Today I tried out the Summerlicious Lunch Menu from Canoe, an Oliver & Bonacini restaurant. It was my first time here and after hearing so many good things about this place, I was super excited to try it out and it didn’t disappoint.
Located on the 54th floor of the TD Tower, it is steps away from Union Station in downtown Toronto’s financial district.
So at this point the vibes are good. We were promptly greeted by a hostess and guided to our table for 2. The Summerlicious Menu consists of a 3 course meal at $28 CAD with an option for wine pairing at an additional $32.
I had the New Farms Cucumber Gazpacho and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. Typically, I shy away from anything and everything that has cucumber. I just can’t stand that distinctive and overpowering cucumber taste. Knowing full well that I hate cucumber, I wanted to see if Canoe could surprise me. The soup was very refreshing and light (perfect for a hot summer day), while harmoniously combining notes of cucumber and various herbs. I especially liked that they chose to incorporate tiny squares of honeydew, perfectly balancing the soup.
I can’t comment on the white fish because I didn’t try it. I generally don’t like white fish at all, so I steer clear of that. However, my friend did say the white fish was well seasoned and she really liked it.
I had Leo’s Cavatelli which is a pasta in broth combined with various vegetable elements. I really enjoyed this flavourful onion broth, but I did find it to be slightly on the saltier side. It wasn’t excessively salty, but the salt could have been toned down a bit. The pasta was perfect in terms of texture. Overall I enjoyed this very much, but would have liked to have a bit more pasta in the dish. However, I do understand that portions are smaller considering it is a Summerlicious Menu.
I did have a bite of the Hanover Beef Bavette and I was quite impressed by their striploin. Normally, I don’t try steaks at restaurants I haven’t been to simply because I’m afraid of the quality of their beef and their ability to cook it. I was impressed by how tender and flavourful the medium-rare striploin was.
I had the Niagara Stone Fruit Millefeuille which I really enjoyed up to the first half. There was just a lot of peach cream, so once I got past the fruit, I was kind of bored of the bottom half. The presence of fruit at the top made it much more pleasant and light compared to the bottom half which had nothing to compliment it. I would have preferred if a second layer of fruit was included halfway down the cup. I did find it slightly more sweet than I would have preferred, but I did still enjoyed it.
I only had a tiny bite of the Everbearing Strawberry Semifreddo so I can’t say if there was anything I disliked. However, I really liked the pistachio mouselline which stood out among the other flavours and I found it very delightful. I will say that when comparing the two desserts, I did prefer mine.
Food: I wasn’t disappointed at all by Canoe. It met and exceeded my expectations especially considering it was a Summerlicious Menu. I’m excited to try out their regular menu next time.
Service: I was really impressed by Canoe. I didn’t expect to be impressed because I’ve been to too many restaurants with frankly disappointing service. Food is important, but service is equally important. If I don’t feel comfortable eating somewhere, no matter how good their food is I won’t go again. Management is definitely doing something right at this restaurant!
First: The hostesses were very professional, well trained and delightful. I also appreciated that they were wearing the same “uniform”, because they are the first visual point of contact with the restaurant and the message I got is that this is a chic and classy establishment.
Second: I liked how well staffed the restaurant was and that there were separate people to serve, collect and wait the tables. Often times servers double as the people who bring you food and collect it as well. I don’t like that setup because you’re often left wondering when your waiter will appear again or they just seem like they’re in a rush and they’re not so happy, so it adds to a stressful dining environment. Also, I noticed every staff in the restaurant paid close attention to their attire. Even the waiters were impeccably dressed and maintained the restaurant’s clean, crisp and chic image. The wait staff were all very polite and respectful, which I don’t often find in classy restaurants. Halfway through the meal, I made a point of commenting to my friend on how impressed I was and I am not easy to impress.
Will I come again? Oh yes, there will most definitely be a next time!