Restaurant Review: The Mandarin -1027 Finch Ave. West

Welcome to Mandarin! This restaurant chain is always very busy due to its delectable and vast panoply of foods it offers. I have patronized Mandarin well over seventy times during the past thirty years. It never disappoints. This particular location I have been to maybe twenty five times.

Be forewarned: before going to any Mandarin, you must make a reservation. The effervescent hostess who answers the phone usually gives you an alpha-numeric reservation code. Not sure why it has to be alpha-numeric but I guess it’s a system that works for them.

As soon as you walk into Mandarin they have a large waiting area resplendent with TV monitors and a fish pond. Some of the gold fish appeared to have been overfed because they are impressively huge!

When you are led to your seats you bypass the cornucopia of foods on display for your buffet dinner. That being said, you can order a la carte but most patrons usually opt for the buffet. If you choose the latter, you certainly won’t go wrong.

The magic of Mandarin is the food. It will keep you coming back again and again. I believe it’s probably the most successful restaurant chain in the GTA.

The servers are always attentive. Be sure to not drink too much water, ergo, you will have more room for all that delicious food. If you love crab legs, please note: it is only served during the dinner hours, not at lunch. That might give you a more strategic approach to your reservation.

Now for all that fabulous food: they have two stations of hot food; one cold salad bar augmented with their sweet and sour and won ton soups; one roast beef station; one station for sushi; and finally a long station for scrumptious desserts. The desserts are fit for a king!

Here are some of the cuisine you might expect to dine on: shanghai noodles; sweet and sour chicken; chicken balls; beef with beans; vegetarian fried rice; assorted vegetables; onion rings; kung pao chicken (very spicy!); steamed broccoli; French fries; crispy fried chicken; and servings of pork plus more offerings. They are all mouth-wateringly good!

Each meal is preceded with hot towels. As you can see Mandarin adheres to cleanliness. To top off every meal you’re always presented with sagacious and delicious fortune cookies. Always a great treat.

So go with a date, a group of friends, or your entire extended family. Mandarin is always a winner in any epicurean’s book. You won’t regret it!

For more information visit: www.mandarinrestaurant.com or call 416-736-6000 (Dufferin and Finch location)

Restaurant Review: Mr Greek in Downsview

Mr. Greek at 1000 Finch Ave. West, Phone: 416-661-2300

Opa! That seemed like the only fitting way to commence this review of a genuinely fine restaurant. I’ve dined there on several occasions such as birthdays and also for lunch. It has never disappointed.

The wait staff are mature and respectful. There is parking out front (after paying you can ask for it to be validated by the concierge). The washroom facilities are always kept very neat, tidy, and clean. The décor is typical of Greece which gives the restaurant some excellent ambience.

Most of the staff are up on current events so it’s wonderful to exchange a few convivial words before your meal and beverage orders are taken. The restaurant is very spacious and has an event space which can be used for wedding receptions or baby showers (for those with deep pockets), of other private affairs.

Since I usually attend with a large contingent, we like to do some food exploration. For appetizers we order long platters of hummus, spanakopita, and Greek Kalamari. All the upturned corners of mouths and the licking of lips are positive proof that the appetizers all have a great desired effect.

If you are counting your calories you can opt for authentic Greek salads, with feta cheese, black or green olives, all dressed down with Greek or Italian dressing. Um, um, good.
When it comes to visiting an authentic Greek resto, souvlaki is a go to option. Take your pick: you have succulent chicken, delicious pork, or tasty lamb. To augment your protein, you have the choice of one: their famous salads, rice, or vegetables. I would suggest go the salad and rice! But, that’s just me.

A dinner date at Mr. Greek typically won’t break the bank. It’s great for business lunches, to catch up with an old friend, meet up with a sibling, to while away the hours with your lover or spouse, or to capture the great nightlife Toronto is already famous for with great food and libations.

Major credit cards are accepted and if you need to split the bill using debit or credit, no problem! For the sports enthusiast there are a few flat screen monitors located near the bar so you don’t miss the latest replay.

It’s not exactly like being in Greece but it’s the closest you will get without having to pay the expensive airfare and enduring the long flight!

Restaurant Review: Moxie’s Grill & Bar

Yorkdale is probably one of the best malls in Canada. In the GTA, it just might take the crown. It has a fairly new food court which is spacious and illuminated well. The many retailers in the mall add to its eclecticism, and proves it has a very vast expanse when it comes to its offerings. What it also has is a great Moxie’s!

Located just south of the Indigo Books and Gifts store, it’s a wonderful, mouth-watering restaurant. I had patronized one of its locations in Brampton for family birthdays, then had the awesome idea of trying out the one at Yorkdale. It did not disappoint.

I’ve lunched there a few times, later followed by a couple of dinners. The wait staff are mostly millennials. I have to say one thing, they have personality – both the males and females. The ones which I have dealt with have social skills which are par excellence! They know how to engage patrons, and try not to be superficial in their way of serving. Not sure if they are trained like this or if it’s their million dollar personality which gets them the job.

The uniforms of the wait staff are classic black. In this case noir is the new black. Moxie’s is more family-oriented and the uniforms give the wait staff a very elegant touch.

If you’re dining with your family there are some booths – which are made of leather or leatherette, not sure which – that can feasibly fit a family of four or five. If your family is more plus size it might be a tighter squeeze. There are some stand-alone tables which would be able to accommodate you.

The food is delicious. During several trips to Moxie’s I’ve never been disappointed. The portions are very generous. If you are dining with your spouse, or significant other, and don’t have large appetites, I would suggest you get two appetizers and one entrée. It would leave you both satisfied.

The last trip my wife and I had their spectacular bruschetta and chicken wings. Heavenly. Every bite was better than the last. It’s that good! My wife elected to opt for a Coke when it came to her beverage, I tried their Virgin Caesar. They really know how to make a Virgin Caesar! Be careful if you order one – it comes with a jalapeno pepper.

The main course we dined on was fries and fish tacos. Moxie’s has one of the best fish tacos on this side of the universe! From the first time I tried it, I could not resist it on subsequent trips. One other dining companion opted for their burger. He was mightily impressed.

Their restrooms are also a sight to behold with their flat screens and haute sinks. A very nice touch.

Moxie’s is ideal for feasting any day of the week.

Address: Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 3401 Dufferin St.

Phone: (416) 787-7600

Website: www.yorkdale.com/stores/moxies-classic-grill