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Restaurant Reviews

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Agave y Aguacate

Francisco Alejandri gets his first real restaurant.
February 03, 2014

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Bero

Leslieville’s Bero serves up food that either wows or disappoints.
January 20, 2014

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews La Cascina

Midtown’s La Cascina seduces with Italian fare.
January 13, 2014

Joanne Kates’ Souperstars: Canada’s first lady of food shares her top 10 Toronto soups

Soup has always been my favourite food. From my bubby's supernal chicken noodle soup, to the ramen and pho of today, with pit stops for bouillabaisse, black bean and miso, I always choose soup first.
January 06, 2014

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews The Chase

You have to get cold to go to the hottest new restaurant in Toronto — and that may be its undoing.
December 09, 2013

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Drake One Fifty

There are people in this world who like their food with the volume turned up. Maybe their marriage sucks. Or they’re on a really boring date. Or they’re out with an old friend out of obligation and there’s nothing left to say. Diners in any of these situations might really enjoy dinner at the Drake Hotel’s new extension of its brand (as they say on their website).
December 02, 2013

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Woods

I am gobsmacked. Utterly confused. Freaked out even. When Bruce Woods was chef at Modus Ristorante (2011–2012), he produced some of the best traditional Italian food in Toronto. There were ethereal gnocchi, deep rich sauces, great hunks of fabulous meat and wonderful pastas.
November 20, 2013

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Valdez

How is it that the hottest table in town has slightly dumb service? Is there any sense to every course being delivered by a different person (some of whom make up what’s on the plate)? Or maybe this is something we should appreciate because the chef/owner of Valdez, Steve Gonzalez, gets that the only way to ensure good cooking is to do it yourself rather than swanning around the front of the house.
October 31, 2013

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Origin North

I am sometimes confused about how to present myself. It’s clear from the amount of Lululemon walking down the street that other women of my age and income bracket may have similar confusion. We parade around town wearing booty-hugging “yoga pants” that show off all the fat we’re avoiding by our gym habits and non-fat skinny lattes. Is this what my mother looked like at 63?
September 25, 2013

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews THR & Co.

Meh. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. THR & Co. is what happened when the Harbord Room was super successful: Messis next door went on the block, and chef/co-owner Cory Vitiello of the Harbord Room just couldn’t resist.
August 28, 2013

Kates: Playa Cabana Cantina is bigger, bolder and better than the original

Playa Cabana 2.0 is even more fun than its Dupont Street original. It’s bigger and bolder, a carefully curated American roadhouse with hot pink neon, highway signs and big metal sombreros doubling as lights over the bar. What a great taqueria — and they take reservations!
August 07, 2013

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Catch

It has become commonplace for people of a certain age to kvetch like crazy about the cool new restaurants that don’t take reservations or have backs on their chairs or make you welcome, that serve fatty pig and play the music at rock concert levels.
July 24, 2013

Kates: Kensington Market’s new taqueria is great, if you know what to get

The hottest new taqueria in town is… inconsistent. It’s summer in the city, you want it hot, and Pancho needs to turn up the temperature. Till then, cherry-pick the menu.
July 09, 2013

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Vita Sociale

Downtown has finally come uptown. Close your eyes, click your heels three times and you could be dining at Buca. Only it’ll be cheaper at Vita Sociale because when owner Armando Mano abandoned Centro earlier this year, he got really smart. Fine dining is so ’90s. The people want (in this order) inexpensive food, they want it to be Italian and they want hot young wait staff.
June 26, 2013

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Kingyo

The restaurant space on Winchester Street has been a killer forever. Whoever goes in there sinks like stone. There have been some dogs in that space … and some good ones that also died. What do foodies have against Cabbagetown, other than it isn’t Dundas West?
June 19, 2013

Kates: at Kensington Market’s new burger joint, the milkshake steals the show

Kensington Market in the summer is about as fun as Toronto gets. The last Sunday of every warm month they go 100 per cent pedestrian from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. But it’s always funky there. And nothing funkier than the new burger joint The Burgernator.
June 10, 2013

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Bar Isabel

If Grant van Gameren were a one-trick pony, you would not be reading this column. Because he would have opened son of The Black Hoof, and why bother with that? After Grant, who was its founding chef, left the Hoof in 2011, he ate his way around Europe, finding most felicity in the tapas of Spain.
May 29, 2013

Kates: can good food be found at Sabai Sabai Kitchen, or just good bar food?

When chef Nuit Regular, the wizard from Chiang Mai, decamped from Khao San Road to open Sabai Sabai, the word “bar” appeared quite frequently in descriptions of the new place. It is, indeed, cooler; charcoal grey punctuated by dozens of Edison lights, music booming.
May 15, 2013

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews The Emerson

In the heyday of Pastis, I’m pretty sure that super maître d’/owner Georges Gurnon never put hand to stove. But he nevertheless maintained ironclad control over the food, thanks to his fabulous French aesthetic, the icing on the cake of passion and professionalism.
April 17, 2013

Kates: is Skin+Bones worth the trek to Leslieville?

If you live in Leslieville, Skin+Bones is a great neighbourhood go-to. But is it, in the words of the Michelin guide, “worth a special journey?” Only if fried meat fat is your drug of choice.
April 08, 2013