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Posts Tagged ‘Nota Bene’

I recently went on a business trip to Toronto for about a week. Despite being the third time, I hadn’t really had a chance to appreciate the culinary scene in Toronto. This time, my friend and I went and explored bits and pieces of the city. Here, I am reporting back.

The city features numerous celebrity chefs – Lynn Crawford, Mark McEwan, Brad Long, David Lee, and Susur Lee, just to name a few. My expectation was naturally a little high. But, my experience, which ranged from the (somewhat) high-end to the low-end, was rather mixed. Food photography doesn’t seem as welcomed it is the case here. At least I didn’t see any diners taking photos of food (shocking, I know, by Vancouver standard). Below are my thoughts on the restaurants that I went to. Unfortunately, no photos included.

Nota Bene

Nota Bene is the first stop of my “tour”. Upon checking myself into the hotel downtown, I went through the tourist magazines. Nota Bene seemed promising, and it was recommended to me by a co-worker. My friend and I made an 8pm reservation (the earliest available at 6pm – busy for a Thursday night). Both from the ambiance and the staff, the restaurant gives out a sense of class. The space itself is grant and gorgeous. The service was however just the opposite… bad, I would say. The waiter was missing for a while before taking our drink orders, and no one checked on us during the dinner. Our neighbouring tables suffered the same as well. The staff were professional in their attitude but flat in the delivery of it. The cocktails were very good. Food wise, the appetizer (“Rare” Albacore Tuna) was mediocre  – “the tuna seemed dead for a long time” were the words of my friend’s. The mains were definitely better but not exceptional. My friend’s Papardelle Pasta, Rabbit Soffrito was rather flavourful and satisfying. My Roast Pork with Apple Sauerkraut probably consisted of a quarter of a cabbage – the pork was moist and delicious. The saving grace was that the dinner did end in a high note with the desserts. Sticky Toffee Pudding and Pistachio Olive Oil Cake were both just delicious – they hit all the right notes for us. All in all, it’s not a cheap place, and I expected more for the dollars that I spent there. Next time, maybe I will just come back for drinks and desserts. Notes: must be able to tolerate loud business people; reservation is highly recommended.

Le Gourmand

My friend bought me to Le Gourmand for a quick lunch. It felt like Vancouver in there – great coffee, awesome pastry, and laid-back patrons. Upon entering, I like the cafe for its retro decor. (more…)

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