Three Boars – Garneau Edmonton

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Three Boars is a small two storied restaurant located on a busy street in Garneau. You could honestly walk by and not even notice this restaurant and the interesting tapas they serve inside. Outside, there is a nice patio for the summer where you can enjoy the beautiful weather while dining here.

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When you first enter, you see the bar immediately to your right and a small open kitchen behind it. It is definitely a nice area to have a drink and chat with some friends and enjoy some tapas. I really like their open concept area on the main floor and on the patio.

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The upstairs, is quite different. It is much more closed and gives you a cabin homely sort of feel with its wooden walls and table tops. The decor is simple, inviting, and comfortable.

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Sauteed Mushrooms, Egg Yolk, Toast
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Pork and Chicken Liver Bomb

Now, onto the food. Everything is tapas style and so the food comes one at a time and everything is meant to be shared. We started with the Sauteed Mushrooms on Toast and Pork and Chicken Liver Bomb. The Sauteed mushrooms came served on a small piece of french toast served with a raw egg yolk on top. The presentation was nice but the sauteed mushrooms were not that flavourful and did not stand out to me. On top of that, the egg yolk didn’t really add anything special in terms of flavour or complexity to the dish and was just more for decoration. The Pork and chicken liver bomb was good but lacked any liver taste. Inside was shredded chicken and pork mixed with a light mayo and celery bits, which reminded me of chicken salad sandwich.

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Oyster Braised Beef Chuck Flat, Congee Pudding, Cilantro Puree, Charred Rapini
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BBQ Pulled Pork Poutine

Here is the star of the night. The Oyster Braised Beef Chuck. The begin, the presentation was wonderful. The colours from the beef,  cilantro puree, and congee just go really well together in this dish. The beef itself was very tender and juicy and had a very deep and rich flavour. The congee was rich and creamy which complemented the beef well. Combined with the cilantro puree, which added a very refreshing taste, this dish was perfect. On the other hand, we have the pulled pork poutine, which lacked the elegance of the last dish. The fries were large potato wedges and on top was the pulled pork slobbered all over. There were two distinct sauces in this dish, which contradicted each other. One was a rich beef flavour and the other a light bbq porky flavour. The sauces drowned the potato wedges which resulted in a “soggy” poutine. My biggest pet peeve about poutines is the use of regular mozzarella cheese instead of cheese curds. Unfortunately, the cheese melted immediately, and I was unable to hear any squeaks while eating this poutine.

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Lamb Sirloin, Peppercorn Hibiscus Gastrique, Kale, Confit Chanterelles, Organic Greens, Anchovy Vinaigrette
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Blue Crab and Potato Salad, Smoked Mayo, Arugula, Italian Flat Bean, Pickled Sea Bean, Sesame, 63C Egg, Togarashi

Our last 2 dishes arrived. They were the Lamb Sirloin and the Blue Crab and Potato Salad. The lamb sirloin was complimented with a Peppercorn Hibiscus Gastrique dressing, which had flavours of rose and fruit. It was more of a salad than anything else and so it was fitting that it was served cold. At first, you expect the lamb to be tender because it is quite soft when you “forkit”. But once you bite into it, the meat was quite tough to chew. I would compare it to a blue raw steak. Although the lamb had good flavour, I would not recommend this dish. Finally, we had the Blue Crab and Potato salad. There was not much crab in the dish at all. The smoked mayo had a flavour like tuna salad sandwich, which did not really work for me. All in all, this dish was not too impressive even though it looked great.

After the 6 dishes between the 4 of us, we left still hungry and unsatisfied. Although three boars has very intricate dishes with a lot of attention to detail, the only dish that impressed our palates was the Oyster Braised Beef Chuck.  The rest of their dishes did not taste special to me. In addition, their service and decor was average. Apart from a few beautifully presented dishes, three boars is an average tapas restaurant with nothing special to boast.

Service: 4/5
Food: 7.2/10
Atmosphere: simple, wood, comfortable, open concept
Price: $20-30

Three Boars Eatery on Urbanspoon

~Thomas

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Santouka – Downtown Toronto

Finally, a ramen post!

Combined, me and tfung have tried many ramen places. Some were utter disappointments, and some just didn’t quite satisfy all of our wants. After our trip to Japan last year, we’ve just been spoiled in terms of our Ramen taste-buds. It is so difficult for us to find a ramen joint we enjoy after that memorable ramen stand near Tsukiji Market. I feel almost as if that feeling and that flavour can never be found again…

But, we did happen to find one we do enjoy in Toronto even if it doesn’t match up to the ones in Japan. We both agreed that out of all the ramen places, this was our favourite in terms of having the best score combined for the noodle, broth and meat. Some places the broth was excellent but the noodle was not done to our liking, or the meat was done so carelessly.

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I ordered the Miso Cha-shu Ramen. It was actually on this day that I discovered I actually don’t like Miso broth. However putting that aside, everything was really good, and there was definitely enough noodle to fill us up.

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Tfung got the Toroniku Shio Ramen, which is something that they can run out of and depends on “first come first serve” basis. Toroniku means the pig’s jowl, and was absolutely delicious. It was tender, but still had texture. The flavour of meat was not masked by any marinating, yet still was flavourful. Shio means salt, and this type of broth is actually one of the older ones.

Since we were seated at the bar, it was a little loud and not very intimate. However I love sitting at the bar at ramen joints because it reminds me of Japan. The waitresses that night seemed a little overwhelmed and were a little hard to get a hold of. However they were very nice and I didn’t have any problems with my order.

Again, I highly recommend checking this place out. If time permits, going at lunch time would be best to avoid waiting in line. We arrived at 6pm and had to wait a full hour. This was back in December 2012 though, so I’m not sure whether the lines are that bad still. Either way, it would be advisable to avoid peak hours.

Another thing I love about this place is that it’s pretty much right next to Eaton Center. I had visited Santouka again this summer after shopping at Eatons with my cousin. We just walked right over and had some ramen. It is just so easy and convenient.

Service: 4/5
Food: 8.9/10
Atmosphere: simple, wood, modern Japanese
Price: $12-20

 

Santouka Ramen on Urbanspoon

~ kehwon

Shiso Tree Cafe – Japantown

I always love going to Japantown (located on Woodbine, just East of Woodbine). I love their pan (bread) and looking at the cakes. I love the general atmosphere and I’ve never had a bad experience there. There’s always something that reminds me of good times, including the time that I bought two big pieces of sashimi (Salmon and Hamachi) for sushi party at my house, at which we ended up butchering the beautiful sashimi because I did not have a proper knife.

Nonetheless, this time my mom and my cousin finally tried the Shiso Tree Cafe. I’ve seen this name pop up in a lot of my friends’ facebook checkins and I finally went and tried it.

We all just ordered pastas,

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My cousin got the Shoyu Mushroom Pasta. Shoyu in japanese means soy sauce, so I’m guessing this was made with some soy sauce. I didn’t taste much of it but it had a sweet taste to it. Being a mushroom lover (haha) I loved this dish. But the sweetness of it did throw me off at first.

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My mom ordered the Shrimp Okonomiyaki . Okonomiyaki is actually a pancake dish in Japan, and it’s famous for the very unique sauce that is used. I used to love okonomiyaki-flavoured chips (and still do) by Calbee, so I’m a huge fan of this sauce. The shrimp was of good quality and had the perfect texture. However, they had put some cheese in the dish. It didn’t match the Asian flavours at all and being someone who generally doesn’t like cheese unless it works really with the dish, I felt that it had ruined this for me.

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I myself got the Shio Clam Vongole. Shio means “salt” in terms of ramen adn that’s kind of what I took it as in this. There were some basil leaves in the dish and the clams were quite good. It was a little oilier than I would have liked but I did like the taste. I have to say that the mushroom pasta was my favourite though!

I really do love Japantown, even more so after visiting Japan. I love the way that Japanese people have the discipline and will power to excel in everything they do. Each individual isn’t a Jack of all trades, but whatever they specialize in, they will perfect it. They are so efficient and have so much respect for the jobs even if they don’t like it. This is something that I think we all need to learn from.

Anyway, the service was quite good, the waitress knew exactly what we wanted and didn’t need much explanation. I hate the places where I have to explain myself to them. I’m not a patient person and at a restaurant is where I want to relax and enjoy. If I have to over-exert myself just to get the waitress to understand it usually turns me off. And this place did a perfect job of that!

Service: 4.5/5
Food: 8.3/10
Atmosphere: Modern Japanese, with little wooden booths
Price: $15-20

Shiso Tree Cafe on Urbanspoon

~ kehwon

Quartier Général – Plateau Mont-Royal

As we started to get to know each other better, one of my very good foodie friends in Montreal suggested that I come to this restaurant. She had said all her friends came back with positive reviews, and I knew she and I had similar standards for food. So I took her up on this recommendation and decided to come here with tfung. I made reservations for 2 on a Saturday about two weeks in advance with no problem with timing.

The restaurant seats about 40, and has this metalic linoleum ceiling. The kitchen is semi-open and there is also a bar. We were seated right away, and I noticed they had an advanced reservation/seating computer program with very nice interface.

When we were seated, the waiter asked if we brought any wines. Apparently this place is porter vin, allowing customers to bring their own wines. The reason is because they do not supply any wines themselves. I think this is great because my parents are the type who like to bring a very specific type of wine to a restaurant because my dad is a wine enthusiast. It’s also great because it’s then much cheaper for us to enjoy the wine.

Unfortunately we didn’t know this so we just went without alcohol for the night.

We weren’t supplied with any menus because the full menu is on the chalkboard above the bar. Everything is in french, but if you have a smartphone it’s not much of a problem. Also the waitress will come and tell you most of the menu when she comes to introduce herself.

We decided to get the Table d’hôte for $12 on top of the price of the main dish. It comes with a soup or salad, an appetizer and of course the main.

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We started with the octopus appetizer (Tarte Fine à la pieuvre). It was quite delicious and fresh with the herbs. I quite enjoyed it. I did think it was a bit small but it’s meant for one.

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We waited a little while and the waitress came by to give us our knives. It was the cutest and most hipster knife I’ve seen at a restaurant so far. I loved it and wanted to take it home!

tfung ordered the veal (Côte de veau de la Plaine). He thought it was very good, and done to his liking (medium rare). We both loved the presentation, the sauce and the combination.

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I ordered the duck (Canard de Marieville). It was really really good. It came with grapes and other veggies, potato purée, with a rich sauce. The duck was very tender but still had proper texture. Every bite along with the grapes and the purée was amazing. I savoured every bite of this.

We were both quite full, but since we did have dessert, we did get the crème brulée. It was a pretty big portion and we couldn’t finish. Nothing extraordinary, but I did enjoy the whole of it

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Overall I really enjoyed the whole experience. I love that two sides of the restaurant was full windows, allowing for lots of light (great for taking pics on our phones!). It was quite loud though, as it was just one room with quite a lot of people in it. But we still really enjoyed it and it’d be a great dinner date with couples or friends. I saw some families there as well who were there to enjoy their wines along with the amazing dinners.

The service was good, although I thought it was a little slow. However they were very attentive, smart and understanding. They seem to have been working at a restaurant for a while, and know what customers want without excessive explanations.

I definitely recommend this place and I will definitely come back in the future (with some wine!). It is a little out of the way if you don’t own a car, but definitely worth the trip!

Service: 4/5
Food: 8.3/10
Atmosphere: spacious, chatty
Price: $20-40

Le Quartier Général on Urbanspoon

~ kehwon

Arepa – Fashion District (Queen West)

I had never ventured past Spadina on foot on any street. However I did see on instagram a picture of this cafe and the caption “Guava Cheesecake”. I love guava flavoured drinks and was very interested in trying this cheesecake. This cafe is located on Queen West, in the Fashion District (that I didn’t even know existed). My cousin and I walked here on a really nice day, and we really enjoyed the walk, as we discovered lots of new shops (fabric and bling-bling bead shops) we would never have been able to find. It’s funny how you’ve lived in a city for so long and because you don’t venture out of your comfort zone, there are always places you don’t know about.

Arepa means corn meal bread that’s very prominent in Columbia and Venezuela. This particular cafe is Venezuela-based.

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We arrived and were pretty hungry. I really wanted to eat a salad, and we opted for the Watercress in orange vinagrette, with oranges, sliced almonds and warm fresco cheese. It was really refreshing on this day, and a really fruity tasting salad. I’ve recently started to notice a lot of watercress salads which is interesting and new to me, since I’ve only ever had watercress in the Asian soups that my mom likes to make.

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We also ordered la llanera, which comes with beef tenderloin, avocado, fresco cheese and tomato. We were also given condiments to add, including garlic mayo, pesto and peppercorn. It was pretty good, but the beef was really dry. The condiments made a world of difference in terms of adding some moisture to the dish. The corn meal bread was something that I hadn’t tried before. It was interesting, but I don’t think I’d consider it something I’d pick over other types of bread.

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Finally, we got to the reason I had discovered this restaurant in the first place: the guava cheesecake. The dish was decorated with guava syrup dotted on the side of the plate. I have to be honest, this cheesecake failed to come even close to my expectations. Perhaps I expected too much…Either way, I was just having a regular cheesecake, and there was almost no guava taste. The little guava icing that was on the top was of true guava flavour, and didn’t do much for the cheesecake. The base of the cake was an interesting mix of oats and granola though, which was something I hadn’t seen much of before.

Overall this cafe is cute and is a nice place to go if you want to try something new (or at least it’s new to me, as I’ve never had Venezuelan cuisine before). The food was decent, and came quite quickly. The service was attentive but not annoying which can be hard to achieve in a small cafe. Although I enjoyed my experience, I don’t think I’ll be visiting any time soon, as corn meal bread does not appeal to me, and the guava cheesecake was a disappointment. As for the salad, I am confident I can make something quite similar at home. But if you’ve been wanting to try some new flavours, I do suggest you to check out their arepas!

Service: 4/5
Food: 7.2/10
Atmosphere: cafe, drawings, colourful decor
Price: $10-20

Arepa Cafe on Urbanspoon

~ kehwon

Voro – Outremont

I had noticed this super hipster looking restaurant when I went to Fabergé for brunch one day. I described it to my foodie friend without a name and she excitedly told me she thinks it’s Voro, which is a restaurant that she had been wanting to try. The restaurant was opened by an artistic individual (who is also a friend of a friend of my foodie friend..), with a vision that this restaurant will not only provide good food, but will serve as a “hangout” place that locals love to come back to.

It has an industrial feel, with a super long table at one end of the restaurant which is perfect for large parties. The reason I was intrigued by this restaurant that morning on the way to brunch was actually because I saw people studying at this table, even though it looked like a restaurant. We were seated at a round marble table which reminded us of very european cafes.

We had exactly the same idea to order many appetizers and just share them, as the main dishes didn’t appeal to us at all. Their appetizer selection was more than 3 times the size of their main, so it made sense to us.

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We started off with the classic prosciutto and melon combo. But this dish, they featured my favourite reduced balsamic vinagrette, feta cheese and mint! The combo was absolutely perfect and was among one of the best prosciutto-melon apps I’ve had. The dish was priced at a fair $8.

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Next, we ordered the Potato Tart with Chorizo and fried egg. The fried egg came garnished with some cayenne pepper. The presentation of it made us super excited, as it was difficult to see what the potato tart looked like. Being the foodies we were, we cut the fried egg open to take a better picture, and the potato tart looked pretty ordinary at this point. We dug in, and it was pretty mind-blowingly delicious. It was a layered potato and tart combo, with the chorizo on the side. I really loved this, and the seemingly ordinary fried egg just adds incredible texture to the whole dish. This dish was $12.

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Next we had the Smoked Bacon confit figs on a bed of sweet potato, watercress, fennel and Parmesan salad. The bacon was so flavorful and chewy, with more of a ham texture. IT was glazed slightly with honey. I’m a huge fan of sweet potato, so this was an obvious choice for me. The price of the dish was priced at $12, which was a little more expensive than I would have expected. The overall dish was great to pick at while we gossiped and chatted about our program and favourite HK actors. (Chi lam <3)

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Finally, we ordered the mussels which was the Main of the Day. It was pretty good and had a very good balance of the licorice flavour with the cream and wine. The balance of the cream and wine was one of the best that I’ve had in a long time. Most restaurants use more wine than I would like. The mussels weren’t super fresh, as they shrunk a little already, but the flavour of the dish was amazing.

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For dessert, we had the Raspberry Trifle. It was pretty good but nothing worth noting like the rest of the dishes we had that day.

The service was quite good, the waiter was very attentive and not one of those absent-minded ones who ask you the same question more than once. He was a little playful and had good suggestions when we ordered our appetizers to have them come two at a time so we’re not overwhelmed.

I absolutely loved this place, the food, the atmosphere and the service. I highly recommend anyone who likes simple but genius dishes that don’t use extravagant ingredients to try Voro.

Service: 4.5/5
Food: 8.8/10
Atmosphere: easy, fun, friendly, industrial
Price: $15-30

Voro on Urbanspoon

~ kehwon

Table 17 – Leslieville (Queen East)

I found this place as my friends and I were trying to decide where to meet up on a Sunday. The answer was obvious: brunch! We all love brunches, and this place has got to be one of the most relaxing places I’ve been to so far. The reason being: no line up! Also there’s lots of free parking on a Sunday at Queen East. It’s just so easy, without the stress of waiting and finding parking.

The restaurant has a very english country style. The patrons who eat there seem to be very relaxed and the atmosphere isn’t stuffy at all. Definitely a place I’d go if I want a chill brunch day.

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Because I liked it so much, I ended up going a second time. This time I ordered the Neapolitan Eggs. The eggs were done well, but the best part of the dish were the amazingly flavourful tomato base that was used. This was a good dish, but not everyone may like tomatoes.

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I’m a sucker for scrambled eggs. Ever since having the best scrambled eggs of my entire existence at Australian Dairy Company (Jordan, HK), I always want to try scrambled eggs to see if anything will top that. It hasn’t.

These eggs were quite good, but still nothing compared to ADC. I really do love that they had salad with every dish, just to make myself feel a little less guilty.

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Today’s star was actually the quiche. It featured spinach, potatoes and truffle oil. The truffle oil was not overdone as it so often is, so that you could taste the flavours of the ingredients in the quiche. However, it still does not compare to the best quiche I’ve ever had (Duchess, Edmonton).

The service both times were quite good. The first time I was here, the waiter was very friendly and liked to joke around with us. However, the hostess that led me to my table had done a poor job as she led me to one that had not been cleaned yet. When I was here today, the service was nothing special to mark.

Overall I didn’t think this restaurant was all that special, but I did love the combination of the hassle-free feeling as well as its price.

Service: 4/5

Food: 7.7/10
Atmosphere: relaxed, english country
Price: $10-15

Table 17 on Urbanspoon

~ kehwon

Tres Carnales – Downtown Edmonton

Here we are, one of the most talked about restaurant in Edmonton: Tres Carnales. When you enter, you see the menu written up on the boards in colourful, graffiti-like chalk. Below the menu you see the kitchen and the cashier.

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The rest of the restaurant feels very open, with only a few tables. The decor is very interesting to say the least. The star chandeliers are eye catching as well as the large monkey wall painting. Along the wall there are a variety of Mexican decorations and toys.Image

Famous for their tacos, we decide to try 3 of them. We order the Pescado – Red snapper, the Carne Con Chile – Beef brisket, and the Al Pastor – Marinated Pork. We also added a side of Guacamole and Chips. We ordered, paid, received a number, and found a seat to wait for our food. Unlike a fast food restaurant, the food is brought to your table. I thought it was a nice touch.

The Guac and Chips were good. The chips were thick and crispy, which were perfect for scooping up the guacamole. The guacamole had a conservative amount of onion and garlic. It was creamy and not too thick. All in all the guac was good, but definitely not worth the ~10 price tag.

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GUACAMOLE Y TOTOPOS (House-made Guac & chips)

Now for the Tacos. Lets start with the tortilla itself. These are very likely mass produced tortillas and not freshly made in house. They used 2 tortillas for the meat tacos and a single one for the fish taco. The reason for this is because the meat tacos leak a lot of juices and a single tortilla would get soaked and the meat would probably fall through. Their tortillas are soft and not grilled. Personally, I prefer them a bit crispier so that they don’t get soggy as quickly, which was exactly what happened with all the tacos. Nobody likes a soggy taco.

The beef brisket in the Carne Con Chile was soft and tender. Beef brisket is a fattier beef and so there was a lot of beef flavour. The added kick from the chiles in the sauce was a nice touch. The raw onions and fresh cilantro helped balance the heartiness of the meat. The Al Pastor was very similar to the Carne Con Chile. The only difference is the lack of spiciness and more of a pork flavour instead of a beef flavour so I will not comment too much on it. Although this was my least favourite taco, it still tasted good and was enjoyable. Of the three tacos, the Pescado was the best. Although you only get 3, the taco’s are much bigger. Each taco consisted of a very large piece of battered pacific red snapper and topped with a salad of tomato, onion, cabbage, lettuce, and a slice of radish. The fish was cooked just right and the toppings made this taco taste very refreshing. My only suggestion for this taco would be to avoid battering and deep frying and just go for a pan-fried fish instead.

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From left to right: CARNE CON CHILE (Beef brisket slow cooked with beer,
chocolate, chiles and tomatoes), AL PASTOR (Slow roasted, marinated pork), and PESCADO (Lightly battered and fried fresh Pacific Red Snapper)

Having been to Mexico, I can see where the inspiration from this restaurant is coming from. They make a very good attempt at serving real Mexican food with a modern North American twist. But, their tacos are far from being close to the real thing. Having said that, the food here is still very enjoyable. Even though this is one of those restaurants where you order, eat, and leave within 30-45 minutes on a lunch break, I did not feel rushed. If you are in the area, I would recommend that you give Tres Carnales a try.

Service: N/A
Food: 7.5/10
Atmosphere: Themed, Casual
Price: $10-20

Tres Carnales Taqueria on Urbanspoon

~Thomas

Corso 32 – Downtown Edmonton

It was a great weekend. Karen came to Edmonton to visit me and we do what we both love to do: try new restaurants together. Our reservation at Corso 32 was at Sunday night at 9pm and this was the only reservation available even though I had called in a month in advance. Not that surprising since Corso 32 had been rated as Edmonton’s best restaurant by AvenueEdmonton and of course we were both very excited to try it. As we walked into the Corso 32, the dimly lit restaurant gave us a very relaxing and homely feel. The restaurant itself was very small and the tables for 2 were spaced very close to each other, which felt like we were almost eating with the couple next to us. The hostess greeted us with a friendly welcome and let us know that there will be a bit of a wait. However we ended up waiting an extra 25 minutes. When we were finally seated, the waitress did not even apologize for the long wait. We concluded that because of Corso’s popularity, waiting is almost expected.

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Wild Arugula salad with roasted hazlenut, fennel and parmagianno

Since they did not offer us any bread, Karen and I decided to order quickly because we were getting hungry. We decided to share the Wild Arugula salad and the Arancini. The salad was perfectly dressed. The cheese was not too overpowering, which can often happen in salads, especially with the large amount of cheese in this dish. The roasted hazelnuts added complexity, flavour, and texture to the salad. None of the ingredients were the star, which made for a very well balanced salad. In addition, the Arugula was warm, which matched the temperature of all the other ingredients in the salad and gave the salad a homely feel that matched the restaurant. This shows Corso 32’s attention to detail and their goal in making this salad feel harmonious. The Arugula Salad was absolutely delicious.

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Arancini – Porcinni Mushrooms with Risotto and Fontina

On the first bite of the Arancini, it had a very rich flavour of cheese and mushroom with the added thickness of the risotto all covered with a crunchy deep fried outer layer. It was very tasty, but by the second one, we felt like we were getting full very quickly and were almost overwhelmed by the flavour of the Arancini.

For our mains, Karen ordered the Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli and I ordered the Full Hen. The Ravioli was accompanied by a flavourful buttery brown sage sauce. The pasta itself was thin and soft, which is something that Karen really enjoyed. Once you start tasting the pumpkin inside, it begins to stand out. The pumpkin was not too sweet and was blended very consistently, but not to the extent that it became creamy. This pasta was absolutely amazing and we both agreed that it was the best pumpkin ravioli we have ever had.

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Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli with Pistacchios
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Game Hen “Alla Mattone” – Green Beans, Marcona Almond & Lemon Gremolata

The hen was very generously portioned. The outside was crispy and well seasoned. The lemon zest in the seasoning gave the hen a very refreshing taste. When you bite into it, you get the crispy texture from the skin as well as the juicy and tender meat inside. Overall, I thought the hen was very good, but I must admit that it was a little bit too salty and over-seasoned because seasoning overpowered the flavour of the hen. Feeling full, Karen and I decide to skip dessert. We were very satisfied with our meal at Corso 32. All the ingredients were fresh and the dishes were innovative. The decor was very homely and their dishes matched that style. The attention to detail is very evident in their dishes and everything tasted great. Corso 32 is a gem in Edmonton and I will definitely be coming back for another try.

Service: 4/5
Food: 8.8/10
Atmosphere: Cozy, Hipster
Price: $30-40

Corso 32 on Urbanspoon

~Thomas

Inatei – Richmond Hill

Inatei is located at 9021 Leslie st. I first heard about it about 2-3 years ago when my parents heard that the owner of the restaurant they frequent, had opened up a second restaurant: a japanese one. They had tried it and recommended it to me. Today I went with my friends to this place I like to go to when I feel like treating myself.

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I love the decor of this restaurant because it really does capture a Japanese feel to it. With its dark stone constructed wall contrasted with the light coloured wood to partition the booths, finished with the oriental flower fabric, the atmosphere is instantly created. As a very full-package oriented person, I do believe that decor makes and breaks a restaurant. If my eyes and my tastebuds don’t completely agree, then there is just something off. Not to say a restaurant has to be beautifully decorated, but it has to match and fit. This place definitely does that for me.

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We ordered the sushi and sashimi moriawase which a selection of sashimi, nigiri and maki. I love this place because they don’t focus on the common types of fish we tend to see. They had this yellow roe fish (which is actually the golden herring menhaden), saba (mackerel) topped with green onion and ginger, scallops, among the more common types. Everything was very fresh and the quantities were enough that we can really savour the fish. We also ordered a spider roll which had an amazing flavour, which at first almost tastes like okonamiyaki (a flavour I cannot get enough of). I usually am not a fan of soft shell crab but this roll really sucked me in.

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We also had an order of uni nigiri. But they had run out of regular Vancouver uni, so they threw in a Hokkaido Uni (which was more than double the price) in for us instead. The uni more to the bottom of the picture is the Hokkaido one. My friend and I split these two and we definitely could taste a difference. The Vancouver one had more of a fishy taste, and was more “watery”. Whereas the Hokkaido had less fishy taste, but a bitter aftertaste that lingered for quite a while. It also was very very creamy and smooth. I’m not a huge lover of uni but have been enjoying it since my trip to Japan. So I definitely thought their Hokkaido uni was really quite good.

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For dessert we ordered my beloved tofu cheesecake. Inatei was the first time I had tofu cake and although I was very very hesitant at first, I fell in love with it at first bite. It is more like a hard pudding consistency, with tofu taste and graham cracker base. Eaten with the chocolate drizzle, whipped cream and the sliced almond on top, it is so amazing. I also love that this is quite a generous portion of cake (compared to places like Guu, where the slice of yuzu cheesecake was the size of my middle and ring fingers combined….).

Another generous gesture was seen by the owner as he threw in 3 lychee panna cottas for us. It was really more of a lychee pudding, with a piece of lychee at the bottom. Very light in texture and flavour, but I don’t think I would’ve paid for this.

We were served with speed and friendliness by the owner. I loved the whole experience and although I’ve come several times already, I continue to recommend this restaurant to my friends and family. Perhaps it was that I asked if they had tofu cheesecake in stock when we first sat down, or perhaps it was because I spoke cantonese to the owner. Either way, I believe that if you seem to really want to eat their food, they will treat you as treasured customers. Afterall, this restaurant wasn’t opened purely to make money.

Service: 4.5/5
Food: 8.7/10
Atmosphere: Excellent
Price: $20-30

Inatei on Urbanspoon

~ kehwon