Pink Sky (Toronto)

With a name like Pink Sky, I’m expecting a café, bubble tea shop, or maybe even a candy emporium. What I’m not expecting is a seafood restaurant. Hence, I’ve walked by the storefront on many occasions but never seriously planned a visit. I chalked it up to a place to be “seen” and party, but not for real meal.

Remnants of the former Weslodge are still apparent: the expansive bar and (on occasions) the unobtrusive DJ spinning beats on the second floor. Yet, Pink Sky has a coziness to it that feels different. The ease of making reservations, not being rushed with seating limits, and sit-a-while comfortable chairs – there’s even an element of hospitality that the former restaurant was missing that exists now.

If you’re in the mood for some light bites, their menu includes a selection of hot and cold appetizers that are great for sharing. For a simple crispy calamari ($24) the appetizer was tasty, the light breading incorporating salt, pepper, and sumac adding flavour so the spicy mayo wasn’t even required. And if you’re feeling adventurous, take a bite of the deep-fried lemon slices, my friends found this surprisingly tasty.

The beef tartare ($22) needs more than four pieces of too oily toasted sourdough to go through meat mixture. Yet, it had a lovely freshness from the bits of apple and tarragon incorporated into the recipe. Still, it’s not overly heavy in comparison to the predominantly seafood focused menu.

I preferred the beef to the tuna tartare ($26), which contained so much puffed rice that I half expected the dish to go snap, crackle, and pop. What little fish remained was completely drowned out by the watermelon and other ingredients.

Pink Sky offers a host of fish on their menu. The whole branzino ($85) was disappointingly small for the price and contained too many stray bones. And while I enjoyed the crispy skin, it might have sat under the broiler for too long as it was slightly overcooked.

Personally, I’d skip the branzino and go for the grilled salmon ($32), which also had a lovely crackling skin but was still flaky and moist. Served as a nice thick slice, the main was surprisingly filling despite it being sparsely served with sautéed spinach and grilled fennel. The dish was a little salty, especially with the lemon butter sauce. Be careful to dip and not pour.

Without any grains, you could augment the fish with a side of frites ($9) to share. They’re hot, thin, and crispy… my kind of fries.

Indeed, the best bang for your buck would be the fish and chips ($32) that arrives as a ginormous piece of beer battered haddock. While the breading was too thick for my tastes, you certainly won’t leave hungry since it also arrives with a generous portion of thick cut chips.

In fact, pair the fish and chips with a wedge salad ($21) and you’ll have enough food for two. The starter uses almost an entire head of iceberg lettuce slathered in a rich and tangy buttermilk ranch dressing, topped with cherry tomatoes, grilled corn, fried onion, and huge chunks of bacon that should be called pork belly pieces. The salad normally also contains blue cheese, but we had it removed and the salad was still hearty and flavourful.

Another sharable dish is the truffle lobster mac and cheese ($46) that has a cheese pull that’d make any dairy lover swoon. Big tubes of rigatoni were tossed in a spicy pickled jalapeño cheese sauce and topped with bread crumb and chives. It’s an interesting decision to include the jalapeno, I found it balanced out the truffle oil, which can sometimes be overwhelming. If anything, it just needed more lobster as there wasn’t much to go around.

Pink Sky’s seafood risotto ($34) has a spicy tomato sauce base, so the dish ends up tasting like a cioppino risotto. It’s a twist that I don’t mind given I love the hearty seafood stew but could be disappointing if you’re expecting a more traditional saffron taste. All in all, it incorporated a passable portion of seafood (mussels, shrimp, and whitefish) although the mussels could have been fresher.

Located in the bustling area of King West, Pink Sky is an ideal pre-clubbing dinner destination. Their varied menu means you can choose a lighter dish to avoid sporting a food belly or go big with the fish and chips to soak up the liberations to come. One thing is for sure, it isn’t a frilly café, you’re coming for the food.  

In a nutshell... 
  • Must order: grilled salmon, wedge salad
  • Just skip: branzino, tuna tartare

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 480 King Street West 

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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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