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Posts tagged ‘expensive’

Restaurant Review: Teatro Ristorante

Website: https://teatro.ca/
Location: 200 8 Ave SE

I have wanted to try this restaurant out since the first time I got into food. This restaurant is owned by the Teatro Group which is responsible for amazing restaurants, eateries, cafes and so on such as Vendome, EAT, Cucina, and Al Forno, just to name a few (I’ve been to all of these places). I’ve had pretty good experiences at all of these places, with the exception of a couple things at Al Forno that I found to be too greasy. We had gone there when it first opened so they may have still been ironing out a few kinks, so I wouldn’t be opposed to going back. Besides, Al Forno is known for its fantastic, house made bread which I’ve had before (or at least I think I’ve had), so if they make focaccia that amazing, they can’t be all bad right?

We came here for Teatro’s happy hour, which is essentially just the appetizer and salad sections of their menu, at 50% off. Walking in here can be intimidating and it’s so hard for me not to adopt airs walking into a place like this, but given the way I was dressed…well, we’ll just leave it at that. I mean, it wasn’t terrible because I had just come from work so I was dressed moderately appropriately, but I felt that my shoulder bag was out of place for somewhere like Teatro.

Walking in, this has got to be the most grand restaurant I’ve ever walked into, apart from Bank and Baron. However, the atmosphere is completely different from Bank and Baron. Teatro is high class; there is no doubt about that. I’m drawn to historical building such as these and it was hard not to stare at everything in awe. This is the level of luxury I hope to achieve one day in my life.

Carmen had already been seated when I walked in and there was no time for me to even take in the place when I was greeted. Immediately, the waiter offered to take my jacket and showed me to my table where Carmen was waiting. We took some time to peruse the menu and while their food menu is reasonably small, their wine menu is not. It’s not surprising in a place like this to have a 40 page wine menu, but at the same time, I’ve never been to a restaurant with a 40 page wine menu.

After some time, we decided to each get our own appetizers. Both of us chose the calamari. I decided to have a Caprese Salad and Carmen went with the Caesar. Probably because I had good company and we had so much to talk about and catch up on, it didn’t feel like the wait was all that long. The presentation of the dishes were beautiful. I loved the contrast of the colours of the tomatoes in the Caprese salad, and was incredibly impressed by the fact it was fresh buffalo mozzarella on the plate rather than boccoccini or just fresh mozzarella made from cow’s milk. The addition of the fleur de sel on the mozzarella gave the dish the slight hit of sodium it needed and the surprisingly, fresh ground pepper elevated the dish to another level. The squid ink crisp provided an interesting focal point on the calamari dish for an otherwise monotonous plate. It seemed like the breading on the calamari was lighter than most places I had been to, but the lemon aioli was a little lost in everything. Especially when comparing it to the lemon-caper aioli from Escobar, this one didn’t quite measure up. The Caesar was interesting to me because they had actually left the romaine lettuce leaves whole, but you could tell they were the best ones, at the centre of the heart of the romaine. What is interesting about this Caesar is that they chose to use guanciale rather than bacon or pancetta and that there were whole anchovies on the plate. I know that there are anchovies in Caesar dressing, but I’ve never had the whole fish feature in my Caesar. The other interesting thing was the soft boiled egg. Typically, I don’t think of Caesars as having an egg, but the creaminess of the egg yolk functioned like additional dressing, enhancing the dish. The bright yellow-orange of the yolk provided the Caesar with that much needed colour pop. However, from my vantage point the egg appeared to be more medium than soft.

Due to a slight mix up, we were seated at a table that had been reserved for a larger party, so as a result, we had to move to the bar. For the inconvenience, the restaurant decided not to charge us for dessert. For dessert I chose to go with the traditional route, tiramisu, while Carmen had difficulty choosing between the tiramisu, bomboloni, cannoli, and the s’more. I totally don’t blame her because all of them were so unique that I will have to go back simply to try all the desserts. Eventually she settled on the Ricotta Bomboloni. While bomboloni are traditional Italian doughnuts that are vaguely reminiscent of timbits, Teatro took the classic and put a twist on it by serving it with a cheddar gelato, roasted apple, and a caramel tuile.

While there were times that the servers intimidated me, it was not simply because of the type of place we were in, but because I wasn’t used to that level of promptness in service. I was completely impressed by how they all went above and beyond what I had felt to be standard service (by the end of the meal, we had gone through at least 3 servers, but there was continuity between all of them). As Carmen has allergies and many sensitivities, they like Escobar were very cognizant and asked all the necessary questions to ensure we would have a great experience there and we did. I would 100% return here and go for a full experience (appetizer, salad, soup, main, dessert). Of course the bill would come out to be quite hefty, but I think it was definitely worth it.

This place has got to be one of the best restaurants I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating at. Based on my experience, I would give this restaurant a 4.75/5.

Teatro Interior
Teatro Interior
Teatro Ceiling
Teatro Interior (view from the bar)
Back: Caesar Salad Left: Calamari Front: Caprese Salad
Ricotta Bomboloni
Tiramisu
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Restaurant Review: Ox and Angela

Location: 528 17th Ave SW (Beltline)
Website: http://www.oxandangela.com

After months of not getting out due to studying, work, and whatever other excuses I came up with, I finally got a girls’ night out. I hadn’t seen either of these ladies for a very long time and we had so much catching up to do. This was my second time at a tapas bar and even now, I still can’t get over how expensive tapas bars can be. On the one hand, portion sizes are small, so that you can try out everything, but on the other hand, they are so expensive that my wallet literally cries because I’m only a poor student…sorta student…

With tapas I never know how much to order, so it’s always a good idea to start with a few dishes and hold onto the menu and order more if necessary. We started with four dishes: fried artichoke, fried goat cheese, fresh zucchini ribbon salad, a pan roasted duck breast, and an albacore tuna. Now, typically I’m not a fan of artichokes, in particular, pickled artichoke hearts, but deep fried anything is delicious. The fried artichoke was served in a small bowl atop a quince aioli and lemon. The lemon was virtually undetectable and very little of the quince flavour came through in the creaminess of the aioli. For those who don’t know, quince is a pear-like fruit that has a slightly tart taste, often added to fried dishes to counterbalance the greasiness. As an aioli, I felt that it added to the greasiness and the tartness was neutralized by the mayonnaise-like qualities of aiolis. But the artichokes were slightly seasoned and went well with the aioli. This dish makes me like artichokes a little more than I used to. With the fried goat cheese we were given the choice of being served the dish on its own or having bread with it. We chose to have it as it. I don’t know if you’ve ever had deep fried cheese of any kind, but I have to say, deep fried goat cheese is so amazing! Like the fried artichokes, the cheese was served with sauces and garnishes made to counterbalance the richness of the cheese. My first impression of the dish when it came out was that it looked like a giant croquette. The blood orange and date sauce was a beautiful crimson. There was just enough that you could taste a bit of the tartness (again to counter the grease, I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to say that), but not so much that it overpowered the dish or drenched the cheese. The candied walnuts on top added the final touch of perfection. Actually candied anything is delicious. It would have been nice to have it with a slice of baguette or on a crostini, but it’s still fantastic on its own. The next dish to come out was the zucchini ribbon salad. I expected it to be a bit more than it actually was. With lemon and mint, I just expected it to be a fresher tasting salad than it was. It would have been nice if the zucchini had been pickled prior to its addition to the salad. The manchego cheese didn’t really taste of much and neither added nor detracted from the salad; it was kinda just there. The pan roasted duck breast, the most expensive dish of the night at $18. It was by far my favourite. Duck is a typically rich, dark meat, so I wasn’t surprised that it would again be paired with something tart: oranges. The duck was cooked and seasoned beautifully, the centre still being slightly pinkish red. Unfortunately the picture I took was a bit shaky and out of focus and does not do this magnificent dish justice. The last dish was the albacore tuna…and I don’t handle raw fish too well, but tonight I decided to just go for it. It was seared along the edges and served on top of a lemon aioli, sprinkled with fried capers and topped with roasted cherry tomatoes. The citrus aiolis here really don’t work at all. I could not taste the lemon and honestly felt like I was just putting a lot of cream onto my tuna. The tomato and capers did nothing to compliment the tuna at all. Frying capers pretty much destroyed it’s inherently weird, but complementary-to-raw-fish taste. The tuna itself was superb, but I don’t think I could eat it again.

By this point we were getting to be pretty full, but we felt that we could order just a tad bit more. So for our second round we ordered a croquetta and a Mediterranean salad. Due to all the deep fried rich foods we had eaten in the previous round, I started to sound like a frog…then it was a choking, hacking, dying frog…thank goodness I was ignored for that part of the conversation…quite frankly, it was gross. The croquetta was a salt cod and potato croquetta served with some sort of aioli and chili sauce. I was excited to try this one because I really love spicy foods, but nope. I tasted nothing but creamy aioli and the actual croquetta? That was like a mouthful of salt. After all, it was salt cod, so what was I supposed to be expecting? I think it would have been nice with a small glass of some kind of beer, but I know nothing about alcohol and how it complements a meal. But I can’t complain about how nice and crunchy the croquetta was. At one point I expressed my concern that I was afraid that I was going to send it flying off my plate and into the face of the lady at the table next to us. Thank goodness that didn’t happen. The Mediterranean salad was kinda weird to me. It had¬†local tomatoes & cucumbers, roasted onion, goat feta, crispy chorizo, and a kale salsa verde. Like the zucchini ribbon salad, I expected it to be a bit more tart, which it wasn’t. The kale salsa verde was something new and I felt that it just didn’t work. The goat feta would have provided a good contrast if there was any tartness to the dish. And the crispy chorizo…that lived up to its name. Very crunchy…

Lastly, for dessert we shared a basque cake. I have a weakness for anything almond, so this was a must. For a tapas bar I should have expected something small, but somehow I hoped it would be larger, it wasn’t. This basque cake sliver had chunks of fruit in it, I’m not quite sure what kind it was, but I want to say rehydrated apricots and was lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar. I loved the top and bottom of the cake because it tasted like caramelized sugar. The cake itself wasn’t too sweet, which I liked, but the chunks of fruit didn’t seem to fit.

For the sizes of the dishes I never expected to be full, but I was. It’s funny how something so small can fill you up so much. The staff were friendly enough and you never had to worry about your glass being empty; there was always a waiter or waitress close enough to top up your drink at all times. The place can get a bit noisy, but it’s all part of the atmosphere, so if you don’t mind then it’s great. There were times we were yelling, but I’m always yelling so I didn’t feel like I was out of place. Earlier in the evening it was a bit quieter and I sounded like I was talking way too loud. However I couldn’t believe how much our bill was at the end of the night. We had ordered a total of eight items (and my friends ordered a couple beers) and our bill came to around $110.

I would definitely recommend going to a tapas bar just to try it out, but keep in mind that if you’re looking for a cheap meal, this is not the place to go. This place in particular can get really busy really fast, so if you plan on going, I would recommend making a reservation. For me, this place was underwhelming and I expected a lot more from the dishes, particularly, for some sort of contrast and complement within the dishes. The service was good and all, but it is the food that speaks for the establishment. Based on everything, I would have to rate this place a 3.25/5. However, if I were to go back I would like to try the Spanish Table or Paella.

Ox and Angela Interior

Ox and Angela Interior

Fried Goat Cheese

Fried Goat Cheese

Fried Artichokes

Fried Artichokes

Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Albacore Tuna

Albacore Tuna

Duck Breast

Duck Breast

Croquetta

Croquetta

Mediterranean Salad

Mediterranean Salad

Basque Cake

Basque Cake

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