Papusas and a combination plate at Amanecer Salvadoreño Restaurant
This is a fantastic hidden gem in north Etobicoke. I heard that the papusas are the thing to order here, and yeah, they’re top-notch. But the rest of the menu is no slouch; I also tried the combination plate that came with steak, shrimp, and plantain, and everything was very, very good.
Blueberry cheesecake doughnut at Frenchie’s Doughnuts
Frenchie’s has a fun gimmick that makes them feel delightfully distinct from a run-of-the-mill doughnut shop: they fry their doughnuts fresh and then top them to order (you can either pick from one of their pre-topped selections, or customize your own toppings). I went with the blueberry cheesecake, and the highlight was the doughnut itself; it’s cakey and still warm when you get it, like a full-sized version of Tiny Tom’s.
The Mariachi Platter at 3 Mariachis Mexican Restaurant
That beast of a plate is the Mariachi Platter, which comes with a chicken enchilada, two chorizo tacos, a shredded beef burrito, Mexican rice, guacamole, beans, pico de gallo, and a zippy green sauce. As the menu says, “why have one when you can have it all?” Why indeed. I shared this, obviously — I’m not Andre the Giant — and pretty much everything was quite tasty, particularly the burrito, which was crammed with tender, tasty beef. The taco was a bit dry, but aside from that it was a delicious (and huge) plate of food.
Location: 270 West Beaver Creek Road, Richmond Hill
If you have anyone you’re looking to impress with a fancier dim sum joint, you could do worse than Yu Seafood. The restaurant itself is quite a bit more sleek than your average dim sum place, and the presentation of the dishes is a bit snazzier.
And of course, it also has the prices to match — it’s not outrageous, but it’s noticeably more expensive than the norm.
The food is all solid, though nothing quite blew me away. I think pretty much everything was slightly (or more than slightly) underseasoned.
One of their specialties is the visually striking Bamboo Charcoal & Egg Yolk Bun. It looks impressive and tastes pretty good, but the molten custard filling was broken; it was lumpy and oily.
Everything I tried was quite tasty — but given the hefty pricing, it’s not quite as amazing as you’d hope.
Location: It’s a truck, so check their Twitter
FeasTO is a very single-minded food truck: they serve dumplings, dumplings, and more dumplings. It’s always a good idea to do one thing and do it well.
FeasTO definitely does it well.
I tried a couple of things: the Korean Chicken and the Chili Sesame Shrimp Wontons.
They were both quite tasty, though I think the shrimp was my favourite of the two. They were basically like the shrimp wontons you’ll find in a bowl of wonton noodle soup, with a tasty sauce that adds some zing.
It’s nicely cooked; the thin wrapper isn’t too mushy, and the shrimp is perfect.
I didn’t like the Korean fried chicken quite as much, but there certainly wasn’t anything wrong with it. It’s deep fried and crispy, and tossed in the type of sweet and spicy sauce you’ll find on Korean fried chicken.
The sauce is a bit more subtle than I’d like (or perhaps there just wasn’t enough of it) and the spice level was non-existent (this was an issue with both varieties), but I still quite enjoyed it.
Location: 331 Adelaide Street West, Toronto
The last time I checked out General Assembly Pizza, I noted that the crust didn’t quite have the level of chew that you’re looking for; sadly, that issue has not gotten any better. If anything, it’s worse.
Their current special is a TIFF-inspired pizza called the Pink Panther: “rose sauce, shrimp, lemon, red jalapeno, garlic, scallion, mozzarella.”
It’s not bad. The flavours all work together relatively well, and the shrimp is perfectly cooked. But it’s an off-kilter pizza, and unlike the off-kilter pies at a place like Descendant, I kinda wished I was eating something a bit more traditional. Nothing about it particularly pops.
Still, it’s tasty enough — aside from the crust. As you can see from the photo, it’s perfectly cooked, with a delightful amount of char from the hot oven. But it lacks substance, and it’s kinda bland. It almost dissolves in your mouth; you barely even have to chew it.
I also tried the General Bread from the Snacks portion of the menu, which is described as “aged mozzarella, grana, garlic, aleppo pepper, wild oregano.” It had the same issues with the dough, but it’s loaded with enough cheese and garlic (not to mention the tomato dipping sauce) to overcome the crust’s deficiencies. It’s quite good.
Location: 160 East Beaver Creek Road, Markham
Dragon Boat Fusion Cuisine is a dim sum joint that does well. We showed up at around 10:40 on a Saturday, and the place was seriously crowded. By the time we left, it was even more packed, with a crowd waiting for tables almost going out the door.
Eating the food, it’s easy enough to see why. Some highlights:
The char siu was sweet and incredibly tender.
These fried seafood-filled tubes were nice and crispy on the outside, with a fishy (but not overbearing) flavour.
The fried dough noodle rolls were probably the best version of that dish that I’ve ever had, with a surprisingly complex flavour and a very satisfying contrast of textures between the chewy noodle, the crispy fried exterior, and the soft interior.
I really should have taken a picture of the interior of these salted egg buns, because they were absolutely crammed with an oozy, sweet custardy filling.
There were only a couple of weak dishes — surprisingly, they were the dim sum standbys that you’d think they’d work especially hard to get right. The har gow featured an overly thick, almost gummy wrapper encasing overcooked shrimp.
And the pork buns featured a filling that tasted a bit too leftovery.
Still, they were only two mild weak points in a meal that was otherwise quite stellar.