as tradition-bound and picky as my mother and her friends are when it comes to korean food, they appreciate this place because they can see the care put into the preparations of dishes here and prefer the quality of this place over the quantity produced at other places. I like Song Cook as well, but it's a bigger operation, and as a result perhaps, it's a bit inconsistent and the care is not there. While I like their food it;s a bit on the greasy side. it's also a bit pricey as well if you look at the prices for the rice and 'sides' that you order separately, since Song Cook does not provide a lot of side dishes, only kimchi. the sauces are not that hot at Bi Bim Bap but I agree with the owner - who was quoted elsewhere here or in another post - that in many korean homes the chili sauce has less heat than at the restaurants: that's certainly true of our home as we find that too much heat will just kill the taste. (I'll admit, in younger days, me and the siblings would make all dishes hotter just because we could, tho we regretted it later).

              I guess it depends on what you're looking for: if you want a traditional spread with banchan but nothing too out of the ordinary korean, then go to MotNaSon or BukChangDong, Korean Village, etc. Song Cook I would recomend for Chinese-Korean fare (despite touting themselves as a bibimbap restaurant, their bbb is not that great or different). If you want a little more health-conscious korean fare, that's a bit different, try Bi Bim Bap.

            2. p
              piccola RE: ekim256 Jun 12, 2011 05:56 PM

              I can't vouch for these, but they're on my list:

              Hot Beans

              1426 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M6P 3L5, CA

              1 Reply
              1. re: piccola
                ekim256 RE: piccola Jun 17, 2011 12:38 PM

                merci merci! i trust your research :-)

              2. p
                Pincus RE: ekim256 Jun 13, 2011 12:44 PM

                Le Cafe Michi isn't the best sushi I've had in town, but it's in the top five. Plus they have yummy cake slices for dessert. Even their sugar-free recipe tastes pretty good.

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