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Restaurant Reviews

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Strada 241

For the Rubino brothers to open a pizzeria on Spadina is like Meryl Streep playing a walk-on. Like, why? Well, for one, Ame didn’t exactly end well. Their attempt at high-end ultra-modern Japanese and a sophisticated Asian bar met with recessionary times … and it closed.
December 19, 2012

Kates: Museum Tavern is more than just a pretty face

Fun pub grub is rare and sweet, for too often it’s grease all the way. If you find yourself hungry on Millionaire’s Mile at Bloor and Avenue, good luck. Precious little there is fit for humans to eat. The new Museum Tavern, a splendid-looking homage to Parisian bistros like Le Vaudeville, dishes more than good looks.
December 10, 2012

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Café Boulud

When a New York superchef like Daniel Boulud comes to Toronto, a foodie has to go. You can’t just ignore it. You can, however, feel sad that our beloved local superstar hotel, the Four Seasons, wasn’t confident enough to go it on its own, foodwise. Okay, so the super-snazzy Truffles in the old Four Seasons wasn’t a money-maker, and the Studio Café, despite its great beauty, was never exactly a hotbed of gastronomy.
November 28, 2012

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Acadia

At 9:20 on Monday night at Acadia, I went to the bathroom. Not so unusual. But the bathroom itself was. Both rolls of toilet paper in my stall were folded on those cute little v’s like in hotel rooms. It was immaculate and smelled good. All of which was surprising in an almost-full restaurant mid-evening.
November 07, 2012

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Momofuku Noodle Bar

Dammit, the Emperor is back and he’s in his boxers again. I have been wanting (dare I say pining) to go to David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York for years. So of course, I, like every other foodie in Toronto, was ecstatic when Chang opened Momofuku Toronto on University Avenue. Who doesn’t want to go to a noodle shop revisioned as a three-storey glass cube with a monumental gold-toned sculpture out front?
October 24, 2012

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Origin Liberty

Here we go again with the absentee chef thing. Such a crapshoot. Clearly some chefs (cooks?) can make it work. Mark McEwan. Oliver & Bonacini. McDonald’s. Timmy’s. Mario Batali in New York. But mostly it doesn’t work because with food prep, especially at the high end, the devil is in the details.
October 17, 2012

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Bent

A family business is a very complicated creature. The older generation desperately wants the younger generation to succeed. The younger generation desperately wants the older generation out of their face, but they know (some days) that they need them. The older generation wants to trust the younger to do well and do right, but trust isn’t usually an entrepreneur’s strong suit … so they meddle. And if they’re Susur Lee, they meddle deliciously.
September 26, 2012

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Stack

Uptown’s answer to Roncy’s Barque Smokehouse … isn’t. Funny (to me) how popular Stack became the second it opened in the spring. So don’t show up without a reservation at prime time unless you want to wait.
September 19, 2012

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Hoof Raw Bar

Since Grant van Gameren hoofed it from The Hoof last year, it’s not been clear whether (now sole) owner Jen Agg has the creative vision to sustain and renew the brand. A mixologist by trade, she was never going to have it easy with the departure of her wunderkind chef/partner. The Black Hoof itself is not, in my view, as fabulous as it was under Grant.
August 29, 2012

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Hawker Bar

I have an unfortunate thing with chicken wings. I wish I didn’t. Wouldn’t it be great if I couldn’t get enough kale … or rapini … or Brussels sprouts? Good luck with that. As for the chicken wings problem, dining at Hawker Bar was an opportunity for major backsliding.
July 26, 2012

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Edulis

Anton Potvin had enough of walking the floor every night at his marvellous Niagara Street Café, and his friends, the husband-and-wife culinary team of Tobey Nemeth and Michael Caballo, were just back from four years of cooking their way around the world. They made the deal, sealed it with a tequila, and shazam, Niagara Street Café became Edulis, Nemeth and Caballo’s new baby.
June 27, 2012

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews The Grove

At first it is confusing to me how easy it is to get a reservation at The Grove. The blogosphere has been flattering about the food, so what gives?
June 13, 2012

Table Talk: Joanne Kates reviews Gusto 101

I don’t think Conrad Black is dining at Gusto 101. For one thing, they don’t take reservations after 6 p.m., and for another, His Lordship might not like the noise. It might remind him too much of where he spent his last couple of years. Oh, and for another thing, most of the good stuff at Gusto is pretty high carb, and Lord Black is apparently trying to lose weight after all the carbs he ate you-know-where.
June 01, 2012

Meaty mandates: Bestellen and Ursa offer their takes on Toronto’s carnivore craze

As Toronto's carnivore craze hits new heights, we check out two takes on this tasty trend
April 30, 2012

Sea-ing is believing: Hopgood's Foodliner and Catch reviewed

Two new Toronto restaurants get serious with seafood
March 15, 2012

Roncy restaurant revival

The Ace and The Westerly lead charge as centre of the culinary universe heads west
February 15, 2012

Four little bistros that could

A quartet of the city’s most charming French restaurants
February 08, 2012

Children of the Hoof

Grand Electric shines, while Grant van Gameren adds his magic to Enoteca Sociale
January 18, 2012

The rise of east end eateries

The perpetually sketchy corner of Gerrard and Carlaw holds a special place in my heart. It was there, years ago, that I indulged in a $1.99 breakfast at Gee’s Bar and Restaurant each and every Saturday, back when I thought McCain Tasti Taters were humanity’s greatest invention. Then, one day, Gee’s upped the price of its greasy breakfast to $2.49. I never went back.
December 21, 2011

Northern Italian Exposure

A name like F’Amelia has that romantic, roll-off-your-tongue swagger that makes it sound like it means something in Italian, but it doesn’t. It’s a perfect name nonetheless for a new Cabbagetown restaurant.
November 16, 2011