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Actinolite, Acadia, Table17, Ici Bistro or Yours Truly - Please help pick one based on flavourful food only!

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Hello Chow-friends,

I was going through my 'chow-related' notes yesterday and noticed that I still have not tried out the above captioned list of new or relatively new restaurants.

Avoiding the Father's day crowd over the weekend, my family decided to have a post- father's 'week day' eat-out instead. With establishment offering the most flavorful food as THE ONLY selection criteria and by-passing other factors like service, food presentation, wine, atmosphere...etc. Which ONE would you suggest??!!

{ For your reference: Toronto food that appealed to me were from JOV Bistro, David Lee's Splendido, Scaramouche, George, Pastis, Simple Bistro...etc. Food that I found ho-hum and did not hit the right note with me were from Susur, Aprile's cooking from both Senses or Colborne Lane, Batifole, Bymark and N 44. }

Thanks in advance!

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  1. I've only been to Table 17 of those on your list. PASS! At best, it's a good neighbourhood spot. At worse, it's very unsatisfying food. Not a destination. I could go on...but there's ample commentary on a Table 17 thread that exists already.

    1. I would go to Acadia. Patrick Kriss, former chef de cuisine at Splendido is now head chef at Acadia. When I went for Matt Blondin's last dinner, a couple of the dishes were Patrick's. Very good.

      10 Replies
      1. re: TorontoJo

        I agree completely. Acadia can only get better with Pat there. The new dishes are stunning.

        1. re: Matt416

          Having been to what I'd say are your best options (Acadia, Ici Bistro, Yours Truly), my most flavourful meal came from Yours Truly. That being said, I don't know that you want to take a chance with what they're tweaking with in the kitchen on any particular night. I found the flavours to be more on the subtle side at Acadia, although the dishes are polished. Ici has never blown my mind, but it is bistro food done very well.

          1. re: dlw88

            Honestly, I wasn't thrilled with YT, but that was not because the food or service was bad. It wasn't. Its just that with the limited menu, what they were offering that evening was not really my preferred flavours etc. My bf, on the other hand, LOVED it (we ate the same meal) because the foods and flavours were more his style. So in that sense, it could be a bit of a risk..

            1. re: hungryabbey

              Yours Truly, on the other hand, was probably the most underwhelming meal I have had this year. Very sloppy service as well.

              1. re: Matt416

                More like shitty service. Actually the worst I've had in Toronto (or anywhere for that matter) in a very long time.

                1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                  I've been twice - with excellent service both times.
                  Even though I had a couple of 'bizarre' dishes the first time, the server remembered me (and my comments) and went out of her way to ensure the 'problems' weren't repeated.

                  1. re: estufarian

                    Well I won't be giving them a return visit, plain and simple. Amateur at best, rude at worst.

            2. re: dlw88

              Ici Bistro's food isn't done very well and inconsistent to boot. As it's on the high end of the price range for bistros, there should not be any excuses. And if my last experience was any indication, don't take the early sitting. JP screwed up the soufflé and refused to redo it because he had another table coming in for the second sitting. But it wasn't our fault as the food came out slow so most of the time we were waiting for our dishes. AND he still charged for the uncooked soufflé.

              1. re: Wandering Foodie

                Thanks for the warning on Ici Bistro. If questionable food is not back up by friendly service and 'sensitive and accommodating' management. then it will take special circumstances to lure me to try out the establishment. Afterall we are the 'paying' customers!!
                For Bistro food, guess I'll stick to my favourites: Pastis, Mogette, Harbord Room or Simple Bistro.
                Unfortunately, no one can replicate the now defunct 'JOV Bistro'! My favourite TO Bistro of all time! Sigh!!

                1. re: Charles Yu

                  Hm, that's too bad about your experience Wandering Foodie. We enjoyed our meal, it was nothing truly remarkable, but everything was enjoyed. When did you have this experience?

        2. I've been to all of the places on your list in this would be my recommendation in order:

          Acadia (probably my fav TO restaurant right now), Ici Bistro, Actinolite, Yours Truly, Table 17 (which I hated)

          1. Table 17 is OK for what it is but it does not come up to the standard you are looking for.

            I would actually recommend going off this list to Ursa

            1. from your list i have only tried acadia, and only once at that, so take this for what it's worth. i found the meal a bit underwhelming. certainly some beautiful plating, and a good level of ambition in the kitchen, but the flavors were very muted and just not as exciting or punchy as i'd hoped. we really did not care for the cornbread, and as it turns out the sweet potato/bourbon butter is a lot less exciting than it sounds, which i guess kind of sums up our meal generally.

              1. Many thanks, girls and boys!! That was some quick responses!

                I think I'll settle on Acadia!

                Actually, in the beginning, after reading all the clippings and positive reviews, my first choice was Yours Truly. Then I got on their website and noticed they use the same ' Food matrix' as NYC's Eleven Madison Park ( which I just ate in last month and found the food too 'molecular' and subtle in taste! ). As such, I was hesitant and don't want to risk having another relatively 'bland' experience! Your Acadia recommendation helps me a lot in deciding!

                If only Toronto has something like a NYC's Casa Mono ( Spanish Tapas ) whose food are so delicious and the flavor so intense but yet so 'balanced' and 'complex'!!!

                4 Replies
                1. re: Charles Yu

                  Edulis and Lamesa presently sit at the top of my must try list, and I think the latter could be the flavour explosion that you are seeking.

                  1. re: dlw88

                    I would also say Edulis has great potential in that area, we had a very nice meal there, there's clearly a lot of Spanish influence but the rustic country asador and not really tapas (and to be clear this is a very good thing). Big flavour for sure. The complexity angle isn't there yet though, I think they need a little more time to get the kinks out in the kitchen, there are limits on what can be done there with only Michael at the stoves, but they are looking for more kitchen help.

                    1. re: dlw88

                      Edulis looked interesting! Might add that to Acadia for family consideration.

                      However, will pass on Lamesa since we are not fond of Filipino food ( Filipino maids in Hong Kong have exposed us to their cuisine for the past couple decades!! )

                    2. re: Charles Yu

                      I went to Acadia this week and it was fantastic, can't really go wrong, all our dishes were very tasty

                    3. If it isn't apparent already - skip Table 17 - a competent neighbourhood place at best.

                      Yours Truly is still a 'work-in-progress'. I've had excellent stuff there (and stuff I've left) - but I wouldn't risk a 'family' event there (e.g. everyone has to have the same dessert - or did on each of my visits).

                      Ici is attempting to be more than a neighbourhood place - but is also hit-and-miss.

                      Actinolite is unmapped territory for me.

                      Acadia (almost by default) remains as the best choice. My meal there was competent - but ridiculously priced for what we got. Presentation was sloppy, service was 'casual at best' wines were 'just OK' - perfectly appropriate for a neighbourhood place - but NOT at the $275 it cost us for 2. Beware the 'water charge' - $8 for Q water - it cost us $24 BEFORE tax and gratuity. So we never returned, although food was good without being exciting (I know others views may differ).

                      HOWEVER I haven't been since Patrick took over - so I fully intend to try it again under the new regime. So, selfishly, please go there and give us a report!