Haidilao Hot Pot (Toronto)


The Haidilao Hot Pot experience is unlike others right from the start as diners can make reservations that are honoured. For those who couldn’t secure a reservation, their waiting area is stocked with snacks, games, and even a nail technician on the busy weekend periods. Maybe waiting isn’t so bad if you can have glossy nails afterwards?

Exemplary service is another distinguishing trademark, which starts right when you sit down. Things just kept coming out from drawers at the table: wet naps, hair ties for people with long hair, wipes for those wearing glasses, a plastic bag for mask wearers, and aprons to guard our clothes from any splatters. Discreet drawers also helped stow away jackets and purses to free up bench space and keep them from smelling like food. Chrysanthemum tea and a fruit plate arrived before we even ordered. It’s a frenzy of activity as soon as you arrive at the table.

Ordering is a breeze with the tableside tablet allowing diners to add things on a whim with a cart-style checkout that automatically tabulates the bill. We followed their advice and went with the four quarters soup base keeping one of them as hot water (free), which ended up being a smart choice as the water quadrant allowed us to store the soup and slotted ladles that were cumbersome and bulky to balance on plates while not in use.

The soup bases ranged from $5-$6 each with the three ringing in at $15.85. Their spicy soup base without sediment was great for my hesitant tastebuds as it allowed me to customize the numbness and spiciness levels. The less numb and standard spiciness was perfect so that I could get the heat without that slightly bitter aftertaste that comes from the Sichuan peppers, and I loved that the broth didn’t contain “sediments” that had to be picked out prior to eating.

Bowls of minced pork and diced celery arrived with the tomato soup base allowing us to create a starter soup by adding hot tomato broth into the bowl. It was a bit bland with just the tomato, in retrospect I should have gone with ¾ tomato broth and ¼ spicy broth to create a concoction that has a bit more pizazz.

A gigantic pork bone sits in the pork bone soup base, which by itself is nice and creamy. It does take up a lot of cooking area so be sure to fish out the bone and eat it before everything else arrives.

You will not go hungry at Haidilao. The $3.99 per person sauce charge sauce may seem like a rip off until you visit the station and see what it contains. There are countless number of sauces, herbs, and spices. I loved adding the finely chopped cilantro, green onions, and garlic into the sauces, but there were other interesting condiments like Chinese chive paste as well.

There’s also selection of things to nibble on including fresh fruits, boiled edamame, seaweed (you’ll need to season this yourself), and a great slightly spicy pickled daikon.

While I was way too full to try the desserts, they also have vats of glass jelly soup and a Chinese porridge (seems like the sweet white fungus soup). Needless to say, spring for the $3.99 per person.

This post won’t go through all the ingredients we ordered, but to provide a sense of pricing:

  • Finely sliced marbled beef ($10.95)
  • Sliced chicken ($8.95)
  • Boneless basa fish ($7.95)
  • Prawns ($10.95)
  • Squid rolls ($8.95)
  • Shrimp paste ($11.95)
  • Assorted meat balls ($7.95)
  • Glutinous rice fish tofu ($5.95)
  • Assorted mushrooms ($12.95)
  • Lotus root slices ($5.95)
  • Wintermelon slices ($3.95)
  • Watercress ($6.95 for a full portion)

The above is only a quarter of what Haidilao offers along with “combos” that provide about a 12% discount compared to ordering dishes separately. That is if you like ingredients like spam and seaweed.

Of the cooking ingredients a standout for me was the shrimp paste ($11.95), which arrives in a piping bag that you squeeze into the hot broth. I started doing it myself, only to realize that it’s a thick paste that doesn’t just drop out. Luckily, a server saw my struggle and with flicks of a chopstick created bite-sized shrimp balls in no time.

I also enjoyed the glutinous rice fish tofu ($5.95) where the centre is the soft chewy glutinous paste (like the rice balls served during Lunar New Year). The dish would be even better if they mixed finely chopped scallions and diced mushrooms into the rice paste to give it more flavour. Nonetheless, the combination of springy fish tofu and soft chewy glutinous rice was lovely.

The assorted mushroom fungus bowl ($12.95) was also a good choice. There were loads of different mushrooms (shitake, enoki, matsutake, and shimeji) along with vermicelli and napa cabbage leaves as well.

Except for the watercress - $6.95 for a bundle - Haidilao provides decent portion sizes for the ingredients. Eight large prawns ($10.95) arrive in an order. And if you don’t like peeling shrimp, the servers will do it for you before or after cooking. I found this out as someone asked if we’d like the shrimps peeled as soon as they arrived and someone else asked if they could peel the shrimp for me as I was about to eat it. They even offered me a pair of gloves to use after seeing me peel the prawns myself.

While I love the attentive service, I did find the sheer amount of waste created bothersome. It was thoughtful to provide the disposable gloves, but it’s yet another thing that goes into the garbage along with the wet wipes and other paraphernalia given. So, consider carefully whether you really need everything they are offering.

There to celebrate a birthday, our dinner finished off with the arrival of three servers holding signs and a fruit plate with a candle and ice cream cups to mark the occasion. It’s great that the servers don’t need to sing happy birthday, but the song they play with the Google home device is LONG… like really long so that it becomes almost awkward halfway through. I almost felt sorry for them standing around for three minutes per table waving around signs with fake joy.  As a plus, the birthday girl did get a gift – a handheld manual back massager.

The two hours flew by at Haidilao, great from start to finish. We left uncomfortably full, vowing to order less next time and add-on as necessary. Yet, I will be returning. And while hot pot is normally a once or twice a year festivity during the winter. At this rate, I may even go in the summer. 

Overall mark - 9 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1571 Sandhurst Circle


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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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Midori Ramen (Toronto)

As I’ve lived my life, grown in wisdom – fine, just gotten older – intensely salty and rich dishes have lost their appeal. Hence, I found my love for ramen waning, as the broth seems too overwhelming for my taste buds and digestive system.

Midori Ramen’s signature tori paitan ramen ($17.49) seemingly was developed for me… the broth wasn’t overly salty, yet it was still creamy and hearty enough to satisfy. It didn’t leave me with an overwhelming need to drink tons of water after the meal and given was less oily, my stomach didn’t have an adverse reaction either. I can see how some diners find their broth bland as it’s not as powerful as some competitors, but I found it was flavourful enough without being too much.

If you’re in the mood for a punch of flavour, their spicy ramen ($15.49) could work. I liked that they offer a scale of spiciness as we found the “mild” already had a sufficient kick.

The noodles were cooked perfectly, the thick version springy enough with bite. I just wasn’t overly fond of the ingredients included in the signature ramen: the red onions were too raw and needed ample time in the broth before the stingy acid subsided; the finely shredded aosa sea lettuce was lost in the soup not adding any flavour or texture; and the fried bogo (burdock root) was too hard and made me feel like I was eating hay. Moo….

I would have liked the two pieces of cha shu (pork and chicken) to be hotter. At Midori, they don’t seem to blowtorch the meat before it’s presented so they are also pale and pasty. Their onsen egg was just bordering on becoming overcooked, the edges solidifying against the molten texture, yet still ice cold in the centre, despite sitting in the broth.

If anything, the chicken karaage ($6.99) was probably the best part of the meal and I would have happily had it with a bowl of plain ramen with scallions. Left in three palm-sized pieces, the larger cuts meant the chicken was juicy. The breading also included an ideal amount of spices for flavour.

Maybe my experience will encourage ramen restaurants to offer a “build your own bowl” menu item. Because as much as I enjoyed Midori’s noodles and broth, the ingredients included in a bowl of ramen is still an integral part of the meal. And unfortunately, these all fell flat.

Overall mark - 6 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3700 Midland Avenue


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____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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Avelo (Toronto)

Avelo’s 8-course meal ($120) leaves you comfortably full, without sickness, given dishes aren’t overly heavy. Perhaps that’s what I found lacking, the one or two course that simply envelops you in glutinous comfort food. The closest contender was probably the fourth course - a buckwheat gnocchi with fermented porcini sauce – still, the buckwheat gave the gnocchi a nutty fibrous kick and the sauce was more umami than rich. Hardly the sinful plate I was looking for. At least it was flavourful and the chanterelles beautifully sauteed.

The sourdough everything bagel on the bottom of the first course was superb: crusty on the outside and fluffy on the inside. In lieu of cream cheese and lox, Avelo uses kojified carrot and macadamia cheese, which replicates the slight smoky creaminess on the bagel. It’s just an interesting way of starting a tasting menu, maybe Avelo’s version of a bread course?

Having dined at Avelo’s predecessor, Awai, I was praying for the mushroom soup, a heavenly concoction that had even those who detest mushrooms nodding in approval. Sadly, it didn’t make an appearance and the soup featured roasted kabocha squash instead. It’s difficult to make squash soup exciting, something that can so easily be made at home. Avelo tried to enhance its presentation with apple and salsify pieces to decorate the bowl, but they did little to augment the experience as they’re rather similar in texture. The pumpkin dust was a good start, adding a bit of grittiness to the smooth soup, but it really did need something else crispy or chewy (perhaps a puffed tapioca) to balance out all the mushiness.

Interestingly, after a rutabaga is roasted, it gives off a potato-like flavour, except it’s a severely dry spud. The kitchen tried adding mashed cauliflower to create moisture in the dish, but the small dollop was hardly enough. What it really needed was a sauce, something that would add liquid and flavour as the dish was so boring - when you’re serving vegetables flavour is your friend.

Slices of truffle garnished the rutabaga, but its dry texture meant the truffle was wasted. If anything, this prized ingredient would have been better featured with the gnocchi instead.

Their one bite amuse bouche was impressive: a potato galette that’s described as Avelo’s version of cauliflower tots. I’d say it’s more like fried mac ‘n’ cheese except without the pasta. The galette is piping hot and delicious. Still, some of my friends found the horseradish garnish overpowering, adding a sharp tang when the onion base was already good on its own.

Give me another galette in lieu of the celeriac kofta any day. The kofta is just a drier less exciting version of the potato galette. Sure, it was plated prettily with a well roasted parsnip log adorned with flowers but didn’t taste nearly as good.

What does Avelo’s kitchen have against moisture? I can imagine someone at a stove grumbling about never wanting to make a French sauce again. All their dishes are dry and screaming for sauce… like the cranberry bean tempeh with roasted radicchio. The fruity glaze on the tempeh was fine, giving the beany slab an almost Asian sweet and savoury flavour. But then the huge slice of bitter radicchio was such an inappropriate side. If anything, they could have continued with the Asian influences by having the tempeh sit on a bed of soba or slaw, switching out the pickled okra for snow peas for crunch.

After scanning the menu, the dish I most anticipated was the rye berry risotto. Overall, the execution was satisfactory, but the grain could have been cooked longer to allow the exterior to soften; as it stands, its more wild rice than risotto. I did enjoy the mole base (yay, a sauce!) that when mixed with the plain grains gave it a boost of flavours. The crispy crackers were also a nice garnish that contrast textures, and useful for scooping up the rye berry and mole to create a fancy tortilla and salsa.

Avelo presented two different desserts amongst the table and recommended people share with their neighbour. It’s a smart idea to encourage diners to try something different. Initially, I thought the pineapple upside-down cake would be a winner but found the coconut mousse base (not a cake) made the dessert taste more like pineapple pannacotta and lacked the buttery richness I was craving.

While the tonka bean amazake wasn’t my first choice, the hints of cocao nibs gave the gelatin-based dessert an earthy depth. Still, it could be creamier. If Avelo was going to feature two desserts, they should consider making each stand out – two pannacotta-like desserts with different flavours are hardly exciting - I would have much preferred if they switched it up and did a sweet and savoury option. The later being a nut cheese and cracker plate that is also more shareable.  

At least their mignardise was impressive. In lieu of the traditional truffle, Avelo presented their version of a “Ferro Roche”, a silky hazelnut ganache piped into a crispy caramel cone dipped in chocolate. Now this is inventive and fantastic, something the other desserts should aspire to grow into.

Overall, the meal wasn’t bad, it’s just not overly exciting and tastes like a vegan meal – healthy and void of rich elements, which is what you need to counteract course after course of vegetable and grains.

Still, I could probably overlook the blasé food and rate the experience a 6 out of 10 if it weren’t for the service. Maybe we just got someone who was too new that was left on her own. The gentlemen who eventually stepped in to explain the dishes was so passionate and animated that I loved hearing his descriptions of each course… somehow, he made a piece of charred radicchio sound exciting (it’s not). But our main sever just didn’t perform basic things I’d expect from a restaurant:

1) Using proper glassware for wine. When we ordered Prosecco, it wasn’t served with a flute or champagne glass, instead those small 3oz glasses you’d find at a winery tasting. It was a little strange as these hardly bring out the bubbles of the wine, but we used it without complaint.

It was when we switched to a bold red and our server brought another round of these mediocre glasses that my friend stepped in to politely ask if she could bring us the red wine glasses, we clearly saw displayed at the bar instead. Our server’s response, “Oh, I guess you’d prefer something that can let the wine breathe more?” Ding, ding, ding! Yes, and something to allow us to take in the aroma of the wine.

2) Performing basic math to split a bill. I completely understand if a restaurant can’t accommodate bill splitting for large tables, but our group was less than six. Since everyone didn’t partake in the wine equally, we asked if she could split the first bottle amongst the table and the second to the few who drank it.

After making it sound like a HUGE favour, something that could be accommodated this one time as they weren’t busy, the bill was merely split equally in five. C’mon, if it’s dividing by five, I could have done that calculation in three seconds with a phone. After explaining again what we were hoping for (uneven bills given the wine situation), on the second attempt, she simply took both bottles and split it amongst the few.

With this much modern technology and the tasting menu prices being constant, is splitting two bottles of wine differently that difficult? In retrospect, I wish she just said she couldn’t do the math as I could have easily calculated them myself.

To sum the experience up in an equation: boring dry food (6) less lack of basic serving skills (1) = experience at Avelo (5). 

Overall mark - 5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 51 St Nicholas Street


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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20 Victoria (Toronto)

If you love tasting menus like I do, Twenty Victoria likely offers one of the most affordable ones in Toronto. Through a prepayment on Tock, the non-refundable six-course meal is set at $175 per person and is inclusive of gratuities (but before taxes) meaning the only thing that needs to be settled at the restaurant are drinks (beverage menu prices also includes gratuities).

That evening’s menu was casually paperclipped onto the drink menu and was rather cryptic, each dish described using two ingredients such as trout & egg. A quick scan of the December offering left me surprised by how seafood forward Twenty Victoria’s winter meal would be, a welcomed change in my books.

But first, a plate of “snacks” arrives, two one bite wonders including a delicate crispy salt cod croquette and a dollop of sturgeon caviar placed on goat cheese and radish. Both worked to wake up the senses and the radish a refreshing and stronger substitute for the traditional blini.  

The first dish, kanpachi and oca root, combines slices of raw fish with a root vegetable that’s described as “a cousin of the potato” and tastes like a starchier jicama. While it looks like sashimi, when the kanpachi is mixed with the crunchy diced oca root, olive oil, citrus, and basil seedlings, the dish tastes more ceviche. It was a vibrant starter that happened to coincide with tropical music being played in the dining room (a mere coincidence), the happy music putting us at ease that it wouldn’t be a stuffy meal.

What seemed like A LOT of sauce arrived with the trout and egg. Yet, the whipped hollandaise-like sauce carried a lightness that didn’t overpower the rich fish and even worked solo with pieces of fallen fish roe. Ultimately, throughout the menu, we found the balance of richness and lightness was what made Twenty Victoria excel – serving a decadent ingredient with something refreshing or at least restrained so that you can continue through the menu without feeling gross.

Pairing chopped walnuts with scallops wouldn’t have been my first choice, but it wasn’t terrible either. The slightly cooked through nuts added a bit of texture against the soft scallops, which were perfectly seared and served with a lovely creamy sauce. In this dish, the raw celery (?) leaves provided a bright element to counteract the buttery condiment.

With the scallops comes their bread course, a magnificent loaf that needs to be sold to go. Hot and crispy, the dark brown crust breaks away to reveal a milky airy centre. It’s their version of Japanese milk bread, which makes complete sense after the explanation as my husband found it resembled a lighter brioche while it tasted like a richer pain au lait for me. Regardless, I only wish I didn’t devour it all as the bread would also go well with the next dish. My advice for you, save a quarter.

Admittedly, I was disappointed to see the ‘lobster’ in the turnip and lobster dish rendered into a sauce, albeit a deliciously rich and silky bisque. It’s that richness that elevates the sweet slender turnip, an ingredient that hardly gets diners excited. Twenty Victoria’s turnip was a great consistency, neither too mushy nor too raw, and when slathered with the lobster sauce and topped with a black truffle does make the root vegetable more palatable.

The lamb was cooked to perfection, and I love that there was a sliver of fat and/or skin on one side that formed a crackling to compliment the tender meat. I wouldn’t have thought to pair lamb with maitake mushrooms and kelp, but both crunchier vegetables went nicely with the delicate tenderloin adding interesting textures in lieu of the traditional mashed or roasted vegetable side dishes.

Prior to dessert, we were asked if we’d be interested in a cheese course, something not listed on the menu. Of course, we obliged, and it was a great way to finish off the wine before diving into a digestif. Large ribbons of Niagara Gold arrived with crisp lavish bread and a slightly sweet quince. Having had this prized local cheese on other occasions, served as a traditional wedge, the ribbons completely changed the cheese’s taste allowing it to cover the tongue and almost melt away. Indeed, cheese please!

The pastry of the carrot pie was a wonderful thickness and consistency, holding its shape but breaking apart easily to mix into the carrot filling. I would have liked the pie to be sweeter, especially since it was paired with tangy unsweetened whipped buffalo cheese and a sea buckthorn syrup. I guess its neutrality helps balance the much sweeter lemon and ricotta cake, a warm moist cake sitting in a light syrup, so the dessert almost feels like a sticky toffee pudding, except with a hint of citrus and not quite as sugary.

Some diners were surprised that Twenty Victoria didn’t make it onto Toronto’s Michelin guide. With their amazing food, it’s certainly a strong contender. I sense that with a couple of small tweaks they could get there … assuming the added stress is something their chefs want, of course.

For example, expanding their tableware selection would help. When someone splurges on champagne ($35) and not a mere sparkling wine, ideally, it’d be served in a flute as opposed to a regular wine goblet.

If I were to get really picky, offering a wider fish knife or a shallow spoon with a dish like the trout and egg, would make it easier for patrons to spoon the sauce and fish roe onto the trout for a more fulsome bite. Yet, it comes back to whether Twenty Victoria even cares. Right now, dining there just seems so carefree, especially when trying to obtain a reservation. Star or no star, it was a shining meal for me. 

Overall mark - 9 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 20 Victoria Street


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Ni-Ji Sushi for lunch (Toronto)

Does anyone else find downtown lunches expensive since returning to work? A handheld option set me back at least $10 and if it’s something with protein and two sides we’re pushing $20. I get it, there’s skyrocketing input costs, less competition, and many food courts need to make up for the lost pandemic revenue.

In contrast, it makes Ni-Ji Sushi’s weekday lunch menu an amazing deal. Here you’ll receive the protein with way more than two sides since every selection comes with a simple green salad, hot miso soup, and a small bowl of their savoury congee for good measure.

For the indecisive, the lunch combination ($16) provides a bit of everything. Sadly, the chicken teriyaki is probably the most forgettable part of the bento. The poached chicken breast lacks flavour and is a tepid temperature, this seriously needs to be marinated and grilled. If anything, I was more impressed with the shredded cabbage below the fowl, which was at least soaked in the teriyaki sauce.

The accompanying shrimp and vegetable tempura were delicious, the batter just thick enough, crispy, and sizzling hot. And Ni-Ji doesn’t skimp either, with two shrimp and assorted vegetables it’s surprisingly plentiful for something that’s only one part of the “combination”. The last third of the pie is a decent California roll made fresh and an ideal ratio of filling to rice.

While the salmon steak could be cooked less, being an oilier fish, the salmon teriyaki ($14) was at least more flavourful than the chicken. This bento is also more manageable for a smaller appetite, served with a cube of cold tried tofu, lightly pickled turnip slivers, and japchae potato starch noodles.

For something lighter, the sushi lunch ($14) offers enough food to satisfy without leaving you in need of a nap. Small bites of warm rice sit beneath the salmon, tuna, and butter fish in the six pieces of nigiri and a respectable California roll rounds out the bento.

Let’s be honest, you won’t find perfection on Ni-Ji Sushi’s lunch menu. Yet, for the price and speed-of-service, their offering certainly surpasses what’s found in a food court. Plus, you’ll be treated to their attentive and warm service and a host of sides - especially the congee, which is the fish roe cherry atop the sushi sundae. 

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1095 Ellesmere Road


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Maiz Revisited in 2022 (Toronto)

Sometimes tipping can be an awkward encounter… what percentage should you leave to allow you to express your gratitude, without leaving a burning hole in your pocket? It’s a custom widely found in North America, where restaurants tend to underpay staff with the promise of gratuities to make up the shortfall. Hence, when a traveller is not accustomed to the 15% - 20% North American expectations, it can create animosity between the diner and staff.

Maiz adopted a stance to alleviate this awkwardness by building in a fair wage (at least $20 an hour, according to their website) into their menu prices and removing the need for diners to tip at the end of their meal. Whether this custom is attractive to their staff, only time will tell.

To begin, Maiz runs rather leanly. During our Monday evening dinner, there were two people – one person cooking and another doing everything else (sitting people, taking orders, finishing up plates, serving, checking in on customers, and ringing check through at the end of the meal). At the same time, there weren’t too many patrons, only three tables when other restaurants in the area were closed or fully booked.

I hadn’t return since their opening years ago, my first experience with arepas and the dinner platters left me underwhelmed. Yet, their menu has really expanded along with a lightened and brightly lit dining room that makes Maiz seem more inviting.

The house made tortilla chips served with guacamole ($14.95) were amazing – thick enough for dunking but still breaks easily creating a satisfying crispiness. It’s also surprisingly un-oily for a chip that gives off such a lovely crunch. There’s enough smooth guacamole to get through most of the chips with a small side of smoky salsa roja to finish off the rest, which consequently goes nicely mixed into the moros cristianos.

Before getting into the mains, I suggest you choose wisely and order something that offers a side of the moros cristianos or soft-fried rice and beans. If it doesn’t come with it, order the side ($3.95) as it was our favourite part of the meal. The spice-laced rice is mixed with black refried beans and heated through creating a flavourful creamy mixture that’s like a thick dairy-free risotto. I liked having it solo or heaped on a crunchy tortilla, give me more!

The rice comes with the quesadillas. While the menu describes the vegetable quesadillas ($19.95) as being stuffed with soft-fried chickpeas… they weren’t soft at all. Maiz should just keep it simple and used a grilled vegetable filling instead. Heck, add in more moros cristianos … anything is better than hard chickpeas. At least it contained a decent amount of cotija cheese creating a lovely gooeyness around the chickpeas and the tortilla was well-toasted creating a crunchy crust.

I’d skip the churros ($11.95 for three), which were overly dense. A restaurant should only attempt making this dessert if they churn out enough daily to warrant creating fresh batter and having hot sizzling oil ready. Otherwise, it’s just an overly sweet chewy concoction that leaves me wanting a Tim Horton’s crueller more than a churro.

Maybe create a creamy Mexican-spiced rice pudding instead. After all, if it’s anything like the moros cristianos, the rice pudding will be fantastic.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10



How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3220 Yonge Street


Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

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