Vietnam-born chef Lynn Hoang relies on family recipes and her own gustatory intuition as she recreates the memorable dishes of her childhood. At Ha Long Bay Bistro, she combines southern Vietnamese cooking learned from her mother with northern Vietnamese flavours from her grandmother, creating what the Toronto Star has called "a streamlined menu of homey dishes."
The simmering curries exude fragrant aromas of coconut milk, taro, and sweet potato, lending a creamy richness to their fillings of tofu, chicken, or shrimp. Fresh spring rolls invigorate palates and prepare them for tender fillets of lime- and mint-marinated Atlantic salmon or grilled quail.
The modern dining room also bridges the gap between casual and refined. China plates glazed a light jade green contrast with warm, orange walls and gleaming black tabletops. Light floods through the front wall's floor-to-ceiling windows, illuminating the space more naturally than the usual candelabrums full of bioluminescent jellyfish.
Moji Italian Bistro extracts premium flavours from seasonal ingredients to colour upscale and traditional Italian recipes. Lunch and supper transform into multicoursed extravaganzas with primi such as butter-roasted black-tiger-shrimp crostini atop a puff-pastry vol au vent ($15 lunch, $16 dinner). Noodles made from 100 per cent durum semolina rotate round fork axes in Moji's extensive anthology, which includes a penne pesto tossed with herb-grilled chicken, broccoli florets, and goat cheese ($10 lunch, $17 dinner) and a cylindrical perfectionist band of manicotti ($10 lunch, $16 dinner). After a Chicago-style 8-ounce filet mignon ($38 dinner only) or Nova Scotia sea scallops dressed in a lychee cream sauce ($28 dinner only), satisfied stomachs communicate their thanks with the sudden emission of operatic arias and loving background purrs.
From its lakefront location on Lake Ontario, Lake Affect Patio Bar & Grill serves up a hearty menu of juicy, half-pound burgers and freshly netted fish on a large, climate-controlled outdoor patio. The grill's burgers, made to order from half-pound beef patties, can stand alone ($8.95) or come in variations such as the Canadian burger, a back-bacon- and cheese-laden slab of succulence ($11.95). Lake Affect's freshly plucked fruits of the sea, meanwhile, include the ever-changing fresh catch of the day, which swims beside an option of fries, garlic mashed potatoes, or rice with seasonal veggies ($15.99).
The chefs at Kennedy's Restaurant & Catering have added a few unexpected flavours to their menu of pub classics and Irish-inspired dishes. Entrees such as tender rib dishes are served alongside oven-roasted pig tails, and in addition to deep-fried, beer-battered fish with chips, the seafood selection includes baked coconut tilapia crusted with coconut, mango, and papaya. Chefs also stuff cabbage rolls for business lunches, grill lightly breaded wiener schnitzel for banquets, and dress baked potatoes up in tiny tuxedoes forweddings.
Chefs at HeyDayz whip up a vast menu of delicately spiced burgers, fried seafood, and seven sauce-soaked poutine platters. The basic burger ensconces a juicy beef patty atop a fresh kaiser bun crowned with red onion and tomato, inviting hands to break from cat's-cradle competitions and hold the hefty burger in a loving embrace. For an additional fee, patrons can also invite cheddar cheese or bacon strips to mingle atop their patty. Dining companions also nosh on french fries and spoon up creamy coleslaw to smother lingering hunger pangs.
The stovetops of Paulette’s Island Place kitchen simmer with a plethora of authentic Caribbean dishes, which draw their complex flavours from Jamaican, African, Amerindian, British, Spanish, French, Dutch, Indian, and Chinese cuisines. Chefs assemble meats and seafood into small and large plates of curries and stews, as traditional Jamaican fruitcakes rise in the ovens. In addition to a Caribbean menu of breakfasts and dinners, the kitchen turns out Canadian mainstays such as sandwiches, chicken wings, and burger patties in the shape of Jacques Cartier’s head.