Showing posts with label Diner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Diner. Show all posts

The Patrician Grill (Toronto)


When you’re hung over and hungry, a big platter of food from a diner is oh so satisfying. The Patrician Grill has been satiating appetites since the 1960s; their retro sign and dining room surely makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Maybe it’s me, but the fact that there’s no lines and they serve big portions for low prices – sometimes it’s great to be old fashioned.

The dining area isn’t fancy but comfortable, the well-padded vinyl banquettes overlooks the kitchen and if you really want to be where the action is, there’s a row of stools for couples and single diners.


What makes the kitchen’s proximity great is everything arrives fresh and hot. The fluffy vegetarian omelette ($11.75) was packed with diced tomatoes, onion, green pepper and enough cheese to give it that signature gooey pull. With a choice of home fries, French fries, or mashed potatoes (yes, it can be a hearty breakfast), we’re advised the home fries are cut in house and then the diced pieces are slowly cooked over the flat top developing a golden crust without feeling greasy. I ate every single piece.


Interestingly, breakfasts also come arrive with a small cup of coleslaw, the vinaigrette based greens adding a nice refreshing crunch and splash of acid against the heavier breakfast.

As a table, we decided to forgo the toast that comes with breakfast and shared an ordered of cinnamon French toast ($10.50) for dessert. It was an amazing idea as a slice of the custardy hot toast was an ideal sweet ending. They’re also thin enough that it wasn’t too filling. If only it was served with maple syrup, instead of the thick artificial corn syrup variety, it would be even better.



Toronto has a great variety of brunch spots: from fancy affairs with bottomless bubbles to simple eggs and bacon. I’m glad we stumbled upon The Patrician Grill when another spot down King Street had a queue. In less time than we would have had to wait, we were warm and deliciously fed.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 219 King Street East

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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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Aloette (Toronto)

Aloette Toronto


If dining at Alo, Canada’s top restaurant for 2017, is unattainable (either financially or due to lack of reservations), their more affordable counterpart has opened on the first floor of the building. While Aloette looks like a diner, you’ll still experience luxurious touches such as the never-ending water glass, plush triple-ply toilet paper, and cloth towels in the washrooms. It’s a diner… with Chef Kriss’s touch.

You can’t visit a diner and not expect them to serve burgers. Aloette’s version ($18) is probably the most reviewed item from the menu. Post City informs us about the months of testing the team used to come up with the main, Amy Pataki lets us in on the aged beef fat added to the patty, and BlogTO raves about the soft toasted bun. Indeed, the bun is good: well toasted, even on the outside, and that soft sweet version that doesn’t have a grain in sight.


During our dinner, the beef patty was not the typical medium, but still tender, juicy, and so flavourful on account of the beef fat. The fixings were of course refined: a thick layer of buttery Beaufort cheese, finely shredded lettuce, stringy onion, and a thick Russian mayonnaise. I only wish it came with tomatoes to balance out the salty richness of the burger.

For a real treat, upgrade to the Aloette fries ($6 with the burger or $9 on its own), which is smothered with smoked Gouda, hot sauce, and jus. There aren’t many fries that can compete with poutine in my books, but I love the spicy smoky kick of these.  


Despite all the press for their burgers, it’s the roasted pork ($20) that really impressed. The pork belly is cooked so beautifully that with every bite the creamy fat and juices covers the month, while the meat has a nicely grilled crust without being hard. While other restaurants tend to pair pork belly with a sweet glaze, I loved the stronger savoury flavours used at Aloette: spicy ‘nduja, briny olives, and grilled lemon to help cut the fattiness.


With a side of Brussels sprouts ($9), you could really make a complete meal of the roasted pork. Here there is the sweet element from the maple syrup, and the added walnut pieces and mustard kick makes for interesting touches to the side. They were a bit soft for my taste and since all the other dishes are already so well-seasoned, it would have been nice to have a dish that’s plainer to balance the heaviness. Even if it weren’t the Brussels sprouts, a simple tossed olive oil and balsamic spring mix salad would be nice.


Not surprisingly, their mac & cheese ($14) is delicious. Within the hot skillet are long tubes of pasta that holds the creamy cheddar sauce and is covered with melted parmesan. If you can hold off on devouring the complimentary toasted cheese brioche, you can use the bread to wipe up any of the remaining heavenly béchamel sauce.


The menu contains plenty to munch on including a cone of fried smelts ($11). If you’re afraid they’ll be fishy, at Aloette they’re well-cleaned, headless, and deboned. The light flour batter is relatively well-seasoned on its own and for extra flavour there’s a jalapeno, artichoke, and lemon aioli dip that could use a bit more heat.


Dessert includes two options with the lemon meringue pie ($10) having a take-home version as well. The height of the pie is certainly impressive, but with the larger size you really need to make sure every bite contains both elements. Together it makes for a decent dessert, but on its own the super sugary meringue and tart lemon curd can be a bit jarring.


Unlike most diners, the portion sizes at Aloette is fairly small. However, since everything is rich you’ll feel full and it’s best to share dishes to avoid having too much of a good thing. Just don’t think about going with more than four people, with their no reservation policy and limited seating arrangements (diner booths and bar stools), it’d be difficult to find a table.

Even if there’s a wait, tables turn over fairly quickly – our “three-course meal” still had us out of there in just over an hour. Plus, with a glass of wine, my portion of the tab was just over $50 (inclusive of taxes and gratuities); Aloette is affordable enough that I can keep returning to, for more roasted pork, of course.  

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 163 Spadina 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!


Is That It? I Want More!

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Aloette Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hazel's Diner (Toronto)


After seeing the queue forming outside Hazel’s Diner, I’ve been intrigued by the all-day breakfast establishment… what flap jacks are they serving that makes people line up from 9am to noon (sometimes even during weekdays)? Having finally made it through the door, my conclusion is Hazel’s is so popular due to its location (being part of a busy neighbourhood where there’s no other diner) and their reasonable prices.

Their all-day breakfast includes the staple two eggs, bacon, toast, and home fries. While it’s normally $9.95, on Monday and Friday before 11am the price decreases to $6.99. Everything is done solidly: the scrambled eggs fluffy and actually tastes like eggs, the bacon crispy, and the home fries incorporate well caramelized onions giving it interest.  


In retrospect, had I known how large their pancakes were, we wouldn’t have added on a half stack ($8) to share. Each pancake is about the size of a plate and even the half stack is more than enough to satisfy a person. I could only muster through a small half of one pancake given it was so doughy and dense; they are also rather tasteless so relies heavily on maple syrup for flavour.


Their freshly squeezed orange juice is a great alternative to caffeine and available in small ($3) and large ($5) sizes, a rather reasonable price for a freshly squeezed variety.


Would I ever wait in line to return to Hazel’s? Likely not. But, their food is respectable and well-priced, so if there’s ever not a wait again, I’ll return for another savoury breakfast fix.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3401 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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

 Hazel's Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Schnipper's Quality Kitchen (New York)


My husband is a bit of a burger connoisseur. Whether it’s from a fine dining restaurant, diner, fast food, or homemade, he likes to try them all. Hence, during our trip to New York, I was excited to introduce him to Shake Shack, especially their flagship Madison Park location, a mecca for burger aficionados.

We headed to the park after checking into our hotel given it was a short walk away. However, after waiting 15 minutes and getting halfway through the line, only to see the mayhem that ensues at the pick-up window, we decided to abort the mission. Apparently, for my burger loving husband, if it requires waiting and shoving for, it’s not worth it.  

By this time, we were craving burgers - we had stared at a menu long enough. Luckily, just down the street from Madison Park (on 23rd) sat Schnipper, a large bright cheery diner that reminds me of a spacious Johnny Rockets.

After ordering, you’re given a large metal coaster and advised to sit anywhere in the dining room. Traditionally, these devices start flashing when your table’s ready and guests make their way back to the hostess stand. At Schnippers, it’s a tracking device so our server knew exactly where to bring the food – quite an ingenious system.

Their regular hamburger ($6.50) was good, but admittedly no Shake Shack. Nonetheless, it still hit the spot and tasted extra delicious since it didn’t require waiting in line for … I’m getting too old for lines. The beef patty was thick enough so you could savour the flavours amongst everything else. Classically adorned with lettuce, onion, tomato and a pickle, the toppings were fresh and went nicely with the soft toasted bun.


The Schnipp ($7.50) was better and true to the menu’s description was “extra-juicy”. However, I feel it has less to do with a different meat mixture or it using double the cheese, rather it was simply actually cooked to medium, whereas my regular burger was cooked through (despite requesting medium).


You need to dig to the bottom to get the really sauce-drenched cheese fries ($4.50). The sauce has a fairly strong cheddar kick to it, but the fries neutral with little potato flavours. Imagine slightly thicker McDonald’s fries with a thick creamy cheese sauce and that’s what Schnipper’s is serving.

Once again, the fries were satisfactory but didn’t leave me groaning like Crack Shack’s. Even so, where it lacked in flavours, Schnippers made up with speed, service, and the comfortable air-conditioned dining environment. Lounging or lines? Schnippers may be a good Madison Park Shake Shack alternative for you as well.   

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: New York, USA
 Address: 23rd Street and Madison Avenue

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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Schnipper's Quality Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CLOSED: Fran's on Front (Toronto)

Deciding on a restaurant for weekday lunches with friends or co-workers can be difficult. Where can you go that doesn’t take two hours, has a menu that can satisfy multiple cravings and isn’t too expensive? Fran’s is the place I turn to for these occasions, especially since they have great lunch specials that make it quicker for large groups.

The fair sized lunch salads are great if you don’t want something too heavy. Although not the highest quality meat, the grilled steak ($11.99) has always been satisfying – an amped up Greek salad adorned with flavourful grilled beef.

When I’m craving a hearty filling lunch, their tuna wrap with Greek salad ($8.99) is my go-to order. The wrap is stuffed with tuna that’s lightly mixed with mayonnaise and onions. The layer of lettuce between the filling and the soft tortilla helps to keep it from getting soggy too quickly.


During colder weather, their soups are warming and the chicken noodle is chocked full of ingredients. And the hot Western sandwich ($8.99) has a hefty layer of omelette within the slices of toasted bread.



Around since the 1940’s, Torontonians have been relying on Fran’s for their all day breakfast and large portions of comfort food. For me, I’ve been relying on Fran’s for their affordable quick lunch menu. Of course, their spacious patio is also great for the summer.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 33 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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:



Click to add a blog post for Fran's on Zomato

CLOSED: 120 Diner (Toronto)


120 Diner

Replacing a former chain restaurant, 120 Diner offers classic favourites at reasonable prices. On Saturdays, they even offer a special Latin menu to complement their Latin Live show. As you walk into the restaurant, it has a modern retro feel to it so you don’t feel like you’re in a diner at all. But, it's more than just a restaurant, a sizeable stage is along one side and hosts a wide range of comedy shows, karaoke and live music entertainment throughout the week.  

The fragrant crunchy coconut shrimp ($11.95) arrives piping hot and I can’t wait to tuck in. Admittedly, the coating could be thinner as there were a couple that had softer parts. Perhaps, if the shrimp were covered in smaller granules of coconut first and then the larger flakes sprinkled sparingly, it may taste better. But, the slightly sweet kick mixed with the spicy mayo (a must) made this a satisfying starter.

120 Diner coconut shrimp

A diner favourite is the meatloaf and mash ($13.95). I’m not a fan of soft meatloaves where bread crumbs overpower the mixture causing it to get soft and overly smooth, so I was particularly happy with the dense beefier one 120 Diner serves. The earthy mushroom gravy paired well with the meatloaf and buttery smooth mashed potatoes.


120 Diner meat loaf

For club goers, the 120 grilled cheeseburger ($15.95) would be perfect to share after a night of dancing. Stuffed with three cheeses, the dairy definitely stole the show from the lean beef patty.
120 Diner grilled cheeseburger Although the menu notes this is served on rosemary focaccia bread, it arrived on a soft ciabatta roll instead. Likely it’s a better choice as the meat and cheese is already so heavy that an oily focaccia would be overwhelming. But, I like the idea of an herb mixed into the bun to help add a fresh element to the dish.

120 Diner grilled cheeseburger

Like most good diners the portion sizes are substantial and will leave you full, if not with leftovers. If you’re not in the mood for food, they also have a number of cocktails that can be enjoyed while enjoying a show.  The cucumber margarita ($9.75) is a great summer drink with cucumber pulp mixed throughout – it’s refreshing without being overly sweet. While the Long Island iced tea ($9.75) is strong but goes down so easy… almost too easy.

120 Diner cocktails

The restaurant’s name is certainly misleading as although the menu contains diner favourites the atmosphere is much more entertaining. From comedy acts to karaoke, it’s great for a night out. And, if that’s not enough, there’s always Club 120 right upstairs, just purchase a ticket for a special event first.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10
Disclaimer: The above meal was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in Gastro World's mission statement, I will always be honest.


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 120 Church 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
  • - 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!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:
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