Ever since ALO first opened its door to the delight of the culinary world, awards and accolades from authoritative members of the restaurant critic community had been flooding in. Riding the back of this media frenzy, avid gourmands and food bloggers from near and far, flocked to eat at this revered gastronomic temple. Their pilgrimage and experiences resulted in the saturation of some of the most popular food blogging space with rave reviews and postings, filled with ‘Oohs & Aahs‘…….from 290+ reviews on Yelp, to 570+ on Tripadvisor and a whopping 1370+ reviews on Google!! All these, put ALO on a pedestal as being the most followed and reviewed fine-dining establishment in Toronto and all of Canada!
Becoming the hottest table in town and best restaurant in Canada four years running also put ALO on the same ‘Toughest restaurant reservation in the world‘ map. An elite landscape that includes gastro-icons like Noma, Mirazur, Fat Cat, Quintessence…etc! As well, this new found fame quickly propelled ALO into Sam Pellegrino’s World Best 100 Restaurant list. At #90, ALO, a Canadian restaurant, can now rub shoulder with some of the renowned global multi-stars Michelin stalwarts……. Lung King Heen 3*(88), Sushi Saito 3*(91), Per Se 3*(115), Ann-Sophie Pic 3*(98), Martin Berasategu 3* (87), David Toutain 2*(108) to name a few….. making it even more of a challenge to get a priced table there!
As if the almighty above was smiling down on me and giving me a helping hand? Last week, I managed to secure an ultra rare ‘last minute cancellation’ reservation for my wife and myself, just a day or two shy of a very special occasion, which we were hoping to celebrate jointly!
The outcome of this ‘miracle’ was the encounter of the most epic and pleasurable meal I have had in Canada for a long, long while! To paraphrase a remark made by our longest standing, knowledgeable and trusted member – Estufarian, …….“ If there is a better restaurant in Canada? Someone please let me know! “!
Overall, I would like to start by commenting that, after a long two years wait, I finally encountered once again, a phenomenal meal with components and dish that not only wowed but in a couple of cases left me speechless! Playful, whimsical and visually appealing dishes started to arrive on the get go and did not stop till the very end! The majority of courses were perfectly balanced and seasoned, creating deep, complex sauces and sensational, memorable taste bombs. In addition, the stirring textural interplay of ingredients created some of the most enjoyable and wonderful, multi-dimensional mouth-feel!
A glorious union of French cuisine with well infused Japanese influence and skillfully combining classical approach with the occasional modern touch!....truly masterful touches by a talented Chef and his team!
Some of the outstanding 'stars of the evening' include the following:
1) Amuse Bouche - A playful start to the meal that reminded me of similar experiences I had at the 3* Pierre Gagnaire in Paris and Hong Kong. The Japanese Musk melon ( so fragrant, sweet and juicy ) and Jamon Iberico de Bellota ( sweet and umami saturated ) were rare priced foodie offering.
2) Toro Tartlette - First of at least a handful of 'wow-worthy ' dishes. The Toro bits gorgeously dressed, the shell, delicate and crisp. Great mouth feel!
3) Hokkaido Uni cream mousse - OMG! This was so xxxxx good, I asked my wife if I could lick the dish!
4) Seared East coast scallops with corn and crab bisque - This must be the best scallop dish I have eaten in Canada, period! Perfectly cooked to medium rare and oozing with amazing aroma, the crispy exterior morsels was paired with an intricate and dense crab bisque. Absolutely delectable to the Nth degree!
5) Amadai ( Tile-Fish ) with crispy skin - for me, this was the 'big bang' of the entire meal! The super delicate, crispy scales (created by pouring boiling oil on them) formed a dynamic combo with the tasty, moist and delicate flesh. The addition of the tasty creamy sauce took it way over the top! Wow!!!
IMHO, the desserts were the weak spot of the entire, otherwise, perfect meal. A slight beefing-up would be nice?!
Matching the 10+ courses epicurean delights was the top-notched service. Professional, efficient, attentive and super-friendly. Covid safety protocol was strictly adhered to. Chef Kriss even took some time to come out from his busy kitchen to greet me and say ‘Hi’
BTW, that Special Occasion I eluded to?!........Yours truly’s ‘Ruby’ Wedding Anniversary Celebration!!
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