Last Saturday, I was invited by a few friends to watch the Jays Home Opener Weekend game! Pretty exciting but get this… we were actually watching the game from our own executive suite with our own private kitchen, bathroom, with unlimited healthy and not so healthy foods & drinks that was constantly being replenished – to top it off with my favourite Milk Chocolate Hagaan Diaz ice cream. Along with this amazing suite, is a patio with 2 rows of fancy couches inside the Rogers Center stadium to watch the game! Score? =) Honestly, I don’t think I can ever go back to just watching any game the way I used to…

Anyways – watching the game yesterday suddenly triggered a similar dining experience that I had inside the Rogers Stadium. Arriba Restaurant, located inside the stadium & Renaissance Hotel – has one of the best views for a dining experience & game night!

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Don’t believe me? Check this out:

UntitledPhoto Credit: http://www.arribarestauranttoronto.com/

Here’s the thing: I usually associate “hotel” food with mediocre to pretty bad food (depending where you stay at). We only ended up at Arriba because of a groupon deal that my friend purchased!

Spicy Fried Calamari ($12.00)

  • arugula, toasted sesame seeds, scallions, chipotle mayonnaise

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Steamed P.E.I. Mussels ($12.00)

  • white wine, fresh herbs, roasted tomato, garlic toast

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Seafood Tagliatelle ($22.00)

  • black tiger shrimp, P.E.I. mussels, pernod, spinach, basil tomato sauce

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Striploin ($33.00)

  • 10 oz. AAA striploin, yukon gold potato purée, market vegetables, red wine demi glace

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Home Made Bread Pudding ($9.00)

  • Berries and Dark Rum Caramel

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Verdict? My friend and I were both surprised by the quality of food produced from Arriba. We enjoyed every one of the dishes we ordered. Everything was cooked perfectly – steak made to a perfect medium rare, pasta was al dente – tasty alfredo sauce. It  was a solid meal with nothing but large portions – Arriba  certainly does not cheap out on ingredients. That being said – although it was an enjoyable meal – there was nothing overly amazing or special. I wouldn’t come back just to dine at Arriba but wouldn’t mind coming back if there was a game going on!

Thanks for reading!

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Arriba on Urbanspoon

I love Brunch. It’s my favourite meal of the day and I’m willing to get up an hour extra early (because I live far from downtown) just to trek in and out of the city hunting for the best brunch spots!

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, I made my way over to the Queen St. West area to indulge in Harlem Underground (@Harlem1920)‘s infamous Southern Fried Chicken & Waffles.

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When we arrived, surprisingly there wasn’t that many people – Perhaps we arrived too early?

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Orange Juice & Coffee

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Southern Fried Chicken and Waffle ($14.00)

  • Served with a scotch bonette-corriander-lime syrup and a gravy sauce
  • The delicately crunchy batter was packed with a light seasoning that was paired well with some delicious waffles
  • The juicy and tender chicken underneath the crispy layer of skin was piping hot! (literally with steam coming out after the first bite!)

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Harlem Mash Up ($10.00)

  • Sweet Potato & Yukon Potato, hash served with sausage, topped with a fried egg and served with corn bread
  • The Harlem mash up was nothing memorable – though it was served warm…

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Harlem Benny ($12.00)

  • Two poached eggs, garlic collard greens atop sweet potato pancakes with a spicy hollandaise sauce
  • The Harlem Benny was a slight disappointment  - the addition of the collard greens were a bit too much – and I mean literally too much especially since the greens were really mushy and didn’t have much flavour

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Overall, I enjoyed the piping hot chicken and waffles!  The 2 other dishes that followed fell below expectations – everything else was just served warm and tasted some what bland… Perhaps I visited them on a busy day… Nonetheless, I wouldn’t completely turn away from this place because they do serve some awesome Southern Fried Chicken and waffles… I think I’m going to be on a hunt for the pair over the next little while! Let me know if you have suggestions :) blogsignature Harlem Underground on Urbanspoon

When my friend randomly suggested Blu Ristorante (@BluRistorante) for an Italian dinner while we were shopping in the Yorkville area, I was quite excited yet perplexed. Italian food – specifically pasta is something that I always crave for so I never say nooo. Yet, I was feeling perplexed because I usually do all my research before heading to any restaurants – so I guess this was somewhat of a spontaneous visit? =)

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I admit – the second I walked through the doors – the restaurant did  give off a bit of a pretentious vibe but our waiter made it go away as soon as he came over and walked us through the menu. He was friendly and ensured our dining experience went smoothly.

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Bread to Start:

  • The spread that came with the toasty warm bread was quite addictive

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Tuna Tartare ($16.00)

  • Leek Fondant, Fruffle Aioli and Fingerlinging Potato Chips
  • The addition of the fingerlinging potato chips  contrasts wonderfully with the tartare, each alternating bite heightens your awareness of the flavours of the tuna
  • In terms of the texture of the tartare, it was a bit mushy almost like the texture of a durian fruit

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Duck Confit Pasta ($22.00)

  • Duck Confit with house made parpadelle, roasted king oyster mushroom and duck demi cream
  • The parapdelle, al dente, was deliciously rich in flavour served with juicy duck confit and perfectly cooked oysters
  • The pasta was the perfect amount of bite, tossed in a gorgeous duck demi sauce

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Grilled Tiger Shrimp ($29.00)

  • with Salsa Verde, Frisee, Cherry Tomato Salsa, Grilled Asparagus
  • This was my friend’s entrée – she only had good things to say about this dish!

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Speciality Coffee

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Tiramisu ($10.00)

  • The coffee flavour was rich in its flavour and bitterness but it was perfectly balanced with the creamy and airy mascarpone

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As you can probably imagine, Italian dinners are usually quite rich and this one was no exception but my friend and myself were pretty darn satisfied! I thoroughly enjoyed my tuna tartare, my duck confit parapadelle pasta and finishing off with a creamy yet slightly bitter Tiramisu just topped it off perfectly.

We didn’t run into any particularly problems with the service during our visit. In fact, It’s a great place to bring a date here for a romantic date.

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Blu Ristorante & Lounge on Urbanspoon

So a while ago, I made a visit to Ciao Wine Bar in Yorkville. Ciao Wine Bar is one of the many restaurants under the Liberty Entertainment Group. This authentic Italian restaurant  has been opened for as long as I can remember. This is one of my many backlogged post only because my experience at Ciao Wine Bar was somewhat mediocre. But thought I should still share my thoughts about this dinner. 

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ZUPPE

Stracciatella ($9.00)

  • Egg drop, spinach in a chicken broth with parmigiano reggianno

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Bread to Start:

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PIZZA

Amerciana ($18.00)

  • Tomato, mozzarella, salami, mushroom, green peppers

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PASTA

Pasta Lunga ($21.00)

  • Linguine with fresh clams, mussels, calamari, tiger shrimp in a light tomato sauce

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My verdict? As you can probably tell from the beginning of my blog post, everything was pretty mediocre. I’ve never had Italian food that was so bland before. The soup and the pasta were a bit underwhelming and a slight let down. Starting with the soup, it was served luke warm and the pasta like the soup were pretty bland. The pasta was pretty dry and didn’t have much tomato sauce to go around the pasta.

On the other hand, I did enjoy the pizza we tried that evening – thin & crispy crust with quite a few mushrooms to go around the pizza – pretty yummy!

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Ciao Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

You know you’re in a for a tasty treat when you walk through the doors of Sukho Thai (@Sukhothaifood) on a Friday evening and there’s a galore of people waiting to be fed. Thankfully, we made reservations in advance so we just pushed through the crowds to be seated.

I’ve been to Sukho Thai on Parliament and also to their sister restaurant Khao san road. Loved everything coming out of their kitchen!  With all that in mind, I was tres excited for our food to come :)

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Here’s a picture I took almost to closing on a Friday evening… with all the tables still fully occupied!

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Thai Iced Tea ($4.00)

  • A very sweet and refreshing drink that I devoured after a few sips. Keeping in mind this may be a tad to sweet for those that can’t handle overly “sweetened” items
  • Tasty like a sweeter version of a Hong Kong style milk tea!

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Crispy Spring Rolls ($6.00)

  • These are the second orders of crispy rolls that we ordered because everyone couldn’t get enough of these pretty darn good spring rolls during the first round
  • served incredibly Hot & crispy – the stuffing was amazing and we all felt that it was definitely the mashed taro that brought the appetizer together

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Close up shot:

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Thai Fried Rice ($12.00)

  • choice of chicken, beef, tofu or shrimp (shrimp option is $1 extra)

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Guaytiaw sukhoTHAI ($10.00)

  • Thai noodle soup w/ choice of chicken, beef, tofu or shrimp (shrimp option is $1 extra)

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Sukho Pad Thai with Shrimp ($14.00)

  • I inhaled this Pad Thai quick and easy – they do it SO well!
  • The sauce was spot on – a good amount of bite, fragrant with the prawn, beansprouts & peanuts crunchy & unique taste of the bits and pieces of cilantro

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Khao Soi ($14.00)

  • yellow noodles in curry gravy w/ chicken or beef

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Tapioca with coconut milk ($4.00)

  • The coconut milk was delicious – the temperature was slightly cooler than what we expected.
  • Loved the tapioca bits drowned in the creamy and strong aromatic coconut milk

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Sukho Thai serves amazing authentic Thai Food. Whether its the fried rice or the Khao Soi – everything is spot on & I’ve never left the restaurant feeling disappointed.  I know I can always count on their tasty & hearty Pad thai’s to satisfy my cravings! Do yourself a favour and make this at the top of your list!

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Sukho Thai on Urbanspoon

Located at the intersections of  King West & Brant, The Citizen (@TheCitizen_TO) is the newest addition to the King West family! I was invited to a little sneak preview a few days prior to their grand opening on Thursday March 20th!

The Citizen is inspired by the classic bars of the 1930s. I haven’t visited the space prior so I was completely amazed with how spacious the venue was. An enormously rectangular shaped bar plotted in the centre of the restaurant. Decorated with lots of  luxurious tufted high top stools made along the side and a few couches at the front that complements the vintage wood panelling. Throughout the space, they blend a bit of old school charm with modern touches.

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The Florist

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Smoked Trout Lettuce Wrap

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Popcorn Shrimp

  • Fried Shrimp with tartar sauce and hot sauce

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Jalapeño Pepper Croquettes Sweet Potatoes

  • charred jalapeño and buttermilk ranch

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Beef Tartar Salsa Verde

  • pickled peppers & crostini

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After an hour of appetizers and cocktails, they opened up the back area and welcomed us to their dining area. Here is a quick snap shot I took.. Unfortunately I had to leave the media dinner right before dinner but my friend stayed to take pictures for me.

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So here are the pictures of what was served – I will definitely come back to actually taste it! Happy viewing :)

Root Vegetables

  • sherry vinaigrette & smoked crème fraiche and dill

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Fried Chicken Thighs

  • chicken liver, crispy skin and sweet potato mash with coleslaw & buttermilk biscuit

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Close up:

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Pork Belly Smoked Mac n Cheese

  • broccoli and pickled chili

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Warm Butternut Squash Salad 

  • Smoked blue haze cheese, oyster mushroom, kale and pear vinaigrette

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Beef Brisket

  • parsnip puree, kale and horseradish creme fraiche

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Chocolate Chip cookies with Milk 

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As I mentioned earlier, I will need to come back to visit the entrées – so hope you enjoyed the pictures for now :)

Special thanks to my good friend Wenting for snapping the dinner photos for me :) 

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This meal was complimentary but Foodinthecitytoronto.com remains unbiased in our content

The Citizen on Urbanspoon

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So 2 weeks ago, a group of us decided to head over to Guu Izakaya (@GuuToronto)- simply because we haven’t done so for awhile. I mean its always fun to share a few tapas & beers with friends while enjoying the full “guu experience” and by that I mean – being verbally abused at in a foreign language =P 

Perhaps I haven’t been to Guu Izakaya (@GuuToronto) few quite some time, but I found it pretty neat that they introduced us to their party menu. Groups with parties of 4 of more people are allowed to order from their {A} menu for $25 per person or {B} menu for $35 per person – both menus come with dessert!

Honestly, this is a pretty good deal – and basically everything on the menu are their most popular items. So of course, the six of us ordered 4 of their {B} party menu + a few extra things of the side – just to make life simpler :)

Edamame (Party Menu B)

  • Boiled soy bean

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Sashimi Salad (Party Menu B)

  • Assorted sashimi on greens

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Maguro Tataki (Party Menu B)

  • Seared BC Tuna Sashimi

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Takoyaki (Party Menu B)

  • Deep fried Octopus Balls

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Salmon Belly Sushi ($11.00)

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Ebimayo (Party Menu B)

  • Deep fried Prawn

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Gindara (Party Menu B)

  • Grilled Black Cod

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Kaki Mayo (Party Menu B)

  • Baked BC Oyster topped with cheese

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Karaage (Party Menu B)

  • Deep Fried Chicken

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Kinoko Bibimbap (Party Menu B)

  • Rice, mushroom, & cheese in sizzling bowl

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Yaki Udon

  • pan fried Udon noodles with beef, mushrooms and scallions

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Ice Cream (Party Menu B)

  • A choice of black sesame, coconut or green tea

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After all these years, Guu still has its crowd on their feet! I’m happy that I’ve had the chance to visit them recently and glad they presented a party menu. It makes a significant difference for people that feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice on their menu. So why not let Guu choose what they think is the most popular to the Toronto crowds!

One last thing, the evening we visited Guu, there were 6 of us but we only ordered 4 party menus + a few additional things on the side. They were nice enough to not make everyone at the table order the party menu :)

Favourites of the evening include: sashimi salad, seared BC salmon sashimi, tako yaki, baked oyster, yaki udon!

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Guu Izakaya on Urbanspoon

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