!!!!Happy 2013 Summerlicious Torontonian Foodies!!!!
There are only a few days where I get abso-frickin-lutely excited during the year, and the first day of Toronto’s annual Summerlicious is definitely one of them. Why wouldn’t I? It’s the first day of a 17-day affair with food! With 195 participating restaurants offering prix fixe menus at a discounted price, foodies everywhere can sample the best (and often expensive) restaurants!
Now of course, Summerlicious isn’t just a walk-in-the-park for anyone. Once reservations are open 2 weeks before the start of this coveted food fest, I am on the phone/internet reserving away. The good restaurants are always the first to go. Just today, I was on a mission with a fellow foodie on a last-minute get-together with some friends this Sunday, and all of the slots of our Summerlicious top picks were completely booked. But alas, tis’ the season to book early!
For this Summerlicious, I intend to try 5 restaurants, and do 5 reviews. My tentative schedule runs like this:
- Starfish Oyster Bed & Grill
- Aria Ristorante
- To Be Determined…
To kick start the very first day of summerlicious, I enjoyed a beautiful lunch at Chiado, a small, posh Portuguese restaurant tucked in the busy streets of Little Italy, Toronto.
Before I dive into my review, here are some simple stats on Chiado, courtesy of Google:
- Sun 5-10pm
- Mon 12-2:30pm, 5-10pm
- Tue 12-2:30pm, 5-10pm
- Wed 12-2:30pm, 5-10pm
- Thurs 12-2:30pm, 5-10pm
- Fri 12-2:30pm, 5-10pm
- Sat 5-10pm
Zagat Rating: 28/30
With a Zagat rating of 28 out of 30, getting on board the Chiado summerlicious train was a no-brainer. For this year’s summerlicious, the Chiado menu boasts a huge selection of seafood: glorious, glorious, seafood. And understandably so. They do seafood… So. Magnificiently. Well.
If you are going to Chiado, I highly recommend the Grilled Sardines which were beautifully prepared for me today. As expected -and I had high expectations- the skin had a wonderful crisp, and the fish was tender. The tomato salsa, along with the pickled fennel at the bottom, was a thoughtful and welcoming touch, bringing a refreshing tartness to the smoky undertone of the grilled fish. One bite, and I was in heaven.
For the main, I ordered the Pan-Seared Skate Fish on a Lemon Coriander Risotto. As a fan of Skate Fish, I immediately gravitated towards this dish. Surprisingly, the risotto, not the Skate Fish, left me with a lasting impression. Don’t get me wrong, the Skate Fish was flavourful and tender, but the risotto kicked ass. As someone who really dislikes coriander, the lemon coriander risotto was baffling delicious to me. Each creamy forkful of those al dente grains came with a burst of lemony goodness that paired so well with the coriander.
Dessert was delicious, but nothing spectacular. I tried the White Chocolate Flan and the Molotof. Out of the two, I would recommend the Molotof, a classic Portuguese dessert that comes with a light fluffy texture: something between a creme caramel and soft-peak meringue.
My only pseudo-complaint is Chiado’s overall atmosphere. Chaido’s clean and crisp interior is spruced with a wall of golden-framed paintings. Attentive servers are dressed in black-and-white, properly poised, are ready to pull out a chair for you, and help you with your napkin. As a fan of restaurants that are young, fun and vibrant, I found Chiado’s atmosphere a bit too proper for me. But with food like that, who even cares?
2013 Chiado Menu
$25 Lunch (lunch portions) or $45 Dinner
Daily Soup (vegetarian)
Shrimp Bisque, saffron, cognac
Mixed Seasonal Greens, fresh fruit tossed with a Balsamic vinaigrette (vegetarian)
Goat Cheese, eggplant, portabella mushrooms, champagne vinaigrette (vegetarian)
Grilled Sardines, lemon, garlic, extra virgin olive oil
Tartar of Salmon, avocado mousse, fresh apple
Grilled Squid, lemon, olive oil, coriander, garlic
Filet of Seabream (dourada) with a warm salad of green beans
Grilled Filet of Atlantic Salmon crusted with fresh herbs, plum chutney
Pan Seared Skate Fish on lemon coriander risotto
Roasted Breast of Capon crusted with fresh herbs, garlic, with piri piri
Terrine of Salted Cod, wilted spinach, shrimp red wine sauce
Risotto of Field Mushrooms (vegetarian)
Ginger bread cake
White chocolate Flan