330 Bay St.
Dinner for two with drinks: $55
The third and latest location of Mercatto manages to straddle a fun vibe in a café-ish setup without it feeling too casual. Women in snug black dresses and heavy makeup nestle next to tables of teenage boys and families. Loud music pumps throughout the glassed-in space. You certainly feel you’re downtown.
With 24 wines by the glass, there’s sure to be something here for everyone. Not bad prices, either.
The Gamberi Del Diavolo ($9), four shrimp with chunks of avocado and halved sweet cherry tomatoes combines great textures with a strident red pepper heat. The Arugula Salad ($8) with pear, walnuts and pecorino needs more pear and less walnuts. Manzo — Braised Short Ribs ($19) with rough mash and caramelized onions, comes to the table cool. The meat though, is tender and sultry. Skip the Ravioli ($14) stuffed with ricotta and herbs with brown butter sage — it’s dry, bland and barely warm too.
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The staff is great — the hostess warmly welcomes us and our server Kanishka is friendly and makes sure we are attended to.
The place is downright sexy in its look and feel. If they turned the food up a notch, they’d really have something worth going back to.
Whether you like it or not, the raw food craze continues on. And the newly opened Cruda Cafe (St. Lawrence Market, 92 Front St. E., Lower Level) is proof Torontonians loves their veggies. Serving vegan organic living foods, there is a rich offering of soups, salads, pasta, wraps and desserts. just got a lot healthier. Eat in or take out. Catering is also available — 905-447-6501.
Go North Toronto may have a ton of Vietnamese restaurants, but Hanoi 3 Seasons (two locations) is one of the few that offers cuisine from the North. Here you’ll find soups with tamarind, dill and tomatoes — ingredients you won’t find in most pho. There are vermicelli and rice dishes as well. hanoi3seasons.com