After reading that Mideastro was named one of Toronto’s best new restaurants of 2012 according to Toronto Life, I moved this restaurant closer to the top of my list. So, when I saw Mideastro being featured on Dining Date Night, I took full advantage of it.
For those of you who have never heard of Dining Date Night, it allows members to make a reservation at a selection of great restaurants in Toronto at a cost of $10 which gets you 30% off your total bill (uncapped). It’s free to sign up!
This Yorkville location is Mideastro’s second location. The original location (in Vaughan) was featured on David Adjey’s show “The Opener”. The restaurant features Mediterranean food, something which I’ve only eaten in a fast food setting. Mideastro’s space is on the opposite end of the spectrum and tries (maybe a little too hard) to be upscale.
Shortly after being seated, we were served some Warm Olive Bread with a selection of three delicious spreads – an olive tapenade, sundried tomato pesto and an olive oil, balsamic, garlic and parmesan mix. The bread was served warm and was incredibly addictive. I told the server how much I liked it and he warned me not to fill up on bread… I should have listened.
The hostess handed each of us a gigantic menu which lit up upon opening which I found to be a little gimmicky. The menu itself is quite extensive so it took us a while to decide what to order…
I finally narrowed my appetizer down to the mini lamb shawarma. However, when I ordered it, the server actually suggested I try the Lahma Ba’ajin – Damascus style flat bread topped with ground lamb, chickpeas and tomatoes in a sheep yogurt tahina ($14) instead if I’m a fan of lamb. Hey, when a server recommends ordering something else, you take their advice!
The dish consisted of flavourful ground lamb, similar to a chili, on a light, fluffy flatbread. The meat was incredibly saucy so it was easiest to eat with a knife and fork. It’s a pretty heavy starter so it’s best to order this to share. I’m glad we ended up ordering this lamb dish instead. A delicious way to start off the meal!
Mike decided to start with the Shrimp Falafel – served on masabaha (warm chickpea puree in a pickled pepper vinaigrette), homemade pickled vegetables and wild oregano tahina ($14). It wasn’t what I expected at all…in a good way. I’m not a huge fan of falafel since it’s normally quite dry and crumbly but this wasn’t your typical falafel. It consisted of the ground chickpea mix coated around a large piece of shrimp and deep-fried. Another great starter!
After the servers cleared our plates, they came by with a small scoop of Strawberry Sherbet as a palette cleanser. It had an intense strawberry flavour and was quite refreshing.
After each plate, the servers came by in white gloves to provide us with new utensils…the white gloves were a little much!
For my main, I went with the Red Snapper – baked in a smoked paprika and tomato root vegetable fish stock served on sweet arisa risotto ($34). I rarely order fish at a restaurant (unless it’s black cod) but I was glad I changed it up this evening. The main came with two large portions of red snapper which sat on top of a perfectly cooked risotto. Each bite was packed full of flavour and this ended up being one of my favourite dishes of the evening. Since we had such heavy starters, I ended up packing half of this to go. I assure you, it was still delicious the next day.
Mike ordered the Seafood Couscous – a variety of seafood in a white wine, saffron and bisque sauce served with homemade traditional couscous ($30). It arrived with a large bowl of seafood consisting of mussels, clams, squid, scallop, shrimp and crab as well as a side of plain couscous. Most of the seafood was cooked well except for the scallop which was slightly overcooked.
Although the broth had a nice flavour, I found it to be on the salty side. But soaking the plain couscous in it helped. This dish was easily my least favourite dish of the evening.
So, did the food live up to our high expectations? Not sure if I’d say it’s one of Toronto’s best new restaurants, but overall, the food was quite delicious. The space was nice but I just felt like they were trying a little too hard to be upscale with the servers in white gloves and all.
At a glance:
• Named one of Toronto’s best new restaurants of 2012 according to Toronto Life
• Serving up Mediterranean food in an upscale atmosphere
• This location is located in Yorkville; the original is located in Vaughan
• Take advantage of Dining Date Night’s 30% off
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 4 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars