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Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Just back from Ottawa...long


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Restaurants & Bars 3

Just back from Ottawa...long

Harissa | Mar 11, 2006 09:54 AM

First of all, a big thank-you to whoever it was who, months ago, raved about Scone Witch! I spent yesterday in training at the Albert at Bay Hotel and discovered Scone Witch completely by accident. What a find! I had the BLT with pesto on a cheddar scone and my fellow trainee had smoked turkey and gruyere (?) I also bought a vanilla cream scone and some tangerine marmalade for brekkie this morning (I left Toronto Wednesday morning and my train didn't get in until 11:00 pm last night, leaving me with no time to shop for fresh bread...)

Another big thank-you to whoever it was who, months ago, raved about Nicastros in the Market. Sure, Toronto has lots of gourmet shops, but Nicastros is a treasure! Good thing I was on foot at the time or I would have returned to Toronto with a suitcase full of condiments and cheese. :)))

I also had dinner at Cafe Toulouse at the Marriott Hotel (they had given me a $20 voucher which, perhaps unsurprisingly, wasn't valid at Merlot. I opted for two apps: spicy calamari (which I, stupidly, has assumed would be grilled...but no) and goat cheese souflee, which was really, really good. It had a crust of crushed walnuts and came with a salad of frisee dressed with a beetroot vinaigrette. At $8, it was a steal. Wines are all $8 or $9 per glass, and the by-the-glass options are excellent and extensive.

Strangely, I also had a business lunch there the next day (the wind and freezing rain made walking a bit of a challenge, so we stasyed close to the office.) I had an excellent croque monsieur (though I always thought it was supposed to be lightly battered and fried. This was more like a grilled ham and cheese, but with really good ham.) With a salad it was about $11. My colleague had a burger and Caesar salad for about the same price. The food was good, but the service -- both times I was there -- was sloppy and disinterested.

Also had an outstanding cappuccino at Presse Cafe in the market and enjoyed the dinner buffet at the East India Company. I went there on the rec of an Indian friend, and while the buffet had ups and downs, I owuld definitely go back. The ups were phenomenal palak paneer, channa masala and lamb something-or-other. The downs were pakoras (hard as rock), butter chicken (with mushrooms in the sauce...WTF?) and chili chicken (apparently, on Thursday nights they offer a few Hakka-style dishes to the buffet, but this was as soggy as wet paper towel.)

The room, however, is stunning and the owner is a gem. He must have "read" me as soon as I came in because in addition to offering me a drink, he offered three different wine magazines. Very nice touch. The buffet ($17) plus one cheese naan (while it was very good, it was very rich...I would order the plain version next time) and 1.5 pints of Creemore, plus tax/tip came to $39. It's definitely not my favourite Indian spot in the city, and I want to try several others, but the weather was crappy enough I didn't want to venture out to the Glebe.

Thanks again for all the tips!

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