Restaurant Review: Portland Variety

Portland Variety is a gem on the corner of Portland and King. The dim lighting, white tiled walls and decorative plates contribute to an incredibly warm atmosphere. The servers are friendly, happy and attentive. They will gladly offer their recommendations on the menu items.

Portland Variety is great for brunch, lunch and dinner. My favourite items are the house made ricotta, the eggplant byaldi and the hippie salad (if we’re talking a light meal). Everything is flavourful and the portions are large enough to share.

In the warmer months, it is nice to sit outside on the patio with a caesar (or two).

TorEats rates Portland Variety:

Food: 8/10

Service: 9/10

Atmosphere: 8/10

Price: $$

Restaurant Review: HIRO Sushi

I went to HIRO on a cold and rainy Tuesday night. Originally, we were the only ones there aside from the sushi chef and owner, Hiro and the waitress. We took off our shoes and sat comfortably at the chef’s table.

We decided to go for the “omakase experience” which is basically the chef’s selection of only the finest and best dishes. I have to say, it is definitely the most authentic sushi that one can find in Toronto.

My favourite pieces were the tempura fig, chopped uni, toro hand roll and octopus sashimi. Although, I could probably go on forever.

The newly renovated space is beautiful and cozy, and Hiro himself is kind and full of knowledge.

TorEats rates HIRO Sushi:

Food: 10/10

Service: 9/10

Atmosphere: 9/10

Price: $$$

Restaurant Review: Yasu

Yasu is a hidden gem in Toronto. This reservation only, 12 person sushi bar is one of its kind.

The menu is very simple. You get 18 pieces of sushi plus dessert, no ordering required. Each piece is exquisite and rests on top of warm, perfectly formed rice, brushed with the chef’s special sauce (customized for each piece). I believe that every bite is a little taste of perfection.

The chefs prepare the sushi right in front of you and are masters of the craft. Their sake offerings are fantastic and they offer rare, hard to find choices.

The waiters walk around with iPad’s to display pictures of what the sushi looks like in its natural form (as a full, living, breathing fish).

The restaurant is located in a house on Harbord street and is very typical of the sushi restaurants that you may find in Tokyo.

TorEats rates Yasu:

Food: 10/10

Service: 9/10

Atmosphere: 9/10

Price: $$$

Restaurant Review: Wish Restaurant

The ambience of Wish is dreamy. With white decor, ghost chairs and comfy couches, one basically feels like they’re dining on a cloud.

Their coffee is delicious and their cocktail menu is fun and extensive. I mainly direct people here for lunch because I believe that is their specialty.

I would highly recommend the lentil salad and the eggs in purgatory (simply another name for the traditional mediterranean dish of shakshuka).

The one downside about Wish is that the service is really below par. They often mistake orders and can sometimes be less than attentive and slow.

TorEats rates Wish Restaurant:

Food: 7.5/10

Service: 6/10

Atmosphere: 8/10

Price: $$

Restaurant Review: NAO Steakhouse

I have to say, NAO is so hot right now. It is classy and elegant without being overdone. One can appreciate the aesthetic appeal of the restaurant simply as they walk in and pass by the beautiful patio. I have only ever sat on the patio however, I am looking forward to moving inside as Toronto gets colder.

The drinks are fantastic and strong. The food is delicious. My favourites are the Japanese Five Spice Frites and the Whole Branzino. My meat-loving friends say the burger is phenomenal.

The one negative comment that I have heard is that NAO offers their best steaks as sharing style although there seems to be few options for a great and affordable (under $80) steak for one.

The servers here are well informed about each dish and extremely attentive.

TorEats rates NAO steakhouse:

Food: 8/10

Service: 9.5/10

Atmosphere: 9/10

Price: $$$$

Restaurant Review: Mildred’s Temple Kitchen

Mildred’s Temple Kitchen is a must visit kind of place. Located in the heart of Liberty Village, this sleek and spacious venue allows for a great dining experience.

The unique and contemporary menu offers certain items that will make your mouth water. Some of my favourite dishes are the Huevos Monty and Mrs. Biederhof’s Legendary Light & Fluffy Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes (an elaborate name for a classic, delicious dish).

The waiters are always extremely friendly and take the time to ask questions about how your day is going, which is always nice.

TorEats rates Mildred’s Temple Kitchen:

Food: 8/10

Service: 9/10

Atmosphere: 8/10

Price: $$

Restaurant Review: Trattoria Nervosa

I cannot lie. I visit Trattoria Nervosa once a week. This restaurant never disappoints. One has four options of where to sit; be it downstairs on the street patio, inside with a nice view of the street scene, upstairs which gives way to a cozy and loft-like environment or outside on the upstairs patio equipped with comfortable pillows and the sunshine (my favourite).

Some notable menu items are: Insalata di Cavolo Nero (kale salad), Margherita pizza and Mafalde ai Funghi pasta.

The nice thing about Nervosa is that it is extremely foodie friendly, meaning one can take incredible Instagram shots because of the fantastic natural light here.

Since Nervosa is in a prime spot in Yorkville, it is often extremely busy. Although the servers sometimes seem to be a little rushed, they are always friendly and accommodating.

TorEats rates Trattoria Nervosa:

Food: 9/10

Service: 7/10

Atmosphere: 8/10

Price: $$

Restaurant Review: Fat Pasha

Fat Pasha is an incredible dining experience that has us only wanting more. From the moment you walk in, you are greeted by a friendly smile from the hostess and are immediately walked to your table (I never have had to wait). The diners at the other tables seem relaxed and happy. At first glance, it might be hard to decipher the menu, with headers like “Saltina” and “Grains,” although once figured out, it is quite easy to understand the mediterranean dishes that are offered.

I would highly recommend the cauliflower topped with pomegranate seeds, tahini, pine nuts and halloumi, the falafel and the hummus. The unique flavours give way to a healthy meal, without sacrificing the taste.

TorEats rates Fat Pasha:

Food: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Atmosphere: 8/10

Price: $