18 King Street East

Rating: ***
Dinner & drinks for 2: $65

It takes me two weeks to get a reservation for seven on a Friday. And that’s calling on a Monday.

Upon arrival, walk-ins breeze by us and are seated while it takes 18 minutes for us to be taken to a table.

The room is New Yorkish — impossibly-high ceilings, a small dining area with tables cramped closely and a small bar area at the front that packs in the after-work crowd and tourists from nearby hotels.

It is damn loud — we shout at one another, but can make out what’s being said. It’s a happy, it’s-the-weekend kind of vibe.

I love the idea of food and beer intermingling, so I’m excited about the intriguing selections. There are suggested beer pairings for each item which makes it a fun adventure. Our server Daniela is fantastic — her suggestions of beers are bang on and she is friendly and easy-going throughout the entire meal.

The Roasted Pork Knuckle ($23.50) is superb. Crackling, roasted root vegetables, smashed new potatoes and apple-cranberry sour beer chutney make it almost a Thanksgiving feast.

The Steak Frites ($23.95) flat iron steak is extremely undercooked and over-salted. We have a great night, though. But maybe that’s the beer talking…

Dining out

One-Stop Shopping/Eating
Spice Safar, originally from Montreal, has opened 2 locations downtown — one at King & Brant, the other at Adelaide & John. You can shop their boutique — laptop case, books, housewares — while partaking in delicacies from their cafe and bakery and downing one of their in-house espressos. Check out for more details.

Holiday Confections
Buying chocolates during the holidays make great all-purpose gifts, but if you’re looking for something truly special, try Delight’s hand-crafted, fair-trade, organic chocolates in Christmas flavours: Extra Dark, Ginger, Mint, Toasted Cashew, Orange Spice, Caramel, and Maple.

Visit their store in the Junction at 3040 Dundas St. W. or log onto delight for more info.