First Look: Dine on 3, Yorkdale Shopping Centre’s new and improved food court
By Anna Silman
Dine on 3 (Images: Anna Silman)
The term "food court" does not traditionally conjure up favourable mental images. Prompting memories of greasy fast-food fare consumed under dingy lighting and a seemingly perpetual lack of seating, the food court, along with the high-school lunchroom and the prison cafeteria, has always been on par with some of the least glamorous forms of institutional dining. Yorkdale Shopping Centre's brand-new Dine on 3 food collection aims to change that.
As Yorkdale’s General Manager Anthony Casalanguida explains, Dine on 3 was conceived to create a dining experience worthy of the high-end shopping experience Yorkdale has become known for. The ultra-chic space is decked out with chandeliers, skylights, fireplaces and an immense outdoor patio seating 60. Diners can chow down in the spacious, open seating area, or tuck themselves away in a semi-enclosed dining nook, perfect for those seeking to get away from the hustle and bustle of mall life.
You’ll also find a number of particularly decadent flourishes, like fruit-infused water available at the guest services desk, or even a "fragrance butler" for those looking to freshen up their scent after a long day of retail therapy. (And don’t worry if you overdid it a little on the fruit-infused water – Dine on 3 has ultra-modern bathrooms, complete with a special “mommy's lounge.”)
Aside from some fast food mainstays like A&W and KFC, the dining options seem more suited to a chic, Queen West storefront than to a shopping mall. That means a host of new sit-down restaurants, many with liquor licences — because nothing gets those spending-juices flowing like a glass of bubbly — and even the ability to make table reservations in advance via the new Dine on 3 smartphone app.
Like any savvy businessman, Yorkdale’s head honcho knows that the more time you spend in a shopping centre, the more money you spend. Consequently, he wants Dine on 3 to be “an inviting space for people to re-energize and revitalize … and then go out and shop some more."
One of the Food Collection’s signature offerings is the first ever Su&Shi Noodle Bar, a new sushi and ramen concept from the creators of Spring Rolls. Capitalizing on the recent trend of ramen-mania, Su&Shi is a Japanese twist on Spring Rolls' traditional Asian-fusion dining, and features both a takeout concept and a sit-down dining area with 60-70 seats.
And if sandwiches are more your style, check out Glow Press, an offshoot of the trendy Glow restaurant at the Shops at Don Mills. Glow Press, under the guidance of health consultant Rose Reisman, has engineered a healthy twist on a classic favourite: the grilled cheese sandwich. Complete with gourmet cheeses, premium-quality bread and toppings like lobster and pulled pork, this is certainly no Subway sandwich (although you'll still be able to pick one up around the corner if the hankering strikes).
Another notable addition is Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria, the popular Alberta pizza chain, soon to be opening its second Ontario location in the Annex. The centrepiece of the restaurant is an immense pizza oven imported from Italy, adorned with red mosaics depicting Mount Vesuvius. Here, the pizza is cooked at 900 degrees Farenheit for 90 seconds, resulting in the bubbly thin crust that characterizes Neapolitan pizza. Famoso has both a sit-down restaurant and take-out counter, and the restaurant will remain open even after the rest of the food court has shut.
Finally – and we could go on – coffee-junkies can get their fix at gourmet Italian espresso chain Espressamente Illy, the first Illy in Ontario and the largest Illy in the world.
Yorkdale’s food collection opened to the public over the weekend. For those with who don’t mind eating in shopping malls, we promise you won’t be disappointed. That is, unless you were hoping for Arby’s — in which case, we're sorry, it’s been axed.
Dine on 3, 3401 Dufferin St.