TD Tower, 54th floor
66 Wellington W.
+1 416 364-0054
Pan seared Quebec foie gras, vanilla quince, Ontario peanuts
and bulrush brioche
Ontario beef tenderloin tartare, smoked applewood bacon,
pretzel toast and Forbes’ wild flavours
East Coast halibut, radicchio spears, wasabi white beans,
Brussels sprouts and turnip-apple puree
Meat + potatoes (PEI
potato finished beef, collard greens, caramelized molasses, and Geai Bleu)
Date crumble, orange marmelade, saffron + orange blossom ice
Classic canoe butter tart, smoked vanilla cream, flaxed seed
nougatine, rye and ginger ice cream
breathtaking views of Toronto and Lake Ontario at your feet might be reason
enough to have lunch or dinner at Toronto’s iconic Canoe restaurant, but it doesn't hurt any that this stylish hangout is one of the country’s best
restaurants. Unlike many rooftop and terraced restaurants in the world where the
food is often a pricey afterthought (I should know: I live in Rome) Canoe’s
acclaimed fare based on carefully sourced Canadian ingredients is the stuff
memories are made of. Another plus is
that in the 20+ years I have been coming to Canoe, the place has never missed a beat, although such a great, unique restaurant should have a larger and
deeper wine list (and older vintages too). Specifically, even more attention to
Canada’s many great wines and a better selection of French and especially
Italian wines would be nice. Nevertheless, Canoe remains an absolutely magical place. This evening proved no different.
Meat + potatoes (PEI potato finished beef, collard greens, caramelized molasses, and Geai Bleu)
Chef John Home sources high quality
foodstuffs, which was clearly showcased by a marvelous tenderloin tartare and
a main course of grilled beef that were both remarkable for their depth and
intensity of flavor. A wonderful slab of halibut bathed in a silky wasabi-laced sauce also showed that Canoe doesn't just do meat right. I found the foie gras dish both amusing and interesting, mainly because of the thought process involved: the brioche, quince and peanuts effectively turned the dish into a sophisticated peanut butter and jelly sandwich (exactly Chef Home’s intention, as my waiter graciously explained).
Pan seared Quebec foie gras, vanilla quince, Ontario peanuts and bulrush brioche
I often start off my meals with a light red wine such as Grignolino, and as in Ontario they do Gamay wines particularly well. The 2013 Fielding Gamay Niagara Peninsula was a no-brainer. Fielding rarely makes a bad wine, and this effusively fruity (red cherry, strawberry, raspberry) and crisp Gamay is a case in point, with lively acids that tend to exacerbate a twinge of bitterness on the long, vibrant finish. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have chilled this delicious wine, not even lightly. I then moved on to one of Ontario’s many excellent Pinot Noirs. The 2011 Rosehall Run Pinot Noir Prince Edward County shows off to full effect the limestone nature of the county’s soils. Mouthwatering acidity and very precise red berry aromas and flavors lasted throughout dinner. The Rosehall Run Pinot worked especially well with our two meat courses. The main courses were also paired with a half bottle of the 2009 Brigaldara Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, still very young and a touch hot; I’d decant it at least two hours ahead to help it soften somewhat.
Desserts are a strong suit at Canoe. The date crumble is one of the
best, most beautifully composed desserts I have tasted in some time. I got up from the table marvelling at the
star-studded Toronto night sky staring back at me through the floor to ceiling
window. As I made my way to the elevator I found myself thinking
about a return visit.