Restaurant Review: Wimpy’s Diner, 590 Sheppard Ave W., Phone: (416) 635-7013.

Wimpy’s Diner is part of a chain of restaurants mostly found in the suburbs or exurbia. I’ve never come across one in downtown Toronto. The one that is being reviewed sits in that large strip mall at the northwest corner of Sheppard Ave. West and Bathurst.

The restaurant is always hopping with patrons. For anyone who craves some good grub at 3am in the morning, this will be the place for you, because it’s opened 24 hours.

The servers are always vivacious and have the joie de vivre. They always smile and always punctuate their pleasant greetings with a smattering of conversation, if you, yourself, are of the sociable ilk.

The kitchen is exposed allowing you to marvel at the wonder of the cooks and sous chefs, who can whip up cuisine in a matter of minutes. Wimpy’s décor reminds one of Alice’s restaurant from the titular eighties comedy. But, rest assured, you won’t find a surly cook or Flo to tell him to “kiss my grits!”

No, this Wimpy’s is always bursting with life! CP24 is on all day long on three overhead flat screen TVs. And that’s a good thing in case you’ve had a busy day and missed the news. The restaurant has many pictures celebrating iconic American celebrities from the days of yore, like Elvis, screen goddess Marilyn Monroe, and the quintessential American “rebel without a cause,” James Dean.

Wimpy’s has a very eclectic menu. It offers an all-day breakfast menu, which would please those who are into hashbrowns, toast, and eggs. Sunny side up, anyone? If you have more of an affinity for Greek inspired food they offer three variations of souvlaki. Trust me, their Greek salads are, unequivocally, heavenly.

Of course, there are pastas for those with an Italian bent. I would highly recommend the chicken parmigiana. The servings are so huge you can take home a care package for lunch the following day.

For the health nuts, and those, who are more into seafood, there is wonderful haddock served with your choice of potatoes or fries (their mashed potatoes are out of this world!), and either a garden salad, or my favourite, Greek salad topped with olives, feta cheese, and Italian dressing.

For more Canadian-inspired fare, you may want to opt for the club house sandwich with coleslaw, which was the choice of my dining companion. I did manage to taste a sampling of the coleslaw, and it was absolutely delish! Jamie Oliver, if you’re reading this, you don’t know what you’re missing!

I’ve always found the wait staff very congenial at Wimpy’s. They always check in on you while you’re dining and can accommodate all requests. There is always music from the eighties streaming while you savour your meal. The miniature juke boxes by every booth are inoperable but add a nice aesthetic touch.

For those wishing to place an order for pick-up, your wish can be granted.  Make your next meal be one at Wimpy’s! Sorry, they don’t take reservations. First come, first served.

 

Restaurant Review by Michael Persaud Le Montmartre, 911 Sheppard Ave. West, Downsview, ON, M3H 2T7, phone: 416-630-3804

Restaurant Review by Michael Persaud

Le Montmartre, 911 Sheppard Ave. West, Downsview, ON, M3H 2T7, phone: 416-630-3804

Website: www.lemontmartrestaurant.com

Le Montmartre, named after one of the most appealing districts in France, is a very fine-dining restaurant on Sheppard Ave. West. The building itself is a very resplendent colour of yellow. If you are taking public transit just exit the bus at Wilson Heights. It’s juxtaposed to the Petro Canada gas station. If your mode of transportation is via car, there is ample parking in the rear of the restaurant.

Don’t be surprised when you hear the sweet, dulcet Parisian accents of the wait staff. It will transport your mind and consciousness across the pond to France or the 18th arrondissement. Bring your appetite because Le Montmartre’s menu will make you salivate. It’s mouth-wateringly good!

For an appetizer I would highly I suggest the Caesar salad or lobster bisque. If you’ve not been to a French restaurant, you may recognize “lobster bisque” from one of Seinfeld’s iconic episodes made famous by Elaine. If you’re more adventurous you may wish to opt for the escargot, or in more everyday parlance, snails.

Le Montmartre has a great selection of wines. To compliment your entrees you may wish to opt for a nice merlot, some red, or a special favourite of mine is the choice of chardonnay. The vino may even add a bit of spice to your dinner conversation. Libations at a meal are a must!
The patrons at Le Montmartre are very eclectic. You may see Asians, Indians, and various other ethnicities within your vicinity while enjoying your meal. There are some seniors who also like to have a quiet meal while engaging in tete-a-tete. The French music over the P.A. system gives the restaurant great ambience. It really adds some character to the very European décor.

One of my favourite dishes is the rack of lamb. It’s always cooked to perfection. It’s never stuck to the bone but slides off easily with your knife. Savour it. My dining companion has indulged in Sole Almondine which is basically filet of sole with wine sauce and roasted almonds. Truly heavenly!

To accent your meal a good choice would be any of their sorbets, or for the dessert aficionado, there are always profiteroles. My dining companion, since she has a sweet tooth usually opts for the profiteroles. I usually derive great pleasure from watching her consume it.

While dining you are never rushed, but have time to savour your meal. And when its French cuisine it must be savoured like the food gods meant it to be.

If you arrive early for dinner there is no need to make a reservation, but if you plan to arrive during the prime dining hours, reservations are highly suggested.

I have patronized Le Montmartre about ten times over a seven year period. Each time is well worth the visit. It is the best French restaurant in Downsview!

Don’t forget to bring your appetite. Bon appetit!

Nanalyn Jerk: Authentic Caribbean food in Downsview

Are you a foodie? Do you love to tantalize your palate with some of the most piquant tastes known to humankind? Your search is over! Nanalyn Jerk, in the heart of Downsview, might just be your answer. Nestled in a small strip mall just north of Sheppard Avenue West, on Wilson Heights, it is one of the newest and most welcomed restaurants to the neighbourhood.

I have patronized the restaurant more than 30 times since its inception into the neighbourhood. I once spoke with a pregnant Asian woman who purchased the same take-out dinner as I did -she was salivating that finally we had an authentic Caribbean restaurant in the neighbourhood.

If you’ve been on the foodie scene, or are an avid restaurant-goer in the city, you are probably know that The Real Jerk is one of the best in the city. Albert’s, on St. Clair Ave. West also has its adherents.

Whenever you enter the restaurant – which is also a sit-down establishment for those wishing to dine in – your ears will be greeted by some reggae. It adds a nice touch when you’re ordering your entrees, whether from the menu, or from the counter.

Some of the dine-in options offered include jerk/ BBQ/fried/ curried/ and stewed chicken -all mouth-wateringly delicious. If you’re more of the adventurous type there is jerk pork, oxtail, curried goat, and escovitch fish (one I will have to put on my hit list as that has escaped my order preference). For a more traditional choice they serve, callaloo and saltfish. Ackee, curried chicken, curried goat roti are great tasting as well. If you’ve never tried a roti in all your life you are missing something that is manna from heaven.

Before Nanalyn Jerk entered the Downsview scene three other restaurants occupied its current location. One was a falafel house, the second was an Italian resto, followed by a diner. All did not fair well. It appears Nanalyn is a winner since it has been around for almost two years now.

It is LCBO licensed and lunch seems to be their busiest -when the 9 to 5-ers and students from William Lyon Mackenzie queue up to place their orders.

I would recommend the fried plantains. You may also wish to indulge in their steamed snapper fish and cow foot. I usually purchase their curried or stew chicken with rice and peas augmented with cole slaw. It is always served with a smile.

Nanalyn Jerk caters for events, as well, should you be so inclined. This restaurant is an oasis in Downsview. If you’re driving, there is parking out front.

It’s about time Downsview got a taste of Jamaica!