Happy Holidays!!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas (and every other holiday celebration) and a Happy New Year!

For myself, 2015 marked many special events. This was the first year The Hubby and I celebrated as a married couple and we loved spending time with both of our families, feasting and arguing over boardgames. 2015 has been full of celebrations and amazing memories including 5 weddings, 9 countries and 1 baby. So far we’ve already booked a two week vacation for April (Hint: It’s in Europe!) and I can’t wait to see what else 2016 has in store!

Happy Holidays!!


Happening right now on my Instagram account! Win a $25 Gift Card for Starbucks!

#GIVEAWAY | Thank you to everyone who follows me! I can’t believe I’ve hit 2500 followers and as a way of thanks, I’d like to run a contest just for you guys!

One winner will receive a $25 gift card to Starbucks. This contest is in no way sponsored by Starbucks. I’m simply thanking my followers with a gift I’d love to receive for Christmas.
To Enter:
1. Follow @xiaoeats on Instagram
2. Like the Instagram post
3. Optional #1: For 1 Bonus Entry, Tag 2 Friends. (2 Tags = 1 Entry)
4. Optional #2: For 2 Bonus Entries, Repost this image and use hashtag: #xiaoeatsgiveaway
Contest ends on December 16, 2015 at 11:59PM.
🌟Winner will be contacted the following day.
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE and Thank you for following!
Per Instagram rules, we must mention this is no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s term of use.

Contest is open to Canadian residents only.


For me, the equation for a perfect date includes good food, good drinks and good conversation. A date is about spending time with another person, be it getting to know each other for the first time, getting a break from the kids or re-connecting after a busy week at work. To facilitate this, my pick for the Best Date Night restaurants in Toronto offer great food, an air of privacy and no ear-drum breaking music. I’m old, I don’t love yelling across the table all night.

1. Kwan Dim Sum

Rating/Price: 5.0 $$
Why? Elevated dim sum, lovely service, elegant interior, dishes perfect for sharing
Must Order: Shrimp Dumplings, Rice Roll
Good For? First dates, midtown location, refined Chinese food

2. La Carnita

Rating/Price: 4.5 $$
Why? Well priced, delicious tacos, cozy seating
Must Order: In Cod We Trust, Dessert
Good For? Casual date, dinner before another activity

3. The Good Son

Rating/Price: 5.0 $$$
Why? Intimate dining area, great tasting menu, good cocktails
Must Order: Charcuterie and Cheese Board, Seasonal Cocktails
Good For? Special occasions, trying to impress, foodies

4. Koyoi

Rating/Price: 4.5 $$
Why? Good food, located downtown, hidden gem
Must Order: Sashimi Salad, Beef Tataki
Good For? Casual date, pitchers of beer

5. Oyster Boy

Rating/Price: 4.5 $$$
Why? Fresh oysters, intimate seating, amazing pasta
Must Order: Oysters, Papperdelle Pasta
Good For? Seafood lovers, special occasions

6. Pizzeria Libretto

Rating/Price: 4.5 $$
Why? Delicious pizzas, also available for take away
Must Order: Duck Confit Pizza, Calamari
Good For? Casual date, pizza lovers

7. Sake Bar Kushi

Rating/Price: 4.5 $$$
Why? Intimate booths, traditional izakaya decor, many menu choices, perfect for sharing
Must Order: Ebi Mayo, Yakitori
Good For? Izakaya experience without the yelling, midtown location

8. Pai Northern Kitchen

Rating/Price: 4.0 $$
Why? Takes reservations, best Thai food in the city
Must Order: Squash Fritters, Papaya Salad
Good For? Casual date, dinner before going out

9. Bestellen

Rating/Price: 4.5 $$$
Why? Intimate seating, good wine list, wonderful service, great steak without breaking the bank
Must Order: Dry Aged Steak
Good For? Foodies, special occasions

Honourable Mentions:

Still TBE (To be Eaten):

Did I miss your favourite restaurant? Let me know in the comments. Last Updated: 10/02/2015  


Somehow, whenever I plan a meal out with friends, our head count always spirals up and up until we’re in the double digits. I always find it challenging to find a restaurant in Toronto that can seat more than 8 people, takes reservations and doesn’t force a set menu on us. With a large group, in addition to being comfortably seated, budget and service is key. Sometimes bills need to be split, food is shared, there’s couples, everyone arrives at a different time and everyone has a different budget. The restaurants listed below have all been great at handling a large table of hungry, fussy diners at a reasonable price point.

1. Zakkushi

Rating/Price: 5.0 / $$$
Why? Tapas style menu, great for sharing, loud, boisterous atmosphere
Must Order: P-toro & kawa skewers
Good For? Beer drinkers, carnivores, large, loud groups

2. Patria

Rating/Price: 4.0 / $$$
Why? Downtown location, beautiful sophisticated space, authentic Spanish cuisine
Must Order: Jambon Serrano, Paella
Good For? Special events, celebrations, excuse to dress up

3. DaiLo

Rating/Price: 4.0 / $$$
Why? Sick Asian food, great decor, upstairs bar LoPan
Must Order: Big Mac Bao, Fried Giggi Trout
Good For? Celebrations, late night cocktails, foodies

4. Song Cook's Authentic Korean Restaurant

Rating/Price: 5.0 / $
Why? Authentic Korean cuisine, low price, plenty of seating
Must Order: JaJangMyun, Jokbal, TangSuYuk
Good For? Casual gathering, 905'ers, groups of >8, budget friendly

5. Thoroughbred

Rating/Price: 4.0 / $$$
Why? Menu that's great for sharing, downtown location, great wine selection
Must Order: Kung Pao Cauliflower, Chicken Liver Mousse
Good For? Foodies, celebrations, group of 8-10, cocktails

6. Han Ba Tang

Rating/Price: 4.5 $$
Why? Infused soju, great menu for sharing, attentive service
Must Order: Soju flight, Kimchi Fries, Spicy Seafood Stew
Good For? Soju, avoiding downtown, fusion cuisine

7. Bent Restaurant

Rating/Price: 4.5 / $$$
Why? Large space, great outdoor patio, upbeat atmosphere
Must Order: Singaporean Style Slaw, Tong Yuen
Good For? Groups of 8-12, cocktails, boisturous crowd, birthdays

8. El Catrin Destileria

Rating/Price: 4.0 $$$
Why? Giant outdoor patio, multiple private dining areas, plenty of tequila
Must Order: Tuna Ceviche, Bucket of Shrimp
Good For? Large groups, private events, celebrations, special occasion

Honourable Mentions:

Still TBE (To be Eaten):

  • Kingyo Izakaya
  • Carbon Bar
  • Copacabana
  • Colette Grand Cafe

Did I miss your favourite restaurant? Let me know in the comments.

Last Updated: 04/28/2015