Stephanie Dickison

El Barrio fare — slow but appetizing Mediterranean

El Barrio234 Augusta Ave.416-203-8777Rating: *** 1/2Hours of Operation: Tues to Sun 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Mon 11 a.m.-4 or 5 p.m. Price range: $5-17Licensed: NoTime in 2:31 p.m.Time out 3:48 p.m.El Barrio in Kensington is extremely laid-back — garage doors open, music blaring, lackadaisical staff, and...

Thursday, August 26, 2010, 5:30 AM

Koko! great for a Yorkville lunch

Koko! Share Bar81 Yorkville Ave.416-850-6135www.kokosharebar.comRating 4 out of 5Social lunchTime in 11:53 a.m.Time out 12:56 p.m.Low $ - Sides ($2.50)High $ - Bossam – Serves 2 ($50)Licensed - yesHours of Operation – Tues & Sun 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.; Wed – Sat 11:30 a.m. -2:00 a.m...

Thursday, August 19, 2010, 1:32 AM

Affordable, delicious Indian lunch buffet

Aroma Fine Indian Cuisine287 King St. W.416-971-7242aroma.sites.toronto.comRating ****Price range: $1.95 -$16.95Lunch with co-workersTime in: 11:38 a.m.Time out: 12:55 p.m.Low $: Naan ($1.95)High $: Prawn Vindaloo ($16.95)Licensed: YesThe problem many people find with Indian buffets is the food can...

Thursday, August 12, 2010, 5:30 AM

Libretto’s pizza – trendy, but lacking in flavour

Pizzeria Libretto221 Ossington Ave.416-532-8000www.pizzerialibretto.comRating 2 out of 5 Price range: $3 to $24Reservation: NoSocial lunchTime in: 1:23 p.m.Time out: 2:32 p.m.Low $: Biscotti ($3)High $: Salumi Grande Tasting ($24)Licensed: YesThough it’s been around for two years, Pizzeria Libretto...

Thursday, August 5, 2010, 5:30 AM

Lunches can be tasty and still be healthy

The Beet Organic Cafe2945 Dundas St. W.416-916-2368www.thebeet.caRating: *** 1/2Time in: 1:21 p.m.Time out: 2:28 p.m.Reservations: noSocial LunchLow $: Fresh Baked Spelt Vegan Muffins ($2.75)High $: 1/4 Chicken Dinner ($14)Eating a healthy lunch these days can be a challenge, but it’s a breeze at...

Thursday, July 29, 2010, 5:30 AM

Laid back atmosphere coupled with Island fare

The World Caribbean786 Broadview Ave. 647-351-3330Rating: **** 1/2Hours of Operation: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., everydayLow $: Patties ($1.50)High $: Variety Platter ($14.99)Licensed: noThe World offers authentic Caribbean fare at reasonable prices. And located right across from Broadview Station, it’s...

Thursday, July 22, 2010, 5:30 AM

Lala Bistro, comfort food that’s not too heavy

Lala Bistro145 Roncesvalles Ave.416-516-2577Rating: ****Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. every dayTime In: 1:43 p.m.Time Out: 2:49 p.m.Low $: Apple Square $2.26High $: Farmer’s Platter for Two $38.25Roncesvalles is finally free of construction, so heading out to one of their many restaurants...

Thursday, July 15, 2010, 5:30 AM

Ravi soups-up standard lunchtime cuisine

RaviSoups322 Adelaide St. W.647-435-8365 www.ravisoups.comHours of Operation: Mon.-Fri. 11-10; Sat. 12-6; Sun. closedRating: *****Price Range: $7.99 - $10.99Reservations: During the week, no reservations at lunch. Time In: 1:26 p.m.Time Out: 2:02 p.m.Low $: Curried Apricot & Red Lentil with...

Thursday, July 8, 2010, 5:30 AM

Great food, bland decor

Four Seasons Studio Café Four Seasons HotelToronto — 2nd Floor21 Avenue Rd.416-928-7330fourseasons.com/toronto Rating: ****Dinner for two with drinks: $100The Four Seasons is in need of a makeover. The Studio Café, for example, is locked in the Dynasty era with thick carpets, floral tablecloths and...

Thursday, June 24, 2010, 11:16 AM

An evening to remember

Union72 Ossington Ave.416-850-0093union72.caRating: ****1/2Dinner & drinks for two: $65Ossington between Dundas and Queen streets has recently become tightly-packed with elite restaurants headed by some of the city’s top chefs. Union is amongst the crowd, but it stands out, thanks to its good...

Thursday, June 17, 2010, 5:30 AM

Splendid service at Aquila

Aquila347 Keele St.416-761-7474Rating: ***Dinner for two with drinks: $55Not all service in Toronto is abysmal. At Aquila in The Junction, the staff welcomes you like family or old friends — even if it’s your first time. And where they go the extra mile. At least tonight.My companion has a headache...

Thursday, June 10, 2010, 8:34 AM

Fantastic flavours

Bocca on Baldwin26 Baldwin St.416-348-0731www.boccaonbaldwin.caRating: ****Dinner for two with drinks: $55It’s 36 degrees tonight so we sit inside to reap the benefits of air conditioning. Besides, the patio is full.The interior takes the pose of New York resto — exposed brick walls, iron...

Thursday, June 3, 2010, 5:30 AM

Mirage a real mess

Café Mirage Grill & LoungeSheppard Centre4841 Yonge St. 416-250-9422www.cafe-mirage.com Rating: *Dinner for two with drinks: $45Having three locations, you’d think Café Mirage would’ve figured it all out. Nope.The website photos illustrate a spacious, light-filled restaurant. That’s not this...

Thursday, May 27, 2010, 5:58 AM

More Irish bar than steakhouse

Quinn’s Steakhouse & Irish Bar96 Richmond St. — The Sheraton Centre446-367-8466www.quinnssteakhouse.comRating: ***Dinner & drinks for two: $75Quinn’s Steakhouse is kind of what you’d expect from an Irish bar — dark wood, lots of beer and whiskey, and rowdy drinkers.What is surprising is how...

Thursday, May 20, 2010, 5:30 AM

Still great after all these years

Messis 97 Harbord St.416-920-2186www.messis.caRating: ****Dinner & drinks for two: $55Messis has been on Harbord Street 12 years. Here’s how they are faring:Décor: The space has a definite ’90s tinge to it, but it is sleek and simple enough that it looks modern: Blonde wood, dim lights work and...

Thursday, May 13, 2010, 5:30 AM

Inexpensive but ordinary

Casa Sushi469 Danforth Ave.416-916-4388Rating: ** 1/2Dinner & drinks for two: $35Casa Sushi opened quickly. Keeping much of the previous tenant’s (the very good Bangkok Spoon) earth-toned interior, and relying on standard inexpensive sushi menu items, C.S. swiftly staked their claim on the...

Thursday, May 6, 2010, 9:22 AM

Huge plates of delicious food

Chi-Ko-Roo 491 Church St.416-551-4346 Rating: **** 1/2Dinner & drinks for two: $50Do not be fooled by the fast food façade — it’s lovely inside.That’s the thing about Chi-Ko-Roo, a new restaurant on Church St. It seems one way and yet, is completely different.Their logo and menu feel much more...

Thursday, April 29, 2010, 5:30 AM

Tap into tasty tapas

Segovia – Old World Spanish Dishes5 Saint Nicholas St.416-960-1010Rating: 1111/2Dinner for two with drinks: $65Segovia is at Yonge and Wellesley. This Spanish restaurant has been here for over 20 years, but tucked away down a narrow lane, you may just have missed it.The brightly coloured interior...

Thursday, April 22, 2010, 10:37 AM

Fine French fare at Papillon

Le Papillon on the Park 1001 Eastern Ave.416-649-1001lepapillonpark.comRating: ****1/2Dinner for two with drinks: $50Thank goodness for the bright yellow side of the restaurant. Otherwise, I might have missed it.Poised beside a water pumping station and across the street from a sizable McDonald’s,...

Thursday, April 15, 2010, 6:50 AM

Surprisingly satisfying

Mildred’s Temple Kitchen85 Hanna Ave., Ste. 104416-588-5695www.templekitchen.comRating: ****Dinner for two with drinks: $80I really didn’t like the lunch I’d had at Mildred’s when it first opened in 2008. A few months later, attending an event there, I was again disappointed by the fare.So being...

Thursday, April 8, 2010, 5:30 AM