Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Trio Restaurant

Date Visited: Dinner on Wednesday Jul 22, 2015
Company: +Will

Trio Restaurant in the Novotel Hotel in North York was the restaurant my friends and I decided to go for our usual Summerlicious meal. However, Stanley got delayed on his flight from New York so we unfortunately had to cancel that dinner. I discovered that Novotel is actually attached to +Will's place of work though so we could still check it out ourselves another night since I was in town for Wayhome the next day. Helpful thing to note is that they will validate your parking if you use the hotel garage below the building!

The restaurant was very empty when we arrived but looked extremely classy with lots of sun shining in. We took a look at the menu and ended up both getting the exact same things. We started off with the 5-Hour Pulled Pork with caramelized onions and a Canadian cheddar mac & cheese fritter on top. The presentation was on point for this dish, so pretty! There were a lot of flavours on the plate. I wasn't a big fan of the white ranch-like sauce on top as I  didn't think it went well with the pulled pork. Also the fritter was a bit too well-done to the point where it was hard. Unfortunately, it didn't impress me as much as the plating.

For my main, I went for the Grilled Sirloin on a Portobello mushroom on mashed potatoes and chimichurri with frizzled onions. The smell of the chimichurri was very potent, you definitely could smell the basil in there. I asked my steak to be medium-well but it was more well-done as there was no pink whatsoever and it was a tough to chew. Other than that, the rest of the dish was delicious. The portobello was cooked perfectly and the mashed potatoes were very buttery. Extremely filling!

Lastly was the Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse, it came in a cute little glass and was a nice amount to end the meal. It was very light and tasty. 

Food: 2.5/5 - Better than what you would normally find in a hotel restaurant, but could have been better.
Decor: 3/5 - Bright and classy, lots of tables. Very quiet when we were there.
Service: 4/5 - Waiter was kind and very professional.
Willingness to go back: 1/5 - Wouldn't come out of my way to return.
Overall: 2/5


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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Via Mercanti

Date Visited: Dinner on Thursday Jul 9, 2015
Company: +Will Ives 

So this year, I gave Will the job of choosing a Summerlicious restaurant for us to try! He decided on Via Mercanto, an Italian restaurant located across the street from Sick Kids Hospital that is known for its authentic pizza. I was impressed and excited to try this place, I didn't realize how close it was to us either so we could go again easily in the future. It was a sunny evening so the patio was packed by the time we got there, we also followed suit as the inside looked fairly empty. When we first got the menu, we didn't see any Summerlicious on there so we had to ask specifically for that. The service was a bit slow, especially with water and taking our orders. We decided on totally separate items so we could share our meal. 

For the appetizer, I ordered the Caprese Salad with Fior de latte cheese, Roma tomatoes serviced on a bed of arugula with basil dressed in extra virgin olive oil. It looked very pretty on the plate and a good size also. The ingredients were all excellent but I thought it could have used a bit more flavour as it was a bit bland. Will got the Rancino Di Riso, a rice ball with Risotto, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Peas, and Beef. I was pleasantly surprised how delicious this was! There was a ton of flavour in the ball and the consistency of the rice with cheese and beef was excellent. I definitely could have had a few of these. 

For my main, I knew I wanted to try their pizza but couldn't decide between the Vegetarian or Romolo's. I read that the Romolo's Pizza, a half tomato sauce, half olive oil with Fior de latte, Prosciutto cotto and Mixed mushrooms is one of their classic dishes so I opted for that and also because Will would be more willing to eat it (without the veggies). I enjoyed the tomato side better cause I'm not really a fan of the smell of olive oil and found it overpowering. Other than that, the dough was very crispy but a bit hard, I thought it could be a bit more chewy. 
Will went for the Faggotino Di Parma, Housemade pasta in a cream sauce wrapped in Prosciutto crudo. This pasta was delicious, the sauce was extremely cheesy and the prosciutto was amazing, there was a lot of it surprisingly! I did find everything a bit salty though from the excess of cheese, great dish otherwise.

Finally, for dessert I went for the Tiramisu and Will got the Chocolate Gelato. The presentation of the Tiramisu was excellent, the piece was kind of small but they sprinkled lots of cocoa powder to appeal to the eye. The flavour was great and the cake was very spongey and light! As for the Gelato, it tasted like chocolate, I don't have much else to add to that :)

Food: 3/5 - Not going to lie, my taste buds may have been a bit off due to a bit of sickness but found a lot of flavours more prominent than others in the dishes.
Decor: 2/5 - Didn't see much of the interior decor but the the outside was a bit difficult to find and the seats weren't very comfortable on the patio.
Service: 1.5/5 - Not the best, very slow.
Willingness to go back: 2.5/5 - Would give it another shot, had lots of good options on their menu.
Overall: 2/5

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Teahouse

Date Visited: Lunch on Friday Jul 3, 2015
Company: Walk-in for 4

This summer during the Canada Day long weekend, I finally got a chance to visit +Will's hometown of Vancouver, BC. I was especially excited to try their restaurants as I was told they had amazing fruits and fresh fish! We tried to plan our days and meals accordingly to try some local spots as well as his family's homemade dishes. We had one morning designated for tandem biking around Stanley Park and co-ordinated with his brother Sam and girlfriend Beth to meet-up for lunch at The Teahouse, situated within the park. They were hanging out the beach just down the road from the restaurant and we were lucky that they spotted us biking up a large hill to get to there. 

We didn't have a reservation so they had to give us a buzzer to wait for a table as it was really busy. Luckily, the view and surroundings is beautiful to check out while you wait. We got a table about 20 minutes later and I have to say that the decor inside is equally as beautiful... There were a ton of windows to bring in light and even a sun room section of the restaurant. Teahouse would definitely be a good way to describe it or even like a fancy garden party, the crowd was on the older, well-dressed side. 

To start, we got some non-alcoholic drinks as they sounded really good. I can't exactly remember what I got but it was a Strawberry and Pineapple drink rimmed with Cinnamon. It was so refreshing and delicious, +Will wanted to order his own after he tried mine.

We were also given some fresh bread to start which was great because we were starving after a morning of biking. We also saw that they had a Charcuterie Board on their specials menu and decided to have that as an appetizer. It came with some mustard, salami, prosciutto, pickles, mustard, and crisps. Everything was delicious and had it's own character. The mustard was a big hit and the meat was extremely fresh. The crisps had some raisins to give it some flavour.

For my main, I couldn't decide between the Salmon Burger or Caesar Salad, I knew I wanted to try salmon since I hadn't yet while in Vancouver. In the end I went for the Salmon Caesar since I knew I would get full from the starter and drink. Sam got the burger so at least I could see what it looked like also. I was a bit surprised how thin the salmon was, especially on the burger, I thought it would be more like a steak. On the salad was fine since it is a lighter dish. The flavour really stood out especially with the way they cooked it, really crispy on the outside. The flavour of the dressing was on point as well and they didn't put too much on it. They left their leaves long on the salad which I do enjoy being able to cut them yourself with the fresh salmon.

Overall, a lovely lunch in a beautiful restaurant. Definitely worth the visit if you're planning a trip to the park and don't mind paying for a fancier meal.

Food: 4/5 - Extremely fresh, my dish was pretty simple though.
Decor: 5/5 - Loved everything about how this place looked :D
Service: 3.5/5 - Great service, pretty friendly waiter from what I remember.
Willingness to go back: 4/5 - Would definitely come back if I was in Stanley Park.
Overall: 4/5


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