Winterlicious 2017 – Cibo Wine Bar

Can I please get a hallelujah because I just discovered the best Winterlicious restaurant. Why, you might ask? The answer is simple. BUFFET! That’s right… what I thought would be a three course Sunday lunch turned into an all-you-can-eat (aka ACYE) Italian lunch. SCORE!
I was waiting with a friend for our table and saw that people were walking up and down stairs with plates full of everything, ranging from pastries to pasta to little assortments of desserts. And soon I was one of them, filling my plate with everything I could fit in my stomache.

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Because the restaurant had three floors, food was spread throughout the building. The upper floor (literally a staircase with four steps from the main floor) had the main courses, including three different pastas cooked when you order it from the kitchen, three different freshly tossed salads, charcuterie plate, seafood cooked in a tomato sauce, sandwiches and all the Italian appetizers.

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The basement wasn’t bad at all. There were plain and chocolate croissants, mini danishes, fresh Belgian waffles, sausage, bacon fruits and desserts.

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I would totally recommend trying Cibo Wine Bar next time Winterlicious rolls around (but be sure that they are having a buffet during these two weeks). The restaurant was full and packed! They even managed to seat people at the bar (which I found weird). When I finished lunch around 2pm, there were even more people waiting for tables compared to when I first walked in. Make sure you get a good seat, not at the bar or at a stool like table.

Jamie’s Italian – Yorkdale

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My family’s banned this restaurant ever since having a disappointing experience. We had dinner at one of Jamie’s Italian restaurants in London, two years ago, and especially my dad and brother, still complain about eating there.
This Toronto location opened up late last year (I think) and my Aunt has been raving about the pork chops. So obviously, I took the chance and gave Jamie another go.

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The restaurant is attached to Yorkdale Mall, but there is only one entrance, which is outside the mall. But inside the mall, you can view the menu prior to dining.

This is really different compared to the Covent Garden location; the vibe, the style and the over all presentation. I guess it’s catered to different guests. This location is really family-friendly as the kids/ children had toys when served at their table.
The restaurant is huge, consisting of two floors, a large bar dining/ seating area when entering, then sections of different tables as you walk into the restaurant and a corner where in house pasta is made. The second floor has seating, small and large tables, along with wine displays.

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Despite me studying the menu the night before, we spent 20 minutes deciding on what to order. I knew that if we ordered three mains, we wouldn’t be able to finish it. And I think I made the right choice. I ordered a Berry Blast (strawberry & passion fruit purée shaken up with lemon, sugar syrup & cranberry juice). Tangy and sour, perfect for a Summer drink.

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We ordered two mains and one starter. The Ravioli Fritti (crispy fried mini ravioli stuffed with mozzarella, ricotta & parmigiano reggiano, served with a fiery arrabbiata sauce) was to die for! It’s a nibble fried snack that I could eat for days!

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Dad ordered the daily special which was ravioli stuffed with trout and cheese. It’s different compared to the other normal raviolis, cause this had fish in it. It wasn’t overall too fishy, because the cheese balanced out the fish flavour.

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Since my Aunt had told my mom about the Pork Chop (marinated & cooked under a brick with parsley & anchovy bagna càuda, apples, kohlrabi, mint, lemon & crackling), she’s been wanting to try it out. It was juicy and tender, just as my Aunt described. The waitress (Maria) told us that the chop would be salty and there was a salad to counter the flavours. I didn’t find the chop to be salty at all, and the apple salad was sour, which I don’t mind, but writing about it makes my mouth water.

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What’s my overall experience? There will definitely be a next time, but not for now. I really liked the atmosphere, the cleanliness, menu and restaurant employees (very polite).

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You can read my blog post on the Covent Garden location here. And click here for the restaurant’s home page.

P.S. Isn’t the washroom nice?!

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Mezza Notte Trattoria – North York

I never walked by Yonge and Church Ave. before to notice this restaurant. Kind of hidden by the cars parking lot, Mezza Notte has an unusual patio. Nevertheless, I was excited to try dinner here.

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We had a waiter, M, who was very awkward with us throughout our evening. He was nice and polite, don’t get me wrong…for example, he was standing behind me (I was sitting at a table, back towards him) just listening to me ramble on to a friend, O. Obviously I could feel that someone was watching me… I guess there are other ways to approach and interrupt a table…nicely and unawkward-ly.

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A few moments after we had gave the waiter our menus, a delicious bread basket was served to our table. In it was three kinds of breads; pizza squares, onion bread and plain slices of baguette with butter (left to right). I favoured the pizza squares and onion bread the most (mainly because they were salty). 

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We decided to share an appetizer; bruschetta ($8). I’m so happy that we ordered this. The toast was (real) garlic bread and the tomatoes were seasoned well. When and if I go back, I’ll be ordering this again!

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I went with one of the daily specials; rainbow trout (filet) with risotto and vegetables in a lemon and white wine sauce ($19).  For nineteen Canadian bucks! The fish filet was longer than a regular size fork (measuring lengthwise) and holy moly…I definitely got a bang for my buck!! The risotto was plain (which I didn’t mind for the amount that I paid for the dish), there was plenty of vegetables and fish that I almost couldn’t finish (insert thumbs up emoji here).

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O settled with gnocchi in a rose sauce. I’ve watched Michael Smith, Jamie Oliver and many celebrity chefs making them on T.V. but never attempted to try making it. I really liked the chewy-ness of these flour dumplings. I’m currently looking for an first timer-easy recipe…if you have any recommendations, I’d love to check them out!

Mezza Notte is an enjoyable place for a family/ friend meal. I haven’t been inside the restaurant, but just looking at the size of the restaurant from the outside, I assume the restaurant has many, many tables. I know there is another restautant location in Thornhill. O always goes there with her family. Let me know what you think. : )

Click here to go to the restaurant’s website.