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Reviewed October 19, 2003   »   32avenue.com   |   justin-cheung.com     

Oliver & Bonacini Cafe & Grill

Bayview & Sheppard - Bayview Village, Toronto, Canada
Mushroom Soup | $6. Absolutely outstanding. No cream, no butter, no artificial flavoring, just a pure, rich mushroom soup, bursting of flavor. (Justin)

Beef Tenderloin Medallions with veggies and rosti gratin | $22. The 3 medallions, served medium, were all cooked perfectly. The sauce wasn't overbearing, complementing the crisp outlayer and the tender juicy interior. The portion was decent, and the rosti was right up there with the best I've had. Worth every penny, though not more. (Justin)

Smoked Salmon & Potato Pizza | $13. Topped with capers, caramelized onions, dill and mascarpone on flatbread, I stole one of Carny's slices to try and it was...different. Not great, not bad, but just different. A rather salty/sourish taste, not something I would recommend unless you're into that sort of thing. Still worth trying at least once, the pizza apparently is a lot bigger at dinner than it is at lunch, and they didn't skimp on the toppings, draping the entire pizza with smoked salmon. Interesting combo. Lydia, on the other hand, highly recommends the pizza, while Jon wishes there were more toppings on the pizza. (Justin)

Battered Haddock & Fries | My grandma always orders this. She likes fried anything, but the fish here tastes like actual fish, as opposed to your generic, bland white-fish stuff. And there's very little greasiness, too. It comes with fries and cole slaw. Maybe it's a bit over-priced for 'fish and chips', but it may be a good choice if you don't want too heavy a meal and have a craving for fried food. (Adrian)

Baked Chocolate Mousse | $7. This is the piece de resistance. OK, the last time I had it, my friends ordered it for me so that may have added to the enjoyment, but I find this dessert just the right balance of fudgey mousse and ice cream. It's sweet, but not unbearably so. Plus the warmness of the mousse makes the ice cream taste really refreshing. (Adrian)

Ambience | I loved the open kitchen concept with the stone oven, very nice touch. Even the layout struck me as better - most restaurants have their entrance off to the side, but their entrance and host was front and center, so it's no disadvantage to have to walk to your dinner table in the left side or right side of the restaurant. Very charming, clean white design with touches of leather. During lunch, you can even eat in the mall patio. One thing I didn't like as much was the fact that we had to separate our group into 3 tables. We had, I think, 16 people. It would've been nice if they could've accomodated all of us at one single table. (Justin)

Conclusion: Great service (Jon kept gushing about how instead of pointing you to the washroom, they actually brought you there), portions were alright, and the food hit my tastebuds just right (at least for the stuff I ordered). The one thing that could have been better was the appetizing bread and butter. The bread was alright, nothing special, but the butter was the block style. I can't stand those, because how are you supposed to spread them on a soft piece of bread? The bread always ends up ruined because of it. Otherwise, a well-recommended restaurant, prices give good value for the quality of eats. I'd definitely go back. (Justin)

My first review is based on my one visit to O&B at Bayview Village. It was a friend's birthday and a fairly large group of us were sprawled in one corner of the restaurant, with a variety of different sized tables. The food was average to me, a major factor for the middle of the road rating (although one of my friends seemed to really enjoy his calf liver). The ambiance was definitely overshadowed by their not-so-subtle reaction to Chinese Standard Time. That steady unprofessionalism throughout the evening put a bad taste in my mouth, especially since it was management's face on the forefront (the waiters were pretty cool). A final note, my ratings will attempt to be linear.. i'm not sure how i'd squeeze the rest of Toronto's glorious restaurant cuisine in 0.5-0.6 points like some others here. (Matt)

3.4

Justin's out of 5.0

4.0

Adrian's out of 5.0

4.5

Lydia's out of 5.0

3.0

Matt's out of 5.0

noteworthy
service
social
value


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