- Address: 163 Spadina Ave, Toronto
- Visited: 06/12/2018, Dinner, 2 people
- Cuisine: French
- Rating: 5.0 5.0 Excellent, worth every $
4.5 Good, food & value
4.0 Good, but $$, would re-visit
3.5 Meh, good $, would re-visit
3.0 Meh, would not re-visit
2.0 Did not like $$$ [$] <20; [$$] <40; [$$$] <80; [$$$$] >80
- Website: https://aloetterestaurant.com/
Last year for our anniversary Stephen made reservations at Alo months in advance, as required, for their Kitchen Counter tasting menu. Then we found out I was expecting. I called the restaurant to ask about the menu and sadly over half the courses had raw ingredients that I couldn’t eat. Cry. This year we decided to forgo the ordeal trying to get a reservation and celebrated at their sister restaurant, Aloette. Being on maternity leave, I had the luxury of meeting Stephen for an early dinner, 4pm, without any worry of missing Alivia’s bedtime.
Atmosphere: Arriving at 4pm, we had no trouble getting a table. It was also still Aloette hour (3:00pm – 4:30pm), which meant $10 cocktails and wines by the glass. Sun streamed into the long narrow restaurant adding to the cozy fell of the space. Padded wood booths lined one wall and a classic diner bar ran along the opposite. While the afternoon light made the restaurant feel comfortable and relaxed, I could easily imagine the transformation to bustling bar and place to be by the evening.
Service: I really liked our server, who was friendly and seemed genuinely happy. She explained why their famous uni toast wasn’t on the menu that day (supply issues) and recommended her favourite dishes to try. She separated our order into two courses for us, which I always appreciate when there aren’t clear appetizer/entree delineations. All of the dishes arrived promptly and with a brief introduction. This was our first outing since Alivia’s birth and at one point we were checking on her via her nursery camera. Our server noticed and asked a few questions about her then let us know how baby friendly they were. In fact the other occupied table that afternoon had a stroller pulled up beside it.
Food: It’s been 6 months since our meal at Aloette and I still think about their cheesy brioche toast. The slices of thick, cheesy, sweet bread topped with a healthy slab of butter were heavenly and dinner hadn’t even started yet. This was just the complimentary bread.
For our actual dinner, we ordered the Roasted Squid with pork belly and kimchi, the Parisienne Gnocchi with snails and the Aloette Burger and Fries. Both the squid and gnocchi were spectacular and wonderfully balanced in terms of flavour and texture. The squid was tender and the pork belly crispy. The kimchi added acidity and heat while cubes of compressed melon and slices of watermelon radish made each bite unique and varied. The gnocchi were pillowy and chewy, perfect really and the beans fresh and sweet. I only wish potions were bigger because I could’ve eaten so much more.
The Aloette burger was actually the weakest dish of the meal. This was still an excellent burger. Delicious with a meaty patty and wonderfully melted cheesy layer, but compared to our other two plates not as interesting or quite as special.
I had the pleasure of tasting Aloette’s Iceberg Wedge Salad at the Best New Restaurants 2018 unveiling in October and was surprised by how much I could like a salad. Each bite had layers of texture and flavour from the crunchy lettuce to the creamy avocado and topped with curls of parmesan and puffed wild rice. Needless to say I went back for several bites.