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Northern Light

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We all know the pitfalls of Michelin...........but it can certainly drive tourism.

So many in the City will be happy to see it here, and some restos about to get very hard to book.

*****

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-michelin-restaurant-guide-canada-toronto-launch/ (not paywalled at time of posting)

The announcement is coming on Tuesday w/the Mayor, a Federal Minister, and 2 local restaurateurs any guesses what they just got??

From the above:

1651875551786.png
 

Northern Light

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Official Press Release here:


Media Stories here:



Guide will actually be out in Fall of this year.
 

AlbertC

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Michelin gearing up for a September 13 unveiling of Toronto's finest restaurants


The anticipation of Michelin spending their summer building a Toronto guide has been thrilling, and after months of suspense, we finally have a date and time for the unveiling of Toronto's inaugural Michelin Guide. On Tuesday, September 13, 2022 at Evergreen Brick Works, at 6:30 p.m., Michelin will announce which Toronto restaurants will be awarded one, two, or three Michelin Stars, in addition to Bib Gourmands (given to establishments selling great food at reasonable prices), and Green Stars (recognizing sustainable-forward restaurants).

 

Bayer

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I only tried a single restaurant with a Michelin star: Les Ambassadeurs, the main restaurant at Hôtel de Crilllon in Paris, before their renovations. It was in the spectacularly lavish setting of what is now their bar. It had a level of service I never experienced before or since, and the food was memorable. Anyway, my friend and I were very happy and went back a couple of weeks later. While eating there, I never once thought we had equivalent or better places in Toronto, because we just didn't.

Of course, even a single star usually comes at a large premium, though a place like Alo, which could very well end up with one, has already more than doubled its prices since it opened.
 

Northern Light

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I only tried a single restaurant with a Michelin star: Les Ambassadeurs, the main restaurant at Hôtel de Crilllon in Paris, before their renovations. It was in the spectacularly lavish setting of what is now their bar. It had a level of service I never experienced before or since, and the food was memorable. Anyway, my friend and I were very happy and went back a couple of weeks later. While eating there, I never once thought we had equivalent or better places in Toronto, because we just didn't.

Of course, even a single star usually comes at a large premium, though a place like Alo, which could very well end up with one, has already more than doubled its prices since it opened.

I've dined in a few top spots over the years; some with and some without any stars.......

I truly appreciate great food, and a top presentation, along, of course, with good service and ambiance.

But I've never been one for false pretension or excess for its own sake.

I remember dining at one Toronto resto w/aspirations to glory, the food was actually quite good.........

But their attempt at great service royally peeved me off......it was one waiter per table.

So when we were eating, the waiter would stand near the kitchen to keep an eye on our table.

If one of us took a sip of water, he was instantly there to refill it.

A sip of wine, he would top us up from the bottle.........

We ate some mushroom bruschetta and he was there every third bite with the world's tiniest broom and dustpan to sweep the crumbs off the table.

Too Much!

Part of the experience I want with my $250 meal is to be left alone (with my guest) to eat it in peace!, not feel like my date has a third wheel tagging along. LOL

Don''t get me wrong, being checked on once per course (Are you enjoying everything, can I get you anything?) is fine, and desired.

But constant attention is just overkill.

****

Toronto has some pretty spectacular food quality; though the theatre aspect of elaborate plating is a bit less common here.

Still, if you want to have your olive oil turned into a gelatinized sphere, and served on a spoon with an eye drop of $200, 30-year aged balsamic vinegar, we have places for that!
 
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vatche

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We can probably have the food but we don’t have the Legel of sophistication of european service or setting. We don’t have the palaces, hôtels particuliers, the Mediterranean views so it’s hard to compete.
 

Bayer

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I've dined in a few top spots over the years; some with and some without any stars.......

I truly appreciate great food, and a top presentation, along, of course, with good service and ambiance.

But I've never been one for false pretension or excess for its own sake.

I remember dining at one Toronto resto w/aspirations to glory, the food was actually quite good.........

But their attempt at great service royally peeved me off......it was one waiter per table.

So when we were eating, the waiter were stand near the kitchen to keep an eye on our table.

If one of us took a sip of water, he was instantly there to refill it.

...
Helicopter servers are the worst. I once had a very similar experience at Scaramouche, but more memorably at a Relais & Châteaux inn somewhere in the Charlevoix region of Québec. We were alone in the restaurant at the time... I felt like saying "thank you, you're dismissed"!

Thankfully, our experience was very different in Paris. The waiters appeared when needed and vanished when they weren't, and we never felt intimidated.
 

Northern Light

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We can probably have the food but we don’t have the Legel of sophistication of european service or setting. We don’t have the palaces, hôtels particuliers, the Mediterranean views so it’s hard to compete.

Your point is well taken; though, I think it's important to say we have different good views. Scaramouche has a pretty damned fine one, as far as I'm concerned, but Canoe is no slouch.

But very different vibe, particularly the latter, vs Ocean-side dining.

We also, have less old/older architecture which can convey a very particular flavour.

But we almost certainly could take far more advantage of Lake Ontario as a beautiful view point, along with our various ravines. Without damaging nature, or making the waterfront less public, there are some very
tangible opportunities.

In the same fashion, more contemporary architecture can provide a great dining experience, but it certainly won't emulate the vibe of a stone building from the 15th C

****

We do have some old'ish (for North America) buildings that might, in some cases, be modified to provide more interesting dining experiences as well, without taking away from heritage, or existing important function.
 
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Northern Light

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The Michelin awards for Toronto are out.


From the above:

One Two-Star award:

Sushi Masaki Saito


I haven't tried it! o_O


The One Star awards:


Aburi Hana


Serving modern Kyo-Kaiseki cuisine, executive chef Ryusuke Nakagawa and sous chef Aiko Uchigoshi are behind the seasonally-driven menu that blends the best of Canadian-sourced and Japanese-imported ingredients.


Alo


Celebrated chef-restaurateur Patrick Kriss's haute dining flagship for contemporary French fare felt like a shoo-in, given its 94th placement on The World's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2018 and how it locked in the top spot four years straight on Canada's 100 Best.


Alobar


Yorkville's not-so-hidden gem is a temple for cocktails and fine wines but also contemporary cuisine from the Alo Food Group that partners crudos with fish and chops prepared on a charcoal grill.


Don Alfonso 1890


Already named the number one spot for best Italian Restaurant in the world outside of Italy by 50 Top Italy, the Toronto outpost of the two Michelin-starred restaurant in Campania takes it to its new home on the 38th floor of the Westin Harbour Castle.


Edulis


A perennial favourite among the city's food lovers, this intimate restaurant run by husband and wife team Tobey Nemeth and Michael Caballo draws inspiration from Spain and France for its seasonally driven, changing daily, rustic-yet-refined cuisine. Their Sunday lunch is a long and lingering feast that's unparalleled in the city.


Enigma Restaurant


Internationally trained chef Quinton Bennett brings his modern techniques in contemporary cooking to this guilded and plush Yorkville dining room. Expect unconventional flavours that surprise and delight especially when you place your trust in the cocktail or non-alcoholic pairings.


Frilu


This uptown gem is a playground of chef John-Vincent Troiano and his skilled team who take the country's bounty and showcases them with Asian sensibilities that's smart, flavourful, and anything but stereotypical.


Kaiseki Yu-Zen Hashimoto


Serving kaiseki-ryori, the traditional Japanese multi-course cuisine that's an art form as much as it is about the cooking, this gastronomic temple at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre is where chef-owner Masaki Hashimoto practices omotenashi (Japanese hospitality).


Osteria Guilia


A tough reservation even before being recognized, this Avenue space spotlights delicate coastal Mediterranean flavours and comforting Northern Italian cuisine.


Quetzal


Featuring wood-fired cooking and tapping into the Mexican pantry, the food and flavours here continue to draw crowds despite ownership changes.


Shoushin


Chef-owner Jackie Lin serves Edomae-style sushi at this high-end uptown sushi bar that almost exclusively sources its products from Japan and prepares them with integrity and care. (Shoushin means 'craftsman heart.')


Yakashi​


Chef Daisuke Izutsu prepares his artful and seasonal kaiseki-style menu for a lucky 15 each night.

Finally the Bib Gourmands: (great value)


1663124230087.png

Not surprisingly I've dined at more spaces in this category than the one-star.

Almost 1/2

What I'm truly fascinated by is the places that didn't make the list.............for any stars or Bib...........

There are going to be some punctured egos in this City.............some, perhaps rightfully so...............
 

Bayer

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I had Alobar takeout almost weekly for a while, but I am surprised it got a star. Alo goes without saying. It used to be my favourite restaurant, but I haven't been since they introduced blind tasting menus, and they don't seem as keen to accommodate dietary restrictions as they used to be.

I actually prefer Grey Gardens since they opened. More relaxed and casual, and more vegetable- and seafood-oriented, which usually means less wheat-infested. Having them as a Bib Gourmand is questionable, it's seen as the "cheap eats" category and I'm pretty sure Jen Agg won't love it (my last bill was anything but reasonable with that bottle of Savennières!)

I walk by Enigma regularly and I am intrigued; I'll have to give them a try.
 

AlbertC

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I've only been to 3 of the Bib Gourmand places; Bar Raval, Favorites Thai, and R&D. From what I remember, I think they were generally good but whether or not they're Bib level seems rather subjective. I've had more enjoyable meals at places that were less recognized through the years.
 

Northern Light

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Not that it's surpising, but I'm amused to see none of the 'Master Chef Canada' hosts get stars (though R&D is Alvin Leung and did get a Bib); O&B are also in on R&D.

Mark McEwan also shutout.

So Master Chefs and Top Chefs mostly shut out.
 

AlbertC

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Not that its surpising, but I'm amused to see none of the 'Master Chef Canada' hosts get stars (though R&D is Alvin Leung and did get a Bib); O&B are also in on R&D.

Mark McEwan also shutout.

So Master Chefs and Top Chefs mostly shut out.

Claudio Aprile's only remaining restautant, Xango, doesn't appear to have very good ratings.

I haven't been to Bonacini's Canoe or Auberge du Pommier before so I can't personally comment too much if they should be Star or Bib worthy.

In terms of other local "celeb chefs", Susur Lee is also shut out. Matty Matheson's new Prime Seafood Palace is getting a lot of hype, although I guess it's too recent of an addition to this city to be considered.
 

Northern Light

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Claudio Aprile's only remaining restautant, Xango, doesn't appear to have very good ratings.

Haven't been.

I haven't been to Bonacini's Canoe or Auberge du Pommier before so I can't personally comment too much if they should be Star or Bib worthy.

Been a long time since I've been to either, but both were good culinary experiences back when, they weren't out there in terms of innovation, they were simply well executed fine dining; though, fairly fully priced.

In terms of other local "celeb chefs", Susur Lee is also shut out. Matty Matheson's new Prime Seafood Palace is getting a lot of hype, although I guess it's too recent of an addition to this city to be considered.

I dined at Susur's first place a very long time ago, on a date, I remember having Duck Breast w/Blackberry sauce, that was .....ummmm, over 20 years ago, so it must have been good.

Haven't patronized any of the current spots in his empire. I doubt he works the line much anymore; but I could be surprised.
 
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