People’s Eatery

Chinatown is not known for fine dining. In fact, recently it’s barely been known for Chinese food with the wider and better selection north of the city in Markham. However, times are changing and the area is being revitalized with a slew of new restaurant openings. One of the more “hip” additions to the neighbourhood is People’s Eatery, a dining establishment with an ambitious, culturally diverse menu.

Atmosphere: For my bachelorette night out, I met up with my closest female friends and ventured on a mini food tour of Toronto. Our first stop was People’s Eatery. We were seated upstairs at a long table in front of a large window that filled the room with natural light. While the rest of the restaurant was busy, tables and the bar packed with diners, our table felt secluded and private.

Service: With many stops planned for the night, our schedule was tight. People’s Eatery was accommodating and efficient dealing with the large group. Many of the dishes were prepared to be ready as we sat down and were served at a steady pace. Our server also made sure everyone had plenty of cocktails to sip on.

Food: Being a stop just for appetizers, we ordered multiples of four dishes (plus some fresh oysters) to try. First was the Deluxe Smoked Fish platter, one of the restaurants signature dishes. Assembled with four types of fish, cream cheese, pickles and served with a side of bagel chips, the plate was a beautiful palate of color. The fish was soft, flavourful and the pickles had a great balance between sweet and sour. I liked being able to customize each bite with just the right ratio of cheese and dill. The pictured platter was the portion for two ($30), plenty of fish to go around. Of the night, this dish was hard to beat.

Next was the General Tso Tofu, deep fried tofu squares covered in a surprisingly spicy sauce. I enjoyed the intensity of the dish. Bite-size Latkes followed. The potato pancakes were fried to a dark brown, topped with sour cream, trout and roe. Not bad, but paled in comparison to the Smoked Fish Platter.

The last dish we had was a playful interpretation of Liver and Onions. A small jar of Foie Gras mousse (my maid of honour knows me well), topped with fresh chives was served with a sweet, tart onion jam and challah bread sticks. That mousse was airy, creamy, heavy and perfect with the jam. I wouldn’t be able to eat a spoonful of the mousse, far too rich, but with the acidity from the onions and the crunchy. neutral challah base, each bite was amazing.

Overall, my small nibble at People’s Eatery left me wanting more. For the area though, it’s pricey. If I were a university student choosing between a $7 noodle bowl across the street or a single small tapas plate, I’d be heading to King’s Noodle. Hopefully, Chinatown’s growing up and it’s exciting to see the change in landscape.

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